If you’re searching for the best neighborhoods in Tucson, AZ, we’re here to help. Whether you’re thinking of moving to Tucson from another part of Arizona or looking to make an interstate move, we’ve compiled a handy list of the best Tucson neighborhoods to help you decide.
Part of the huge Arizona Sun Corridor megapolitan area, Tucson lies 60 miles north of the USA’s border with Mexico. Around 110 miles southeast of the state capital of Phoenix, Tucson is the second-largest city in the state. Home to around 546,000 people, Tucson is the county seat of Pima County.
Founded in the 1770s as a Spanish military fort and with a history that stretches back to ancient times, today the vibrant city has Spanish, Mexican, Native American and modern influences. Famous for cowboy heritage, luxurious resort spas and the Saguaro cactus, Tucson is often referred to as the nation’s Mexican food capital.
Nicknamed ‘The Old Pueblo’, Tucson boasts an array of excellent attractions. These include the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, Tohono Chul Park, Tucson Botanical Garden, Mission San Xavier del Bac and Kitt Peak National Observatory. Downtown Tucson exudes a laid-back Southwestern ambiance and is home to plentiful restaurants, shops and amenities.
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Why move to Tucson Arizona
Tucson is a large city with plenty of small-town appeal. The university helps to create a youthful atmosphere. The city sees an average of 286 sunny days each year with very little humidity. Although summers can be exceptionally hot, winters are warm and mild, perfect for those who can’t wait to explore the surrounding mountains. The city has won awards for being biking friendly, and outdoor enthusiasts have great opportunities for hiking, golfing and climbing at their fingertips.
Tucson has an overall lower cost of living as compared with the national average, and things like housing, transportation, groceries and health are typically cheaper than average state figures. The local job market is steadily growing and the average commute time of 22.2 minutes is lower than the nationwide average.
You might recognize places from the big screen as you explore too; Tucson has been used to film scenes from several movies, including Tin Cup, Revenge of the Nerds, Major League and Can’t Buy Me Love.
Best neighborhoods to live in Tucson AZ
Tucson is separated into four main areas:
- Downtown and Central Tucson
- Southern Tucson
- Northern Tucson
- Eastern Tucson
- Western Tucson
Each area is further split into several neighborhoods, with the different Tucson neighborhoods having their own unique charm and appeal.
When deciding where to live in Tucson, you’ll likely want to consider aspects like housing costs, safety, education, transportation and local amenities. Overall, these are what we consider to be the best neighborhoods in Tucson:
1. El Presidio
One of the Downtown neighborhoods, El Presidio is the oldest neighborhood in Tucson. Once one of the city’s wealthiest areas, today El Presidio is home to many large historic houses. You’ll also find art galleries, vintage stores and museums along the timeless streets. There’s food and culture galore, and it’s among the best neighborhoods in Tucson for families.
While the historic vibe remains, El Presidio has a wealth of modern amenities and facilities. The area has several schools as well as diverse homes in various styles and sizes to suit different budgets. Naturally, living in the downtown core offers plenty of convenience too.
Situated towards the east of the city, the planned community is known for its sustainable building practices and for being very walkable. It’s an ideal Tucson neighborhood for those who don’t want to get the car out each time they wish to go somewhere local.
There’s a strong sense of community in Civano, with residents regularly visiting the area’s neighborhood center and leisure and sporting facilities. The community garden is a perfect place to relax, while active residents are sure to enjoy the mountain biking park.
3. Oro Valley
Located in Northern Tucson in the scenic foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Oro Valley suburb provides easy access to the beautiful Catalina State Park. El Conquistador Country Club and the nearby Golf Club at Dove Mountain appeal to golf lovers, and there’s a local farmers’ market where residents can stock up on fresh produce.
Families can take little ones to the Children’s Museum Oro Valley and hangout at the large James D. Kriegh Park, complete with its Olympic-sized pool. Alternatively, Canada del Oro Riverfront Park has an array of sports facilities.
Housing wise, the area offers a splendid assortment of modern dwellings, spacious Mediterranean-inspired houses and townhouses.
Keeling lies just north of the University of Arizona and is just a short commute from the heart of downtown. A great Tucson neighborhood for families, the streets are quiet and the area has a suburban atmosphere.
The area has its own elementary school and a good selection of shops and eateries that are easy to walk to. Parking is fairly convenient too. Locals like that the neighborhood is dog-friendly and has a lively holiday spirit.
5. Sam Hughes
Close to the university, residents of Sam Hughes are made up of students, university lecturers, professionals and families. There are many cafes and shops where people can enjoy free time, and Himmel Park is a popular recreation spot.
It’s a relatively safe area, where many local residents would feel comfortable walking around at night. High walkability and good sidewalks enhance the area’s appeal.
Leafy tree-lined streets run through the neighborhood and local housing options include apartments, bungalows and 100-year-old homes. House prices range considerably throughout the neighborhood, making it a great spot for people of any means.
6. Dunbar Spring
North of downtown and within convenient reach of major roads, Dunbar Spring was the first predominantly African-American neighborhood in Tucson. The area has seen lots of regeneration and rejuvenation over recent years, becoming a lively sought-after community. Fitness centers, eateries, churches, shops, bars and art galleries are spread through the neighborhood, with Estevan Park providing open green space.
Local schools are highly rated and the population is home to many young professionals. Dunbar Spring has a blend of suburban and urban vibes, appealing to a wide range of tastes.
7. Corona de Tucson
South of the city center, the suburb of Corona de Tucson has a low unemployment rate and a friendly intimate air. Peaceful streets are lined with attractive pale-colored Mediterranean-style houses, with most people owning their homes. The average resident age is 35, and the total population is over 9,000. It often ranks highly as a highly liveable area.
There are parks, markets, shops and places of worship close to hand, as well as a number of nearby schools.
8. Catalina Foothills
One of the most affluent neighborhoods around Tucson, Catalina Foothills boasts luxury shopping and dining options, golf courses, parks and high-end hotels. Of course, as the name suggests, it’s also just a stone’s throw from the natural delights of the Catalina Mountains. One of the best neighborhoods in Tucson for outdoor lovers, residents have an array of adventures and active pursuits nearby, while enjoying life in a posh area.
The population comprises a blend of young professionals and retirees, and is something of a magnet for out-of-towners looking to escape wintertime yet still have accessible skiing opportunities. Housing costs are substantial in Catalina Foothills.
9. Armory Park
Home to a diverse selection of businesses, the historic Armory Park is just a stone’s throw from the bustling heat of downtown. There’s lots of Spanish-era architecture and peaceful public plazas to catch the eye, and locals aren’t short of ways to enjoy their leisure time. Museums, art galleries and skate parks are within a short distance, as well as an abundance of places to eat, drink and shop.
Around 4,000 people call this neighborhood home, with approximately 75% of locals renting their homes. Residents often value the area’s quirkier ambiance as well as the convenient central location.
Other top Tucson neighborhoods to consider include:
- Barrio Viejo
- Old Fort Lowell
- Barrio Santa Rosa
- Menlo Park
- Pie Allen
- Rita Ranch
- Picture Rocks
Next steps if you’re thinking about moving house
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As soon as you find your perfect new home in Tucson, you can enjoy the cash in your pocket, ready for you to put in an offer and start preparing all the other things you’ll need for your house move. Don’t delay—get an offer today!