Many people in Tucson, Arizona, USA, do not realize that they are living atop a 2,400’ mountain.
― Steven Magee
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Tuscon is great for outdoorsy people. It’s a biking city but there’s also hiking, climbing, running -- lots of fresh air and wide open space and, of course, mountains in every direction, the Sonoran Desert and the classic Saguaro Cactus. You can be in the city but feel far away at the same time. And, the downtown has undergone a pretty great revival recently (Rio Nuevo District -- which includes a streetcar). Hope you like ghost peppers! You get four seasons plus a bonus monsoon season -- think thunderstorms. If all that is not enough, if you’re a college sports fan, you’re in heaven and you will be a wildcat.
The Best Thing About Tucson?
Tucson comes alive in the evenings. It’s got some legit gastronomical cred and the blazing sun keeps most people indoors during the day so the city blooms at night.
Here's a local with a strong pov on Tucson:
- The U of A is in the center of town and is central to many in town. 40,000 students keep the kitchy area around the campus interesting. There are bars and clubs and such.
- The food is incredible. If you like Mexican food you can find it in any part of town. We have all other styles, as well. People here like to eat.
- We are not really impressed by celebrities. Many come here to escape, seek treatment, or have a home by the mountains with incredible views and a bit of privacy. Things here are a little slower and more casual. Shorts and flip-flops are acceptable attire most of the year.
For more reviews of what living in Tucson is like from locals check out: The Buzz
The Worst Thing About Tucson?
The summer temps are off the charts. Don’t buy the swamp cooler thing. And if you don’t like critters -- gila monsters, tarantulas, black widows, scorpions you might have a hard time.
Here's a transplant with a 4-yr history of dealing with the heat:
I’ve only lived here for four years, but this has also been my perception. June fing sucks, and June 2020 had me wanting to pack up and leave. But this summer? Downright tolerable, with some mornings even being pretty comfortable*
Lifestyle Of Tucson
Tucson is one of these warmer climate cities with a crazy blend of college students and empty nesters/retirees. Both communities love the warm weather and low costs. The University of Arizona hoops teams are universally popular. Expect both students and locals in attendance. Pretty much everyone goes downtown. The Rio Nuevo District draws everyone looking for an arts scene, bars and restaurants, 2nd Saturdays concerts, food trucks and all sorts of music festivals. The Old Town Artisans district is another hot spot, loaded with boutique vintage clothing, healthy eats, and an artists mecca.
If you want to see what locals do for fun check out the Tucson calendar of events: https://www.visittucson.org/events/
Worklife Of Tucson
Tucson has several major industries:
- Education: The University of Arizona is the city's largest employer.
- Defense: Raytheon Missile Systems, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, U.S. Border Patrol, and U.S. Army Intelligence are all steady employers although of course the Defense industry is generally not something you just jump into upon moving to a new city.
- Health: UofA Health Network, Carondelet, and Tucson Medical Center are also big employers that reflect the needs of a growing population, one with a large share of boomers.
Like many relatively inexpensive southern cities, Tucson also gets its fair share of people who are in service industries and make the numbers work because of the lower cost of living. Finally, there are also a large number of work-from-homers already here, on their way, or thinking about making the move.
Why You Should Move Here Now?
It’s on the upswing.
Tucson is a growth city. But you should get while the getting is good. Relative to California, Colorado, Washington or Oregon or anywhere colder and/or more expensive, Tucson among other Arizona cities are increasingly popular and “filling up” fast.