When I invite my friends to come out for some sunshine and crystals, they're unsure what to expect from the Tucson Gem Show.
Since it's one of my favorite events, I wanted to share practical tips for enjoying the different events.
Although we talk about the show as a singular event, it is a conglomerate of about thirty events that occur at different locations across Tucson. These locations range from indoors at the convention center, to outdoor tents, to the side of the road or hotel parking lots.
The Main Show at the convention center is a popular place to begin. I've been to the Main Show once, and while I enjoyed it, I haven't felt a need to return since that first time.
The shows you choose to attend vary based on what you seek. Some people attend to see what is there, but others seek beads, jewelry, carvings, statues, or specific stones. People have their favorite events and follow their favorite vendors. I visit the event at the Kino Sports Complex yearly and the 22nd Street Show.
Keep in mind that there are events that are wholesale only and others that are open to the public.
Take the Time
Most people do this as a day trip from Phoenix, but to get the whole experience, you'll want to stay for at least a few days to ensure you hit all the shows you want.
There are over thirty different shows, and while you may not stop at them all, attending one can take a couple of hours to traverse, plus more if you're looking for something specific.
Rushing is not ideal when shopping because you may make hasty and expensive decisions. Instead, you can ensure you get the best option by shopping the entire show before making a purchase.
As they say, cash is king. It is less expensive to bring money with you than to pay fees at an ATM on-site. You may also need cash to enter certain shows or pay for parking on-site.
Some vendors accept cash only, while others will take multiple forms of payment. Money also helps as a bargaining tool to secure a deal. Remember to get an assortment of small bills and not just twenties from the ATM!
Carrying Your Crystals
You never know what you may find or what may find you at these events. It can be hard to walk away from a great item or deal, even if you want to avoid buying anything.
Big rocks are heavy, so a simple backpack or tote may not be sturdy enough. I've seen people bring rolling suitcases, handcarts, and heavy-duty carts, but most paths are gravel or dirt, so make sure the wheels are durable.
Remember, you can return to your vehicle and drop off heavy or bulky purchases, take a breather from the crowds, and drink some water.
If you're coming in from out of town, I always recommend bringing an extra duffle bag for any surprise purchases that you make.
Bring Snacks & Water
Many locations have on-site snacks, drinks, and water for sale, but not everyone. Lines are long during typical mealtime hours, so I recommend bringing water and snacks if you get hangry as I do. My husband and I often have car picnics after our drive from the valley instead of being forced to eat what's there.
If you're coming to the Tucson Gem Shows from out of town, you're not used to the Arizona heat and dryness. The desert climate is arid and harsh, so you'll likely need to drink more water than you think you will. Also, Arizona is not known for tasty tap water, so I recommend consuming bottled water instead.
What to Wear
Many people dress up for photo opportunities with large crystals at the gem show, but walking around in the Arizona sunshine does get hot. I recommend dressing in layers and wearing comfortable walking shoes.
The other important thing to remember is that most sites have port-a-potties as restrooms. For the ladies, that may or may not influence your choice of casual attire.
Have you ever been to the Tucson Gem Show? What are some of your favorite tips for attending crystal and gem shows? I would love to hear your responses in the comments below!
Arielle is a best-selling author, holistic life coach and intuitive energy healer.