Greetings From... Tucson mural

A mural by Greetings From... was painted in the alley behind Miller Surplus at 406 N. Sixth Ave., in February 2017 by Victor Ving and his girlfriend, photographer Lisa Beggs. 

In what seems like a blink of an eye, the holidays are now here.

If you're in need of a new family photo to stick in your yearly Christmas ornament or print onto a holiday card, here's a list of our favorite locations around the Tucson area for snapping photos.

To consider first, though:

Taking a simple selfie is oftentimes easier than corralling a family of seven to a specific location with a professional photographer.

Be mindful of how many people you're with, where you're shooting photos and if your entire group will fit comfortably (allowing space for other community members to easily walk by you if you're in public). If you're hoping to take photos inside or in front of a private business or organization, call them ahead of time.

Saguaro cacti are backlit by western sun at the Saguaro National Park, West, Tucson Mountain District west of Tucson, AZ.

In front of a saguaro backdrop

If you want something truly Tucson, the most obvious choice is a photo in front of our favorite cactus giants. Lucky for us, they're all over the place.

Some suggestions:

  • Saguaro National Park — If you don't want to trek for miles to get to your photo destination, try an easier hiking trail such as Mica View Trail (it's paved and less than a mile long, with beautiful views from the get-go) on the east side.
  • Tucson Mountain Park and the Gates Pass area — Pro tip: Go during golden hour to set up your camera and snap away during sunset!
  • Sabino Canyon — Walk as far into the hiking trails as you can handle, but you'll find picturesque spots everywhere.

A hummingbird can be found on this mural, created by Phoenix muralist Lalo Cota, at 3443 E. Speedway, near The Loft Cinema. Cota is a surrealist painter who draws inspiration from his Mexican-American heritage.    

Show off Tucson's artistic side

With more than 100 of them splashed around the city, it's an understatement to say that Tucson loves its murals. Here are some of our favorites, but take a look at our mural gallery — maybe your family will make a personal connection to one of them and you'll know it's the right pick for your photos this year.

Pro tip: Take the mural's location into consideration before heading out. Some murals are very tall or on a busy street, making them hard to photograph as is. Depending on the mural you choose, it can be even trickier posing multiple people in front of it.

A pedestrian crosses Church Avenue near the Historic Pima County Courthouse in a nearly-empty downtown Tucson during the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020.

Discover downtown Tucson

Take a walk through Tucson's downtown area and see what pops out at you.

Maybe you pose in front of the Old Town Artisans, the Historic Pima County Courthouse, in Armory Park, or atop a parking garage with tall buildings pictured behind you. Maybe your favorite restaurant will allow you to take photos in front of their building. 

There's also Barrio Viejo, a historic neighborhood south of downtown with colorful homes and ghost art still lingering on some of the walls. People live in this neighborhood, so be respectful.

Old Main on the University of Arizona campus i.s an iconic spot for photos

If you have Wildcat pride

Head over to the University of Arizona campus to show some love to the Wildcats in your holiday photos. 

It's probably a given that Old Main is one of the UA campus' most iconic symbols. Other beautiful photo opportunities on campus include outside the Arizona State Museum and the rows of olive trees west of it, or outside Steward Observatory — especially if you're a family that's into astronomy.

The UA has a beautiful campus filled with stunning buildings. Photo ops abound.

At 6,620-foot altitude, Windy Point offers a bird’s-eye view of the Tucson area.

Toto, I've a feeling we aren't in Tucson anymore

Maybe you want to drift away from the Tucson scenery you see every day. If that's the case, head to these spots:

Pro tip: You may need to pay admission fees to enter certain spots on this list.

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