The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Tucson

From its booming technological center to its mouth-watering foodie scene, here’s everything you need to know before moving to Tucson.
Written by Katherine Duffy
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Oct 18, 2022
Year-round hot, sunny weather, a booming economy, rich arts and culture, and affordable city living may seem too good to be true. But, if you move to Tucson, you’ll experience all of these things and more. 
Affectionately referred to as the Old Pueblo, Tucson has been inhabited for at least 12,000 years. This historic city has played an important part in American history, and much of that history is preserved today in the city’s rustic architecture, celebratory traditions and festivals, and its many museums and cultural centers. 
For these reasons, Tucson is a great place to visit—but there are even more reasons to live there. From its booming technological center, to its family-friendly neighborhoods, to its incredible food and weather, you could fall in love with living and working in Tucson.  
Thankfully, it’s also incredibly affordable by metropolitan standards, although the average
cost of Tucson car insurance
is higher than the state average. 
Still, you should weigh the pros and cons of Tucson living carefully before committing. Luckily,
, the
trusted super app
car insurance
shopping, has created a guide for the Tucson-bound that has all you need to know before making the big move—and all the best tips to keep it easy and affordable! 
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What you need to know about Tucson before you move

1. It’s an affordable Arizona gem―but it’s growing at a rapid pace 

With a cost of living that’s 6% lower than the national average and 5% lower than the
Arizona average cost of living
, Tucson is the city to choose for a more affordable metropolitan lifestyle. The average home price is just $132,200―25% lower than the national average―and rent for a one-bedroom apartment is just $950 per month, on average. 
These outstandingly low costs may not last for long. Tucson has grown a whopping 5% in the last decade, and there are no signs of this growth stopping. It is expected to continue to expand well into Arizona’s Sun Corridor, creating more economic opportunities for its residents. 

2. Speaking of growth, there are job opportunities abound 

As a city in the middle of the hot and dry Sonoran Desert, you may underestimate Tuscon’s job market if you don’t know any better. But its rapid growth and affordability have made the city rife with interesting and diverse job opportunities
As the home of the University of Arizona, it’s no wonder that 15,000 Tucson residents are employed by the university. But that’s not all! The university has made Tucson an emerging tech hub and was even named the top city for emerging tech companies in 2019 by CBRE.  
Tucson is also one of the top five areas in the U.S. for the aerospace and defense industries, and it’s globally recognized as a top solar energy development location. 
Whether you’re into bustling business life, innovating in a lab, or a lively tourism and entertainment career, there’s a career opportunity waiting for you in Tucson. 

3. Theft is a more pressing concern than violent crime 

Knowing that Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona (right after Phoenix), you’d think crime would be much more prevalent. Surprisingly, Tucson experiences lower crime rates than most cities in Arizona, including Globe, Tolleson, Page, and Winslow. 
While Tucson’s crime rate is higher than the national average, it has been on a steady decline since 2005, nearly halving its crime rate to 379.6 crimes committed per 100,000 people in 2020.Thankfully, the vast majority of crimes committed in Tucson are property and theft-related. More often than not, avoiding becoming a victim of crime is as easy as choosing a reputable neighborhood, such as Dunbar Spring or Sam Hughes. 

4. It’s great for pet owners and parents alike

Whether you’re moving to Tucson with a four-year-old or a four-legged companion, Tucson is the perfect spot to ensure your kids and your pets are living their best lives. It’s considered one of the best spots for dog owners because of its beautiful year-round weather, endless dog parks, and large variety of dog-friendly bars, restaurants, and attractions
Bring your dog on a touristy afternoon trip by visiting the dog-friendly
Tucson Botanical Gardens
and grabbing a delicious slice at
1702 Pizza
Tucson is also filled with family-friendly neighborhoods and top-of-the-line schools. Neighborhoods such as Sam Hughes, Dove Mountain, and the El Presidio Historic District offer an assortment of open and gated communities with kid-friendly parks, historic architecture, arts and culture centers, hiking trails, and even a premier golf club. Homes in these areas cost anywhere from $200,000 to over $1,000,000. Whatever your budget is, you’ll be able to enjoy a family-friendly lifestyle in Tucson! 

5. Drivers beware—it’s the most congested city in Arizona 

According to CBS News
, Tucson was the 37th worstdestination for driving in the country, outranking any other Arizona city. 
The city’s congestion level is 18%. This means you can expect to tack on an extra 10 minutes to your total commute each day, which rounds out to approximately two and a half days over the whole year lost to
Tucson traffic
! While this congestion level doesn’t compare to
driving in New York City
driving in Los Angeles
, getting around the city is still a challenge. 
To avoid gridlock and
parking headaches
, opt for the city’s public transit system, Sun Tran, instead. Plus, Tucson has a very walkable downtown core—just remember to wear comfortable shoes! 

6. It’s a paradise for sun lovers 

If you love sunny weather and dry desert heat, you’re bound to love Tucson’s climate—this city enjoys 286 sunny days per year! Out-of-state tourists flock to Tucson during the winter months, making it a quieter city in the spring and summer months. You’ll enjoy less traffic and you can indulge in your favorite restaurant without a huge waitlist. 
That being said, Tucson experiences wild weather during the summer. Expect an influx of thunderstorms, occasional dust storms, and heat reaching 100 degrees on sunny days. If you can bear the odd tumultuous storm, Tucson is a paradise for those who love basking in the sun. 

7. Tucson is the first UNESCO Gastronomy Capital in the U.S. 

That’s right—Tucson isn’t all chimichangas and cowboy steak dinners (although we love these dishes too). Tucson earned this prestigious UNESCO title from its rich history of being a top location for quality food, plus its agricultural history stretching back 4,000 years
Enjoy Tucson’s food scene by taking a
Marana Gastronomy Tour
and learn about the city’s entrenched dedication to quality food. There are also endless excellent restaurants, cafes, diners, and gastro pubs within the city. 
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Does Tucson live up to its stereotypes? 

While Tucson is a desert city, our list above shows that Tucson is certainly not a wasteland. You can enjoy quintessential Mexican dishes, take in the cacti-spotted Sonora desert scenery, and visit the famous Tucson Rodeo if you want. But Tucson has much more to offer beyond its tourist reputation! 
It’s a booming city for technological research and growth with tight-knit neighborhoods, an incredible food scene, and a booming arts and culture scene. From hiking to museum hopping to enjoying one of the city’s many festivals, Tucson is a diverse and exciting city to call home
Interested in seizing the affordable living costs and finding new digs in Tucson? For tips on how to make that move the smoothest transition possible, read on. 
Key Takeaways High property crime rates and less-than-ideal traffic is balanced with an affordable city lifestyle, an unmatched food scene, and an emerging technology industry. 

Finding a place to live in Tucson 

After securing a job and deciding whether or not you’ll bring your car along, it’s time to find a home in Tucson. The current housing market is somewhat competitive, but you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a rental apartment or home for sale that’s within your budget. 
The average home price in the Tucson area is $132,200, and the average rises to about $330,000 in the city’s core, making this city incredibly affordable compared to most major metropolitan areas in the U.S. 
Not looking for a permanent home quite yet? You’re in luck—the average one-bedroom apartment in Tucson is just $950 per month, while a three-bedroom unit hovers around $1,600 per month. 
When choosing a neighborhood to live in, start by making a budget so you can be confident about exactly how much rent you can afford—and where you can afford it. Then consider the other factors, from your household makeup to your nightlife needs, that go into determining the perfect place for you. 
If you’re not familiar with Tucson’s 25 neighborhoods and counting, here are a few pointers: 
  • Most iconic neighborhoods: El Presidio Historic District, Armory Park
  • Best neighborhoods if you’ve got kids: Sam Hughes, Dove Mountain
  • Best neighborhoods for foodies: Barrio Viejo, El Presidio Historic District
  • Best neighborhoods if you want to keep your car: Catalina Foothills, Dunbar Spring
  • Most affordable neighborhoods: Menlo Park, Old Fort Lowell 
Before you choose your next place to hang your hat, be sure to visit your new neighborhood. Staying a few nights, if possible, and getting a taste of local offerings will help you find the right fit. 
Pro Tip Live with roommates to make Tucson’s most sought-after neighborhoods more affordable. 

Moving to Tucson checklist 

So you’ve figured out which neighborhood is the best spot for your lifestyle and found a place to live in Tucson. It’s finally time to prepare for the big move! Follow these checklists to keep things smooth throughout the process, from the first box you pack to
your first night in your new home

Before you go

Before you move, make sure to: 

After you get there

Once you arrive in your new home, stick to these essential steps to help you settle into your new Tucson life: 
  • If you moved with a car from another state, be sure to
    register your car
    in Arizona and
    update your insurance
  • Speaking of insurance—you’ll want to
    buy renters’ insurance
    to protect yourself and your belongings (and your wallet!)
  • Update your mailing address, voter registration, and healthcare information. 
  • Explore your new neighborhood! Check out nightlife, restaurants, coffee shops, and dog parks—and don’t forget to find the perfect late-night takeout place. 

How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in Tucson

Whether you’re keeping your car in Sam Hughes, renting a one-bedroom in Armory Park, or purchasing a home to raise a family in Dove Mountain, you’ll need insurance if you want to move to Tucson. Luckily, the insurance comparison app
can help you find savings on every type of insurance, from auto to homeowners—with or without a
No matter what type of insurance you need, Jerry can compare quotes from some of the nation’s top providers in 45 seconds and get you signed up in record time. Just download the app, enter your information, and let Jerry handle the rest! 
And if you’re getting ready to move to Tucson, we’ve got good news: just by using the Jerry app to shop for car insurance, users save an average of over $800 a year. That nearly covers your first month of rent in Tucson! 
Haven’t shopped for insurance in the last six months? There might be hundreds $$$ in savings waiting for you.
Judith switched to Progressive
icon savingsSaved $725 annually
Alexander switched to Travelers
icon savingsSaved $834 annually
Annie switched to Nationwide
icon savingsSaved $668 annually


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