Moving to Tucson, AZ? Complete Moving Guide - 2021

This is a complete guide for Moving to Tucson, AZ.
Get all the information you need to know about moving to Tucson, AZ.

If you've always wanted to do away with the cold of winters without leaving the U.S., or live in a city that is free of natural disasters, moving to Tucson, AZ will be a great idea.

Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona, well-known for its sunny weather and exciting outdoor activities.

Tucson also hosts the largest, oldest, and most prominent gem show across the world making it one of the most coveted cities for gem collectors worldwide.

If you're mulling over moving to Tucson, AZ, we have all the information you need to help you make up your mind.

Let's dive right in!

Here's a simple summary Tucson, Arizona weather highlighting the most important metrics:

facts of tucson

Quick Facts to know about Tucson, AZ

Learn some facts about Tucson, AZ before moving to the city to help you decide if it's the right place for you.

What's the Population of Tucson, AZ?

Tucson is rated as the second most populous city in Arizona. The city is home to 539,216 people who are mostly millennials, according to Arizona Demographics. The median age of the city's residents is 33.4 making it a great place for singles and young families.

How Is the Weather Like in Tucson, AZ?

If you hate winters and like a sunny climate, you'll enjoy moving to Tucson, AZ. The best time to visit Tucson for warm weather events are early June to mid July and from mid August to late September, according to WeatherSpark.

How Fast Can You Commute in Tucson, AZ?

Commuting around Tucson, AZ is fairly fast compared to other similar size cities in the U.S. The average commute time in Tucson AZ is about 22.2 minutes, according to Best Places. The national average is 26.4 minutes. How do most residents get to work in Tucson, AZ?

  • Up to 73.6% of Tucson residents drive their own car alone
  • About 10.9% of Tucson residents carpool with others
  • Up to 3.7% of Tucson residents work from home
  • About 4.1% of Tucson residents take the mass transit

Culture, Art, and Shopping in Tucson

How is the Culture in Tucson, AZ?

Tucson has its share of culture and the city proudly displays them. Some of the best cultural events to explore in Tucson are:

  • Tucson Festival of Books

    A celebration of literature, both children and adults participate in this open-air and free-for-all annual book festival hosted at the University of Arizona Mall. Bookworms come here to discuss the latest books, meet their favorite authors, and discover new publishing houses.

  • The Fourth Avenue Street Fair

    The free-to-all street fair is held twice a year – in December and late March/early April. The fair brings together 400+ arts and crafts booths, 40+ food vendors, street musicians, jugglers, and kid’s entertainers. Annually held at Historic Fourth Avenue, the fair is celebrated with much jubilation.

  • Tucson Rodeo (Fiesta de los Vaqueros)

    One of the top 25 pro rodeos in the United States, Tucson Rodeo tests the ranching skills of both cowboys and cowgirls. The 2.5-mile stream of horse-drawn coaches, outfitted riders, folk dancers, and marching bands is also the world’s longest non-motorized parade.

  • All Souls Procession Weekend

    The annual community-powered festival modeled after the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos is held in November every year and almost 150,000 people celebrate on the streets of Tucson in the company of myriad altars, performers, installation art, and creative pieces. The celebration ends with a two-mile-long procession that ceremonially burns a large Urn filled with the hopes, offerings, and wishes of the public for the ancestors.

Art and music in Tucson, AZ

Tucson boasts of a rich historic past and its line of impressive museums display the city’s cultural history and heritage.

Some of the best museums in Tucson even celebrate technology.

The museums that display the history are:

  • Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
  • 390th Memorial Museum
  • Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block
  • Arizona Historical Society Museum

The technology-themed museums in Tucson are:

The museums in Tucson that focus on arts include:

The zoo cum museum dedicated to indigenous animals and plants of the Sonoran Desert:

  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

The city’s vibrant music scene is visible at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and the Arizona Opera. No lover of classical music should miss them.

Shopping in Tucson, AZ

Tucson is home to many swanky malls, Tucson Mall being the biggest and best among them. Some other premium shopping venues in the city include the Spanish-styled La Encantada, Park Place Mall, and Main Gate Square.

Visit Old Town Artisans and Lost Barrio to browse through clothing, rugs, cushions, imported furniture, and furnishing from Mexico and other Latin American countries.

You can get anything from Cole Haan, J. Crew, Bluemercury, St. John, and Louis Vuitton to locally made rugs, jewelry, and clothing in Tucson.

moving to tucson

Top 10 Reasons To Move To Tucson, AZ

The cost of living in Tucson, AZ is lower than the U.S. average. But that is not the only reason to move to the city. Here are 10 reasons why moving to Tucson, AZ could be perfect for you:

  • Affordable cost of living

    One of the best things about Tucson is the affordable cost of living. It’s cheaper by the national average by less than 6.4 percent. From groceries to gas, most things average out cheaper here, helping to keep a few extra bills in your pocket.

  • Home prices for all budgets

    Your chances to buy a home are brighter in Tucson than in many other US cities. The average cost of a home is $135,500, which is much lower than the national average of $1, 85,000. However, the realty costs have gone up by 23% in the last year, which also means a house in Tucson is also a good investment for the future

    The home rent in Tucson fits every budget. While the average rent for a studio apartment is $799, it is $1,800 for a 4-bedroom apartment.

  • Great nightlife

    The great nightspots in Tucson range from quiet wine bars to college hangouts and high-energy dance clubs, with lots in between. Breweries, sports bars, country/western saloons, LGBT clubs, comedy shows, performing arts venues, casino gaming – there is something for everyone in Tucson.

  • Year-round events, whatever your interests

    There is no shortage of festivals in Tucson but you will have a tough time picking one. The city hosts fests throughout the year – thanks to the great weather here.

    Some of the best festivals you shouldn’t miss in Tucson are:

    • Annual Roasted Chile Festival
    • Tucson Pride Parade and Festival
    • Marana Farm Festival
    • Tucson Greek Festival
    • This Is Tucson School Fair
    • Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival
    • Tucson Reptile & Amphibian Show & Sale
    • Oktoberfest at Trail Dust Town
    • Tucson Meet Yourself
    • Oro Valley Music Festival

  • Free of natural disasters

    Tucson is free from almost every natural disaster – earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards. And that makes the city one of the safest places in the country to live.

  • Cultural diversity

    Though predominantly white, Tucson is also culturally diverse with a large population falling from different racial backgrounds. While 41% of the population are Non-Hispanic Whites, 30% are of White Hispanic background. While Asians form 31%, people from African-American backgrounds are 5%. In addition, Tucson also has people from multiracial backgrounds. Interestingly, 41% of the residents in Tucson are foreign-born.

  • Diversity in education

    Just as the city, the education institutions in Tucson are also highly diverse. You will see both students and teachers from different backgrounds here. Some of the most diverse schools in Tucson are:

    • Arizona College Prep Academy
    • Sonoran Science Academy
    • Palo Verde High Magnet School
    • Academy of Tucson Elementary School
    • Catalina High Magnet School

  • Great weather

    Tucson takes pride in its sunny weather. The city has 300+ days of sunshine and winters are warm with snowfall. Snowbirds drive to Tucson in winter to explore its mesmerizing topography. In addition, the city is also alien to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.

  • Outdoor adventure

    Hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, cycling – there is a lot in Tucson to explore. To feel more close to nature, Tucson has dozens of natural caves. Bird watching is another popular activity to do in Tucson and its suburbs

  • Access to quality health care

    Tucson promises quality healthcare to its residents. The patient-doctor ratio in Tucson is impressive. As per the latest reports, three of the best hospitals in Arizona are in Tucson.

pros and cons of tucson

Pros & Cons of Living in Tucson, AZ

Here we give you the chance to weigh your options carefully considering the pros and cons of moving to Tucson, AZ.

The pros The cons
You don't have to bother about cold wintersThere's no crosstown freeway in Tucson
Low cost of livingCrime is on the high side
No natural disasters in TucsonThe economy isn't as great as you'd expect
There's a mountain for every activitySummers are extremely hot in Tucson
The city is home to the Davis-Monthan Air Force BaseThe city has no meaningful bodies of water
Stable access to fresh foodsPoor road network
Lots of local attractions and outdoor activities
Farmers markets
Tucson's air is fresh and clean
A cool mountain vacation is just an hour away
Tucson is great for cycling
housing market in tucson

How's the housing market in Tucson, AZ?

Median House Prices in Tucson

Chances are you may end up buying a home before or after moving to Tucson, AZ. Up to 55.6% of Tucson residents are homeowners, according to Best Places.

The values of homes in the city has increased by 7.6% over the past year and they are expected to nosedive by 0.6% within the next year, according to Zillow.

Here are the key metrics of Tucson, AZ real estate market using data collated from Zillow:

  • The median home value in Tucson is $215,965
  • The median list price per square foot in Tucson is $144
  • The median price of homes currently listed in Tucson is $231,250
  • The median price of homes that sold in Tucson is $217,100
  • The median rent price in Tucson is $1,300
  • In Tucson 0.8 homes are foreclosed (per 10,000) lower than the U.S. value of 1.2

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Average Rental Prices in Tucson

If you're interested in renting a home or an apartment before or after moving to Tucson AZ, we have all the data you need here to help you put the right foot forward.

The cost of renting a home or an apartment in Tucson, AZ is lower than the U.S. average. Up to 44% of Tucson residents are renters and about 3.6% of homes in the city are available to rent, according to Best Places.

  • The average rental price in Tucson, AZ is $1,193. U.S. average is $1,470
  • Studio apartment is $619. The U.S. average is $821
  • A 1-bedroom apartment is $727. The U.S. average is $930
  • A 2-bedroom apartment is $962. The U.S. average is $1,148
  • A 3-bedroom apartment is $1391. The U.S. average is $1,537
  • A 4-bedroom apartment is $ 1,645. The U.S. average is $1,791
palces to live in tucson

Best Neighborhoods to live in Tucson, AZ

What neighborhood will be the best for you if you're moving to Tucson, AZ? Using data from Home Snacks, we've compiled a list of the best neighborhoods in Tucson, AZ to help you make the right choice:

Here are the 10 best neighborhoods in Tucson, AZ

Neighborhoods Place Population Median Home Value Median Income
Desert Palms Park861$208,300 $76,875
Eastside4,072$206,300$78,316
Poets Square1,146$191,833$60,578
Houghton2,646$273,400$87,860
Harrison East-South3,045$154,700$57,993
Saguaro Miraflores615$213,500$74,054
Civano2,525$229,700$82,886
Broadmoor-Broadway1,520$281,650$53,963
Mesquite Ranch945$229,700$82,886
Rita Ranch15,378$184,900 (35th best)$80,100 (Fourth best)
cost of living of tucson

What's the Cost of Living in Tucson, AZ?

Tucson, AZ cost of living index is calculated using a national average of 100. An amount that is higher than 100 indicates that Tucson is more expensive to live in. An amount below that means the city is less expensive to live in compared to the national average.

The city of Tucson, AZ cost of living index is 91.6. This means the cost of living in Tucson, AZ is 8.4% lower than the U.S. average.

What's the Average Salary & Income in Tucson?

Moving to Tucson most likely means getting a new job. How much are Tucson residents earning on the average? Are they earning more or less than the U.S. average?

We've made a simple summary of the amount you're most likely to earn using data from Zip Recruiter, Best Places, and the Census Bureau:

  • The average annual salary in Tucson is $65,891
  • Some salaries in Tucson ranges from $137,058 to $18,711
  • Most average job salaries in Tucson range from $38,357 to $91,215
  • The Per Capita Income of Tucson residents is $22,645
  • The Average hourly rate in Tucson is $32 per hour
  • Tucson has an unemployment rate of 4.6%. The U.S. average is 3.9%

The Median Household Income in Tucson is $41,625. The U.S. average is $63,179, using the most current data from the Census Bureau.

things to do in tucson

Best Things To Do In Tucson, AZ

Tucson, AZ is not a boring city. The city has tons of beautiful attractions and offers so many fun activities for everyone regardless of your lifestyle.

We've listed the best things to do after moving to Tucson, AZ to help you get started.

  • Hike the Sabino Canyon

    Sabino Canyon at Santa Catalina Mountains and Coronado National Forest is a popular hiking and riding spots packed with amazing wildlife. There are waterfalls nearby with bridges over them. In Tucson, both residents and tourists hike the Sabino Canyon.

  • Explore the University of Arizona Art Museum

    An art museum operated by the University of Arizona at its campus near Park Avenue and Speedway Boulevard has a permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of art including paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. A visit to the museum is a must for every art lover.

  • Visit the Tucson Botanical Garden

    A 5.5-acre garden is a collection of sixteen residentially scaled urban gardens. The garden homes orchids, cacti, jungle vegetation, and succulent. It also displays butterflies from 5 continents.

  • Walk on the wild side at Reid Park Zoo

    The 27-acre Reid Park Zoo features more than 500 animals. The zoo is divided into 4 zones based on the habitats of animals. The inhabitants include grizzly bears, Aldabra giant tortoise jaguar, lion, tiger, and giraffe.

  • Explore Colossal Cave Mountain Park

    Situated 22 miles away from Tucson, Colossal Cave is a large cave system with 3.5 miles of mapped passageways. An ancient karst cave, it was used from 900 to 1450 AD by the Hohokam, Sobaipuri, and Apache Indians. There are museums and camping facilities at Colossal Cave Mountain Park.

  • Have fun at the Tohono Chul Park

    A 49-acre botanical garden, nature preserve, and cultural museum, Tohono Chul Park offers captivating views of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The park is home to many species of wild, native fauna. Considered as one of the best botanical gardens in the world, the park has many outdoor exhibits, which include Ethnobotanical Garden, Riparian Habitat, geology Wall, and Sin Agua Garden.

  • Explore the trails of Saguaro National Park

    The 92,000- acre Saguaro National Park at the heart of the Sonoran Desert forms a canvas of greenery with pine and coniferous forests 8,000 feet above sea level. There is a wide range of flora and fauna, including wildlife such as javelina, coyote, quail, and desert tortoise in the lower elevations and black bear, deer, and Mexican spotted owl in the upper elevations. The park is a popular hiking and biking destination.

  • Learn about aerospace at the Pima Air & Space Museum

    Spread over 80 acres, Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the world's largest non-government funded aerospace museums and it displays nearly 400 aircraft in its 6 indoor hangars. Opened to the public in 1976, the collection even includes aircraft from the WWII era.

  • Star gaze at Kitt Peak National Observatory

    An astronomical observatory at Kitt Peak in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert, Kitt Peak National Observatory was established to inform and educate the public daily about basic astronomy, its current research themes, and the nature of the scientific process. It is home to one of the largest solar telescopes in the world. The observatory has one of the largest gatherings of astronomical instruments in the northern hemisphere.

  • Go on a off road tour at Mount Lemmon

    Mount Lemmon, with a summit elevation of 9,159 feet (2,792 m), is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains and is situated in Coronado National Forest. Catalina Highway runs up the Santa Catalina Mountains from the east side of Tucson and is a beautiful curving road that tourists love to drive through

  • Explore DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum

    One of the popular attractions in Tucson is the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum, a property with a series of buildings scattered throughout a natural desert setting. A legendary landmark of art and architecture, the 10-acre retreat has the adobe gallery, gift shop, cactus courtyard, Mission in the Sun, the artist's former home, and his grave.

how safe is tucson

How safe is it to live in Tucson?

Crime Rates in Tucson, AZ

Property and violent crimes rates are among the most important things you'll have to consider if you're considering moving to Tucson, AZ.

To help you make the right decision, we have collated crime stats from Area Vibes and Neighborhood Scout to help you understand the crime rates in Tucson, AZ.

  • Crime rates in Tucson are 121% higher than the U.S. average
  • Tucson's violent crimes are 94% higher than the U.S. average
  • Tucson residents have a 1 in 18 chance of becoming a victim of crime
  • Tucson is safer than 5% of the cities in the U.S.
  • Year over year crime in Tucson has reduced by 14%
  • Tucson residents have a 1 in 137 chance of becoming a victim of violent crimes Tucson has a crime rate of 57 per 1000 residents making it one of the cities with the highest crime rates in the U.S. In the state of Arizona, over 96% of all communities have a lesser crime rate than Tucson.

Top 10 Safest Neighborhoods in Tucson

We’ve listed out the 10 safest neighborhoods in Tucson for you based on the lowest number of crimes per 100K people.

  • Saguaro Miraflores
  • Tucson Park West
  • Houghton
  • Prince Tucson
  • Rita Ranch
  • Ironwood Ridge
  • Desert Palms Park
  • Western Hills
  • Eastside
  • Mesquite Ranch
schools in tucson

Which are the best schools in Tucson, AZ?

If you're moving to Tucson, AZ, you'd probably be interested in the best schools in the city. Here we've compiled a simple list to help you get started.

Best Middle Schools in Tucson, AZ

  • BASIS Tucson North
    Basis School Inc.,Charter, 5-12 | 960 students

  • Esmond Station School
    Vail Unified District, Public, PK-8 | 606 students

  • Orange Grove Middle School
    Catalina Foothills Unified District, Public, 6-8 | 675 students

  • Vail Academy & High School
    Vail Unified District,Public, K-12 | 451 students

  • Academy of Math and Science - Tucson
    Academy of Mathematics and Science INC. 2,Charter, K-8 | 455 students

Best Elementary Schools in Tucson, AZ

  • BASIS Tucson Primary
    Basis Charter Schools INC. (6361), Charter, K-5 | 773 students

  • Fruchthendler Elementary School
    Tucson Unified District, Public, PK-6 | 357 students

  • Mesquite Elementary School
    Vail Unified District, Public, PK-5 | 647 students

  • BASIS Tucson North
    Basis School Inc., Charter, 5-12 | 960 students

  • Esmond Station School
    Vail Unified District, Public, PK-8 | 606 students

Best High Schools in Tucson, AZ

  • University High School
    Tucson Unified District, Public, 8-12 | 1100 students

  • BASIS Tucson North
    Basis School Inc.,Charter, 5-12 | 960 students

  • Vail Academy & High School
    Vail Unified District, Public, K-12 | 451 students

  • Lewis & Clark High SchoolEmpire High School
    Vail Unified District,Public, 9-12 | 707 students

  • Catalina Foothills High School
    Catalina Foothills Unified District,Public, 9-12 | 1703 students

Best Universities and Colleges in Tucson, AZ

  • University of Arizona

  • Pima medical institute

  • Brookline college Tucson, AZ

  • Southwest University of Visual Arts

  • Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Tucson a good place to live?

Tucson is a great place with its scenic surroundings and fabulous food scene. The economy is thriving here with tourism and tech-related companies being the best paymasters. Despite a high average salary, the cost of living is much lower than the national average and houses are cheaper even in the best neighborhoods.

Interestingly, Tucson is also free of natural disasters. Tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes are very rare in this city and its surrounding areas.

Why shouldn't you move to Tucson?

Tucson is extremely hot in summer. Though the winters are warmer, summers are too unbearable here. About 143 days of the year are over 90 degrees and the temperature crossing 100 degrees is common in summer. The city also records a high rise in the number of crimes in Arizona, 42 per 100,000 people, which is even higher than the national average. The presence of venomous reptiles, such as black widow spiders, tarantulas, scorpions, and rattlesnakes is another major reason that many people skip moving to Tucson.

Where should I not live in Tucson?

Some of the areas you need to skip living in Tucson include:

  • Fairgrounds
  • El Presidio
  • Parkway Terrace
  • Alvernon Heights
  • Roberts
  • Santa Rita Park
  • South Park

Unemployment, crime rate, high home value, and many other reasons make these areas in Tucson not suitable to live in.

What is the best part of Tucson to live in?

Some of the best parts of Tucson to live include:

  • Desert Palms Park
  • Eastside
  • Poets Square
  • Houghton
  • Harrison East-South

These neighborhoods are ranked the best to settle in Arizona for their low cost of living, better job opportunities, and crime rate. Read more about the best neighborhoods in Tucson on our Tucson moving guide.

What should I know before moving to Tucson?

Tucson has got both many positives and negatives and here are a few things you need to know before you move to Tucson.

  • The winter is warm in Tucson but summer is extremely hot
  • The outdoors are amazingly beautiful
  • The cuisine is amazing, especially with its Mexican influence
  • The economy is thriving
  • There are many venomous reptiles
  • The temperature crosses 100 degrees in summer and venturing out at noon is almost impossible
  • Some of the good natural parks in the country are in Tucson and surrounding areas

Why is Tucson so bad?

Though the winter is warm in Tucson, the summer is extremely hot and on average, 143 days a year are above 90 degrees. The temperature regularly crosses 100 degrees. Moreover, Tucson is notorious for venomous reptiles, such as scorpions, black widow spiders, tarantulas, and rattlesnakes and you may find them at garages or corners of the study room at nights.

The crime rate is also extremely high in Tucson, especially gun-related and violent ones.

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