Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Bella Sanders, 8, pets a stingray inside the stingray exhibit at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road, on March 30, 2022.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2022 and updated in 2024.

When summer arrives in Tucson, it’s time to become nocturnal.

Even though nighttime temperatures are still warm, they’re better than exploring the city in the beating sun and its triple-digit temperatures. Thankfully, Tucson organizations know this.

Below are nine things to do in Tucson — after the sun sets.

Shop under the stars

The Chez Peachy food truck serves up to customers during the Summer Night Market at the MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida del Convento in Tucson, Ariz. on May 24, 2024.

Tucson is filled with local artists. Markets are a good way to help support them.

Here are some upcoming night markets to check out:

With flashlight in hand, explore the Desert Museum

Docent Floyd Newsom, left, and visitor Hans Huth take a closer look at some of the insects attracted to the black light lamps, one of the education stations set up along the walks at the Mad About Monsoons edition of the Cool Summer Nights at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Ariz., July 16, 2022.

Every Saturday through Aug. 24, you can enjoy the sights of the Desert Museum at night — and in cooler temperatures! Bring a flashlight to walk around and possibly spot a nocturnal animal, plus touch a stingray and check out themed activities.

When: 6-9 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 24

Where: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Road

Cost: $29.95 for adults, $19.95 for kids ages 3-12, $24.95 for Arizona residents

Visit the event page for more information.

See all your favorite animals after sunset 

The flamingos get caught in the last of the day’s sunlight at Summer Safari Nights at Reid Park Zoo, Tucson, Ariz., June 10, 2023.

See zoo animals at sunset, all while enjoying cooler temperatures, at Reid Park Zoo's after-hours event, Summer Safari Nights. Each event will have different themed activities, including keeper chats, animal encounters and live music. 

When: 6-8 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 10

Where: Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Court

Cost: $10.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids ages 2-14

Visit the event page for more information.

Planes after dark

As night falls, aircraft enthusiasts check out jet fighters under the lights during Night Wings at the Pima Air and Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road.

Watch as the sun sets over historical planes during the Pima Air & Space Museum's summer Night Wings events. Kids' activities and tram tours are part of the fun.

When: 5-8:30 p.m. Saturdays, June 29, July 13 and July 27

Where: Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road

Cost: $10 for ages 13 and up, free for ages 12 and under

Visit the event page for more information.

Wander the gardens of Tohono Chul

Docent Janel Feierabend talks about the night-blooming cereus to onlookers during the 2019 Bloom Night at Tohono Chul.

Every Friday and Saturday night through Aug. 31, head to Tohono Chul for its summer series, slated to feature music, spirits and bites. And on Saturday nights, Tohono Chul partners with Children's Museum Oro Valley to provide family-friendly nature play.

When: 6-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 31

Where: Tohono Chul, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte

Cost: Free to attend, bring money for food and drinks

Visit the event page for more information.

Catch a movie outdoors

A crowd gathers around the screen for “Wish” at Movies in the Park just beyond the lights at DeMeester Performance Center in Reid Park, June 7, 2024, Tucson, Ariz.

As the sun goes down, the projection screen goes up. Here are some free outdoor movies happening this summer:

  • Cox Movies in the Park — Watch "Trolls Band Together" at Reid Park on Friday, June 21. Pre-show activities begin at 6 p.m. The movie starts around 7:45 p.m.
  • Movies in Marana — Every third Saturday of the month through September, the Town of Marana hosts a free movie in the park. The events run 6:30-9:30 p.m. and locations vary. There's also a free pool party 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 that features a dive-in screening! 
  • Movies on the Lawn in Oro Valley — Watch a movie at the Oro Valley Community and Recreation Center, 10555 N. La Cañada Dr., at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, July 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 14.

Take a tour of Sabino Canyon at night

The new Sabino Canyon electric crawlers make their way down the road.

Sabino Canyon's tram, dubbed the Sabino Canyon Crawler, is currently closed due to road construction. But when it opens back up in July, night tours will make their return. Take a narrated tour through the beloved hiking area!

When: Saturdays from July through October; 7:30 p.m. in July, 7 p.m. in August, 6:30 p.m. in September, 6 p.m. in October.

Where: Sabino Canyon, 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Road

Cost: $15

Visit the event page for more information.

Gaze at the night sky

Several sight seers take a minute to watch the sunset from Windy Point following a storm that dumped rain on the valley and left several inches of snow in the upper reaches of the Santa Catalinas, Wednesday, December 26, 2018, Tucson, Ariz.

Head up to Mount Lemmon, where it's typically about 20 degrees cooler than Tucson. Explore the shops, dine at a restaurant, maybe take the ski lift to get a bird's-eye view.

When that's all said and done and the sun goes down, look up at the twinkling stars in the sky. The University of Arizona SkyCenter has a 5-hour stargazing program!

Music to your ears

Catch Sophia Rankin & The Sound on March 24 at 191 Toole.

Maybe your idea of a perfect summer night is sitting on the patio of your favorite restaurant, eating delicious food and listening to the sounds of live music.

If that's the case, here are some spots that frequently have live music.

Become a #ThisIsTucson member! Your contribution helps our team bring you stories that keep you connected to the community. Become a member today.