Recommendations for Phoenix and Tucson area destinations?

In what has become something of a tradition, I’m planning another trip to Arizona this December. While I never get tired of revisiting favorite haunts, like the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, I’d like to discover destinations that are new to me. By “destination” I’m referring to gardens with interesting plants (public or private), nurseries, or sights that are beautiful in and of themselves.


Community of Civano, Tucson

These are the places I visited in 2013 and 2014:


Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, AZ

And these are the places that are on my tentative list for 2015:

  • Phoenix: Arizona State University Desert Arboretum Park
  • Phoenix: Desert Botanical Garden
  • Phoenix: Pinnacle Peak Park
  • Scottsdale: Cactus garden at the Phoenician Hotel
  • Tucson: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
  • Tucson: Barrio historico
  • Tucson: Civano Nursery
  • Tucson: DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun
  • Tucson: Mesquite Valley Growers
  • Tucson: Pima Prickly Park (I did visit in 2014 but I want to check on the progress made)
  • Tucson: Plants for the Southwest
  • Tucson: Sabino Canyon
  • Tucson: Tohono Chul Park
  • Tucson: University of Arizona Arboretum – Krutch Cactus Garden


Interstate 10, Arizona

I would love to hear your recommendations for places I have missed—I’m sure there are many. Please leave a comment below.

Thank you so much!


  1. I'll be watching this list for ideas for my future trip(s)!

  2. Look up Tovrea Castle in Phoenix. Fascinating place with an interesting backstory and an amazing cactus garden!!

    1. Carrie, thank you for the recommendation! It looks like Tovrea Castle is closed during the second half of December. No tours after December 18 until early January. Same situation last year (I tried then, too). It does sound like a fascinating place, and I won't give up trying!


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