Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

7 Arizona Observatories to Visit for Incredible Stargazing

Arizona is unique in that there aren’t as many bright lights in cities and towns, which benefits the large astronomy community. Even though it makes it a little tougher at night to drive, the dark skies are amazing to look at from almost anywhere! Here are the top observatories that any astronomy lover would enjoy.

Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, Mt. Lemmon Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter
Credit: Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter by Tom Hall via Flickr

Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, Mt. Lemmon

The SkyCenter, located near the mountain town of Summerhaven, is the property of the University of Arizona. The “StarGazing” events happen on most weekends with great weather, and are fantastic for beating the heat while getting to appreciate Mother Nature!

Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson Kitt Peak National Observatory
Credit: Kitt Peak National Observatory by Kitt Peak National Observatory

Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson

Kitt Peak is roughly 55 miles southwest of Tucson and is a popular place to visit for natives and tourists alike. It sits on a mountain top at an elevation of 2,096 meters and overlooks the beautiful Arizona-Sonoran desert.

Mount Graham International Observatory, Safford Mount Graham International Observatory
Credit: Mount Graham International Observatory by wikimedia.org

Mount Graham International Observatory, Safford

Safford is a town with fantastic astronomy options, and the Mount Graham International Observatory that’s located right near the Eastern Arizona College is one of the best in the state. They work closely with the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory.

Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff
Credit: Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff by Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff

Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff

This has been a functioning observatory in Flagstaff ever since it was founded in 1894, making it one of the oldest in the country. Tourists are welcome to do research, or just visit to admire the stars from the forest.

Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, Mt. Hopkin Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory
Credit: Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory by Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory

Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, Mt. Hopkin

Located on Mt. Hopkin, Arizona, the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory is one of the few in the state that’s owned and operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Massachusetts. People can access the Visitors Center most days from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, Tucson Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium
Credit: Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium by flandrau.org

Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, Tucson

The next time you’re visiting the University of Arizona, be sure to stop by this observatory. They have a telescope, interactive exhibits, a planetarium, and when the weather gets to be nice out they do laser shows in the sky!

Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, Safford Large Binocular Telescope Observatory
Credit: Large Binocular Telescope Observatory by Matt Mechtley via Flickr

Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, Safford

To get to the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, visitors have to drive to the scenic town of Safford. Weekend tours are given between May and November, weather permitting, and include getting to look at its three massive, impressive telescopes.

Travel Deals

$250 Off | 7-Day Wales w/ London Guided Tour

$1119+

Flash Sale | 8-Day Croatia Luxe Cruise w/ Guided Tours

$1590+

Air & 3-Nt All-Inclusive Jamaica Resort w/ Transfers

$899+

Caribbean Cruises Up to 40% Off + Up to $100 Credit

$499+

Air & 11-Day Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro Tour

$2899+

JW Marriott Nashville | Up To 20% Off

$404+

Ireland | 11 to 15-Day Personalized Tour Packages

$3450+

8-Day Ireland Self-Drive B&B Adventure w/ Car

QUOTE

10-Day Northern Italy's Highlights & Cinque Terre

$2749+

7-Day Heart of Italy's Central Hill Country | 50% Off

$2249+

7-Day Irish Pub Tour in Luxe Vehicle w/ Private Driver

$2199+

Ireland | 9-Nt Custom Golf Trip - Play the Best Courses

QUOTE

8-Day Switzerland & Lake Como By Design Tour

$2929+

Ireland | 10% Off Guinness Storehouse w/ IRE10UP

$30+

Flash Sale | 8-Day Croatia Luxe Cruise w/ Guided Tours

$1590+