Mission San Xavier del Bac

#5 in Best Things To Do in Tucson
Mission San Xavier del Bac picture
Mission San Xavier del Bac
1 of 3
Courtesy Visit Tucson

Key Info

1950 San Xavier Rd.

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
4.4scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Sitting just south of Tucson near the airport, Mission San Xavier del Bac (known as the White Dove of the Desert) is a stunning example of 18th-century architecture. Influenced by Moorish, Byzantine, Renaissance and Mexican architectural styles, this active Roman Catholic Church is worth visiting just for the photo ops, according to travelers. Visitors are invited to tour this National Historic Landmark as an architectural site or sit in on weekly Mass.

Recent visitors said that this is a must-see when in Tucson and strongly recommended taking a guided tour, offered by Patronato San Xavier, a nonprofit that raises money to preserve and restore the mission. Tours are offered Monday through Saturday; visit Patronato's website for specific tour times. Though reviewers gushed over the mission's beauty, they also warned that the neighborhood is not as nice as other parts of Tucson.

Mission San Xavier del Bac is open to the public every day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., but if you happen to pop in during a service, remember to be respectful to the congregation. The museum is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; the gift shop stays open until 5 p.m. The Mass schedule is posted on the mission's website. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome.

See all Hotels in Tucson »

More Best Things To Do in Tucson

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 13
#1 Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Although it's called a museum, this facility – about 15 miles west of downtown Tucson – is more of a zoo. In fact, 85 percent of what you'll experience is outdoors (so dress accordingly). The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's 98 acres host 230 animal species  including prairie dogs, coyotes and a mountain lion  and 1,200 local plant species (totaling 56,000 individual plants). Walking through the museum's trails, visitors get acquainted with desert life. And if you feel hungry after your leisurely hike, you can enjoy a meal at one of the museum's four eateries, all of which have great views of the surrounding desert.

Recent visitors enjoyed their time at the museum and highly recommended future travelers set aside a few hours to explore the attraction's grounds and educational exhibits. Just make sure you come prepared: wear appropriate walking shoes, sun protection and sunscreen (though, if you forget your sunscreen, there are dispensers in the on-site bathrooms). Reviewers also advised stopping by in the morning or near closing as that's when the animals are most active. Aside from the flora and fauna, visitors also praised the knowledgeable docents.

Read more
Jerry Rosen/Courtesy Visit Tucson
See full list of Best Things To Do in Tucson »

Explore More of Tucson

Recommended

The World's 30 Best Places to Visit in 2019-20

Using reader input and expert analysis, U.S. News identified the latest can't-miss vacations.

Tilly PeckerJune 25, 2019

The 16 Best San Diego Tours

Take advantage of the adventures this coastal city has to offer with a guided trip.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

12 Top Napa Valley Wineries to Visit

Set your sights on these can't-miss wineries during your next visit to California's wine country.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

The 6 Best Denver Brewery Tours

Discover the buzz about Denver's craft beer scene with these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 21, 2019

The 10 Best Charleston Walking Tours

Experience true southern hospitality as you explore Charleston on one of these strolls.

Claire LawtonJune 20, 2019

The 15 Best Charleston Tours

See everything this historic South Carolina city has to offer on one of these guided excursions.

John RodwanJune 19, 2019

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Gwen PratesiJune 12, 2019