Moving Your Life

10 Reasons to Move to Tucson

Tucson skyline at sunset
Written by Lily Rogers

Feeling stuck in a rut? Dying to change careers? Getting tired of the same old scene? People leave their city for so many reasons, but today we're focusing on the positive and highlighting reasons to move to a city. Our city of choice? Tucson.

This pleasant desert oasis is a city where the people are friendly, the food is fresh, and the nature is stunning…but we're getting ahead of ourselves. Keep reading to find out our top 10 reasons Tucson is an unbelievable place to live and learn how to get the most out of this lovely Southwest city.

1. Good hair days, the majority of the time

long-haired blonde woman with glasses in front of buildings

Photo by Adeib Civitatestres via Yelp

Whether or not a perfect coif is of concern to you, your locks will benefit from the warm, dry air of the desert. Though a stray summer monsoon may force an occasional hat day, the much-lauded smell of desert rain will have you forgiving resulting frizz and flyaways. On most days, the un-storminess of Tucson weather will keep your signature cut from Gadabout salon intact. Consistently voted the No. 1 salon in the city in Tucson Weekly polls, this palace of beauty is the place to begin your Tucson transition like a native in the know.

2. Stars in your eyes, on any given night

Tucson, when it sizzles, can make for long, hot days. But by night, when it glitters, you've never seen more stars. Whether viewed from park spaces, restaurant patios, or pools, the night sky here is virtually unspoiled. The Coronet has the perfect al fresco space for stargazing, where restaurant-goers get the bonus view of the romantically retro neon sign. If you're serious about your stars, drive about an hour southwest to Kitt Peak, where the Nightly Observing Program features the largest array of telescopes in the world. Here, you'll experience why Tucson's Milky Way-laden skies bring all the boys to the yard.

3. Nightlife (and day-life) in a revitalized urban downtown

The sun is definitely rising on Downtown Tucson. From events like Second Saturdays Downtown to permanent and touring collections at Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson Museum of Art, and LoveSmack Studios, art and culture are alive and thriving. By day or by night, visit Downtown for brunch eats or dance beats. Your new go-to morning meal may be the breakfast tamale pie at Nook, and more than 80 other restaurants fill Downtown from all corners. Speaking of nooks, Scott & Co. at 47 Scott is a lovely little speakeasy; dip in for craft cocktails and comfort food. Class up your evenings at The Owl Club, or get sweaty with strangers on the Funky Monk dance floor. Homebodies can stock their own bar at Independent Distillery, or stick around for their drink specials if you're feeling social.

4. Expanding your mind, in multiple ways

Entrance to the Center for Creative Photography Tucson

Photo by Travis T. via Yelp

Ponder the meaning of the universe and seek new ideas—Tucson is primed to expand your horizons. Landing in the top ten of Amazon's most well-read cities, Tucson's residents obviously love to learn. They flaunt their literature thrills at the Tucson Festival of Books, where author events, vendors, and live performances give you the opportunity to rub elbows with your fellow knowledge-seekers. No place embodies the forefront of ideas more than a college campus, and U of A delivers—from the bookstore to the museums to the Center for Creative Photography. The Pima County Public Library is an active part of the community, and offers events like story time for kids and citizenship classes.

5. Year-round events, whatever your interests

folk band playing to audience at the Tucson Folk Festival

Photo by Nancy S. via Yelp

Once you've unpacked and settled in, your first order of business is to plan your Tucson calendar, because your year is about to get busy. Through every season, festivals and events invite visitors and locals to celebrate all things Tucson. The Tucson Fringe Festival starts out the year and provides spaces for performing artists to showcase their works. The famous Tucson Gem and Mineral Show brings glitz to February, the Agave Heritage Festival ushers in spring along with the Tucson Folk Festival in April. Revelers of all ages join the All Souls Procession in early November, and Winterhaven Festival of Lights brings the magic at year's end.

6. Stay fit and active, in and out of doors

Tucson has so many places and ways to keep fit, you have to try to be unhealthy here. It's often voted a top cycling city, and with the most bicycle infrastructure in the U.S., it earns the accolades. The Loop is 131 car-free miles for runners and cyclists, and during Cyclovia, the streets are closed to vehicles, and biking, walking, and hula-hooping are the main ways to move. El Tour de Tucson is the longest-running and largest bike race in Arizona, and even has an indoor stationary bike event. It's not all bikes, however. The city and its surrounds have lots of places to climb and hike. The Tucson Marathon stretches along the Santa Catalina mountain range, Saguaro National Park is a beautiful backdrop for any workout, and climbers benefit from the proximity of Baboquivari Peak, Elephant Head, and Mount Lemmon. In the city, Rocks & Ropes and the BLOC keep your scaling skills on point.

7. Food, from all corners of the world

Tray of Sonoran hot dogs from El Guero Canelo

Photo by Mike H. via Yelp

Once you claim Tucson as your home, be ready to get real proprietary over the Sonoran hot dog. From your first bite at El Güero Canelo (we recommend a visit before you've even unpacked your boxes), to the first time you bring a visitor, this treat will make you proud to be a Tucsonan. Mom-and-pop institutions, brand new swanky spaces, and everything in between—this city's food carries unique southwest flair. Fresh, exciting Teaspoon will please your morning palate, Maynards Market & Kitchen is an all-day staple, and you'll be dialing Tucson Tamale Company for regular delivery. The city's rich flavors and fresh produce thrive at places like Sand Reckoner Vineyards, Barrio Bread, and Heirloom Farmers Market.

8. Friendly people to meet, whether you're single or ISO new BFFs

Group of women making wreaths in Tucson, AZ

Photo by Theresa D. via Yelp

Tucsonans love to meet their neighbors, and with a population that is 53 percent single, they create plenty of opportunities to get acquainted. The city is so sociable, it hosts Tucson Meet Yourself, a "folklife festival" that celebrates the diverse cultures and shared human experience it embodies. Groups and meetups are an active part of Tucson society, and the perfect way to meet your peers. Meet Me at Maynards blends exercise, socializing, and sightseeing, while various reading groups at Antigone Books appeal to the indoor set. Get a new career or project off the ground with the help of Tucson Young Professionals and Ask Women of Tucson, and if your work-from-home life gets lonely, join a Connect coworking space. If your Pinterest board isn't just for looks, you'll thrive in Creative Tribe workshops. And if none of that suits you, there are tons of dog parks where you and your pup can make new friends together.

9. Nature to explore, with exceptional smells, colors, and sights

Desert flora is some of the most unique. When in bloom, it paints the craggy landscape with shocks of bright pinks and yellows. Only the blazing sunsets stretching over distant mountains can compete. Tall, green cacti stand stoically, and the whole seemingly still space calls out for you to explore. Now close your eyes and imagine this is your backyard. In Tucson, it will be. Mountains span every direction, and you can visit natural wonders like the Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tohono Chul Park, and Colossal Cave Mountain Park any time you choose. Immerse yourself in nature at Saguaro National Park or Sabino Canyon, where you can sit back and relax on a tram tour.

10. Affordable cost of living and home prices for all budgets

Sure, you could pay way more to live in smaller spaces, far away from nature, but why would you? Living in Tucson is cheaper than the national average by 6.4 percent, and at $135,500, median home prices are lower than the national average. Renters are also in luck, as median rent for a single-family home is nearly $300 cheaper than Phoenix counterparts. From groceries to gas, things are generally more affordable, so you can save more cash for a (rare) rainy day.

These are just a few of the many reasons to move to Tucson. Even better, you don't have to leave anything behind. Plenty of space means lots of Tucson storage, because moving cities doesn't have to mean moving on from your things.

Header image via Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

About the author

Lily Rogers

Lily is a writer, editor, and content strategist. Her curiosity spans genre, from travel to pop culture to food, and she writes about all that and more. She's also a social introvert, literature nerd, and (slight) hoarder. When not in pursuit of her next adventure, she's most likely at home with her wife and two cats.

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