7 Tucson Outdoor Activities to Try When the Temps Drop

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As Tucson’s summer temperatures usually exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, staying cool can be a challenge. Luckily for most Arizona cities, when the winter months begin, so do the outdoor activities. In these cooler months, the temperatures can range from 40-75 degrees Fahrenheit until it picks up in April. Residents can flock outdoors to explore Tucson’s natural beauty in these enjoyable conditions. From hiking the hidden canyon trail during the afternoon or skiing on Mount Lemmon, there are lots to do living in Tucson. 

So maybe you’re thinking of becoming a ‘snowbird’ and looking at condos in Oro Valley, or you’re living in an apartment in downtown Tucson; read on to learn about Tucson’s outdoor activities that will make you fall in love with this city.

1. Gather with the local community and take a stroll downtown

With the weather cooling off from November through February, there are lots of Tucson outdoor activities. Grab some friends, enjoy the crisp air and wander through the charming Armory Park neighborhood or the historic area of Fourth Avenue. Alternatively you can take a stroll through the University of Arizona campus or walk a portion of the 12-mile Rillito River Park path.  

“Every Monday, rain or shine, even during the heat and the holidays, you can always count on our community to gather together for a free walk/run in beautiful downtown Tucson,” says Catherine from SARSEF, a program that supports students wanting to think like scientists and engineers. “Meet Me at Maynard’s, now gathers at Hotel Congress at 5:30 pm every Monday to create activity and friendships and support downtown businesses.”

J.A. Jance, a local author, agrees. “My favorite wintertime activity would be walking in the crisp sunshine daily. I also enjoy attending the Tucson Rodeo, the Gem Show, and the Tucson Festival of Books.”

2. Experience the Winterhaven Festival of Lights on a party bike

The Winterhaven Festival of Lights brings people from all over together. You’ll be able to tour lights from hayrides, party bikes, and trolleys. It’s the perfect way to embrace the holiday spirit. Located in the Winterhaven neighborhood, you won’t be disappointed. 

For those looking for a fun Tucson outdoor activity, Michelle from Arizona Party Bike recommends going to the festival on a party bike. “Winterhaven’s Festival of Lights is attended by hundreds of thousands of people from all over southern Arizona. Experiencing the excitement on a party bike is perfect for friends, families, and company holiday parties.”

3. Visit the unique Sonora Desert Museum 

Museums are a great way to learn more about your city. This desert museum is a fusion experience combining zoos and aquarium exhibits with gardens, galleries, and a natural history museum.

“Visit the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, and don’t miss the Raptor show,” says Jacquelynn, a local photographer. “This place is not your typical stuffy, indoor museum; it’s more like a living legacy of the Sonoran Desert. There are outdoor and partially indoor live animal exhibits, and all of the animals and plants are native to the Sonoran desert. I suggest going at the end of the day, the warmest part of the day, to try to see the animals.”

4. Take advantage of the cool temperatures and try a silent disco

Embrace the cooler weather and gather your friends for a truly unique experience. Silent discos are fun to try if music and dancing are your thing. Rent your own headphones and have a party to remember, or find a disco downtown; it’ll sure be an unforgettable experience. 

“If you’re looking for a unique way to spend an evening outdoors in Tucson during winter, look no further than a silent disco party,” says Party Headphones, a local silent disco rental company. “This event is always a blast, and it’s perfect for getting your blood pumping in the colder months. You’ll want to dress warmly for an outdoor silent disco party, as it can be chilly in the evening. However, the fun you’ll have dancing and socializing under the stars will make it all worth it. If you’re unsure where to find an outdoor silent disco event in Tucson, you could easily organize one yourself.”

Tucson Silent Disco

5. Explore the vineyards and go wine tasting

If you’re looking for relaxation, wine tasting could be precisely what you’re looking for. Learn about local wineries and their process, and most importantly, sit back and enjoy a glass of wine. From tasting rooms downtown to vineyards about an hour south of Tucson in Sonoita, there are many excellent places to check out.

“Our favorite outside activity is visiting wine country for wine tasting,” says Karen from Arizona Winery Tours. “Many vineyards such as Autumns Sage and Rune have unique outdoor tasting areas where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.”

6. Hike through the Saguaro National Park

During the cooler months, you can embark on a hiking adventure without worrying about the piercing rays of the sun. With all of Tucson’s national parks, there’s something for every explorer. 

One of Tucson’s most popular areas for hiking is Saguaro National Park. A fun fact about the park is it was the very first national park created specifically to protect a plant species—the iconic saguaro cactus. “This national park is home to stunning saguaros, has several hiking trails and beautiful views,” says Kelly, a local blogger from Life in the Desert. “Get your daily dose of Vitamin D while exploring the park.”

7. Grab a bike and go for a ride

Tucson is a biker’s paradise. In fact, Tucson’s bike trails regularly land the city on lists of the best places to cycle in the United States.  

If you love biking, Debbie from Tucson Bicycle Rental has you covered. She says, “With over 1,000 miles of bike lanes and 135+ miles of protected, paved multi-use paths, Tucson is the ultimate winter destination for cyclists. Whether you want to tackle Mt Lemmon, cruise through Saguaro National Park, grind up Madera Canyon, attack Kitt Peak, or meander around the Loop, you can’t beat Tucson for prime winter cycling.”

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