Itinerary-Day Trip

Tubac Day Trip Itinerary

A day trip to Tubac incorporates our area’s history, art, and cuisine experienced along the Santa Cruz River with the beautiful backdrop of the Santa Rita Mountains.  The following are suggestions of activities you could enjoy in approximately six hours in Tubac, but there are many other options that could be chosen instead.  For that reason, we have provided you with links to find other activities, restaurants, arts, and shops that would fit into the same timeframe.


Explore Tumacácori National Historical Park (Suggested time: 90 minutes – 2 hours) Tumacácori was established as a mission in 1691 by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, who also established over 20 other missions for Spain. Today, the ruins of the mission are maintained at this National Park Service, and visitors can also enjoy the museum that contains a variety of unique artifacts and images that tell the story of the history of the Santa Cruz Valley. Live craft and food demonstrations and several events occur here throughout year.


Several options exist for lunch. Some are listed below, but you can find more on our dining page.

Wisdom’s Café: Famous roosters greet you in the parking lot of this restaurant, which is a local favorite located between Tumacácori and The Village of Tubac.  Known for their delicious Mexican food, soups, salads and fruit burros, the restaurant is also decorated with family heirlooms and antiques, a reminder that the restaurant has been family-owned for over 60 years.

Just north of The Village of Tubac is the Tubac Golf Resort & Spa’s Stables Ranch Grille. Once a Spanish hacienda, the resort’s restaurant is housed in the original stables, with the booths located where the stables were built. A beautiful view of the golf course and Santa Rita Mountains can be enjoyed from the restaurant, and located next door is the bar with saddles as seats! In addition to the historic décor, the continental menu will never disappoint.

Located within The Village of Tubac, Shelby’s Bistro is a popular lunch spot for visitors and locals alike. You’ll see the restaurant’s inviting patio when you cross the bridge at the back of the Mercado de Baca shopping area.  The restaurant is known for delicious salads, sandwiches, and wraps.

La Entrada de Tubac, situated on the west side of The Village of Tubac, has two options for lunch:

Elvira’s amazing décor of glass drops hung from the ceiling will thrill you as much as its Latin-American fusion menu.  The Tubac Deli and Coffee Company’s salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and hand-crafted pastries and pies will delight you!


Shopping in Tubac is a must, and there are so many options available in The Village that many visitors spend the entire day browsing the colorful shops and art galleries. A few are listed below, but many more can be found on our shopping page.

Those looking for colorful Talavera pottery and décor from Mexico will find it at several locations in the Village, including The Country Shop and Casa Maya de Mexico.

Art galleries are scattered throughout Tubac and feature a large variety of art media in addition to beautiful jewelry. Local and regional art is found at Cobalt Fine Arts. Western Art is featured at Big Horn Galleries, and the Tubac Center of the Arts has a unique gift shop as well as changing exhibits of local, national, and international talent.  Old Presidio Traders is a family-owned and operated trading post since 1982.  They have a selection of American Indian handmade jewelry, pottery, rugs, kachinas, baskets, artifacts, and more.  

If you’re looking for local artisans, you will find them at shops like Designs in Copper and Lee Blackwell Studio.

Needing to spruce up your home décor?  Everyone will find a rug they like among the beautiful Navajo, Oriental, and other types at Tubac Old World Imports. La Cucaracha de Tubac offers beautiful Mexican furniture, home décor, and Mexican folk art.

Alternate Afternoon Activity:

If you’d rather explore more history of the area, visit the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park and Museum. Arizona’s first state park, the Tubac Presidio, marks the location of Arizona’s first European settlement. An underground archaeological site displays the adobe presidio’s ruins. The furnished 1885 Old Schoolhouse, Otero Hall, and Rojas House are all on the National Register of Historic Places. The park’s museum offers a fascinating look at the history of the Santa Cruz Valley and Arizona’s first printing press.

Thank you for spending your day in Tubac! We hope to see you soon for another visit, or maybe even an overnight stay! Tell your friends and family what a great time you had and bring them with you the next time you come

Looking for More? 

There’s much more to do in Tubac! Consider spending the night and enjoying our various outdoor activities, such as birding, hiking, or golf. Or, spend more time shopping. The choice is up to you! View our overnight itinerary, including hotel and bed and breakfast options in addition to more fun activities to enjoy in the area.