August 28th, 2022
Best Places to Live in Tucson
Searching for the best neighborhoods in Tucson? Check out these ten great places to live!
Whether you want a quiet suburban neighborhood or a lively downtown place to live in Tucson, Arizona, there is no shortage of diverse communities to choose from, no matter your lifestyle.
Since location is one of the most important factors when deciding on a home, finding a safe area to call your own with its history, culture, and sought-after amenities is, fortunately, easy when moving to Tucson.
So if you are asking, what exactly is the best area of Tucson to live in? Then you have found yourself in the right place!
With the help of this ultimate moving guide, our team has put together the top ten places to live in Tucson while also highlighting local favorites to help you along your home search.
Check out these best places to live in Tucson!
Comprised of mid-century modern homes and quiet tree-lined streets, the neighborhood of Sam Hughes in Tucson is a great place to live for college students attending the University of Arizona, young professionals, and young families.
Known for its buzzing atmosphere and student-centered way of life, Sam Hughes is home to a thriving brew pub and sports bar scene that knows how to keep its residents entertained.
Home to a population of just under 5,000 people, Sam Hughes, is a relatively small community that offers beautiful architecture, affordable real estate, and dog-friendly businesses and parks.
From upscale pizzerias to modern Mexican cantinas, it is easy to see how Sam Hughes has made it to the top of our list of the best places to live in Tucson and Pima County.
- Himmel Park: This 24.3-acre urban park in central Tucson is a dog-friendly neighborhood hangout that includes a grass amphitheater, two playgrounds, a swimming pool, eight tennis courts, athletic fields, and an athletic station
- Pima Air and Space Museum: Considered to be one of the largest non-government funded aviation and space museums in the world, that features nearly 300 aircraft on a 127-acre campus
- San Xavier del Bac Mission: Located 10 miles south of downtown Tucson on the Tohono O'odham Nation San Xavier Indian Reservation, this historic Spanish Catholic mission was founded in 1700 and is considered to be a National Historic Landmark
Dubar Spring is a quiet, historic, and culturally diverse community located just North of downtown Tucson. With just over 1,300 residents, Dunbar Spring is home to multiple colorful murals and a thriving art scene that welcomes creative types from all over the state and country.
Offering its residents a mix of suburban and urban living, Dunbar Spring is a great place to live for families since there are highly-rated schools and plenty of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks to take advantage of.
- Reid Park Zoo: Founded in 1967, this 24-acre zoo is home to more than 500 animals and offers $10.50 tickets for adults, $8.50 tickets for seniors, and $6.50 tickets for children
- Bumstead's: This upbeat 80s-themed karaoke bar and restaurant offers classic American food and an excellent selection of draft beer
- Sabino Canyon Recreation Area: Located in the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Coronado National Forest, which is found North of Tucson, this popular recreation area is a great place to hike, walk, and bike through picturesque desert canyons.
Located in southeast Tucson, the neighborhood of Civano first opened in 1999 and was initially envisioned as "Tucson's Solar Community." Considered to be a model of a sustainable community, Civano is defined as a beautiful New Urbanist neighborhood that has its scaled-down town center.
Comprised of 650 resource-efficient homes that feature lush desert landscaping, Civano has found a way to blend the natural Sonoran desert into a modern-day popular neighborhood with diverse architecture. With brightly colored homes, tree-lined streets, sidewalks, and beautiful mountain views, Civano is genuinely a desert escape.
- Fantasy Island Mountain Bike Park (North): Ride your bike on this one-way 15-mile loop trail near Tucson that offers a moderately challenging route and takes an average of five hours to complete the whole thing
- Tucson Botanical Gardens: Costing only $15 for adults and $13 for students, seniors, and military to enter, this 5.5-acre collection of urban gardens is perfect for families and kids of all ages since it includes a zen garden, a butterfly garden, and educational resources
- University of Arizona Museum of Art: Operated by the University of Arizona, this art museum features over 5,000 sculptures, prints, drawings, and paintings from the Renaissance to present-day American and European fine art
Offering a laid-back, family-friendly feel, the residential community of Armory Park is considered to be a good neighborhood in Tucson and Pima County. With a growing population of over 1,600 people, historic Armory Park is close to top amenities and only minutes from downtown Tucson.
Providing various dining options from cozy cafes to casual steakhouses and a trendy bar scene, there is always something new to check out when living in Armory Park. In our opinion - Armory Park is one of the best places to live in Tucson!
- Children's Museum Tucson: Offering a fun, hands-on learning experience for children and their families, this museum features immersive art, music, nature, and interactive educational exhibits
- Philabaum Glass Gallery: A Tucson gem since its opening in 1982, this is the only glass gallery in Southern Arizona that represents over 50 nationally recognized artists, including unique art, brightly colored contemporary pieces, sculptures, gifts, and jewelry
- Tohono Chul Gardens, Galleries, and Bistro: A great place to work, relax, and meet new people, this 49-acre botanical garden and desert habitat is home to cacti, a demonstration garden, art displays, and informative exhibits
Old Fort Lowell
Old Fort Lowell is home to over 1,470 people and is best known for its delicious restaurants, laid-back coffee shops, and beautiful parks. Offering its residents an urban and suburban mix feel, many young professionals and retirees are deciding to move to Old Fort Lowell and buy their own homes.
Once an army post that was active between 1873 to 1891, Old Fort Lowell has since been turned into a popular neighborhood. Named the fifth best neighborhood in Tucson and the seventh best place to raise a family in Tucson, the historical significance of Old Fort Lowell makes it an exciting place to live just outside of the bustling downtown area.
- Fort Lowell Park: This 59-acre city park in Central Tucson is the former site of a United States Army Post and is a great place to spend time with friends and family since it features picnic tables, a pond, a swimming pool, athletic fields, tennis courts, and volleyball courts
- Arizona State Museum: Established in 1893, this is the oldest and largest anthropological research facility in the American Southwest that stores and exhibits artifacts and provides educational and research opportunities
- Center for Creative Photography: Established in 1975 and located on the University of Arizona's campus, this Ansel Adams-founded gallery has over 80,000 photography prints on display which makes it one of the world's finest academic art museums and study centers for photography
Highland Vista Cinco Via
The small neighborhood of Highland Vista Cinco Via has a population of 657 people, and it offers its residents a dense suburban feel where most residents own their own homes. Considered to be a great place to live for retirees and families, Highland Vista Cinco Via has been ranked as the second-best neighborhood in Tucson to buy a home due to affordability, location, and safety.
For those moving with school-aged children, the best public schools in the area include BASIS Tucson North, University High School, and Basis Tucson Primary School.
- Highland Vista Park: Known to be a great place to hang out and walk the dog when the weather is nice, this park is safe and features a playground, public swimming pool, and shaded picnic areas
- Southern Arizona Transportation Museum: Located in the former records vault building at the former Southern Pacific Depot, this museum offers free admission and displays railroad-related artifacts, photos, and a 1900 locomotive
- Swan Way Park: This 2.3-acre small neighborhood park is well-maintained, dog friendly, and features open green spaces, a playground, and picnic areas
Barrio Viejo, also known as "Barrio Libre," is located near downtown Tucson and is a neighborhood known for its colorful adobe-style houses, authentic Mexican cantinas that serve delicious margaritas, and retro-style bars that specialize in tasty craft cocktails.
Referred to as Tucson's old neighborhood, Barrio Viejo mainly consists of 19th-century homes and several commercial buildings. Considered to be a diverse and intergenerational neighborhood home to many parks, restaurants, museums, and local shops, Barrio Viejo has not only helped shape Tucson's history but is paving the way to a vibrant future.
- The Coronet: Dine on New American and international cuisine that use seasonal produce and sustainable meats to create tasty dishes that meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free patrons will enjoy
- El Minuto Cafe: This family-run 1930s-style eatery serves Sonoran-style cuisine, including cheese crisps, and offers dine-in, takeout, and delivery options
- El Mezquite Grill and Taqueria: Located in the Tucson Convention Center, this restaurant is known for its contemporary Southwest cuisine that uses only fresh, local ingredients to create the flavors of Mexico
Poets Square provides its residents with an urban-suburban mix feel and has a population of over 1,052 people. Poets Square is home to various bars, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, and other sought-after amenities attracting many young professionals and families to the area.
- Kon Tiki Restaurant and Lounge: Founded in the 1960s, this tiki bar features a festive atmosphere and serves a variety of delicious tropical drinks and Island comfort food
- Polish Cottage: Dine on pierogi and other handcrafted authentic Polish recipes in this colorful and welcoming atmosphere
- The Hungry Fox Restaurant and Country Store: Open since 1964, this old-fashioned family-run eatery serves great country home cooking, including American breakfast and sandwiches
It is located by Interstate 10 and the Loop Trail found along the Santa Cruz River, the neighborhood of El Presidio is considered to be a lively area that is rich in military history since it is the site of where the City of Tucson was established as a Spanish military fort in 1775.
Home to historical buildings, art galleries, and the oldest family-run Mexican restaurant in the country, El Presidio is a unique place to live just minutes from downtown Tucson.
- The Little One: This brand new Mexican restaurant is serving breakfast and lunch favorites that are done in generous portions and at affordable prices
- Elliott's on Congress: Make sure to take advantage of happy hour and karaoke nights at this lively spot that serves American pub grub, infused vodkas, and craft cocktails
- Street-Taco and Beer Co.: Enjoy a menu of tacos, burritos, and beer at this contemporary and laid-back counter service restaurant
Found near downtown Tucson and the University of Arizona, the community of Iron Horse is one of the best places to live in Tucson and provides its residents with an urban way of life.
Considered to be one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Tucson, Iron Horse is a beautiful historic neighborhood ideal for young professionals and families to call home.
- Ermanos Bar: Known for its fantastic New American food, great service, live music, and excellent choice of beers, wines, and cocktails in a warm space
- Hub Restaurant and Ice Creamery: This young and hip American restaurant serves New American fare and homemade ice cream
- Raptor Canyon Cafe: Get your fix of breakfast, lunch, and baked goods in this family-owned and operated cafe with a diner setting
The Catalina Foothills is one of Tucson's most popular neighborhoods, and for good reason. Just check out the price tag on the homes in the neighborhood. With some of Tucson's best Mountain Views and access to some of the city's best hiking trails, many would say we saved the best community for last. Take note that this community will also come with many wildlife lurking about with its proximity to the mountains. That doesn't stop Catalina Foothills from being one of Tucson's top neighborhoods, thanks to the excellent school district.
La Encantada: The best outdoor shopping center in all of Tucson.
Vivace: Some of Tucson's best Italian food and a restaurant that makes for a great evening out.
Best Places to Live in Tucson, AZ - Final Thoughts
Are you ready to find the Tucson neighborhood of your dreams? Since there are so many friendly and safe options, it can be hard to pick just one favorite.
If you are interested in homes for sale in Tucson, contact us today to be connected to one of our fantastic Realty Specialists. We are always here to help and are ready to answer any questions that you may have about the home buying process!
Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.