Tucson Weekend With Kids
Tucson is a 2hr drive south from Phoenix, and a great weekend trip option with kids! We took a family getaway early last year, packing in some fun activities and simple down time at parks or at our hotel. Read on to inspire you’re next trip to Tucson!
On the Way
If you’re looking to stop between Phoenix and Tucson, two favorites with kids are hiking at Picacho Peak State Park, and visiting the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch. You can learn more in this blog post. Or consider a stop at Shamrock Farms for a dairy farm tour, or Caywood Cotton Farms for a unique tour on a working cotton farm.
Where We Stayed
While we usually love and opt for AirBnB’s on trips, this Tucson adventure was a last minute idea. So we searched for hotels and ended up at Embassy Suites (3110 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718). It quickly became our top favorite stay in Tucson to date!
The location is north of town, about 12 minutes from Sabino Canyon. So it put us a bit further from the majority of the activities we chose, BUT the amenities made up for it. The free breakfast was epic, with made to order omelets and a cereal bar, and basically anything else you could imagine. We also loved the complimentary drinks and snacks in the evenings!
Our room was a small suite, but perfect for our family of five with a king bed/full bathroom in the master bedroom, and a fold out couch plus a little table and microwave/fridge in the sitting area. We would totally stay at this Embassy Suites again!
Where We Ate
There are lots of good food options in Tucson! While we did stop at the familiar Culvers for lunch one day, and had all breakfasts at our hotel, we discovered some great new restaurants, and even an amazing pie shop!
Divine Bovine Burgers is a must stop. Besides the burgers being amazing in taste and quality, we also fell in love with their fries and brussel sprouts! Afterwards, walk next door to Back Dough and pick up some pies for later. The banana cream was a top favorite!
Have you heard of the Sonoran Hot Dog? It might just be “the food” of Arizona, and El Guero Canelo Restaurant does it best. We went to the location on Oracle Road. There was even live music that weekend! Adults got the Sonoran hotdog with all the fixings, and the kids devoured the cheese quesadillas. We are definitely returning here on our next Tucson trip.
It also wouldn’t be a foodie weekend without trying some local coffee shops. Some of our favorites? Café Luca, Cartel Coffee Lab, Raging Sage, and Presta Coffee Roasters.
What We Did on our Tucson Weekend With Kids
Half of the activities we experienced on this weekend trip were with our Pogo Pass! The Pogo Pass covers over 20 venues, indoor and outdoor, in Phoenix and Tucson – all for $39.99/person! To learn more about this deal that families love, visit our Pogo Pass summary. And be sure to use code “phoenixwithkids” to get $10/off! Visit the Pogo Pass website here.
Three of the places covered on our Pogo Pass were Golf N Stuff, International Wildlife Museum, and AZ Airtime (which is no longer on the Pogo Pass). We also wanted to visit Arizona Zipline Adventures with our pass, but it didn’t work in the schedule. Next time! We had a great time at the other three places. Golf N Stuff is a combo of epic mini golf, bumper boats, laser tag, and an arcade. We visited twice to use our passes, and paid extra to try the go-karts, which the kids loved! AZ Airtime was a good afternoon visit, with bouncy houses, climbing walls, a ninja course, and more.
What we really loved the most was the International Wildlife Museum. Even if you don’t have the Pogo Pass, this museum is a must visit! The dioramas cover animals and their habitats from all over the world, with hands on exhibits, a theatre, and videos. The displays highlight over 400 mammals, birds, and insects. The whole family learned so much, and we spent almost 4 hours here, only leaving because it was lunch time and we were unprepared with food.
Another favorite was finding parks and playgrounds in Phoenix! There are some fun ones too, like Gene C. Reid Park, Limberlost Family Park, Lincoln Regional Park, and John F. Kennedy Park. A complete list of parks can be found on the City of Tucson website.
A few other places worth stopping:
- Tucson mural can be found at E. 7th Street and N. Arizona Avenue (behind Miller’s Surplus)
- Rattlesnake bridge is super fun to walk across! We parked at E. 10th Street and N. 1st Avenue, and also enjoyed the playground at Iron Horse Park. The Aviation Bikeway also is accessible here, for walking or biking options.
- Pima Air and Space Museum – we’ve visited here in the past and highly recommend it!
And then on our way home, we opted to drive through Saguaro National Park and make one stop. Just north of the Red Hills Visitor’s Center is the Desert Discovery Nature Trail. This paved path is less than a mile and the perfect way to see saguaros up close. There are a couple ramadas, and benches for rest points or snack breaks. You might also go via Gates Pass either to or from Tucson if visiting this national park. Definitely stop at the lookout! It’s a great history moment. Take a little hike too, if you have the time and energy.