Outbound Collective logo

A Weekend in Tucson: Adventure by Day, Magic by Night

Feed your soul in Tucson.

By: Sara Sheehy + Save to a List

For an authentic, down-to-earth Southwestern experience, make your way to Tucson, Arizona. This city in the Sonoran Desert has all the ingredients for a perfectly adventurous weekend. 

Surrounded by mountains yet nestled in the desert, Tucson has great food, cool cultural events, and is known for it's warm and sunny climate.

Tucson is also one of those rare places where your days can be spent exploring outdoors and your nights spent soaking up the magic of the city. Tap into the strong community vibe and dive head-first into Arizona's rich cultural tradition.

Don't know where to start? Here is how we'd spend a weekend in Tucson this fall. 

Experience the All Souls Procession

If you can, plan your trip around the magical All Souls Procession from November 1-3. The All Souls Procession is a celebration of life, death, and all the bits in-between. The event was founded in 1990 by Tucson artist Susan Johnson and has grown into a community experience enjoyed by over 100,000 people each year.

Connected to Dia de Los Muertos, "The Day of the Dead," in Mexico, the All Souls Procession is an intoxicating mix of art, color, solemnity, and celebration. The procession is meant to be joined, not watched, so paint your face, make a piece of art to carry, or simply come as you are to this memorable event.

Hike Mount Lemmon

Just outside of Tucson towers Mount Lemmon, a 9,171-foot peak that is reachable by foot, bike, or via a scenic drive on the Sky Island Parkway. Mount Lemmon is an ideal place to escape the heat of Tucson, as it's often 20-degrees cooler up in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Whether you drive all the way to the top or stop for a hike at one of the many trailheads along the Sky Island Parkway, you'll find sweeping views, cool trees and plants, and an unforgettable adventure.

Check Out the Tucson Eats

Tucson is one of six UNESCO-designated "Creative Cities" in the United States and the only one that was chosen for gastronomy. What does that mean for you? Great eats, and lots of them.

The city is particularly known for having the best Mexican food north of the border. For a gastronomic tour of Mexican cuisine, try starting along 12th Avenue in town and working your way from there. Want to go super local? Pick up a Sonoran hot dog along your journey for a mouth-watering bacon wrapped hot dog covered in delicious accessories like chopped tomato, mustard, and jalapeno sauce.

Bike the Cactus Forest Loop

Head to Saguaro National Park's East Rincon Mountain District for a day surrounded by the most recognizable symbol of the American Southwest—the Saguaro cactus. Get an overview of the park on the 8-mile Cactus Forest Loop. The paved looped can be driven, or better yet, biked.

Once you have the lay of the land, spend the rest of your day hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding.

A weekend in Tucson will fuel your wanderlust and feed your soul. When you're looking for magic, you'll find it here.

Unless otherwise noted, photos (including cover photo) courtesy of Visit Tucson

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


10 Things you need to do in Baja

wyld honeys

Journey to Wyoming’s premier snowmobiling destination: Togwotee Mountain Lodge

Samuel Brockway

A peek through God's window

Heather Arnold

Big Bend Bound: Crafting Your 3-Day Adventure

Erin Newman-Mitchell