With the benefit of mild winters, Tucson is a popular spot for hikers, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. The population swells each autumn with the arrival of University of Arizona students and retired seasonal residents moving to Tucson for the mild climate (summer notwithstanding). The city prides itself on being home to some of the most authentic Mexican restaurants in the United States.
Here are some things you should know before moving to Tucson.
Moving to Tucson during the summer can reduce your moving costs because it is the off-season. Winter is more expensive, and due to an influx of seasonal residents, it’s more difficult to book moving trucks and companies.
The other side of that argument: Summer is considered the off-season due to days averaging well over 100 degrees (the highest on record is 117). Late summer also has frequent afternoon monsoons that often induce street and underpass flooding or damage from lightning strikes. If you choose to move in the summer, try to confine your workdays to early morning (and drink plenty of water).
Tucson has two major freeways (Interstate 10 and Interstate 19) providing access to the city.
While traffic does increase on the freeways during regular commute times, the real traffic problems are on the surface streets. Tucson is spread wide over a large area, and without an extensive freeway system, the street traffic is very heavy.
Public transportation in Tucson is available primarily by bus (Sun Tran) and trolley, the latter running between the University of Arizona and downtown neighborhoods.Public transportation in Tucson is available primarily by bus (Sun Tran) and trolley, the latter running between the University of Arizona and downtown neighborhoods.
Depending on the season that you are moving to Tucson, there may be any number of events that close stretches of public streets to traffic. Among the events affecting Tucson traffic are football games at the University of Arizona, spring training baseball, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the Fourth Avenue Street Fair, El Tour de Tucson, Winterhaven Festival of Lights, the Tucson Rodeo and the Accenture Match Play Championships (golf). Check the Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau for an updated listing of events.
If you plan to visit Tucson and explore neighborhoods and potential employers prior to moving there, pay attention to street and parking signs. There are a number of streets in downtown Tucson that are one-way only. Also, many streets have restricted parking requiring permits or payment.
To make your move to Tucson easier consider changing your address online. It is easy to do, cost efficient, and will ensure that your mail arrives at your new home by the time you move in.
Tucson is built out, not up, and covers nearly 200 square miles, which means that there are a number of areas and neighborhoods to choose from—and a lot of driving between them. When moving to Tucson, consider proximity to work, school and other matters of personal importance (friends, families, place of worship, etc.), as well as the natural geography of the area which will influence shopping options, wildlife interaction and, perhaps most important, sunset viewing.
Cost of Living
While healthcare and general goods and services tend to run a little higher than the national average, the cost of living in Tucson is still on the lower side. The cost of living index for Tucson is 95 based on the national average of 100. A gallon of gas in Tucson is 10 percent lower than the national average, and household utilities range up to 22 percent lower. Average rent for an apartment is $777 and the median home value is just over $103,000. New homes are available under $100,000.
Traffic in Tucson is pretty congested. Public transportation is available (Sun Tran and via trolley), but to get across town, you have to sit in the same traffic as everyone else. There are two freeways in the area, but both tend to skirt much of the city and therefore are not the best option for many commuters.
One of the best ways to get around Tucson is by bicycle. Many streets have wide, well-marked bike lanes. There are also bike paths along many of the dry creeks and riverbeds that provide riders with shortcuts through the city.
If you are relocating for Tucson jobs, consider the location of your new employer when searching for housing. Chances are you will find a Tucson home near the office that will cut down on the amount of time you have to sit in a hot car cranking the air-conditioning at 9AM.
If you are searching for a job in Tucson, start with list of Tucson’s top employers:
- Raytheon Missile Systems
- University of Arizona (UA)
- State of Arizona
- Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
- Tucson Unified School District
When moving to Tucson, it’s always a good idea to find out which local news outlets are the most reliable to keep you informed of breaking news, temperature forecasts, and tips on where to go for the best dining and nightlife. Get ahold of the following newspapers and tune in to local TV stations to start your discovery of Tucson.
The Arizona Daily Star
Founded in 1879 and reaching a daily circulation over 95,000 during the week, 115,000 on Saturdays and over 150,000 on Sundays, The Arizona Daily Star is now the only daily newspaper serving Tucson following the demise of the Tucson Citizen in 2009. Considered a politically left-leaning publication, The Daily Star covers local and world news, sports, business and jobs, and local arts and entertainment.
The ninth-largest newspaper in the state of Arizona, the Northwest Explorer was founded in 1993 and is published weekly. Its estimated circulation is nearly 50,000, covering a mix of local and international news, sports, local business and jobs, and arts and entertainment.
Tucson Weekly hits newsstands and bookstores every Thursday, reaching approximately 40,000 to 45,000 readers with each edition. The newspaper is a free entertainment guide that regularly covers the local music, arts, theater, dining and nightlife scene. Founded in 1984, Tucson Weekly also covers local news stories mostly ignored by the mainstream media.
Inside Tucson Business
Inside Tucson Business is published weekly and focuses specifically on business, economic and financial headlines impacting Tucson and southern Arizona. Founded in 1990, the newspaper has a modest circulation of close to 7,000 copies but remains an often-referred-to publication for business owners, local entrepreneurs and job seekers alike. Inside Tucson Business can be found on newsstands every Monday throughout Tucson.
La Estrella De Tucson
Printed in Spanish and serving the Latino community of Tucson, La Estrella De Tucson (which translates to “The Tucson Star”) has a circulation of approximately 32,000. Published once a week and arriving on newsstands each Wednesday, La Estrella De Tucson covers news, politics, sports and community events with an emphasis on ethnic society and culture.
Local TV and News Channels
For local news and network coverage, tune in to the following local TV channels.
If you ask locals about the weather in Tucson, you’re bound to get “it’s a dry heat” from many of them, as there is little to no humidity in the Sonoran Desert. Even during the monsoon months (late June/early July through August), when it rains nearly every afternoon, the humidity manages to stay relatively tolerable.
The average daytime temperature in the summer (which unlike most calendars, tends to run from May to September) is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The spring and fall average about 80 degrees, and the winter cools down to an average of 65. The nights of all seasons cool off quite a bit from the daytime highs and range from around 30 degrees in the winter to 75 degrees in the summertime.
Finding the right school is one of the biggest undertakings faced by families moving to Tucson. Recent changes in state funding have taken their toll on public schools, but the area is still full of great educators providing quality education to their students. Current school rankings (elementary, middle and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information and reviews are available online for parents moving to Tucson. Tucson preschool information is also available.
Highest ranked Tucson elementary schools (according to Great Schools):
- Agua Caliente
- BASIS Tucson
- Canyon View Elementary
- Mesquite Elementary
- The Montessori Schoolhouse of Tucson
- Sunrise Drive Elementary
- Sonoran Science Academy
- Senita Valley Elementary
- Tanque Verde Elementary
- Ventana Vista Elementary
Highest ranked Tucson middle schools:
- Orange Grove Middle
- Emily Gray Junior High
- Esperero Canyon Middle
- Hermosa Montessori Charter
- Desert Springs Academy
Highest ranked Tucson high schools:
- Catalina High
- Sabino High
- University High
- Academy of Tucson High
- Mountain View High
- Presidio High
Want to take care of important (mandatory) tasks before moving to Tucson? Many of the items required for a move to Tucson can be found online: