Surrounded by spectacular scenery and steeped in history, Tucson, the second largest city in Arizona, is a sparkling gem of a city in the great wide-open spaces of the American South West. There are stunning parks and countryside to explore beyond the city and culture to soak up within it.
With 300 days of sunshine a year there is never a bad time to book a cheap flight to Tucson, but the most popular time is between September and April, when visitors from the north head south for some winter sun. Temperatures in the 80s are normal in fall and spring and even in winter the mercury rarely dips below 50°F.
Summers get hot in Tucson, with muggy days and temperatures of 100°F chasing many visitors away.
By September things cool down and this can be the best month for a visit. In November thousands of cyclists arrive for El Tour of Tucson, and February hosts the city’s famous rodeo and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the largest in the country.
The city is well served by domestic US airlines and there are lots of ways to find a bargain fare to Tucson when booking with Orbitz.
Use the ‘Nearby airports’ option under your chosen departure airport to explore deals from alternative locations or to look for fares to other airports near Tucson. Phoenix, for example, is less than two hours away by car.
Being flexible with dates is another great way to find a bargain fare. Compare the cheapest fares on different dates by selecting the ‘My dates are flexible’ box when making your search.
You can filter your results using the ‘Show options’ drop-down to help find the best deals.
Optimal flight times from US cities to Tucson include:
Tucson International Airport is located 10 miles south of downtown, just a 20-minute drive from the city. More than 3 million passengers pass through its doors each year.
The airport usually has an art exhibition set up in the lobby, and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.
There are buses running from the airport to most places in Tucson. Many hotels offer free shuttles or you can jump in a taxi. There are also rental car companies at the airport if you choose to hire a vehicle.
Arizona is prime road trip country and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, the biggest in the state, is a pleasurable 100-mile drive away.
The airlines that fly to Tucson include:
Shuttles and buses run from the airport into the city. Sun Tran runs buses around the city and there is a streetcar that runs through downtown. Amtrak operates train services to other cities.
For most visitors hiring a car is the best way to explore Tucson and the surrounding canyons and valleys, but another way to see the city is by bike. Tucson is popular with cyclists, and El Tour attracts thousands of riders each November.
Saguaro National Park, named after the iconic cactus plants, is made up of two areas east and west of Tucson with a total area of 92,000 acres. There are trails through deserts and cactus forests, wonderful lookouts and picnic spaces. You can camp in the park, go horse riding, explore by bike or take a scenic drive. The best time to visit is in April, when the cacti burst into flower.
The Pima Air and Space Museum is home to more than 300 aircraft, including a B-17 Flying Fortress, a B-52 bomber and combat gliders from World War II. Visitors can also book tours of the famous ‘boneyard’, a massive facility that contains 4,000 aircraft and missiles that bask under the Arizona sun.
The spectacular Mission San Xavier del Bac, eight miles south of the city, was restored in the 1990s and is now one of the finest Spanish missions in the country.
Be sure to sample some of the traditional cuisine of the American southwest. Tucson boasts plenty of restaurants serving Mexican and US dishes.
The Grand Canyon is within striking distance of Tucson if you fancy going on a road trip. It takes about six hours to drive there, so it’s worth staying overnight.
It’s no surprise the silver-haired set, northern refugees, and outdoor enthusiasts flock here in winter. Between October and April, days are routinely in the 70s or 80s, and at least nine out of ten are soaked with sun. It rarely rains in Tucson and virtually never snows.
All winter long, bicyclists visit for off-season training, and in November there’s El Tour of Tucson, a road-bike race that attracts some 9,000 participants. February brings the Tucson Rodeo, which is nearly 90 years old, and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. The largest in the country, it takes place at venues across the city and attracts more than 60,000 people, from obsessive collectors to casual visitors.
By March, wildflowers bloom, and by April, the desert starts heating up. Summer is marked by 100-degree days that force residents to all but hibernate. Even by mid-morning, temperatures are too high to allow much venturing outside, chasing most visitors far away. By September, temps start to dip into the 90s and the local resorts and hotels tempt visitors with some of the best deals of the year. Take advantage, hike in the mornings, and sit by the pool the rest of the day.
*Savings based on all holiday package bookings with Flight + Hotel on Orbitz.com from January through December 2017, as compared to the price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages. For Free Flight or 100% Off Flight deals, package savings is greater than or equal to the current cost of one component, when both are priced separately.
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