7 fun things to do while teaching in Tucson, AZ

teachingintucsonaz - cityscape of tucson

When you think of top teaching destinations in the United States, Tucson, Arizona might not necessarily jump to mind. But this vibrant southwestern city actually has a lot to offer its new teachers, including bountiful opportunities for local fun, adventures, and, of course, teaching.

Have a teaching degree already? Then set your sights on Tucson!

Or if you're aspiring to become a licensed teacher, you can get fully certified in a snap with our Teacher Certification Program in Arizona.

As a certified teacher, you’ll be eligible to teach a variety of subjects in classrooms across Tucson.

Now, Tucson doesn’t just offer job opportunities for teachers, it also invites you to transform your free time into a series of unforgettable adventures.

From incredible natural landscapes to Spanish colonial landmarks and Mexican-inspired cuisine, this dynamic city offers endless attractions to thrill all ages, including outdoor activities, vibrant museums, and delectable dining and energetic nightlife.

Curious to find out about the top things to do while teaching in Tucson, AZ? Keep scrolling down the page to learn about seven of the city’s best things to do.

teaching in tucson az - saguaro national park

1. Camp at Saguaro National Park

Named for the majestic saguaro cactus, America’s largest cactus species, Saguaro National Park is a sprawling 92,000-acre natural wonderland of desert flora and fauna.

A favorite spot for watching Arizona’s vibrant sunsets, the park plays host to an abundance of hiking trails, camping grounds, and the Signal Hill Petroglyph Site, a rock face with over 200 prehistoric Hohokam petroglyphs.

To camp at this spectacular park, you must obtain a permit (up to two months in advance) for a reasonable fee of $8.00 USD. But be aware, there’s a tent only rule! So, if you were thinking about renting an RV, sorry, you’ll have to rough it with the rest of us.

2. Hike through Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Nestled by the Santa Catalina Mountains and lush forest, the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is a popular local spot for hiking, swimming, and watching Tucson’s diverse wildlife thrive in their natural habitats.

For a less active adventure, board the Sabino Canyon Tram for a 45-minute guided tour of the area’s natural splendor, which includes mountain foothills, towering cacti, and even waterfalls at Sabino Creek.

If you’re interested in extending your visit to Sabino Canyon, the area provides an array of campsites, open at different times throughout the year. Most are rentable for $10.00 USD per night.

sonora desert museum - teaching in Tucson az

3. Explore the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Outdoor learning comes alive at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Located to the west of Tucson, Arizona, this 98-acre facility is mostly in the open air, and it incorporates a renowned zoo, a botanical garden, an aquarium, a natural history museum, and an art gallery.

Consistently ranked as one of America’s best museums, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is also Tucson’s #1 attraction according to TripAdvisor.com.

When you step inside this state-of-art facility, it’s easy to understand its celebrated status. Divided into unique desert habitats and crisscrossed by walking trails, this sprawling, alfresco museum is home to 242 species of animals, 5,600 plant specimens, and an extensive collection of regional minerals.

Due to this property’s sprawling size, it’s safe to say that you’ll need to visit a few times to see everything!

Especially since the museum offers exceptional deals on yearly memberships, along with well-attended special events, like their Cool Summer Nights where you’re invited to tour the grounds after dark and watch the nocturnal animals in action.

traditional mexican cuisine in Tucson - teaching in Tucson az

4. Dine on Authentic Mexican Cuisine

If you’re a fan of real-deal Mexican cuisine, Tucson is the city for you—because it’s regarded by foodies as having some of America’s very best!

From humble taco trucks to high-end restaurants, mouthwatering Sonoran-style fare is everywhere you turn. Yet, Tucson’s neverending bevy of delectable, authentic Mexican dishes somehow remains a secret outside of Arizona!

But now that you’re in the know, we recommend visiting the local favorites. For an upscale dining experience, check out the award-winning Cafe Poca Cosa, famous for its spontaneous chalkboard menu and laid-back bistro vibe. Or, take a more casual approach at Poco & Mom's, El Güelo Canelo, and Tucson Tamale Company. Buen provecho!

butterfly on flower - teaching in Tucson az

5. Smell the Flowers in Tucson Botanical Gardens

Find your inner tranquility at the exquisite Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Covering more than five acres, this verdant property hosts a collection of 16 themed gardens, including a Barrio Garden, a Butterfly Garden (with lots of flying friends!), a Children’s Garden, a Prehistoric Garden, a Xeriscape Garden, and a Zen Garden.

To enhance your visit, sign up for a guided Garden Tour or Edible Tree Tour, which both run regularly throughout the week.

Beyond these flourishing flora displays, Tucson Botanical Gardens also boasts a jam-packed schedule of special events.

Attend farm-to-table dinners that spotlight local chefs, meditate and do yoga amongst the flowers, or attend educational lectures about the local butterfly, bird, and bat populations.

There is also a full array of classes to choose from. Offered on both one-time and weekly schedules, these courses include creating your own bountiful garden, DIY bonsai tending, cooking seminars, and watercolor painting lessons.

Photo of LA palm trees - teaching in Tucson az

6. Take a Weekend Getaway to LA

By accepting a teaching contract here, Tucson International Airport (TUS) becomes your personal launching pad into cool nearby cities.

As the second busiest airport in Arizona, this state-of-art facility plays host to a number of discount airlines offering quick, affordable flights every weekend.

Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland (OR), Seattle, and Las Vegas are all enchanting possibilities. Indeed, LA-LA-Land is only a 1.5-hour flight away and the round trip only costs about $200!

lady at art museum - teaching in Tucson az

7. Get Cultured at the Tucson Museum Of Art

Covering an entire block in the city’s historic downtown, the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block is home to traveling and permanent exhibitions of fine art originating from all corners of the globe.

Admission is free on the first Thursday of every month, and the museum is often home to many special events, including artist and curator talks, holiday art markets, and vernissages to celebrate new show openings.

Start your career teaching in Tucson, AZ!

Like what you see? If you’re not yet licensed to teach, consider enrolling in our Teacher Certification Program at Teach Away to get certified quicker and at a fraction of the cost of traditional programs.

An exciting, new teaching job in this energetic southwestern city could be closer than you think.