Top 5 Best Neighborhoods in Tucson
Whether you’re dreaming of a quiet cul-de-sac or a downtown pad, location matters. Fortunately, Tucson, Arizona, is a city known for its diverse neighborhoods, each with its own history, cultures, and amenities. Furthermore, the cost of living in Tucson is 6% lower than the national average, giving you way more financial freedom to land the new neighborhood of your dreams.
So, what are the best neighborhoods in Tucson?
Read on to discover five of our favorite locales, perfect for those looking to discover what this great city is all about. From historical, saguaro-lined desert locales to hidden gems just off the beaten path, you’re certain to find an amazing place to settle down in Tucson, Arizona.
In this guide, we’ll be taking the scenic route through these fantastic neighborhoods, which include:
- Dunbar Spring
- Sam Hughes
- Armory Park
Let’s get started!
There are so many fun things to do in Tucson. North of downtown, you’ll find the historic neighborhood of Dunbar Spring. Named after the teacher John Spring and the poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, this neighborhood has long been a diverse and vibrant place to live.
The deep cultural history and close community have made Dunbar Spring a perfect spot for those looking to entrench themselves within the city of Tucson, get to know their neighbors, and support the businesses around them.
If you’re interested in moving to Dunbar Spring, check out local offerings like:
- Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Association: A citizen’s group formed in the 1980s, this coalition allows all residents to become members of the Dunbar/Spring Neighborhood Association. The goal of the group is to work to support the neighborhood through cooperative action and improve local relations. Joining this neighborhood means you have the opportunity to become part of a lasting and positive change in the area.
- Citizen’s Artist Collective: There’s a bohemian flourish to Dunbar Spring, so it’s no wonder that the Citizen’s Artist Collective is based in this neighborhood. While the Citizen’s Warehouse that houses the organization is currently being renovated, exhibitions and events are still occurring throughout Tucson.
- War Fuel Kitchen: Dedicated to healthy meals and quick pick-up. War Fuel Kitchen updates its menu twice a day with food made from scratch. Plus, there’s no waiting when you order online. Try the Citrus Fire Chicken, the Yumyum Noodles, or any of the delicious fresh juice made daily.
Dunbar Spring is a great place for those looking to take a chance on something a little different. With several interesting independent businesses continuing to pop up, this neighborhood is a living, breathing example of all the potential Tucson offers.
A visionary neighborhood thought of as “Tucson’s Solar Community,” Civano has been a must-see neighborhood for over 20 years. Known for its brightly colored homes and tree-lined streets, this neighborhood offers residents gorgeous mountain vistas and bike-friendly paved dirt paths.
The homes in Civano are all relatively new, built in 1999 or after. The community continues to expand, welcoming new residents and businesses who appreciate the innovative design plan of the area.
Civano residents enjoy all the nearby benefits of:
- Our Sweet Lil’ Cakery: Dessert lovers flock to this neighborhood gem. Our Sweet Lil’ Cakery offers a mouth-watering variety of sweet baked goods including the German Chocolate Cupcake, Grandma Helen’s Irish Cream and Chocolate Cake, and the Tender Carrot Cake. Appease your sweet tooth or bring something delectable to your next get-together.
- The Community Garden: With rentable raised-bed plots, you can grow your favorite fruits, flowers, or vegetables in the Civano Community Garden. Admire the citrus trees or linger by the barbeque area and start grilling with your neighbors. The Community Garden has been an essential part of Civano since 2004.
- Fantasy Island Mountain Bike Park: The bipedal will find plenty of amazing benefits to Civano’s Fantasy Island Mountain Bike Park. Ride onto the main loop known as the “Lone Cactus,” or split off onto one of the several side loops. There’s plenty of variety for experienced cyclists and novices alike.
This New Urbanist-style neighborhood is a bit of a hike from the downtown proper, so it may appeal to those looking for a quieter area to live and work. That said, those interested in “green” architecture, renewable energy, and unique public spaces will find Civano to be a breath of fresh air.
Those thirsty for a bustling big city experience should opt for a home in the heart of downtown Tucson. With plenty of dining, shopping, and museums within a walkable distance, downtown is the ideal place for young professionals looking to experience a daily adventure.
Once you make it to downtown, consider making your first stop at one of these amazing locations:
- Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block: The hub of Tucson art and culture, the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block is committed to bringing quality exhibitions and events to the city. Since 1924, residents have flocked to admire everything from photography to Latin American folk art. Today, the museum boasts an enormous collection of work from around the world.
- Barrio Brewing Co.: Curious about Tucson brews? There’s no better place to try out a cold pint crafted locally than the Barrio Brewing Co., a 100% employee-owned business revolutionizing Arizona beer. Sip on a Tucson Blonde Ale, the Barrio Rojo, or the Hipsterville Hazy IPA while snacking on some of the best bar food in the city.
- Jácome Plaza: Sit back in the shade, play ping-pong, or admire the mesquite trees at Jácome Plaza. The Plaza also plays host to several local festivals and events, including Tucson Meet Yourself and the Parade of Lights & Festival. Come hungry on Tuesdays and Thursdays and you’ll be greeted with top-notch Tucson food trucks.
There’s a lot more to downtown than you can see in a day. You’ll find opportunities for excitement at the local trampoline park, outdoor gardens, and at a host of local restaurants and coffee shops. You can plan in advance or let your curiosity guide you—you never know what you’ll find in downtown Tucson.
Located near the University of Arizona, the Sam Hughes neighborhood attracts more than just students. This quiet neighborhood is known for its brewpubs and outdoor spaces, perfect for joggers and cyclers.
Designated as a national historic district, the neighborhood gets its name from Samuel C. Hughes, a 19th-century Welsh immigrant who served as a community leader.
Today, residents of Sam Hughes frequent businesses and locales like:
- Himmel Park: Get out and enjoy the greenery of Himmel Park. This quiet desert oasis is the perfect spot for picnics, barbeques, and quiet walks through tree-lined paths. Not only is the park a haven for birdwatching, but it also houses a public pool and tennis courts. The serene setting also makes it a favorite spot for dog walking and people-watching.
- Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria: Hankering for some out-of-town flavors? Stop by Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria for a taste of the Windy City. Since 1998, Rocco’s has brought Tucson the best of deep-dish pizza, soups, salads, and unbelievable chicken wings. Everything is made fresh daily with quality ingredients, so whether you’re looking to dine on a classic or try something new, you’re sure to be impressed.
- Bob Dobbs: With daily happy hours, a casual atmosphere, Bob Dobbs is a neighborhood hangout for anyone looking for a refreshing drink. Come in for Saturday night karaoke to belt it out with friends and strangers or stop in for weekend breakfast to start your day with a splash of local color.
With a new neighborhood grocery store set to open this year, Sam Hughes continues to forge a path forward as one of Tucson’s most celebrated neighborhoods.
Historic Armory Park is a distinctive residential neighborhood known for the eclectic businesses found on the bustling 6th Avenue. Take a stroll and admire the eye-catching Spanish architecture and beautiful public plazas that bring a special charm to this Tucson area.
Just south of downtown Tucson, Armory Park is a great option for those looking to remain close to Central Tucson, while reaping all the benefits of a relaxed suburban environment.
You don’t have to go far to experience amazing neighborhood offerings like:
- Hub Restaurant and Ice Creamery: Serving up small plates, sandwiches, pot pies, and a whole lot more, Hub Restaurant and Ice Creamery has something on the menu for everyone. Be sure to save room for dessert, this Armory Park staple is renowned for its homemade ice cream—with options ranging from classic vanilla to the extravagant honey goat cheese and walnut.
- The Coronet: International inspiration meets local flavor at The Coronet. Make the trip to the new Cushing Street location and dine on the seasonal menu designed by executive chef Tanner Flemming. An extensive cocktail and wine menu, plus the opportunity to see local and national jazz performers, can make an evening at the Coronet feel like a true event.
- Museum of Contemporary Art: Housed in a former fire station, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Tucson hosts exhibitions as well as education classes for all ages. If you’re eager to dip a toe into the art world or curious about the diverse artists being represented in Tucson, AZ, MOCA should not be missed.
Armory Park gets its name from the centrally located public park known for its historical monuments and manicured lawns. Formerly known as “Military Plaza Park,” it’s now a prime spot for afternoon relaxation or a game of bocce ball.
Other great areas that you should check are the Catalina Foothills, Mountain View, Old Fort Lowell, and Barrio Viejo.
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