Sharing 18 of my favorite fall things to do in Tucson!
Hi friends! How’s the day going so far? I hope you’re having a great morning so far. I’m subbing for a dance cardio class and then spending the rest of the day getting the September Fit Team workouts ready to go. Join us here! New workouts go out on Sunday.
August is acting like it has somewhere to be. I can’t believe that next week is already September! Fall is almost here and Tucson is absolutely dreamy in the fall. The mild weather makes it a long and beautiful season for different activities, and there are also plenty of festivals and events that can make me enjoy the season even more. Today, I’m sharing a roundup of activities that you can do to experience the beauty of fall in all its glory in Tucson. From hiking in one of the many Saguaro National Parks to taking a tour of the University of Arizona, there’s nothing short of fun to do here! I’d love to hear some local friends chime in the comments if I’m missing anything!
18 Fall Things To Do In Tucson
1) All Souls Procession Weekend
All Souls Procession is one of my favorite activities of the entire year. This year, it’s November 3rd – November 5th. You can check out the details and photos here. This event draws so many different types of people and they all walk the parade route together, with their faces beautifully painted, costumes, and carrying handmade ofrendas to honor those who have passed. With all of the division in the world, it’s a great reminder that we’re all human; it’s a meaningful experience that our entire family enjoys.
From their website:
The All Souls Procession is one of the most important, inclusive and authentic public ceremonies in North America today. The Procession had its beginnings in 1990 with a ceremonial performance piece created by local artist Susan Johnson. Johnson was grieving the passing of her father, and as an artist, she found solace in a creative, celebratory approach to memorializing him. Says Johnson, “From the beginning, it was different people’s ethnic groups, different cultures, but also it was all these different art forms put together.”
After its inception, many artists were inspired to continue, growing the Procession into its modern incarnation. Today we find ourselves organizing well over 150,000 participants on the streets of downtown Tucson for a two-mile long human-powered procession that ends in the ceremonial burning of “The Urn”.
The Urn is filled with the hopes, offerings and wishes of the public for those who have passed.Myriad altars, performers, installation art, and creatives of all kinds collaborate to prepare their offerings for this amazing event. The All Souls Procession Weekend is Honors the Ancestors and our lost loved ones and Celebrates Life.
2) Cowboy cookout at Tanque Verde Ranch
We LOVE the cowboy cookout at Tanque Verde Ranch, and it’s one of our favorite dinner spots to take out-of-town guests. It’s outdoors, so we can enjoy the dreamy Tucson fall weather, they have live music, a BBQ buffet (the cobbler is to.die.for), and the BEST prickly pear margaritas. Even better? Turn it into a little staycation!
3) Sonoran Desert Museum
Our Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is truly a unique Tucson experience, and when the weather is nicer, you can see more animals. There’s a gorgeous butterfly exhibit, and you have the chance to see desert foxes, javelinas, scorpions (AHH), and other desert creatures up close and personal. This one is a huge hit with the kids. It’s a bit of a drive, but it’s worth it!
4) Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival
Marana has really upped its game in the past few years, and what used to be a smaller pumpkin patch with a petting zoo and a couple of activities has turned into a full-out fall festival. They have multiple rides (including swings, slides, a Corn-ado spinning ride, and a train), lots of amazing food, games, and activities for the entire family. Definitely check it out! A little insider tip: go at the beginning of the season instead of closer to Halloween.
5) Apple Annie’s Produce and Pumpkins
Apple Annie’s is an orchard and farm located in Williams, AZ (about an hour and 15 minutes from Tucson). You can pick your own produce, including apples and peaches, and they also have a corn maze and craft fair to look forward to in September and October. Get the pie – you won’t regret it!
6) Tucson Meet Yourself Festival
October 4,5,6 2024 in Downtown Tucson. Three days of music, dance, folk arts, and food from Tucson’s many cultures. My family and I refer to this event as Tucson Eat Yourself, because you’ll just go and eat all of the delicious food, including elote, kettle corn, tacos, and shaved ice from many street vendors. While you enjoy your meal, you can watch some of the performances from local musicians and dancers, representing a variety of cultures.
7) Tombstone Hellorado Days
We haven’t taken the kids to Tombstone yet, but I feel like they’re the perfect ages, especially since Liv is very into history. Helldorado is held every third Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October and consists of gunfight re-enactment shows, street entertainment, fashion shows, and other entertainment.
8) Reid Park Zoo
We have a small zoo here in Tucson, which makes it ideal for spending an hour or two with kids. They usually host a Halloween event with elaborate light displays and trick-or-treating stations.
9) A trail ride at TRAK or Tanque Verde Ranch
A trail ride is the perfect way to enjoy the weather, spend some time outdoors, and enjoy a novel experience you may not get to do all the time (unless you’re P, who is a professional). Both TRAK and Tanque Verde Ranch offer trial rides for various riding experience levels and lengths of time.
10) Mount Lemmon Oktoberfest
Mount Lemmon is a Tucson treasure. It’s 45 minutes to an hour away, and the scenery changes dramatically. You leave cacti and brown dirt for enormous pine trees, greenery, and much cooler weather (20-30 degrees colder!). They have an Oktoberfest event, or you can even head up for the day to picnic, hike, and enjoy pizza and a cookie from the Cookie Cabin.
11) Pima Air and Space Museum
This is another one of our spots to take out-of-town guests, particularly because the Pilot has a couple of plaques and patches on display. It’s fun to see the various aircraft, especially with our Tucson Davis-Monthan Air Force Base history, and the exhibits are amazing.
12) Live music in downtown Tucson at Hotel Congress Plaza
Hotel Congress frequently has live music on the weekends, and it’s a great place to enjoy a cocktail and some music/dancing. They feature local artists and also small booths from artisans, including handmade accessories and jewelry. Bonus: have dinner at BATA and then head to Hotel Congress for music and drinks.
13) Buckelew Farm Terror in the Corn Maze
Buckelew Farm is a bit of a hike (around an hour) and they have a huge pumpkin patch + haunted attractions if that’s your thing (it’s not my thing lol). You can check out the details here if you’re looking for a spookier experience.
14) Hike Sabino Canyon
Sabino Canyon is my favorite hiking destination in Tucson. You can explore many of the trails, or take a tram ride to the top and walk down. Don’t forget to check out All Trails and a full guide to hiking Sabino Canyon here. You can often see water and wildlife on the trail, and the views are spectacular.
15) Gaslight fall show- The Wizard of the Rings
Gaslight is another Tucson treasure! Their melodramas are always loosely based on popular shows and movies, and the audience is encouraged to cheer for the hero and boo for the villain. They serve popcorn and a full 50s diner menu as you enjoy the show.
16) Visit the Tuscon Botanical Gardens
Get ready to leaf your worries behind and immerse yourself in a vibrant kaleidoscope of autumn colors at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. From wandering through the enchanting Japanese garden to marveling at the blooming desert plants, this oasis is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. Plus, rumor has it that even the squirrels do some burpee workouts to stay fit amidst all those trees!
17) Picnic at Agua Caliente Park
Pack your picnic basket and head on over to Agua Caliente Park for some fall fun under the Tucson sky. With sprawling green fields, picturesque ponds, and soothing hot springs, it’s the perfect spot to relax and unwind. Just make sure those autumn winds don’t carry away your sandwiches – trust me, I speak from experience!
18) Mission San Xavier del Bac
Journey back in time and explore the stunning Mission San Xavier del Bac, a true architectural gem nestled in the heart of southern Arizona. Marvel at the intricate details of this centuries-old Spanish mission, and you’ll soon feel a sense of tranquility envelop you. Fun fact: Did you know that this mission was actually built by hand, brick by brick? Talk about dedication!
Remember, these are just a few of the fall wonders you can experience in Tucson, AZ. So grab your hiking boots, pack some water, and prepare to embrace the perfect blend of nature, culture, and adventure. And hey, if you spot any squirrels doing lunges on the hiking trails, make sure to give them a thumbs-up for staying fit in the desert heat!
What are some local fall events that you look forward to each year?