Tucson is a great "secret" place to settle down. Our mid-size city of just over a million people offers big-city amenities - with a smaller town feel.
Browse through our list of 45 reasons to move to Tucson, Arizona.
1. Mountains in every direction. If you feel like you are coming home whenever you see mountain ranges, you'll be immediately taken in by Tucson. In fact, you'll be quite literally "surrounded" by five minor ranges of mountains: the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Tortolita Mountains to the north, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Rincon Mountains to the east, and the Tucson Mountains to the west.
2. Sunshine! You won't get the cloudy day blues in Arizona. Tucson offers 286+ glorious days of sun rays. On most days, you'll wake up and peek out your window to find blue skies and glittering sunbeams.
3. Jaw-dropping sunsets. End your evening with art - in the sky, that is! You'll be treated to cotton candy pinks, bleached oranges, vivid purples, and dappled clouds in surreal shapes.
4. Wide open spaces. If you're like the Dixie Chicks and yearn for wide open spaces with plenty of outdoor hideaways, Tucson's got it. You certainly won't feel claustrophobic in our airy city.
5. Fresh Air. Traditionally, Tucson has high rankings when it comes to clean air. We were placed on a list of the 5 Cities with the Best Air Quality in the U.S. (2013) and ranked #1 for cleanest metropolitan areas in the country for 24-hour particle pollution by the American Lung Association (2013). In 2023, Tucson was named #8 on a list of the cleanest U.S. cities by InsureMyTrip.
6. Biking Paradise. If you're looking for accolades, Tucson's won numerous awards when it comes to biking. In 2014, Bustle ranked Tucson #7 among the 10 Best Cities in the U.S. For People Who Love to Ride. More recently, Tucson ranked in Bicycle Magazine's list of Best Bike Cities in America (2018) and was listed as one of the 5 Best Large Cities for Biking by peopleforbikes (2018). Tucson is also currently ranked as gold-level city by The League of American Bicyclists. Travel Channel even went on to say that Tucson has "more bicycle infrastructure than any city in the United States." Hit the streets on most weekday mornings and weekends - and you'll find bikers gliding through the streets and the trails.
7. Runner's Wonderland. Same goes for runners. Tucson has lots to offer - challenging trail runs, plentiful sunshine, mild winters, moderate weather, and a plethora of races to choose from (5Ks, 1/2 marathons, and marathons).
8. Hiker's Haven. Want to strap on your boots and explore the great outdoors? You can find great hiking trails within the city limits. No need to drive an hour! Hit Sabino Canyon, Tanque Verde Falls, Pima Canyon, Catalina State Park, Tumamoc Hill, or Saguaro National Park to be in the city...but far away from the city...at the same time.
9. Swimmer's Shangri-La. Because of 286+ days of sunshine and relatively few rainy days, Tucson is a great place for swimmers. Whether you're in to aquatic athletic pursuits or lounging poolside, you'll definitely find a place to fit in - in Southern Arizona.
10. Ra-ra for the rock-climbers. Remember the mountain ranges in every direction thing? People who scale up boulders for fun will appreciate those.
11. Golf, Tennis, and Pickleball Glory. Again - near perfect weather and plentiful courts/courses will have you swinging your clubs, racquets, and paddles all year long!
12. Food Scene. After all that exercise, you'll be happy to know that Tucson's food scene is superb! You're especially in for a treat if you head to Downtown Tucson, where the eats are delicious and the scenery is ultra-hip.
13. University of Arizona. Into college sports? Then, certainly you're no stranger to the University of Arizona. The University of Arizona has 22 athletic programs with Wildcats playing many different sports. The AZ Wildcats Football Team were Pacific-12 Conference South Division champions in 2014. Arizona Stadium, the home of Arizona Football, has received over $30 million dollars in renovations over the last 18 months for fan enhancements. Prefer basketball? Arizona Men’s Basketball has led the Pac-12 Conference in attendance for 38 consecutive seasons. Arizona Women's Basketball has led Pac-12 in attendance during the last two seasons. Not to mention all of the other outstanding sports teams - tennis, swimming, baseball/softball (one of the hottest tickets in Tucson), and more. In addition, Arizona Athletics is the home of 22 national champion teams. Most recently, Arizona Women's Golf won the 2018 NCAA national title. Even without sports, the U of A is a cultural epicenter - with museums, theatre, dance venues, even a poetry center.
14. Entrepreneurs. Want to start your own biz? Tucson's policies are friendly for small business owners - plus you'll have access to the 5th largest city in the USA (Phoenix is only 2 hours away).
15. Mexican Food. Sorry to say this, but - if you live in the Midwest or East Coast, you've probably never had REAL Mexican Food. Tucson's proximity to Mexico means that we have excellent cuisine options from South of the Border. Chimichangas? Tacos? Burros? Enchiladas? We've got it all.
16. Tortillas. Along those same lines, you haven't tasted a tortilla until you've been to Arizona. Just think about Mission tortillas - and they're pretty much the opposite.
17. Produce. Again, we're ultra-close to California, Mexico, and Yuma County (3rd largest vegetable producer in the nation!) so the grocery stores are bursting with fresh produce - for cheap! Mangos for 99cents! Raspberries for a dollar! Whole watermelons for less than $2! If you like to eat your fruits & veggies, you'll like it here.
18. Weather. Yeah, yeah. Tucson natives complain about the summers something fierce. But snowbirds will attest to the fact that Tucson's weather is pretty next to perfect for most of the year. The summers are intense with 90-100+ degree temps - BUT - BUT - little to no humidity. We've spent summers in Pennsylvania and Illinois and Texas...and can assure you that Tucson trumps them every time. Except that we don't get to catch fireflies (that's fun).
19. Monsoons. If you've never been in Tucson in July or August, you're in for a treat. Clouds come rolling in in the late afternoons and then it POURS. Followed by our resplendent sunshine.
20. The Smell of Rain in The Desert. Some people say it should be bottled. Roll down your windows and take a sniff. There's nothing quite like it.
21. Free of Natural Disasters. Compared to much of the USA, Tucson is relatively free of natural disasters. No tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, etc. There are a few on-record, but they are very, very rare.
22. Fewer Bugs. AKA you can usually eat outdoors on your back patio and PLAY outside without being eaten alive or swarmed by bugs. Also - no need to search yourself for ticks after a hike in the desert.
23. Friendly People. Stop and chat to your grocery store cashier. Wave at the people on your street. Host a block party or bicycle parade. That's the way we do it here in Tucson.
24. 7 hours to the Happiest Place on Earth. How many people can get to Disneyland in less than 7 hours by car or 2 hours by air? That's almost worth an annual pass, right there. Similarly, you can also get to SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Six Flags Magic Mountain - in 6, 7.5, 7.75, and 8 hours, respectively.
25. 6 hours to the Sand and Surf. Head west to San Diego or south to Mexico - and you'll be dipping your toes in the salt water with a margarita in-hand in no time. Access without the sky-high prices! That's what we call a Tucson perk.
26. Mt Lemmon. Speaking of getaways, you can drive less than an hour to Mt. Lemmon to experience cooler climates in the summer and a bit of snow play in the winter.
27. No Snow Shoveling or Bundling. Can we get an AMEN from all of our friends in Wisconsin and Minnesota? We get 1-2 snow days PER YEAR in Tucson - if that. People with "real winters" are certain to laugh at our definition of a snow day.
28. No Muddy Boots. If Tucsonans see rain in the forecast, we rejoice. If rain starts to fall, we all go outside - WITHOUT UMBRELLAS. True story. Because cloudy days are not the norm, you generally won't have to contend with muddy boots and clothes. When you catch a glimpse of an umbrella, it will likely be a sun umbrella next to a swimming pool.
29. Hardly any humidity. Let's put it this way - your hair will be happy here. If you hang up your clothes or towels to dry, they DRY. Mildew is mostly not an issue. This is a desert, after all.
30. Buy a bottle of wine in the grocery store. No need to go to a designated liquor store like in many states in our country. Stop in at any local or national grocer to pick up margarita ingredients, your favorite craft beer, or a bottle of champagne. We'll raise our glass to that!
31. 4 Hours to Forest. Prefer pine trees and greenery to Saguaro cacti? Drive 4 hours north to Flagstaff and you'll be in a whole new world.
32. Desert Beauty. We may not have grass, but our country boasts a different kind of beauty. We like to call it wild and free. You'll know what we mean when you see it for yourself.
33. 5 Hours to Grand Canyon. Often cited as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World - for good reason! You'll feel like you are stepping into a painting and are bound to be awed by this canyon of magnanimous proportions.
34. Stargazing. Look up into our clear skies on most evenings after dark and you'll be greeted to a star spectacular. It's no wonder that Tucson is home to Kitt Peak National Observatory - "the largest, most diverse gathering of astronomical instruments in the world." In many circles, Tucson is known as the "Astronomy Capitol of the World."
35. Downtown Tucson. If you like to be in a city with a modern, urban, and unique downtown space, Tucson's got it. The rebirth of the downtown area in the past 5 years is truly exceptional. Bike around, taste a brew, see a show, stay up late, or admire the architecture. So many wonderful things to see! So many beautiful people to meet!
36. Public Art. We may not be a leader in this area - yet. But Tucsonans certainly do appreciate beauty. Look around and you'll find sculptures and mosaics - from both our past and present.
37. Education options. We, Tucsonans, like freedom. When it comes to school options for your child, choose between public, private, charter, or homeschool - and you're sure to find likeminded friends in no time.
38. Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Say it with us: ESA. Miraculously and marvelously, Arizona students receive money for homeschooling or the private school of their choice. Your family will truly be empowered to make the best educational choice for each child.
39. Birth choices. Again, no need to be stuck in a box (or a hospital bed, for that matter). If you want to give birth in a hospital with all of the latest in technology, you are very welcome. If you prefer, choose the top-of-the-line birth center in midtown Tucson - where you can opt for a low or no-intervention birthing experience, in or out of the tub. Home births are also legal and there are several midwives to select from.
40. 3rd Largest Book Festival in the USA. Bookworm? Be sure to mark your calendar every spring for the 3rd largest book festival in the USA! Book signings! Author meet & greets! Characters breakfasts! Giveaways! You'll also be happy to know that Tucson ranked #7 in Amazon's list of Most Well-Read Cities in America (2016). Boo-ya.
41. No Need to Wear Your Three-Piece Suit. We keep it pretty casual here in the Wild, Wild West - partly due to the weather and partly due to our own stubborn resistance. Business casual? That usually means jeans and a short-sleeve button-down. Everyday work wear? Jeans again - MAYBE a skirt or flowy dress.
42. Tucson Streetcar. Move over, Portland and San Francisco! There's a new streetcar in town. The blue Tucson streetcars that travel around Downtown and near The University of Arizona are sleek, clean, and super easy to ride. We're hoping that the line expands to include more residential areas in the coming years.
43. Colorful architecture. True, there are still a large share of bland-colored stucco homes without character (stop it, developers). But you'll also find gorgeous and artsy bungalows, cottages, and ranch-style homes.
44. Sprawling mansions. Millionaire or billionaire? Tucson's a good place for you too. You'll find plenty of glittering properties! Whether you want acreage, horse property, a lap pool, or a private library, you'll find it in Southern Arizona. Especially compared to the state directly to our west. Ahem.
45. Slow(er) pace. Tucson is somewhat of the antithesis of New York City in that we take our sweet time. Sure, we understand technology. We like a good (local!) latte. But...we prefer to walk a little slower, to take time for a hello, to sit back and soak up the sun.
So, should you move to Tucson? If you are athletic, artistic, and kind-hearted - YES. If you are an innovator, a dream-believer, a business pro, a friendly type - YES. If you are modern, creative, and motivated - YES. If you love kids and have strong family values - YES. If you generally prefer to be outside rather than inside - YES. If you are generous, optimistic, and selfless, bringing sunshine to every place you go - YES. Grumpy people prone to complaining need not apply.
***Moving TO or WITHIN Tucson? We highly recommend TIM SHEAFFER of HomeLink Realty. As a Tucson native, he knows the ins and outs of the city. Call or text him today at 520-305-9005!
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