Rillito Downs


Things To Do in Tucson

#111 Rillito Downs
4502 N. First Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85718
http://www.rillitodowns.com/


Most people think of Kentucky when they think of horse racing, but Catch a race at Rillito Downs, a horse racing park in Tucson Arizona, for a fun thing to do in TucsonTucson’s own Rillito Downs has played an historic role in the history of the sport.  When it first opened in the 1940’s, Rillito Downs was considered the birthplace of Quarter Horse racing.

Today the 5/8 mile race track is a little quieter than it used to be, but during the cooler months of February and March you can still find it alive and kickin’ every Saturday and Sunday.  Rillito Downs was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 and offers a glimpse into the past for all those who want to see the horses thunder down the backstretches in hopes of earning a trip to the Winner’s Circle.

Whether you are seated in the grandstands or the clubhouse, Rillito Downs has you so close to the action you’ll feel like you’re right there with the jockeys.  Located on First Avenue just south of River Road, the track is easy to get to and parking is free.  Admission is $8 for the clubhouse and $5 for the grandstands and children 12 and under are free. 

Gates open at Rillito Downs at 11am and Post Time is 1:00PM.  Both levels of seating offer snack and beverage bars.  You can also try your hand at picking the ponies as Rillito Downs offers pari-mutel betting on their 8 or 9 races.  Don’t worry, if your “lucky” pick comes up short there is still Rillito Downs’ daily losing ticket drawing where you may win a free dinner or other prize.  One other historic first for Rillito Downs is that the track is the birth place of the “photo finish”, but if you choose to check out the track, you won’t need it to tell if you had a good time or not.  And, they’re off!

Every April the country music world descends upon Florence, AZ about one hour North of Tucson for four days of music and fun at the Country Thunder Music Festival.  If you are a country music fan this yearly festival is a CANNOT miss experience!  Country Thunder can be tailored to your willingness to be a part of the experience and there are plenty of options available for travel and lodging.  Tickets for Country Thunder can be purchased as single day admission or a four day pass.  One option for those looking to make the most of their experience is to purchase a camping pass to Country Thunder and stay on site all four days!  If you take this option be aware that you must also purchase a four day pass to the festival as well in order to gain access to the campground.  Be aware that the campground passes sell out well in advance of the April festival so be sure to check the website often.  If camping is not your thing you can look into lodging in nearby Florence, AZ or travel back and forth from Tucson or Phoenix for each day of the festival.  Several cab and party bus companies also partner with Country Thunder to help provide safe transportation.

Country Thunder isn’t just your local bands and small time acts, several big name headliners are brought in each year.  Among those headlining the 2014 edition are Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, and The Band Perry.  Make no mistake all the other performers are sensational and make Country Thunder a tremendous atmosphere for listening to music, dancing, and hanging out with family and friends.  So if you have plans to be in Arizona in April and country music makes your toe tap, this festival is the place for you!

Have Fun,

Lucy & Tony Ray Cool
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Rillito Downs Horse Racing is the real thing, unlike this hilarious photo