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Tubac Presidio Painting

Tubac Presidio circa 1774, a year before it was abandoned in favor of a new fort at Tucson. Painting by William Ahrendt .

The historic Village of Tubac is about 45 minutes south of Tucson via I-19. Today, Tubac is mostly known as an arts colony, but its beginnings are marked by the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. Do not miss it.
When the Spanish first came to this region, they build a presidio (fort) at Tubac and a mission 3 miles south at Tumacácori. Although they struggled mightily to hold on to these remote outposts, in both cases the Spanish were chased out by Apaches.

Today, you can spend a day leisurely perusing the Park’s exhibits and learn about the history of Tubac. The Presidio is mostly staffed by volunteers, who have spent the Pandemic, fixing up the place. Today It looks great. Be sure to visit. They have a great bookshop too.

After learning about the roots of Tubac, explore the 100+ galleries, shops, and restaurants of Tubac. Following are a few of our recommendations for things to do In Tubac, Arizona including dining, lodging, history, and nearby attractions.


Tubac Center of the ArtsVisit the Tubac Center of the Arts on the main Plaza Road. It is the brick building to the right as you head into town on Plaza Road. This is really the community’s Center of the Arts. Then, there are several other exceptionally fine art galleries and shops in Tubac and some we like to frequent every time we are down there, such as the K. Newby Sculpture Garden. Much of our framed art, our living room rug, and almost all of our patio furniture came from Tubac. Here is a link to some of our favorite shops in Tubac.

Annual Events

For a list of Annual events in Southern Arizona including Tubac, click here.
For the Tubac Chamber of Commerce official events, click here.

In January, Tubac Center of the Arts hosts its Annual Home Tour.

In February, be sure to go down and enjoy the Tubac Festival of the Arts. This is a very big art show with everything from exceptionally fine paintings to whimsical sculptures. There’s music and other performances as well as plenty of food options.

March is Tubac’s Open Studio Tour also hosted by the Center of the Arts. This is where the artists in Tubac open their studios to visitors for the weekend.

In October, Anza Day is usually highlighted. Intricately linked by a common history, Tubac and Tumacácori celebrate Anza Day together each October. The day starts with a mass in the old church at Tumacacori. Then, Anza and his horse soldiers ride from Tumacácori to Tubac along the Santa Cruz River on the Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail. This is a fun day for the whole family.

You will enjoy the festivities all the more if you understand the amazing history of these two places. Click here for a very brief historical overview and a map of the 1200-mile route Anza took in 1775-76 with 30 families and their livestock. Then ask yourself if you would have taken your family along with your cattle and goats on this journey across harsh and unknown deserts peopled with Native Americans who don’t much care for your intrusion. This journey would have been brutal, but somehow they all survived.

For December be sure to take in the La Fiesta de Tumacácori. This fiesta celebrates the primary cultures that makeup Southern Arizona: Tohono O’odham, Spanish, Mexican, Pasqua Yaqui, and Anglo. The weekend party features around fifty food and craft booths, continuous live entertainment, and children’s activities each day. On Sunday, the day begins at 10:00 a.m. in front of the Visitor Center with a procession through the Fiesta grounds to the historic church, followed by a traditional Mariachi Mass in front of the church. The mission grounds and park are open throughout the weekend and admission is free.

Dos Silos at Tubac Golf Resort.

Dos Silos at Tubac Golf Resort.

Tubac Dining

We can recommend Shelby’s and Raggazi, Wisdom’s in Tumacacori and Stables at the Tubac Golf Resort. Click HERE for our Tubac area dining reviews.

Tubac Lodging

If you like staying at golf resorts, we highly recommend Tubac Golf Resort. It’s one mile north of the Village. They have about everything you’d expect from a fine resort: 27 holes of golf, a Spa, Restaurant, Tennis court, room service, etc. You can see our Review of the Tubac Golf Resort here.

If you’d rather stay in a cozy Bed & Breakfast right in the Village, we recommend Tubac Country Inn. All rooms have their own kitchenette and private entrance. And they all overlook a private desert garden.

More Around Tubac

Just outside of Tubac to the North or South, you will find other areas of interest. Here is an article on several things to do along the I-19 corridor south of Tucson.

North of Tubac

Perhaps 20 minutes north of Tubac just to the west of I-19 is the Titan Missile Museum. If you have any sense of the Cold War, this place will scare the begeebers out of you. Click here for our Titan II Missile Museum Video.

South of Tubac

About 3 miles south of Tubac on the frontage road is Mission Tumacácori. This is a National Park. Just go. You’ll thank us later. Take the Guided River Walk Tour or hike from Tumacácori to Tubac along the Santa Cruz River. There’s water in it! In the meantime, you can find our 3 videos on this page on Tumacácori here.

Just east of Tubac in the Sky Island of Mt. Hopkins is the Whipple Observatory, where you may be able to take a shuttle to the top and a tour.

On the Frontage road between Tubac and Tumacácori, is Wisdom’s Cafe’, one of our favorite Mexican Restaurants. Note: Wisdom’s is not open Sundays.

Best LodgingFor a list of more Lodging Reviews in Southern Arizona see our Lodging Review page.

For a map and reviews by area see our Lodging Maps and Reviews page.

Below please read our many other posts on Tubac and the area around it.