Arizona is home to the jaw-dropping Grand Canyon, crazy desert wildlife, and very hot summers.
Does the sight of a billion twinkling stars leave you breathless? Good news! We’ve compiled a list of the ten best places to stargaze!
#1 Kitt Peak National Observatory
Home of the largest array of optical and radio telescopes in the world, Kitt Peak National Observatory is just fifty-six miles west-southwest of Tucson. Feeling like an amateur? No worries, because the visitor center hosts a variety of daytime and evening programs. If you’re feeling like a pro, go ahead and reserve a telescope all to yourself!
#2 Lowell Observatory
Slip into the mesmerizing world of the cosmos with Sliphervision — Lowell Observatory’s immersive space theater. It was here that the first evidence of the expanding universe was found, and you’re sure to learn something yourself during one of the ever changing multimedia presentations they host!
#3 Sedona, Arizona
Designated as a dark sky community by the International Dark Sky Association, stargazing has been voted one of the best things to do in Sedona! With over 300 dry, clear nights per year and virtually no light pollution, what’s not to love?
#4 Payson, Arizona
Residents of Payson love to boast that their town occupies one of only three pure air ozone belts in the world. What that means is some major stargazing! With a dark sky ordinance in place, a trip to Payson practically ensures that you’ll see constellations like Andromeda and Scorpius, not to mention planets like Venus, Mars, and Saturn.
#5 Arizona Sky Village
An entire community founded on appreciation of the night sky, the Arizona Sky Village lies in the shadow of the Chiricahua Mountains. This prime location means high elevations, low humidity, and low light pollution. Plan a visit to join top astronomers here for a night, and you may decide you’d like to call this place home, too!
#6 The Grand Canyon
What better place to bask in our incredible solar system than overlooking Arizona’s iconic Grand Canyon? Most nights offer a fabulous opportunity for stargazing at the rim of your choice, but, each year in June for eight days, the National Park Service hosts a Grand Canyon Star Party. Drawing astronomers from all across the country and guaranteeing over a week of awe-inspiring nights, this event is not one to miss.
#7 Monument Valley
While it is a popular spot for sunrises and sunsets, far away from city lights, Monument Valley is as breathtaking at night as it is during the day. Cloudy nights are rare in the Valley, but refer to the Clear Sky Chart if you’re hoping to visit on the darkest night possible.
#8 Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter
Operated by the University of Arizona, this observatory has the largest public dedicated telescope in the Southwest. Built on a 9,157 foot summit, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter welcomes visitors for workshops that last several days/nights and are packed with hands-on activities.
#9 Havasupai Falls
Who could possibly argue that this paradise isn’t worth every step of the the ten mile hike? The skies in this spot feature ever changing constellations, depending on the season, and up to five planets are visible.
#10 Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is so big that it is split in half, into Saguaro East and Saguaro West, by Tucson — talk about a whole lot of stargazing space! It’s known for its cactus forests, but astronomer led stargazing sessions are popular here, too.