Pssst. We have a secret for you. Tucson is an incredibly romantic city filled with unique – only in Tucson – things to do. The rich blend of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and thriving arts will thrill and delight you on a romantic getaway to Tucson.
Jenn was the lead therapist of Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain, and Ed worked in aerospace while avidly exploring the Sonoran Desert. We’ve lived in Tucson for almost 20-years, and know the city’s secrets. We met, dated, fell in love, and even got married during our Tucson time. We know a thing or two about the Tucson dating scene, so we pulled together nine incredibly romantic things that you can only do in Tucson, which are sure to make your heart swoon.
Tucson Getaway Map
All places we mention for a Tucson getaway are included on this map. If it doesn’t load, hit the refresh button 😉
Enjoy a Couples Massage at a Destination Spa Resort
Most cities would be delighted to be included on Conde Nast’s Top 30 Destination Spa Resorts in the World. Tucson is the only city in the world with two resorts on this list and that is only scratching the Tucson spa scene’s surface. Dove Mountain, Canyon Ranch, Miraval, Ventana Canyon, and Starr Pass headline a unique, world-class collection of destination resorts.
Whether you’re enjoying the warm winters in the desert or the deep discounts of the summer spa season, you’ll find a place you’ll love in Tucson. These exquisite services relax and rejuvenate you and open your spirit to love. Many of these spas incorporate elements of the Sonoran Desert into their treatments. For example, Jenn developed Dove Mountain’s Signature Treatment, the Desert Gem Ritual, based on the local scenography.
Dine at a Romantic Restaurant
Tucson is America’s first and only UNESCO City of Gastronomy because of 4000 years of culinary tradition that blend Mexican and indigenous cuisine while utilization of the unique flavors of the Sonoran Desert. Whether you’re cruising 4th Avenue or exploring the downtown gastro scene, you’re sure to find something tasty while you’re visiting Tucson.
Local favorites include exploring down and dirty authentic Mexican food in South Tucson or the critically acclaimed Cafe Poca Cosa. After dinner, enjoy a cocktail at James Beard Award Winner Janos Wilder’s DOWNTOWN Kitchen+Cocktails like the Tucson Lemonade cocktail flavored with sage syrup. Have you saved room for dessert? Wander down to Hub Ice Cream Factory for a bowl of house-made desert honey ice cream.
(p.s. thanks Andi for the use of your beautiful pictures)
Explore The Arts in Tucson
What inspires artists from around the world to come to Tucson? Maybe it’s the brilliant colors of an Arizona sunrise painted across the desert sky or the rich tapestry of cultures and traditions that blend harmoniously into something unique and distinctive. Art lovers from all walks of life will discover a wonderland filled with arts and crafts that celebrates Tucson’s vibrant cultural heritage.
Galleries, like the DeGrazia or Madaras, capture the spirit of the desert with oil paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and watercolors. You can find your own southwestern treasures at art boutiques that feature locally-crafted turquoise jewelry or hand-carved mesquite sculptures. There’s something for everyone from the University of Arizona art museums to Tucson’s downtown street art.
Spend an Evening at The Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a 98-acre zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, and natural history museum all rolled into one just outside of Tucson. Its mission is to inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation, and understanding of the Sonoran Desert. Ranked as one the Top 10 Museums in the country and #1 Tucson attraction, there’s no better place to discover the desert.
Since 85% of the experience is outdoors, why not come at night? The ASDM rolls out the red carpet to visitors on select Saturday nights. There are plenty of docents on hand to show you how unique and wonderful the Sonoran Desert is, and there’s nothing more romantic than the clear night air under a blanket of stars.
Hike Sabino Canyon
Sabino Canyon is Tucson’s premier outdoor recreation area because of the towering red rock canyons dotted with Saguaros and babbling streams lined with mesquite. You can visit in the daytime for a narrated tram ride through the desert or a hike to Seven Falls. However, the canyon gets more romantic after the sun sets.
Ed’s signature romantic evening was picking up takeout in the Catalina Foothills and packing the meal to Sabino Lake. There are a couple of picnic tables and a bathhouse waiting for you there. After dinner, hike up Blackett’s Ridge and watch the lights of Tucson twinkle beneath you….so magical! This might have been the date that put Jenn over the edge and Ed out of the friendzone.
Love hiking? Read Hiking Romero Pools – Tucson’s other hike with water
Take a Sunset Ride at Saguaro East
Another beautiful way to experience the open desert is cycling through Saguaro East on Cactus Forest Drive. This 8.5 mile-loop takes you through the old-growth desert of Saguaro National Park. It’s also open for night riding if you have a headlight and a tail-light.
Along the way, you’ll see towering saguaro, the picturesque Javelina Rocks, and probably a roadrunner or two. There’s no better way to stretch your legs and sightsee from the saddle.
Hot Tub Ballooning Over the Desert
Sunset in the desert is only rivaled by sunrise. However, it can be a tad bit nippy. Balloon Rides USA found a creative solution, the world’s first hot tub balloon ride.
You lift off early in the morning and glide over the La Mariposa Resort with the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains in the background. Even though it’s chilly outside, you’re warm and cozy in 104-degree springwater sipping your favorite beverage. After the ride of a lifetime, you return for a catered champagne brunch. I challenge you to find something more romantic!
Drive up Mt Lemmon
The 9000′ summit of Mt Lemmon creates unique romantic opportunities in Tucson. The Mt Lemmon Highway climbs 26 miles and 6000′ up from the valley floor to the sleepy little town of Summerhaven. Along the way, you’ll pass through more climate zones than if you drove from Mexico to Canada.
In the summer, you can escape the heat and relax under the pine trees. Take a hike on the Marshall Gulch / Aspen Loop or just enjoy the cookies and pies in Summerhaven. You can play in the snow in Bear Wallow or take to the slopes in the nation’s southernmost ski resort in the winter. No matter when you come, Mt Lemmon offers a delightful change from the valley below.
Journey on a Wine Country Road Trip
There was a time when the desert Southwest was the wine capital of America. Spanish explorers planted the first grapes in the 1600s, and the Mesilla Valley rose to prominence when blight decimated the east coast vineyards in the 1860s. The warm and dry desert was perfect for growing grapes.
Today, Sonoita and Elgin continue that tradition by becoming Arizona’s first AVA (American Viticultural Area). The 13-stop wine tasting trail takes you through the best vineyards in Southern Arizona. Plan for 2 1/2 hours of driving from Tucson and through beautiful grasslands with ample time for tasting. This region is also known for cattle, so it’s only appropriate to stop by the Steak Out while you’re out. You’ll have a fine cut of steak and an authentic western experience to boot.
Many Tucson activities have been affected by COVID. Be sure to check the websites for current conditions and always travel safely
Wrapping Up Your Tucson Romantic Getaway
Are you ready for your romantic getaway to Tucson? It’s a place like no other, filled with fun and romantic things to do. Winter has beautiful weather and plenty of snowbirds while February has the Gem Show, which you’ll want to plan for one way or another. It’s hard to get a room during the Gem Show, so make sure you book early. Spring features the desert spring bloom with colors that defy your imagination while Summer has long hot days and the lowest prices, especially on resort hotels. Fall is a beautiful blend of good weather and availability. There’s so much to do in every season that you might have to come back again and again.
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