Getting Around Tucson
The best way to get around Tucson is by car. Although there are several public transportation options, you'll need your own wheels to reach top sites like Saguaro National Park and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Rental rates are reasonable, and there are rental stations in town and at the Tucson International Airport (TUS), which is located about 10 miles south of downtown.
Although you can choose to fly into the Tucson airport, you'll find that airfare to Phoenix is cheaper. You can choose to rent a car and drive the 120 miles or so – southeast along Interstate 10 – to Tucson, or you can hop on the Arizona Shuttle, which will cost $41 to $45 each way, depending on when you book.
|On Foot||Although the city itself is too large to explore entirely on foot, Tucson's individual neighborhoods are very walkable. Plus, many of the more central districts are laid out on a grid, making them easy to navigate.|
|Car||You'll quickly discover a car is the easiest way to explore Tucson. However, consider waiting until you get into town to rent one; airport rental agencies can add an extra 25 to 30 percent to rental fees. Central Tucson is easy to navigate thanks to its grid layout, but you'll need a map away from the downtown area. Parking is usually easy to come by and frequently free throughout the city.|
Sun Tran provides bus service throughout the metropolitan area, but not to many of the top attractions or to the resorts in the Catalina Foothills district. Buses operate every day from around 6 a.m. to midnight. Single rides cost $1.75 for adults. Consider purchasing an unlimited day pass for $4 if you plan to use the bus a lot.
The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar, which began service in 2014, connects five popular areas, including the University of Arizona, Fourth Avenue, Main Gate Square, downtown Tucson and the Mercado District. The 4-mile route has 19 stops and is within walking distance of more than 11,000 parking spaces. From Monday through Wednesday, the streetcar runs from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and until 2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday; on Sunday it offers service from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. One-way fares cost $1.75; 24-hour tickets can be purchased for $4.50.
Taxis are available, but you should avoid using them if you want to save money. You'll have to call for a pick-up rather than simply flagging one down on the street because they're not incredibly popular in the city. The limited availability and steep price for taxis have driven many people to use ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft to find a ride.