10 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Tucson, AZ

August 22nd, 2022

10 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Tucson, AZ

Living in Tucson

If you are moving to Tucson, AZ, make sure you know these ten things about living in Tucson!

Surrounded by the breathtaking Sonoran Desert and receiving 350 days of sunshine a year, the city of Tucson, Arizona, is not only a great place to vacation but a fantastic place to live.

As the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, and as the home to the University of Arizona, Tucson is most famous for its mouthwatering Southwestern cuisine and for having some of the cleanest air of any major city worldwide.

Home to a population of over 550,000 people, Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona, just behind Phoenix and above Mesa.

Attracting many college students, young professionals, couples, retirees, and families to the area, many people that live in Tucson are part of the city's diverse hobbyist communities, from vintage car collectors to photography and astronomy enthusiasts.

Considered to be one of the best places to live in Arizona, Tucson is a beautiful city that is often called the "Dirty T" since it is located in the desert and primarily comprises adobe-style buildings.

Whether you are moving to Tucson for work or other personal reasons, it cannot be easy to know what to expect if you have never visited.

That is why with the help of this trusty moving guide, our team has come up with a list of all that you need to know and some local favorites for you to become a local Tucsonan in no time.

With that being said, read on to learn more about what life is like in Tucson!

Moving to Tucson, Arizona - What is it like living in Tucson?

Here are the top things that you should know about life in Tucson!

Affordable Cost of Living

With a cost of living that is 6% lower than the national average and 5% lower than the state average, Tucson is one of Arizona's most affordable places to live.

Since the cost of living is relatively low, it is recommended that a single resident earn an average salary of at least $36,760 a year, or $17.60 an hour.

Known for having a cost of living that is 7.9% lower than living in Phoenix, residents would have to earn a salary of at least $55,261 to maintain the current standard of living.

Keep in mind that even though the cost of living in Tucson is affordable, employers in Tucson typically pay 4.9% less than employers in Phoenix.

While housing might be considered the most expensive cost in the city, Tucson home prices are 7% cheaper than the United States average home price of $349,000.

Cost of Living Item Average Tucson Price
Loaf of Bread $3.50
Gallon of Milk $2.24
Carton of Eggs $1.59
Energy Bill $176.93
Doctors Visit $123.36

Data from Payscale

Excellent Education

As part of the Tucson Unified School District, Tucson is home to some of the best public schools in the state and the nation.

Tucson Unified's University High has been ranked as the 17th best school in the United States as of 2021, followed by Basis Oro Valley Charter School at number 23 and Basis Tucson North at 47.

Home to 337 public and 54 private schools, Tucson takes education seriously. If you are moving with school-aged children and already have a school in mind that you would like them to attend, it might be a good idea to find out which neighborhoods feed into your chosen schools.

The University of Arizona and Pima Medical Institute is located here for those looking for higher education opportunities.

Photo of the University of Arizona on a sunny day with a waterspout


Known for having a hot desert climate, Tucson has two significant seasons where summers are sweltering, and winters are cool and dry.

Receiving only an average of 10.61 inches of precipitation a year, Tucson is very sunny and dry throughout the year, which makes Tucson the perfect destination for snowbirds due to the abundance of parks, recreation, and outdoor activities for all ages.

With temperatures ranging from around 40 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, Tucson is generally more relaxed than living in Phoenix, and there is rarely any snowfall.

Sun setting over mountains in Tucson Arizona desert with cactus in the foreground and orange sky

Culture and Art

Combining Mexican, Native American, and Western cultures, Tucson has found a way to blend and celebrate the city's diverse cultural background through inspiring galleries and exceptional museums.

Check out these local favorite art museums in Tucson, AZ:

  • Tucson Museum of Art: Located in the Presidio District of downtown Tucson, this art museum was founded in 1924 and features exhibits that display modern and contemporary art as well as Native American art
  • Tucson Desert Art Museum and Four Corners Gallery: This non-profit museum displays Native American textiles and artifacts as well as contemporary paintings that explore the art, history, and culture of the American Southwest
  • University of Tucson Museum of Art: Located at the University of Arizona, this museum houses over 5,000 prints, sculptures, paintings, and drawings, specifically American and European fine art from the Renaissance to the present day
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson: Founded in 1997, this museum is a permanent institution for contemporary art in the Tucson arts district and is dedicated to exploring contemporary art from Tucson and around the world
  • Ignite Sign Art Museum: Restoring and displaying a collection of historic signs from Tucson and the Southwestern United States, this popular attraction also offers neon demonstrations and classes.

Year Round Events

One of the best ways to get to know Tucscon better is by attending one of the many public events and festivals the city puts on throughout the year. No matter your age or interests, there is always something cool to try and new people to meet.

Check out these local favorite events and festivals in Tucson, AZ:

  • Tucson Festival of Books: Held during the second weekend in March, this free annual book fair welcomes over 135,000 people and is held on the University of Arizona campus
  • Fourth Avenue Street Fair: Held in April, this 52-year-old family-friendly tradition is open from 10 in the morning to dusk each day and hosts artists from around the world, features local entertainment, and serves food from local vendors
  • Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase: Held in the fall and winter each year, this festival attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world and features exhibits that include rare and unique gems, minerals, and festivals
  • All Souls Procession Weekend: Celebrating its 33rd year in November, this event was created for the public to mourn, reflect, and celebrate death through art and photo installations, elaborate floats, and brightly colored masks
  • Tucson Rodeo: As one of the top 25 professional rodeo events in North America, this nine-day event is centered around the rodeo and features horse-drawn coaches, outfitted riders, folk dancers, and marching bands

People shopping at the Tucson fair in Arizona

Outdoor Adventures

Tucson fully embraces its natural beauty through its many national parks and recreation areas, making the city perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and explorers.

Check out these favorite local parks and outdoor adventures in Tucson, AZ:

  • Tucson Mountain Park: Located in Pima County, this free 20,000-acre park has archery and shooting ranges as well as 62 miles of non-motorized trails that are used for hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding,
  • Gates Pass: Found along the crest of the Tucson Mountains, this overlook features picnicking and wildlife viewing opportunities throughout the park, which can be accessed from its opening at six in the morning to its closure at eight at night
  • Catalina State Park: Situated at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Pima County, this state park is home to 5,000 saguaros and desert plants and is home to more than 150 species of wildlife.
  • Saguaro National Park: Worth the visit, this national park in the western Tucson Mountain District offers beautiful views of the desert landscape and is home to the enormous cacti in the nation
  • Sabino Canyon Recreation Area: Located North of Tucson in the Santa Cataline Mountains and the Coronado National Forest, many visitors come here to walk, hike, and mountain bike.

Family-Friendly Things to Do

Tucson is a great family-friendly destination in southern Arizona since it is full of unique activities that you can do with your kids, whether you have younger children or teenagers.

Check out these local favorite family-friendly things to do in Tucson, AZ:

  • Pima Air and Space Museum: Considered to be one of the largest non-government funded aviation and space museums in the world, there are nearly 300 aircraft on display
  • Children's Museum Tucson: Featuring immersive exhibits for children of all ages, kids are encouraged to play, learn, and discover
  • Tucson Botanical Garden: A great place for the whole family, this five-and-a-half-acre collection of urban gardens includes a butterfly garden and a zen garden that adults can access for $15 and $13 for students, seniors, and military
  • Colossal Cave Mountain Park: Costing $22 admission for adults and $12 for children, this enormous park offers tours of an ancient karst cave with unique rock formations
  • Reid Park Zoo: Founded in 1967, this 24-acre city-owned park is home to more than 500 animals and only costs $10.50 for admission for adults, $8.50 for access for seniors, and $6.50 for access for children

Safety Rating

Unfortunately, Tucson can not be considered a very safe city since it has a medium overall risk of becoming a victim of dangerous crime.

Even though violent crime in Tucson is on a slow decline, your chance of becoming a victim in Tucson is one in 141, while your chance of becoming a victim of property crime is one in 27.

Crime rates aside, Tucson is still a trendy place to live and has some of the best communities in the state to call home. Please, refer to the Living Alone: Home Safety Checklist for information about how to stay safe, especially if you are moving to Tucson alone.

Golf Courses

Even though Scottsdale, Arizona, is home to more than 200 golf courses, Tucson has an impressive number of championship courses that offer high-end golf experiences, whether you are an avid golfer or a beginner.

Check out these local favorite golf courses in Tucson, AZ:

  • Randolph Dell Urich Golf Course: As the former home of the Tucson LPGA tour stop, this collection of five municipal golf courses that are known to be some of the most extraordinary facilities in the city
  • Arizona National Golf Club: This 18-hole championship golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and is owned by The Sabino Springs Homeowners Association
  • Quarry Pines Golf Club: Blending stunning mountain views with dramatic elevation changes, golfers will have access to 18 enjoyable holes
  • Star Pass Golf Club: Featuring three challenging nine-hole courses at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort and Spa, players are offered a unique golfing experience
  • Sewalio Golf Club at Casino Del Sol: Meaning "flower world" in the Pascua Yaqui language, this is a beautiful and challenging golf course that blends the native landscape with lakes and streams on the Pasqua Yaqui Indian reservation located on the west side of Tucson

Golf in Tucson Arizona with a close up of a golf ball and beautiful course


Tucson knows a few things about how to have a good time once the sun goes down, from quiet bars to college hangouts and lively dance clubs.

Check out these local favorite top-rated bars in Tucson, AZ:

  • The Shelter Bar: This vintage cocktail bar is decorated with JFK memorabilia and pinball machines
  • Surly Wench Pub: Get your fix of tasty craft cocktails, burgers, and monthly burlesque shows
  • Sky Bar Tucson: This popular cafe by day and astronomy bar by night is complete with telescopes and astronomy lectures
  • Ermanos Bar: This stylish gastropub and local hangout features New American cuisine, craft beers, wine, and live music
  • The Nugget: Featuring pool tables, shuffleboard, karaoke nights, and exceptional hand-crafted cocktails

Downtown Tucson AZ nightlife with lit up buildings at dusk

Pros and Cons of Moving to Tucson, AZ


  • Affordable cost of living
  • Housing available for all budgets
  • Vibrant art and culture
  • Great restaurants
  • Highly-rated educational opportunities
  • Year-round events
  • Tons of family-friendly things to do
  • Nice golf courses
  • Exciting nightlife
  • Amazing outdoor adventures
  • Low humidity


  • High heat
  • Higher crime rate
  • Commuting to the city is inefficient
  • Less healthy job market

Is Tuscon, AZ, the place for you?

Beloved for its warm weather and sunny skies, Tucson is the perfect place to settle down since it offers extensive city amenities with a smaller town feel.

Even though Tucson has its fair share of pros and cons, in our opinion - the pros certainly outweigh the cons, which makes calling Tucson home worth it.

So if you are ready to search for homes for sale in Tucson, townhomes for sale in Tucson, or condos for sale in Tucson, then contact us today!

Our team of friendly and knowledgeable Real Estate Specialists is ready to help kick start your home search!

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

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.