Downtown Tucson Arizona

Downtown Tucson Arizona has been revitalized in recent years. It's a really great place to be!

In years past, I worked downtown when they were building the Tucson Main Library - since I worked on the project. At that time, the downtown area was not much more than a few shops, some lunch counters and office buildings.

The Children's Museum was there, and some parks. But overall, there wasn't much to attract people when they weren't in town going to work.

What an improvement now. Downtown Tucson Arizona has been reborn - and now is where you want to be! Out-of-town visitors and locals alike - will love coming downtown for all types of entertainment.

Two theaters are available which provide plays, concerts, and local-related productions. Stroll through the many unique shops for browsing and buying.

Visit the museums are in the area. You'll enjoy the Art Museum. And your kids will have a super time at the Children's Museum, a great place!

Of course, plenty of great places to eat and enjoy a brew. Look for events and street activities that are often taking place. Much ado downtown!

Watch this video that reflects an introduction to downtown...

Arriving Into Downtown Tucson Arizona

Tucson Sun Link Street CarThe Sun Link can Deliver You Downtown - No Parking Worries!

You don't have to drive in - get to downtown Tucson by Street Car. Sun Link has routes which deliver you right where the city's action is! Then parking will not be a concern. Bus and Sun Shuttle routes connect up for transfer. That makes it easy for you to get to Sun Link from many sections of the Tucson area. More here>

The Sun Link Street Car schedule varies per day:

  • Weekdays every 10 to 15 minutes from 7 am to midnight. Then every half hour after midnight until 2 am.
  • On Saturdays between 10 am to midnight it picks up to every 15 minutes; opening at 8 until 10 am, it's every half hour - and the same from midnight until 2 am.
  • Then on Sunday it runs from 8 am to 8 pm, with 20 to 30 min. stops.
  • Download a map of the Street Car routes, stops and connections - Click Here>

Fares:

  • 24 Hour SunGO Pass - $4
  • 1-way Full Fare - $1.50
  • Children 5 years old and younger - Free with paying adult
  • Transfer - Tap SunGO Ticket, Transfer or Card on a Validator for 2 hours or 2 trips free validation on Sun Link, Sun-Tran Routes 1 to 99, and select Sun Shuttle routes.
  • Cash fares not accepted on board - you must have your SunGO pass, ticket or transfer
Corner of Church Street, Downtown TucsonCrosswalk Along Church St. in the Middle of Downtown


Or If You Do Drive In - which area are you coming from? That helps you to know where to park. When you arrive, what's your focus? That's also helpful in knowing where to park. Here are some general details & tips for parking in downtown Tucson Arizona:

  • Street parking is available, some designated areas are free, some have meters
  • Metered parking is low-cost compared to many other cities - and those spots are free on weekends and after 5 pm on weekdays
  • Solar powered smart parking meters are installed, which take coins, debit/credit cards, smart cards
  • GoTucson Parking App is available from smart phone app stores to pay for parking, street cars, bus rides, or the Sun Shuttle
  • More smart parking options are available by calling (520) 441-3752
  • When parking downtown near the street car tracks - be sure all parts of the vehicle are within the marked white lines. If even a mirror extends out of the lines, the street car will be blocked and cannot proceed, which holds up all street cars. The car will be towed, there will be a fine of $188 plus costs.
  • You can also choose a parking garage (10 available) or a parking lot (10 available)
  • Here's a map of most of the parking lots and a few of the parking garages in downtown:


Areas & Neighborhoods of Downtown to Explore

Tucson's nickname is "The Old Pueblo" - reflecting its historical roots. Downtown Tucson Arizona is where much of the city's history began. Historical neighborhoods have been destroyed, but others remain and have been preserved.

You can organize, and take your own Walking Tour of the historical areas and neighborhoods of downtown Tucson Arizona. Download a copy of the guide - just click the photo caption of the colorful Old Pueblo shops.

With a color printer, print out the PDF Copy of the in-color map, with its historical information. Then make a Tour Brochure to take along with you. Plan your family outing for various lengths and days according to your individual needs.

The "Old Pueblo"

The Santa Cruz River runs South to North through central Tucson. It's just adjacent to downtown. It's one of the few rivers in the northern hemisphere which flows Northerly. [Another is the Willamette River in Oregon, which flows through Portland.]  There is evidence of settlements along the river from about 1000 BC. The Santa Cruz in Tucson is normally dry of natural water flow in current times. However, it does run from rain flow.

The Hohokum culture was a civilization of the Southwest that preceded many of the tribal cultures of today. The Catholic mission San Xavier de Bac was established by Father Francisco Kino further South along the Santa Cruz. Its purpose was to convert the native population to Christianity. Also to provide for settlers as they arrived.

Hugo O'Conor was the settler who established the Tucson Presidio. It was 1775 that was its origin as a city. It was located in what now is downtown Tucson Arizona. First it was a part of the country of Mexico. The Gadsden Purchase claimed it in 1854, and it became within the US territory of Arizona in1863. Tucson was appointed the capital of the territory in 1867, remaining so for 10 years. In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state - the last mainland state to enter the union.