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Relocating to Tucson? What you need to know

Tucson Arizona

Tucson, Arizona, is the perfect fit for those looking for a place that offers relaxation and excitement in equal measure.

Sprawled across 9,189 square miles of diverse landscapes blending desert scenery with mountainous regions, Tucson showcases the rugged beauty of the desert Southwest, and offers residents and visitors alike a rich tapestry of natural landscapes to explore and enjoy.

Thanks to its natural beauty, sunny climate, outdoor recreation opportunities, rich culture, and slow-paced lifestyle, Tucson has a well-earned reputation as a relaxing destination. Whether hiking in the desert, strolling through a botanical garden, or savoring the flavors of local cuisine, people will find numerous ways to unwind and rejuvenate in Tucson.

At the same time, Tucson can be an exciting city, as its location in the heart of the Sonoran Desert paves the way for thrilling outdoor adventures and cultural explorations. Check out the scenic trails in the nearby Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon, or Saguaro National Park. Negotiate mountain biking trails in Tucson Mountain Park or go rock climbing on the rugged rock formations of Mount Lemmon.

When it comes to stimulating cultural activities, tour historic landmarks like Mission San Xavier del Bac, Old Tucson Studios, and the Barrio Viejo Historic District. Or attend festivals as disparate as the Tucson Festival of Books and the All Souls Procession.

One thing that’s always present in all these activities – the beauty and natural wonders of this mid-sized city. For that reason alone, Tucson stands out as being an ideal place to move to and call home.

Tucson’s location in the middle of the desert and surrounding mountain ranges means its more than 546,000 residents don’t have to worry too much about storms and floods, too. This kind of environment has also nurtured 230 animal species and 1,200 kinds of plants.

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West Tucson

Growing families, young professionals, and university students will all find their place in Tucson. There are around 30 different neighborhoods that cater to specific needs, whether it’s the need to chill or be thrilled.

Here are 7 top neighborhood options:

  1. Catalina Foothills

    The northern part of Tucson in Catalina Foothills is a neighborhood of upscale properties. This area boasts breathtaking mountains and city views, complemented by the neighborhood’s distinctive design. Two of Tucson’s National Historic Districts lie in Catalina Foothills:  Catalina Foothills Estates Apartments and Catalina Townhouses, designed by esteemed architect Juan Worner Baz.

    Browse homes for sale in Catalina Foothills, Tucson, AZ

  2. Barrio Viejo

    Barrio Viejo is probably one of the most notable neighborhoods in Tucson, thanks to its vibrant architecture that features well-preserved adobe homes and busy streets. True to the Spanish meaning of its name, “old neighborhood,” Barrio Viejo has multiple historic landmarks, including the Teatro Carmen, El Tiradito (Wishing Shrine), San Augustine’s Cathedral, and the Jerry Lee Ho’s market.

    Inquire about homes for sale in Barrio Viejo, Tucson, AZ

  3. Saddlebrook

    Resort-style living meets the natural beauty of the desert at the Saddlebrook neighborhood in the foothills of Santa Catalina mountains. This area is also a boon for those who seek an active lifestyle, with the presence of the famous Saddlebrooke Golf Club, tennis courts, swimming pools, and fitness centers. Hiking and biking trails likewise allow residents to appreciate stunning rock formations and the rich flora that grow here.

    Browse homes for sale in Saddlebrook, Tucson, AZ

  4. Armory Park

    Armory Park is a neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and Places. Homes for sale in Armory Park come in  a range of architectural styles, from   adobe houses to Victorian-style homes. In addition to its historic significance, Armory is within walking distance to the University of Arizona, Fourth Avenue, and downtown.

    Inquire about homes for sale in Armory Park, Tucson, AZ

  5. Oro Valley

    Amenities are vital when relocating to Tucson, AZ, and that is precisely what the Oro Valley neighborhood provides. It offers real estate options for every lifestyle, with upscale amenities and homes in Southwestern and Mediterranean-inspired designs. Community perks are similarly upmarket with golf courses, clubhouse facilities, and fitness centers.

    Browse homes for sale in Oro Valley, Tucson, AZ

  6. Jefferson Park

    If you’re still mulling neighborhood options, you can scope out the city before permanently settling in. The Jefferson Park neighborhood offers many properties for rent. College students also dominate this busy neighborhood due to its proximity to the International School of Tucson. As a college-area neighborhood, residents have easy access to university restaurants, research facilities, and friendly bars.

    Inquire about homes for sale or for rent  in Jefferson Park, Tucson, AZ

  7. Downtown Tucson

    City Lights

    Real estate in downtown Tucson offers a blend of historic charm, urban convenience, and cultural cachet. Here, you’ll find historic buildings renovated into residential lofts, condos, and apartments.

    In recent years, downtown Tucson has seen a surge in developments that combine residential units with retail, dining, and office spaces. These mixed-use developments enliven the city streets and lie close to conveniences.

    The options become even more dizzying because Downtown Tucson is home to several cultural districts, including the Historic Fourth Avenue District and the El Presidio Historic District. The mix of galleries, theaters, restaurants, and shops make living in this area a dream come true for culture fans.

    Other perks of living in Downtown Tucson include walkability, bike friendliness, convenient public transportation options, mountain and city views, and relative affordability compared to the downtown areas of other cities.

    Browse homes for sale in Downtown Tucson, AZ


Baked Flat bread

Tucson is a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, offering a unique blend of Native American, Mexican, Spanish, and Anglo culinary influences

Cost of living

Tucson’s cost of living is 4% higher than the national average, as seen in the city’s cost of housing (6%) and groceries (4%). Utilities, on the other hand, are 2% lower than the national average.

And yet, Tucson was the top magnet city that people moved to in 2022, according to a 2023 Allied US Migration Report. Based on origin, the influx of residents who relocated to Tucson were from cities with the steepest cost of living in America – Los Angeles at 51% above the national average, San Diego at 44%, and Chicago at 20%.

All dwarf Tucson’s cost of living numbers. Thus, you’ll have transplants citing Tucson’s affordability, as well as the city’s plentiful employment opportunities, warm weather, and the amount of house or apartment they can get for a fraction of the price in their former hometowns.

Business and employment opportunities

Tucson’s economy is diverse, with aerospace and defense, bioscience, optics, healthcare, and renewable energy among the leading sectors. The city is also home to the University of Arizona, a top employer with a workforce of around 16,700. Job growth in the area is also positive, which means greater employment opportunities.

Tucson’s rich culture and dry weather have also given birth to plenty of jobs in tourism and the arts.

High-tech industries are also rising in Tucson, providing more employment opportunities in information technology, bioindustry, environmental technology, and teleservices.

All things considered, relocating to Tucson promises great job opportunities and a relatively affordable cost of living compared to many other cities in Arizona and across the US.

Climate and weather

Tucson is one of the sunniest cities in the United States, with over 300 days of sunshine per year. The clear skies and abundant sunlight make outdoor activities popular throughout much of the year.

The unique desert climate means that residents and tourists will experience hot summers, mild winters, and low humidity.

Summer happens from June through August, with daytime temperatures occasionally exceeding 100 degrees.

Tucson’s distinct monsoon season runs from late June to September. During this time, the city receives the majority of its annual rainfall of less than 12 inches, typically through thunderstorms in the late afternoon or evening.

Winters in Tucson are mild and pleasant with daytime temperatures in the 60s and 70s. While nighttime temperatures occasionally drop below freezing, snow is rare in Tucson itself.

Tucson, AZ schools

Transportation and commuting

Aside from private vehicles and streetcars, bicycles are big in Tucson.. All roads are bicycle-friendly, with trails usually connected for added convenience.

Tucson also promotes biking with organizations like Project Bike Club, the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association or GABA, Bike Tucson,  and the Cactus Cycling Club. These groups are all dedicated to encouraging more people to use bikes as a primary mode of transportation.

FUN FACT The El Tour de Tucson has grown to be a must-try cycling event and fundraiser in the entire USA. More than 9,000 cycling enthusiasts join the annual festival to help build biking awareness in the Tucson community. Routes range from 28 to 100 miles, with fun rides that can be as short as one mile. The tour has been a  recurring event for 40 years!

Healthcare facilities

While the city promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, relocating to Tucson, AZ still brings people closer to world-class healthcare facilities.

  • Banner University Medical Center

    The Banner-University Medical Center was included in U.S. News & World Report in the 2023-2024 Best Hospitals, specializing in heart and cancer care, advanced neuroscience, and transplant programs. It also has a high-performing ranking for cancer and other conditions, including heart failure, kidney failure, pneumonia, and stroke.

  • Tucson Medical Center

    Established in 1944, Tucson Medical Center specializes in women’s maternity and care, pediatrics, and emergency cases. As a community hospital, it also organizes multiple events like blood pressure checks and diabetes testing all over Southern Arizona to promote health and the overall well-being of its patients.

  • Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital

    Their services include compassionate rehabilitation for patients with stroke, brain injury, hip fracture, and other orthopedic conditions. They can also provide round-the-clock nursing care and access to independent physicians.

Recreation and lifestyle

Two hikers

One of the most appealing facets of relocating to Tucson, AZ, is the various recreational activities that residents can readily experience in the city.

  • Stargazing. Tucson was named the Astronomy Capital of the World. Because of its location in the middle of the desert and the mountains that surround the area, pollution is lighter in Tucson compared to other cities. This makes stargazing in Tucson a delight, especially during meteor showers and eclipses.

    Tucson’s popular stargazing spots come with all the equipment needed for a stargazing night. There are also guided tours and educational programs for those interested in the mysteries of the sky and its stars.

    Choose among the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, Saguaro National Park, and the Kitt Peak National Observatory when stargazing with friends and family!

  • Hiking and running.  Whether it’s to elevate your mood, relieve stress, or get your cardio on, Tucson’s open spaces outdoors and trails are as friendly for running as they are for cycling.  Multiple options will match the level of difficulty preferred by the runner.

    For a more challenging experience, hiking trails offer many options as well, thanks to the five mountain ranges surrounding the city. Choose your difficulty level, including some with a bit of rock climbing. As a plus, there are fewer bugs and ticks to think about during the hike!

    Tumamoc Hill’s 3.1-mile round trip is an easy hike. The Yemen Trail with a side trip to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is more challenging. For expert hikers, the Window Trail might be the perfect place to get a breathtaking view of the city.

  • Exploring a ‘Creative City of Gastronomy.’ As a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, Tucson offers heritage ingredients that have made Tucson’s food unique, along with indigenous methods like desert farming. These practices have led to the cultivation of tepary beans and the creation of mesquite flour.
  • Culture and the arts. As expected from its rich culture, Tucson is also prominent in culture and the arts.

    • The University of Arizona houses the Arizona State Museum, which features an impressive display of Native American artifacts. In addition, the university also has a theater, dance studios, and poetry center. These serve as the venues for concerts, performances, and related conferences.
    • The Tucson Festival of Books is a two-day festival that gathers hundreds of readers and authors to showcase their passion and interest in literature. It started in 2009 at the University of Arizona and has grown to be one of the largest book festivals in the US. The Festival also features family activities, scavenger hunts, workshops, and exhibits that allow creators and readers to interact with each other.
    • Another event that showcases another facet of art in Tucson is the Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase. Over 40 merchants exhibit their crystals, minerals, gems, jewelry pieces, African art, and many more. The show attracts around 65,000 visitors.


Real estate agents

Relocating is a decision that will alter the course of your life. Thus, it requires much thought and research. It is vital to look at quality of life, schools, healthcare facilities, employment opportunities, recreational facilities, and housing options.

Choosing the right home helps set the path forward, providing for your needs and perhaps, many of your wants. For a transplant, the right home can quickly establish a sense of stability, security, and optimism in a new city, a new environment.

We at the Signature Group can help you navigate your way through this major life decision.

We are your team of trusted Realtors ready to represent you and your interests to the highest standard. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or looking for your forever home in a fresh new city like Tucson, we have the experience and market knowledge to achieve your real estate goals. Our agency has represented over 800 buyers, sellers, and investors across Tucson and southern Arizona.

Contact us, the Signature Group, at 520.333.6864 or send an email to kickstart your home-buying journey in Tucson, AZ.

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