Tucson is arguably the most culture-filled city throughout all of Arizona, the city gleaming with gems of Native American history, indigenous cultures blending the American cowboy with Spanish and Mexican influences, and of course, some of the most deliciously authentic southwestern food of all.
Those gleaming gems are quite well known, but what about all those not so well known gems? Well don't worry, we've dug them all up, presenting to you our handy list of what we consider to be the Top 10 Hidden Gems in Tucson!
- DeGrazia Gallery
The DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is one of Tucson’s finest displays of local art, this historic landmark and art gallery all in one is one of the most popular places to visit for art-lovers in the Southwest region. This property consists of a series of buildings scattered throughout the natural desert setting known to Tucson plus the best works of art done by Ted DeGrazia himself. There are over 10 acres of land here within this historic district, however, so there is a lot more to see here than just the spectacular paintings.DeGrazia Mission
- Signal Hill
Signal Hill is a trail and picnic spot located in Saguaro National Park on the outskirts of Tucson. If you follow the popular Signal Hill Trail you will soon discover several different petroglyphs from the ancient Hohokam people. Learn about this local indigenous tribe and see a side of a historic local culture you wouldn’t have before at Signal Hill!
- Valley of the Moon
If you think you are lost in Tucson in a magical land filled with winding paths, stone walls and towers, and hiding grottos, then you are probably in George Ledger’s Valley of the Moon. This spot, ‘The Moon’ was purchased by ‘The Mountain Gnome’ in 1917, giving guests nothing more than an otherworldly escape from the desert!
Within the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson there lies a 2,600 acre ‘Aircraft Boneyard’, a spot with over 45 military and government aircraft being stored (The Dow's Monthan Air Force Base). This spot provides guests with an inside look at our aerospace past, something rarely seen.
This animalistic footbridge located in Downtown Tucson is one of our favorite hidden gems, a local artist designed metal bridge built in 200, an abstract yet biologically accurate ode to local wildlife. Walk from the snake's maw filled with giant fang support beams to the metal grated bridge body, a must-do experience while in the area.
- Hotel Congress
This classic Tucson hotel was first established here in 1919, the classiest of the classy in a Jazz era run by bootleggers and criminals, for a time. Which explains why John Dillinger and his gang liked to hang out here, actually waking up to a major fire at this hotel in 1934, the fake names they checked in under notwithstanding the curious Tucson Policemen. If you visit during January you could be a part of the famous Dillinger Days Festival!
- Cafe Poca Cosa
Cafe Poca Cosa is one of the most highly rated and highly visited restaurants in all of Tucson, arguably in all of southern Arizona. This cafe provides guests with a stylish option offering a Mexican menu that switches twice daily. Cafe Poca Cosa Offers guests a wide range of flavors and ingredients that are indigenous to owner Davila’s native country. This is the very definition of the word authentic, as you and your group will see, and taste, for yourselves once here! Buen provecho!
- Campbell Avenue Bat Colony
This top Tucson hidden gem is pretty well just as it sounds - a bat colony living on Campbell Avenue. While this may not seem like a spectacular site, wait to make the complete judgment until you are standing near the bridge, listening to the sounds of the hordes of nocturnal beasts prepare to take flight together...it’s an amazing experience, to say the least.
- Titan Missile Museum
If you are traveling with a military history junkie or someone who likes to see and learn new things in general, (or if that person in your group is you) then you are going to love this hidden gem known as Air Force Facility Missile Site 8. Now a museum, this spot once held an intercontinental ballistic missile within the silo, as well as original launch facilities.
- Center for Creative Photography
Welcome to the amazingly informative and yet still captivating local museum at the University of Arizona, one of the absolute best spots for art and photography lovers to visit while in Tucson. There are over 80,000 images inside representing over 2,000 photographers total, the entire building allowing you to ‘experience the rich heritage of modern North American photography’.