Discover the Best Things to Do in Tubac, AZ

Discover the Best Things to Do in Tubac, AZ Featured Image

Photo by Eri Pançi on Unsplash

Tubac, AZ, is a small town that lies on the slopes of the Tumacacori and Santa Rita Mountains. It is widely recognized as a cultural crossroads since its founding in 1752 as a Spanish Presidio.

Today, Tubac has evolved into Southern Arizona’s cultural epicenter, home to an incredible variety of high-quality museums, boutiques, restaurants, and works of art.

Hiking, biking, holistic health and spa treatments, wine tastings, and art lessons are just a few of the popular pastimes enjoyed by locals.

But are there any more attractions in the area worth checking out? In this article, you’ll learn about the top attractions and things to do in Tubac, AZ.

Historical and Cultural Attractions

Historical and Cultural Attractions

Tubac, AZ, is a distinctive community renowned for its rich artistic and historical heritage, serving as a hub for local and national artists.

The area is a truly exceptional destination, boasting an array of attractions such as tours, art galleries, wine-tasting rooms, and one of the largest organic communities globally.

Here are some of the top historical and cultural attractions you can explore when you’re in Tubac, AZ:

Tumacácori National Historical Park

Tumacácori National Historical Park comprises three distinct Spanish mission communities featuring a meticulously restored church and an iconic museum.

Locals can explore a stunning and captivating facility featuring a historic Jesuit and Franciscan mission church.

It is also home to the prestigious Tumacácori Museum, which showcases interpretative displays pertaining to three historic missions that are meticulously preserved.

Additionally, the museum features exquisite artwork crafted by renowned artist Herbert A. Collins.

The exquisite museum edifice showcases exemplary Mission Revival style architecture, complemented by intricate Spanish Colonial Revival details that visitors can relish.

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is the inaugural state park of Arizona.

The park’s mission is to conserve the remnants of the most ancient Spanish Presidio location in Arizona, San Ignacio de Tubac, which was founded in 1752.

The facility boasts a rich history as the site of Arizona’s inaugural fort, European settlement, American mining community, and newspaper publication.

Tubac boasts a rich history as a cultural crossroads, having been influenced by various people, including Native Americans, Spanish, Mexicans, and Pioneer Americans.

Discover and gain knowledge about cultural artifacts and their intercultural influence over time.

You may also enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Anza trail, immersing yourself in the historical significance of one of the pathways utilized to traverse the Western coast.

Big Horn Galleries

Big Horn Galleries, established in 2002, is a premier art gallery located in Tubac. This historic facility boasts an impressive collection of Southwest-inspired and locally-sourced artwork.

In addition to the distinctive charm that the Western landscapes impart to the artwork, this destination also presents exclusive prints and other keepsakes.

For those passionate about art and seeking a fresh experience, Big Horn Galleries is a highly recommended destination in the area!

Tubac Center of the Arts

The Tubac Center of the Arts is an exceptional destination when exploring the area’s rich history.

It is one of the interesting and impressive things to do in Tubac, AZ, that showcases an exquisite collection of artwork from local Santa Cruz Valley artists and those hailing from various regions of the United States.

The facility offers an exceptional opportunity to discover the renowned artists who have contributed to the area’s popularity as a historic crossroads in Arizona.

Frequent community events are held, providing ample opportunity for locals to enjoy various entertainment options such as magic shows and concerts.

Make sure to bring home something to remember from the gift shop before leaving the Tubac Center of the Arts!

Cobalt Fine Arts Gallery

  • 5 Cam Otero, Tubac, AZ 85646
  • Operating Hours: 
    • Mondays to Fridays, from 11 AM to 5 PM
    • Saturdays, from 10 AM to 5 PM
    • Sundays, from 11 AM to 4 PM

The Cobalt Fine Arts Gallery is the place to be if you want to see cutting-edge contemporary artwork.

It is an exquisite gallery that upholds the rich Tubac tradition by showcasing an impressive collection of artwork from over 35 distinguished artists.

It boasts a comprehensive collection of different exhibits, including paintings, sculptures, fine art glass, and ceramics.

Each artist has skillfully incorporated a Midwestern theme into their artwork, showcasing the beauty of Tubac and Arizona in one convenient location for all visitors to appreciate.

Newby Gallery & Sculpture Garden

The K. Newby Gallery & Sculpture Garden is an iconic attraction in Tubac, showcasing a diverse collection of art from different artists.

The gallery’s commitment to promoting the arts further solidifies the area’s position as a thriving hub for artistic expression.

It is a fantastic gallery that boasts a plethora of exhibits and art pieces in diverse mediums.

Notably, it is the proud abode of an outdoor sculpture garden, offering a delightful and captivating experience for locals and tourists.

Festivals and Events

Festivals and Events

Photo by Brett Sayles

Festivals and events in Tubac, AZ, are a beloved part of its community identity and draw visitors from far and wide.

From art fairs and concerts to historical reenactments and food festivals, Tubac offers diverse experiences for locals and tourists.

The following are some of the most well-attended annual celebrations and events in Tubac, AZ:

Event Date: February 8 to February 12

The Tubac Festival of the Arts boasts a rich tradition as the Southwest’s longest festival, with a distinguished 62-year history of the annual celebration.

The festival showcases over 250 distinguished artists and artisans, an array of delectable festival eateries, captivating live entertainment, and a sophisticated wine and beer garden.

It also features an impressive integration of exhibiting artists throughout its streets and public areas.

Artists are seamlessly woven across over 125 art galleries, boutiques, and specialty shops, creating a genuinely incredible art setting in Arizona.

Event Date: October 14 and October 15

The iconic Anza Days festival takes place annually on the third weekend of October, featuring various special events at the esteemed Tubac Presidio State Historic Park.

Don’t miss the fantastic chance to capture the historic costumed cavalry drill at 8:00 AM, paying tribute to Juan Bautista de Anza.

He is a Spanish frontier captain who spearheaded an expedition of 300 men, women, and children, along with soldiers and padres, from Tubac.

The Anza riders will convene and make their way towards the entrance of St. Ann’s Church, which holds historical significance as the location of Tubac’s initial church, Santa Gertrudis.

At this location, a blessing will be bestowed upon the travelers to commence their journey towards the northern region, with the initial destination being La Canoa.

Afterward, the Anza Discovery Program for children at the Presidio will occur from 10 AM to noon.

It will feature engaging activities, delightful costumes, captivating props, charming ponies, and exceptional photo opportunities you would want to take advantage of!

Event Date: November 24 to November 26

During the Fall season, the Tubac Fine Art & Wine Fiesta attracts many visitors who come to celebrate the commencement of the holiday shopping season.

The location boasts acres of lush greenery and is complemented by the stunning Santa Cruz River, providing a picturesque natural setting.

Additionally, the buildings on the premises, which date back to the mid-18th century, offer a unique and contemporary element to the area’s overall appeal.

The abundance of artwork showcased provides both locals and visitors with a glimpse into Tubac’s rich history while offering a visually appealing experience.

The festival boasts an array of highlights, including exquisite fine arts and crafts booths, delightful wine tastings, delectable food concessions, and captivating live music.

There are also numerous charming gift shops and galleries, making it an ideal spot for those with a passion for American history.

Event Date: December 1 and December 2

Experience the enchanting ambiance of the charming area of Tubac, illuminated by stunning holiday lights and accompanied by delightful music.

Indulge in the plethora of offerings from different galleries, shops, and restaurants that will be open during the event.

Join them from 5 PM to 9 PM for an unforgettable evening and relish the joyous sounds of caroling in the streets and live music.

Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Recreation

Photo by Dó Castle

Tubac, located in the bottom right-hand corner of Arizona and adjacent to the Mexican border, is a picturesque oasis amid sparsely arid terrain.

It sits just off the Interstate 19 desert highway, boasting expansive, unobstructed skies and landscapes that provide a visually-pleasing backdrop to the stunning scenery.

For those wanting to absorb the area’s natural splendor, here are some of the top outdoor things to do in Tubac, AZ you should not miss!

It is a historic 4-mile rail that serves as a reminder of the heroic feat of Juan Bautista de Anza.

He guided the first non-Native pioneers over 1,200 miles of rough terrain to the present-day San Francisco Bay Area.

The beautiful path stretches across the Tumacácori National Historical Park and the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park.

The Anza Trail is a wonderful place to go hiking and camping and learn about Tubac, AZ’s local culture and history.

Avalon is a model of sustainable community design as one of the largest organic communities in the world.

The village is self-sufficient because its residents farm all their food, build their own solar-powered and energy-efficient homes, and produce many necessities.

You can visit the gardens and meet many of the locals who are passionate about sustainable living and preserving the environment.

Overall, Avalon Organic Gardens and Eco Village serve as a shining example of how communities can thrive while minimizing their impact on the planet.

Remember your experience in this modest community by taking home some organic herbs or locally created soap.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is an exceptional indoor and outdoor museum fully committed to preserving the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert.

The museum’s mission is to safeguard the indigenous flora and fauna.

It also offers top-notch educational programs, enhances the collection of plants and animals, and promotes research to advance scientific knowledge of the desert.

Visit and experience their orientation and complimentary docent-led tours of the grounds.

Locals can also enjoy an impressive two-mile network of walking trails that meander through diverse Sonoran Desert habitats and 16 distinct desert botanical gardens.

Experience exclusive access to the Ironwood Art Gallery, showcasing top-tier traveling exhibitions focusing on Sonoran Desert-inspired themes.

Experience the jaw-dropping beauty of a serene desert sunset as the perfect way to cap off your day of adventure and exploration at Tubac, AZ.

The area boasts particularly vibrant sunsets, thanks to the presence of fine sand particles in the air.

So be sure you are ready with a camera to capture the perfect end of your day!

Shopping and Dining

Shopping and Dining

Photo by Rachel Claire

In addition to the area’s rich cultural heritage and abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation, residents of Tubac relish the experience of indulging in superb dining and retail therapy.

Experience the joy of exploring the charming streets of Tubac in search of the perfect furniture or decor item to enhance your home or have a reminder of your trip to this historic place.

However, regardless of how much shopping a person does, they should make time to stop and have a meal at one of Tubac’s many excellent restaurants.

All dining establishments in Tubac are family-owned and utilize traditional recipes, incorporating only the freshest and highest quality ingredients.

To make the most of your Tubac journey, check out some of the area’s renowned shopping and dining destinations!

La Entrada de Tubac

La Entrada de Tubac is situated at the entrance of Tubac Village, which is widely renowned for its artistic ambiance, scenic beauty, and rich historical significance.

You can enjoy a leisurely stroll while exploring numerous galleries, restaurants, specialty shops, and services exclusively owned by the locals

La Paloma de Tubac

Tubac has all you need to enjoy the vibrant local art scene and bring a piece of it home with you.

La Paloma de Tubac is a remarkable gift shop offering various Latin American ceramics thoughtfully curated with exquisite pieces from renowned Mexican and Argentinian artists.

Locals and visitors will surely appreciate the exquisite collection of Western jewelry, pottery, yard sculptures, and clothing accessories.

Lone Mountain Turquoise Company

It is an exquisite gallery that boasts an impressive collection of Native American artistry.

It features an array of jewelry, carpets, art pottery, paintings, textiles, and sculpture crafted by over 3,000 skilled artists.

Lone Mountain Turquoise Company is a must-visit destination, offering an extensive collection of unique and beautiful pieces from a wide range of talented artists.

So if you are in the area, make sure to stop by and experience the beauty and richness of Native American art for yourself!

Elvira’s Restaurant

Elvira’s is an idyllic dining establishment where you can relish premium Tequila and boasts an extensive menu that showcases the most exquisite Mexican cuisine in the area.

Shelby’s Bistro

Shelby’s Bistro is widely regarded as one of the premier dining destinations in Tubac, AZ.

It offers a delectable selection of Mediterranean cuisine, featuring mouth-watering options, including pizza, crisp salads, savory cold and hot sandwiches, and juicy burgers.

Shelby’s Bistro is a highly esteemed establishment among the local community and has proudly served Tubac’s charming area for several decades.

They have consistently demonstrated their excellence in dining within the iconic historic district of Tubac, AZ.

Discover the Best Things to Do in Tubac, AZ


Tubac, AZ, is a distinguished town that has left a lasting impact on Arizona’s cultural landscape. It is an ideal destination for enthusiasts of art, history, and the vast scenic outdoors.

It is a highly desirable destination where art and history converge to create an unforgettable experience.

It also boasts many cultural attractions, such as galleries and museums, as well as scenic nature trails, shopping centers, and dining establishments.

A visit to this historic yet charming place is sure to be a rewarding experience.

So, pack your bags and head to Tubac to experience the best of Arizona’s culture and beauty!

If you want to discuss this further, please call us at 520.245.9000 or 520.398.8221. Alternatively, you can also send us messages via

Our team can also help you with any real estate concerns you may have and navigate the attractive communities in Tubac, AZ.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Tubac, AZ, is worth visiting for many reasons.

The area boasts an impressive selection of high-end galleries, distinctive shopping options, exquisite artwork, and exceptional dining experiences.

It is an iconic location renowned for great recreation and leisure options.

With all its offerings, locals and visitors of Tubac, AZ, will surely have an unforgettable and enjoyable time exploring the area’s unique and charming attractions.

Tubac originates from the Tohono O’odham term Cuwak, referring to a “place of dark water.” It may be a reference to the Santa Cruz River that goes beneath just north of Tubac.

Tubac offers a serene countryside ambiance characterized by a leisurely pace of life and a closely-knit community.

It is also a highly sought-after destination for retirees seeking a picturesque old southwestern place with a thriving artist’s community.