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Tucson to Scottsdale: Exploring the Gems of Arizona

Tucson to Scottsdale

Arizona is a state known for its diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage. Two of its most captivating cities, Tucson and Scottsdale, offer visitors an array of attractions and experiences. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a lover of art and culture, Tucson and Scottsdale have something for everyone. In this article, we’ll delve into the journey from Tucson to Scottsdale and explore the remarkable highlights of each city.


The Distance between Tucson and Scottsdale

Before embarking on your adventure, it’s essential to understand the distance between Tucson and Scottsdale. The two cities are approximately 120 miles apart, with a driving time of around two hours. This makes it convenient for travelers to explore both destinations within a short period.

Best Modes of Transportation

There are several transportation options available when traveling from Tucson to Scottsdale. Let’s explore the most popular ones:

By Car

Traveling by car offers flexibility and allows you to explore the scenic beauty along the way. The journey between Tucson and Scottsdale is easily accessible via Interstate 10 and State Route 77. Renting a car is a convenient choice, giving you the freedom to explore both cities at your own pace.

By Bus

If you prefer public transportation, buses are a reliable and affordable option. Companies like Greyhound and Arizona Shuttle operate regular routes between Tucson and Scottsdale, offering a comfortable journey with various amenities.

By Train

Although there isn’t a direct train route between Tucson and Scottsdale, you can take an Amtrak train to Phoenix, which is located near Scottsdale. From Phoenix, you can easily access Scottsdale by car or other local transportation options.

By Plane

For those seeking a quick and convenient journey, flying is an excellent choice. Tucson International Airport and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport are both well-connected and offer multiple flights daily. From Phoenix, you can rent a car or take a shuttle to reach Scottsdale.

Attractions in Tucson

Tucson, often referred to as the “Old Pueblo,” is a city brimming with history, natural wonders, and cultural attractions. Here are some must-visit places in Tucson:

Saguaro National Park

Home to the iconic saguaro cacti, Saguaro National Park is a desert oasis that showcases the unique beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Explore the park’s hiking trails, marvel at the towering cacti, and immerse yourself in the serene desert landscape.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

A blend of a zoo, botanical garden, and natural history museum, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum offers a comprehensive experience of the region’s flora and fauna. Encounter diverse wildlife, admire native plants, and learn about the desert ecosystem.

Pima Air & Space Museum

Aviation enthusiasts will find paradise at the Pima Air & Space Museum, one of the largest air and space museums in the world. Discover a vast collection of aircraft, including vintage planes, military jets, and historical artifacts.

Tucson Botanical Gardens

Escape to the tranquility of the Tucson Botanical Gardens, where you can stroll through various themed gardens, including a butterfly garden and a zen garden. Enjoy the vibrant colors, aromatic scents, and the beauty of desert flora.

Attractions in Scottsdale

Scottsdale, known for its upscale resorts, golf courses, and vibrant arts scene, offers a blend of luxury and cultural experiences. Here are some highlights of Scottsdale:

Old Town Scottsdale

Immerse yourself in the historic charm of Old Town Scottsdale, where you’ll find art galleries, boutique shops, and renowned restaurants. Explore the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and admire the unique Southwestern art scene.

Desert Botanical Garden

Discover the stunning desert flora at the Desert Botanical Garden, featuring a vast collection of cacti, succulents, and other desert plants. Take a leisurely walk through the trails and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this desert oasis.

Taliesin West

Architecture enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to Taliesin West, the winter home and architectural school of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Take a guided tour and marvel at the innovative design and breathtaking views.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Delve into the world of contemporary art at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Explore thought-provoking exhibitions featuring renowned artists and immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of Scottsdale.

Accommodation Options

Both Tucson and Scottsdale offer a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs. Here are some recommendations:

Tucson Hotels

  • The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
  • JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa
  • Hotel Congress
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
  • Arizona Inn

Scottsdale Hotels

  • The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort
  • The Scott Resort & Spa
  • Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows
  • Hotel Valley Ho
  • Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Dining and Nightlife

When it comes to dining and nightlife, Tucson and Scottsdale offer a vibrant culinary scene. Here are some recommendations for both cities:

Tucson Restaurants and Bars

  • Café Poca Cosa
  • El Charro Café
  • Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails
  • Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink
  • The Owls Club

Scottsdale Restaurants and Bars

  • Citizen Public House
  • FnB Restaurant
  • Olive & Ivy Restaurant & Marketplace
  • The Mission
  • Kazimierz World Wine Bar

Shopping Opportunities

Whether you’re looking for unique souvenirs or indulging in retail therapy, Tucson and Scottsdale have a variety of shopping options. Here are some noteworthy shopping centers:

Tucson Shopping Centers

  • La Encantada
  • Tucson Mall
  • Park Place Mall
  • Fourth Avenue

Scottsdale Shopping Centers

  • Scottsdale Fashion Square
  • Kierland Commons
  • Old Town Scottsdale
  • Scottsdale Quarter

Outdoor Activities

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Tucson and Scottsdale won’t disappoint. Here are some activities to enjoy:

Hiking and Biking in Tucson

Tucson boasts numerous hiking and biking trails, allowing you to immerse yourself in the breathtaking desert landscape. Some popular trails include Sabino Canyon, Catalina State Park, and Mount Lemmon.

Golfing in Scottsdale

Scottsdale is renowned for its world-class golf courses. Golf enthusiasts can tee off at prestigious courses like Troon North Golf Club, TPC Scottsdale, and Grayhawk Golf Club, among many others.

Cultural and Historical Sites

Both Tucson and Scottsdale boast rich cultural and historical heritage. Here are some sites worth exploring:

Tucson Historic Districts

Take a step back in time by exploring the historic districts of Tucson, such as Barrio Viejo and El Presidio. Marvel at the well-preserved adobe architecture and learn about the city’s fascinating history.

Scottsdale ArtWalk

Every Thursday evening, Scottsdale’s ArtWalk transforms the streets of downtown into a vibrant art gallery. Stroll through numerous art galleries, meet artists, and enjoy live music and entertainment.


Traveling from Tucson to Scottsdale allows you to experience the best of Arizona’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and vibrant city life. Whether you’re captivated by the saguaro-filled landscapes of Tucson or the upscale resorts and art scene of Scottsdale, this journey offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler. So pack your bags, hit the road, and immerse yourself in the wonders that await you in Tucson and Scottsdale.


How long does it take to travel from Tucson to Scottsdale?

The driving time from Tucson to Scottsdale is approximately two hours, covering a distance of around 120 miles.

What is the best time of year to visit Tucson and Scottsdale?

The best time to visit Tucson and Scottsdale is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) seasons when the weather is pleasant, and outdoor activities are enjoyable.

Are there any direct flights between Tucson and Scottsdale?

There are no direct flights between Tucson and Scottsdale. However, you can fly to Phoenix and then access Scottsdale by car or other transportation options.

Can I visit Tucson and Scottsdale in a day trip?

While it’s possible to visit Tucson and Scottsdale in a day trip, it’s recommended to allocate more time to fully explore the attractions and experiences each city has to offer.

Are there any luxury resorts in Scottsdale?

Yes, Scottsdale is renowned for its luxury resorts. Some notable options include The Phoenician, The Scott Resort & Spa, and Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows.

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