Tucson, the second largest city in Arizona, is about a 90 minute drive south from Phoenix. Its location near the University of Arizona makes it a great city for music and culture, and the area has plenty of places you can go to see your favorite artists perform.
The Fox Tucson Theatre, sometimes called the Crown Jewel of Downtown Tucson, is part of Tucson’s resurgent downtown cultural scene. The original Fox Tucson opened in 1930 as a vaudeville and movie house. The Fox closed in 1974 and sat abandoned for nearly 25 years. Finally, the building was purchased in 1999 from its original owners. It took six years and $14 million dollars, but the theatre was eventually restored, and it reopened as the fabulous performing arts venue it is today. In a given year, the Fox Tucson Theatre typically hosts more than 150 events and 70,000 people.
The Rialto Theatre is another former vaudeville and movie house. The Rialto has a fascinating incredible history, filled with closings and reopenings and even an attempted arson. The venue showed adult films during the 1970s, and a woman with moral objections to the Rialto’s programming attempted to burn it down. The Rialto’s current era began with a change of ownership in 2002, and since then the Rialto has become one of the area’s best music venues and even appeared on Consequence of Sound’s list of The 100 Greatest American Music Venues.
The Tucson Symphony Orchestra plays at the Tucson Music Hall at the Tucson Convention Center. The TSO formed in 1928 and is the oldest continuously running performing arts organization in the American Southwest. Its performing season runs from September to May and typically features about 60 concerts. Their seasons include different styles of concerts like “Classics,” “Pops,” and “Masterworks.” Other artists also perform at Tucson Music Hall and its larger neighbor Tucson Arena.
Anselmo Valencia Amphitheatre is Tucson’s major outdoor concert venue. It sports both a seating section and a lawn area. AVA has hosted artists like Ice Cube, Pitbull, Heart, the Beach Boys, Wiz Khalifa, and more.
Tucson Music Venues
Fox Tucson Theatre — “The Crown Jewel of Downtown Tucson” — is on Congress Street and one of the best venues in the city. The Tucson Convention Center, which includes Tucson Music Hall and Tucson Arena, is just a few blocks to the south and also boasts an impressive concert lineup.
The Rialto Theatre, rated one of the best music venues in the country, is also on Congress Street. 191 Toole, its associated venue, is a short walk to Toole Street. 191 Toole is smaller than the Rialto, and it’s great for those seeking a more intimate show.
Anselmo Valencia Tori Amphitheatre, the city’s premier outdoor venue, is about a 20 minute drive from Downtown Tucson. It’s next to the Casino Del Sol.
How much do Tucson concert tickets cost?
The average resale price for a ticket to a concert in Tucson is an affordable $101.
Tucson Music Festivals
Gem and Jam is an annual festival that’s held during the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase. The festival’s lineup features nationally touring groups from the jam and electronic music scenes. In addition to Gem and Jam’s music, you’ll find art, craft shows, workshops, lectures, and food vendors. Gem and Jam is located at the Pima County Fairgrounds. Many attendees camp at the fairgrounds or bring an RV to stay in. There is also a shuttle service from the more urban parts of Tucson.
Dusk Music Festival is a newer addition to Tucson’s festival lineup. It takes place over two days in the fall at Armory Park. Dusk Music Festival highlights local restaurants, art, and music. Past lineups have included artists like Big Sean, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Steve Aoki.