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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Tucson, Arizona

The University of Arizona has a large and beneficial impact on this thriving, sunny city. Tucson, Arizona (population 542,000, elevation 2,375 ft.) has been one of the fastest growing communities in the country for a long time, and with good reason. It is warm in winter, blessed with sunshine almost 300 days per year, has beautiful surroundings, and has ample land for development. At 233 performing arts dates per year, it also has one of the nation’s highest numbers of arts performances. It retains a distinctive relaxed, western flavor (Tombstone is nearby), and it celebrates outdoor life due to its climate and location.  The downtown has many areas and is undergoing careful redevelopment.

In addition to the rich presence of The University of Arizona, recognized as a Public Ivy, Tucson's many festivals, parades, processions, fairs, and rodeos assure there is never an absence of activity, or a dull moment, in this bustling city.

Where to Retire in Tucson and Home Prices

The housing choices for retirees are among the most varied and economical of any place in the U.S. There are over 25 adult retirement communities with more built every year (see Active Adult Communities link at top right). Mobile home parks are plentiful and offer a low cost housing alternative. There are many condos and private homes in neighborhoods that are perfect for retirees.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median selling price of a home in Tucson was $376,100 during the 3rd quarter of 2022.

What Is Special about Tucson

Saguaro National Park, A city that caters to retirees, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (Arizona's 2nd most popular tourist attraction, Grand Canyon being #1), More than 25 adult retirement communities, University of Arizona, Gateway to the mountains and Mexico, Tucson gets high marks for environmental sustainability, Bicycle friendly, Award-winning Public bus system, and is above average in walkability when compared to other communities.

What Is Not Special about Tucson

Traffic can become intense,  the summer heat is oppressive, dry heat is better than humid, but when anyplace gets over 100, it's hot!

Climate and Physical Environment

Tucson is located in the Sonoran desert in southern Arizona, 60 miles north of Mexico and 120 miles from Phoenix. It 's on the Santa Cruz River, which is a dry river bed for most of the year. Tucson is surrounded by 5 minor mountain ranges and the Coronado National Forest is northeast. Most of the year is dry, with the rains mostly coming in summer. Average July high is 101, January low is 42.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There are many festivals throughout the year, such as the Rodeo Parade, Tucson Meet Yourself, Folk Festival, All Souls Procession, etc. The University of Arizona has an art and a photography museum. The Tucson Museum of Art concentrates on the arts of the Americas. The Arizona-Sonoran Museum is non-traditional and focuses on animals and plants of the desert. The Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Opera Company are important culturally, as is the Arizona Theatre Company.


Crime in Tucson is higher than the national average, although very different in neighborhoods.

Medical Facilities

There are many hospitals in Tucson including St. Joseph's, St. Mary's. Tucson ER and Hospital, and Banner Universal Medical Center.


Transportation includes Tucson International Airport, Amtrak Sun Tran (award-winning public bus system), and Old Pueblo Trolley. There are many trails, and Tucson is bicycle-friendly. Traffic has become a nightmare. Tucson's walkability is about average compared with other cities.

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