Tucson, Arizona is a vibrant and dynamic city known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant arts scene. Located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Tucson offers a unique blend of urban amenities and outdoor recreation opportunities, making it an attractive destination for those looking to make a change.
However, before making the move, it’s important to consider several key factors that can impact your experience living in Tucson. From its diverse neighborhoods and abundance of outdoor activities to its climate and housing costs, this article will explore 12 important things to know before moving to Tucson. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, a snowbird, or just searching for a change of scenery, understanding these key factors can help ensure that your move to Tucson is a smooth and successful one.
1. Tucson has a hot desert climate with scorching summers and mild winters.
The summer months can be extremely hot, with temperatures often reaching 100 °F or higher. Winter temperatures are mild, with average highs in the 60s°F. Nighttime temperatures can drop significantly, particularly in the winter months.
Tucson receives very little rainfall, with an average of just 11 inches per year. Most of the rainfall occurs during the monsoon season, which usually runs from July to September. During this time, the area can experience heavy rainfall and thunderstorms.
It is important to be prepared for the hot and dry climate when moving to Tucson. This includes having adequate air conditioning in your home and vehicle, and dressing appropriately for the heat. Drinking plenty of water and using sun protection is also essential to avoid dehydration and sunburn.
2. There are a wide variety of housing options
Tucson, Arizona offers a mix of housing options, with a variety of affordable and upscale neighborhoods. The median sale price for a home in Tucson is around $300,000, which is cheaper than the national average of $388,500. Renting in Tucson is also budget-friendly, with average rents ranging from $908 to $1,295 in 2023.
Keep in mind that some areas of Tucson can be pricier for housing. It’s wise to do some research and compare prices before deciding on a neighborhood. The good news is that there are programs in place to increase affordable housing options in the city, like the City of Tucson’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
3. Tucson is a great city for cycling
With a bike score of 98, Tucson is a biker’s paradise due to its growing bike culture and investment in bike-friendly infrastructure. The city has a network of bike paths and trails connecting various parks, neighborhoods, and scenic areas, making it easy and safe for residents and visitors to bike around the city. The warm climate and sunny skies in Tucson provide ideal conditions for year-round biking, and the city is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes including the Sonoran Desert and nearby mountain ranges, offering scenic routes with stunning views.
The city has a vibrant and growing bike community, with many organizations and events dedicated to promoting bike culture and advocacy. This includes bike clubs, advocacy groups, and events like the Tucson Bike Festival and the El Tour de Tucson, one of the largest charity bike rides in the country.
4. Stargazing is really popular in Tucson
The city’s location in the Sonoran Desert, away from the light pollution of larger cities, offers a clear and unobstructed view of the night sky. This makes it a popular destination for amateur astronomers, stargazers, and those interested in observing celestial events, such as meteor showers and eclipses.
There are several parks and observatories in and around Tucson that offer opportunities to view the stars and planets. Some of the most popular stargazing spots include Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, Saguaro National Park, and Kitt Peak National Observatory. These locations offer a range of amenities and resources for visitors, including telescopes, guided tours, and educational programs.
5. You’ll want to consider adding solar panels to your house in Tucson
Tucson, Arizona has an abundance of sunny days and high temperatures, making it an ideal location for solar energy. Installing solar panels in Tucson can significantly reduce electricity costs and contribute to a more sustainable future. Additionally, the state of Arizona offers various incentives and programs to encourage homeowners to switch to solar energy. This can further reduce the cost of installation and make solar energy more accessible and affordable.
6. Tucson is a major college city
The University of Arizona (UA) has a big impact on Tucson. It’s one of the city’s largest employers and is full of students and young professionals. Just keep in mind that when you live in Tucson, you’ll see college students all over the place. If that doesn’t bother you, you’ll probably love living here.
The university has students from all over the world, which makes Tucson a culturally diverse and cosmopolitan city. UA is also a big cultural and athletic hub, with tons of events and activities that are open to everyone. There are concerts, theater performances, sports games, and talks from visiting experts and scholars.
UA is a top-notch research university, so you’ll have access to excellent education and research opportunities, whether you’re a student or a resident. Many grads stay in Tucson after they finish their studies, which helps keep the job market lively and attracts a well-educated workforce to the city.
6. The Mexican food in Tucson is truly incredible
Tucson is renowned for its delicious Mexican food. It’s close to the Mexican border and has a rich cultural history, which means the city is filled with amazing Mexican restaurants. You can find everything from casual taco joints to fancy dining spots. They use traditional cooking methods and local ingredients to make dishes that are super tasty. In short, if you love food, Tucson is the place for you. It’s got a booming food culture that shows off the city’s heritage, and there’s something for everyone.
If you decide that moving to Tucson is right for you, you’ll need to check out these spots: El Guero Canelo, Mi Nidito Restaurant, and El Charro Café.
7. The neighborhoods are very diverse
Tucson is a city with a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. One of the most popular neighborhoods in Tucson is the historic Barrio Viejo, which is known for its well-preserved adobe homes and charming streets lined with galleries, shops, and restaurants. This vibrant neighborhood is also home to several historic landmarks, including the San Augustine Cathedral and the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson, and is considered one of the most culturally rich areas of the city.
Some other popular neighborhoods in Tucson include Central Tucson, Rincon Heights, and Sam Hughes. Each of these areas offers a unique atmosphere and range of amenities for families and individuals.
8. You’ll need a car while living in Tucson
If you are moving to Tucson, it’s important to keep in mind that the city’s public transportation system is limited compared to other cities. While there are options such as buses and shuttles, they may not provide comprehensive coverage of the entire city, particularly if you live in a more suburban or rural area. As a result, many residents in Tucson rely on personal vehicles for their transportation needs. If you intend to live in Tucson, it’s recommended to have access to a car to make your daily life more convenient and efficient.
9. The city offers a laid-back lifestyle
Tucson has a relaxed and casual lifestyle, which is a big part of the city’s charm. People in Tucson take their time and enjoy life at a slower pace, so don’t be surprised if you don’t feel the typical hustle and bustle of a busy city. This laid-back lifestyle is reflected in the city’s amenities and activities, such as outdoor recreation and dining, which often emphasize taking things slow and enjoying the moment. As a result, many residents find Tucson to be a great place to unwind and recharge. Whether you’re looking for a more relaxed pace of life, or just a change of scenery, Tucson’s laid-back lifestyle might be just what you’re looking for.
10. The options for outdoor activities are endless
Tucson is a city that offers a wide range of outdoor activities, making it an ideal place for those who enjoy being active and exploring the natural beauty of the area. Hiking is a popular activity in Tucson, with a number of trails and parks offering scenic views of the city and its surroundings. The nearby Santa Catalina and Santa Rita Mountains are popular destinations for hikers, offering challenging terrain for experienced hikers and easier trails for beginners.
Golfing is another popular outdoor activity in Tucson, with several courses available for players of all skill levels. The city is also a great place for horseback riding, with many stables and riding trails available for both beginner and experienced riders. Bird watching is another popular outdoor activity in Tucson, with a number of bird-watching sites and parks offering opportunities to see a wide range of bird species. Whether you are a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a newcomer to the area, Tucson is a city that offers something for everyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors.
11. Downtown Tucson has undergone a revitalization
In recent years, downtown Tucson has experienced a major revitalization, focused on preserving its historic character while also incorporating modern amenities and attractions. This revitalization effort has included the renovation of many of the area’s historic buildings, such as the Fox Theatre, which has been restored to its original Art Deco glory and now serves as a venue for concerts and events.
The city has also invested in new public spaces, amenities, a variety of shops, and restaurants in Downtown Tucson. Additionally, the city has encouraged the growth of its arts scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and cultural institutions located in the downtown area. These revitalization efforts have made downtown Tucson a thriving and attractive destination for both residents and visitors.
12. The festivals and events in Tucson are outstanding
Tucson is known for its vibrant culture and rich heritage, which is celebrated through a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. One of the city’s most popular festivals is the Tucson Festival of Books, which is held annually on the University of Arizona campus and attracts thousands of visitors. This two-day festival features hundreds of authors, workshops, and exhibitors, making it one of the largest book festivals in the country. Another notable festival is the Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase, which takes place every year in February and draws international exhibitors, collectors, and enthusiasts. This showcase features a diverse range of gems, minerals, and fossils, including some of the rarest and most valuable specimens in the world.
In addition to these festivals, Tucson also hosts a variety of cultural and music events throughout the year, including the Tucson Meet Yourself Festival, which celebrates the city’s diverse cultures and cuisines, and the Tucson Folk Festival, which features local and regional musicians. The city also holds several events and festivals throughout the year to celebrate its rich Hispanic heritage, including the All Souls Procession, a colorful and lively procession that honors the dead, and the Mexican Independence Day Parade, which celebrates Mexican culture and history. These festivals and events showcase the unique character and history of Tucson and provide a glimpse into the city’s vibrant culture and rich heritage.
Things to know before moving to Tucson: the bottom line
In conclusion, moving to Tucson, Arizona can be a great opportunity for those seeking a change of pace. From its warm climate and affordable cost of living, to its natural beauty and growing tech community, there are many factors that make Tucson an appealing place to live. However, it’s important to consider factors such as the need for a car and the potential for extreme heat during the summer months. By being aware of these 12 things to know before moving to Tucson, you can make an informed decision on whether it is the right fit for your lifestyle and needs.
Learn more about Tucson:
The Best-Kept Hidden Gems in Tucson According to Locals
7 Tucson Outdoor Activities to Try When the Temps Drop
Is Tucson a Good Place to Live? 10 Pros and Cons to Consider
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