Hotspots in Tucson, AZ
Oro Valley, located north of Tucson, offers beautifully manicured parks where dogs are welcome, as long as they're on a leash. Trails, through and surrounding the park (in an adjacent wash), offer great exercise for pooches. Within the park, scooper dispensers and trash cans are available. Cañada del Oro Riverfront Park also has plenty of entertainment for travelers including a horseshoe park, walking paths, and an equestrian staging area.
Considered one of the world’s largest aviation museums, the Pima Air & Space Museum is home to more than 300 air- and spacecraft, including some of the world’s rarest pieces. Airplane enthusiasts both young and old will have the unique opportunity to see first-hand historic pieces, such as the World War II German V-1 “buzz bomb,” the SR-71 Blackbird and more than 125,000 artifacts. Families can enjoy the one hour tram tour, often guided by docents with personal experiences with some of the museum’s pieces. There is also a one hour walking tour led by a docent.
About 30 minutes outside of downtown Tucson is Charron Vineyards & Winery, most well-known for their white merlot. It is one of Arizona’s oldest vineyards and, at 4,200 feet in elevation, enjoys warm summer days with cool nights – a perfect growing condition for grapes. On deck are daily wine tastings that visitors can enjoy with their pups on the outdoor patio, surrounded by spectacular views of the nearby Santa Rita Mountains. The vineyard was started by Milton and Susan Craig, a husband-wife team who moved to the area after retiring from their careers in the technology industry. Charron Vineyards has four acres of mature vines and another five acres available for future growth.
Step back into the Wild West at Old Tucson Studios, Tucson’s old western television set where more than 300 movies and television projects were filmed since it was built in 1939. Originally built as the 1860s-style replica of Tucson for the movie Arizona starring William Holden and Jean Arthur, Old Tucson Studios has since become a playground for directors, actors and Wild West fans. The theme park features a guided tour, train ride, musical revues, staged gunfights and stunt shows, amusement rides and plenty of family-friendly fun.
One of the most popular outdoor destinations in the Tucson area, Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in the Santa Catalina Mountains offers a variety of experiences tailored to each family’s activity level. Take the narrated, 45-minute tram that parallels Sabino Canyon Trail or set off on a day-long trip to Seven Falls, a series of seven waterfalls that cascade down the rocky mountainsides. For families with little ones or not interested in the long hike, you can take the Bear Canyon Tram on a short two-mile ride to the top of Seven Falls.
Discovered in 1879, Colossal Cave had been used for centuries before to its official “discovery” date by prehistoric civilizations who settled in the area as early as 900 AD. Set in the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson, the cavern and its surrounding park represent some of the area’s most unique and beautiful natural wonders and local legends. Take a 45-minute tour among the cavern’s geological formations; note there are over 360 steps. The cave is considered dry or dormant and offers a more family-friendly experience than the very steamy and “living” Kartchner Caverns, where touching anything is strictly forbidden.
Tour the Old Pueblo and explore the history and artifacts of Arizona’s southern region. Located in historic downtown Tucson, the Arizona History Museum-Tucson highlights the history the region from its founding in the late 17th century into the territorial times before Arizona became a state. Other historic locations in Tucson include the Fort Lowell Museum, which tells the story of Arizona’s frontier soldiers and the historic Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House on Granada Avenue in downtown Tucson. The old adobe home was built in the 1870s.
This popular, mostly paved trail stretches for miles across midtown Tucson, from I-10 to Craycroft Road on the north and south banks of the Rillito Riverbed. The trail is frequented by walkers and bicyclists, and leashed dogs are welcome. The trail has some watering facilities, scooper dispensers, trash cans and picnic areas along the way. There are exercise stations, equestrian access, and plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing.
The Cup Cafe is an established downtown Tucson tradition with a reputation for delicious, creative and eclectic fare, alive with flavor. The full-service, historic modern bistro has three menus with fresh and ever-changing daily features. Selections include build-your-own omelets, unique salads, great appetizers, full-coursed entrees, creative and classic sandwiches, as well as vegan and vegetarian options. The trendy restaurant features homemade desserts from local bakers, Sarah Martin and Ian Cox.
Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange is an Arizona-grown shop that has six locations across the state. Like its sister stores, the Tucson shop specializes in preserving and recycling resources from every form of entertainment – including books and multimedia. With popular in-store events and free Wi-fi, Bookman’s is a favorite Tucson hangout for locals. The owners are self-proclaimed pet lovers and welcome leashed, well-mannered dogs into the store.