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Best Hidden Gems in Tucson

By: Cityseeker
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Reid Park

Reid Park is definitely the best place in town for a family picnic. There are lots of places to cook your hot dogs, spread the blankets and open those jars of potato salad to the sound of the zoo animals nearby. Playgrounds with more and improved play equipment, party areas and public artworks are all around you. With good timing, you may even catch one of the popular DeMeester Outdoor Concerts.

Tucson, AZ, United States
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Carol’s About Face

The brainchild of Carol Neuhauser, eminent beauty specialist to the stars, Carol’s About Face offers signature beauty treatments at affordable prices. With a total of 25 years experience under her belt, Carol specializes in treatments such as the Back Facial, Anti-Aging Treatment, the Bootcamp Facial and a signature waxing treatments. Tucked away in Tucson's Speedway Boulevard in a historic building, Carol's About Face is open all days except Sunday and Monday.

Tucson, AZ, United States
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Center For Creative Photography

Center For Creative Photography is one of the nation's finest museums of photographic art. Founded in 1975 with the aid of world-renowned photographer Ansel Adams as part of the University of Arizona Art Complex, the Center is now an established institution offering public access to its large photo collection and research facilities. Today it is home to over 200 archival photo collections, as well as 90,000 photos by over 2,200 photographers. Gifts and photo publications are available at the on-site gift store.

Tucson, AZ, United States
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Arizona State Museum

Arizona State Museum is one of the oldest archaeological museum in the Southwest, and the best place in Tucson to learn about the life of Arizona's Indians, both past and present. Impressive displays of Indian art tell the cultural history of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. There is also a good natural history section demonstrating earth and climate changes in the area. A museum shop is also located on-site and sells related books and crafts.

Tucson, AZ, United States
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Tucson Botanical Gardens

Tucson Botanical Gardens is a major tourist attraction in the city that's not meant just for plant lovers. Apart from a rich collection of cacti and desert wildflowers, the gardens offer an educational walk around the history of the native Tohono O'odham Indians and the efforts of local scientists to preserve native seeds. Don't miss the wonderful Nuestro Jardin, the traditional Mexican-American neighborhood garden, or the shaded restaurant patio.

Tucson, AZ, United States
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El Presidio Park

In 1775, the Spanish army staked its claim to this land (now the state of Arizona) by building the fortress, or presidio, which would soon become the center of Tucson. Both the Spanish and the fortress are long gone now, and all that's left of the presidio is a plaque reminding visitors of the events hundreds of years ago. It's a park now, used for fiestas and other celebrations, surrounded by tall 1970s style office buildings. There's not much history left here aside from the Pima County Courthouse, but it's still a nice place to rest and enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade.

Tucson, AZ, United States
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The Franklin Auto Museum

The Franklin Auto Museum in Tucson is a must see for every American classic car aficionado. Its main attraction is the Franklin, with 18 models on display, all original or fully restored and built between 1910 and 1934. Also featured are classic cars from 1909 to 1941, rotated at irregular intervals. Actual hours vary due to a scarcity of staff volunteers. It is therefore recommended to call ahead.

Tucson, AZ, United States
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Desert Artisans

Of the co-op galleries in Tucson, this one is probably the best. Thirty local artists show their work on consignment here, representing a cross-section of the Tucson art scene in a variety of media and styles. There is a good mix of painting and sculpture, with a focus on Southwestern desert themes. This is an excellent opportunity to both support local art and get your souvenir from the Southwest.

Tucson, AZ, United States
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Tohono Chul Park

Tohono Chul Park, located on Tucson's northwest side, is a very picturesque piece of the Sonoran desert. This park features a wide variety of desert plants around pleasant trails, which lead visitors to a gift shop and a shaded tea room serving delicious scones for tea time. Regular "Walk in the Park" tours provide an educational experience about the park's flora. Be sure to bring your sunblock to protect yourself from the sun.

Tucson, AZ, United States
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Mount Lemmon

At 9,159 feet (2,792 m), Mount Lemmon is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The mountain is part of the Coronado National Forest, where giant Saguaro cacti tower and a variety of desert vegetation blooms year around. The mountain is also home to the Mount Lemmon Observatory, which is used by the University of Arizona. Crowned by the dainty town of Summerhaven, this mighty mountain is traversed by a tapestry of windblown roads as well as the serpentine Catalina Highway. A hiking and camping wonderland, Mount Lemmon proudly watches over the enchanting desert landscape that unfolds along its lap. The Seven Cataracts and Windy Pointe Vista are some of the best vantage points on Mount Lemmon, offering incredible panoramas of Tucson.

Tucson, AZ, United States
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