Tucson, Arizona, downtown city skyline in the afternoon.

City Guide / Tucson

What Is It Like Living in Tucson?

By Bri Hand | Dec 20, 2021

From the Mission San Xavier del Bac to Finger Rock Trail, living in Tucson is marked with breathtaking sights, in addition to world-class dining and a unique, balmy climate. Whether you’re a longtime local, a new arrival, or just beginning to plan your move, this article is here to tackle the key aspects of life in Tucson, Arizona.

Get ready to dive into the need-to-know aspects of Tucson living, including:

  • Weather
  • Lifestyle
  • Transportation
  • Surprising facts

Let’s get started!

Five-season weather

Tucson, AZ, boasts 350 days of sunshine every year, but that doesn’t mean the area sticks to just one season year-round. In fact, the area is known for five distinct seasons that can bring an enjoyable variety for those who live there.

Living in Tucson is about being prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you. After all, you are living in a desert! That said, it’s easy to remain comfortable throughout the year if you know what you’re in for.

The following is a brief guide to Tucson’s weather to help you maximize your comfort through all five seasons:

  • Fall: The favorite season of many people who live here, fall is the time for green chili roasting and Halloween celebrations. While the weather does cool down a bit, you’re still going to want to opt for short sleeves from late September to December. Average temperatures still range into the 80s and 90s, so don’t start putting your summer clothes away just yet. Also, get ready to welcome the snowbirds and vacationers who flock here to live out the colder months.
  • Winter: From late December through February, this Arizona city hits its coldest point. You can look forward to temperatures dropping to an average of 70 degrees during the day and into the low 30s at night. Expect some rain and frost at higher elevations. It’s not exactly a winter wonderland, but you should have an opportunity to break out the flannel.
  • Spring: When the desert flowers bloom, you’ll know it’s spring in Tucson. Owl’s clover, ocotillo, and mariposa add some delightful colors to the landscape, while the mountains turn green following the wintertime. This Arizona city experiences temperate weather from late February to late April, with average highs in the 70s and 80s. Spring is the perfect time for outdoor adventures!
  • Dry summer: With temperatures typically in the triple digits, May and June make for the hottest season of the year. Typically, the area quiets down a little due to the extreme heat. Crank your AC, go sleeveless, and do what you can to stay cool—we recommend hitting the local lakes and water parks.
  • Wet summer: The rainy season is marked with high humidity and temperatures just below 100 degrees. While it’s only a slight respite from the heat, the wet summer season means thunderstorms and renewed growth for local plants. Prepare for monsoon season by getting your windshield wipers replaced and keeping your umbrella handy.

People who live here may have to put up with some serious heat during the summer, but with mild evenings and easy winters, it’s no wonder so many locals appreciate the Arizona weather. 

Warmer days can even have a serious effect on your happiness since sunlight can release serotonin in your brain—just don’t forget to apply sunscreen! 

Tucson lifestyle

Families, retirees, students, and young professionals all flock to this Arizona city for a taste of something unique. While the area is home to more than half a million residents, it still retains some aspects of the small town it once was.

Once you arrive in Tucson, you’ll quickly realize there is no one-size-fits-all lifestyle. Despite its vast diversity, this Arizona city is particularly welcoming to those who are interested in the following:

  • Fitness, athletics, and the great outdoors: It’s no surprise that a city surrounded by a wealth of mountains and nature trails would appeal to lovers of all things outdoorsy. A paradise for cyclers, mountain bikers, climbers, and hikers, the area is dedicated to creating more opportunities to commune with nature. There’s even the opportunity to go skiing just north of the city at the Mount Lemmon Ski Valley
  • Career opportunities: While the University of Arizona is the largest employer in Tucson, the area attracts a variety of professionals looking to expand their career options. Those working in the aviation, tech, or defense industries may find numerous opportunities in the city.

If you don’t find yourself fitting into these broad categories, that doesn’t mean that life in Tucson isn’t right for you. Best of all, this Arizona city is a friendly spot to new residents, so there’s no question that you’ll find a community ready to welcome you in.

Transportation options

Living in Tucson means you have access to a variety of diverse and exciting neighborhoods, so deciding on your method of transportation is key to seeing everything the area has to offer. 

The city stretches about 500 square miles, and while much of it is walkable, these options may make your local travel a little easier:

  • Sun Link Streetcar: Hop on Tucson’s streetcar route to explore some of the most visited places in the area. With stops at the University of Arizona campus as well as Main Gate Square, Historic Fourth Avenue, and Congress Street, a streetcar is a convenient option if you’re looking to explore the best of Tucson dining, shopping, and entertainment.
  • Sun Tran: You can reach nearly any destination in Tucson on the Sun Tran and Sun Express. This local bus has operated over 40 standard routes and several express routes. Plus, the service offers an easy-to-use web portal for tracking your bus and planning your trip.
  • Sun On-Demand: This revolutionary transit service offers curb-to-curb rides within designated zones in Tucson. It’s a city rideshare option that allows riders to reserve a seat up to seven days in advance. After that, you can wait for your pickup and relax while you’re shuttled to your destination.

Despite Tucson’s varied public transit options, many locals still opt to drive their vehicles for everyday transit. If you’re planning on making day trips to the mountains or just hoping for a more flexible way to get around, it may be worthwhile to have a car while you’re in town.

That said, you always have the option to rent a vehicle if you’re interested in taking a road trip to a nearby locale. If your preference is two-wheeled, you’ll be happy to know that Tucson is a very bike-friendly city. Whether you prefer biking lanes or backroads, it’s no surprise that Tucson has consistently ranked as one of the best bike cities in the country.

Surprising facts

While you may have planned on the weather and transportation long before your arrival in Tucson, there are still many things that surprise new residents once they arrive. The unexpected aspects of daily life in this desert city are part of what makes it such an enticing locale for those looking for a breath of fresh air.

Consider some of these eclectic, fascinating, and down-right fun aspects of life in Tucson:

  • Low light pollution: While many big cities across the country are lacking when it comes to stars, Tucson, AZ, offers a bright sky full of constellations. Due to the low light pollution, expect to see planets, galaxies, eclipses, and more when you gaze up at the night sky.
  • World-class shopping: From the Old Town Artisans to La Encantada, Tucson is a shopping haven for those looking to explore luxury fashion, vintage apparel, and western wear. If you’re ever in the mood for some retail therapy, the city will not disappoint. 
  • Bring your dog: Canine companions love Tucson because of its dog parks, pet-friendly bars, farmers’ markets, and endless trails. Just mentioning Tucson to a four-legged friend can cause wagging tails and perked-up ears.
  • School spirit: With nearly 50,000 students, the University of Arizona is a big part of the city. That means you’ll run into a lot of Wildcats while you’re here—and we don’t mean the ferocious animal. Whether you’re associated with the university or rooting for another team, there’s no denying that Tucson has some serious school spirit and pride for higher education.

Perhaps the biggest surprise about Tucson is that more people don’t know about it. How many places offer world-class dining, entertainment, and employment opportunities while remaining affordable and friendly? Plus, there are certainly plenty of fun things to do in Tucson, and with its small-town charms and big-city amenities, Tucson often feels like one of the best-kept secrets in the country. 

Living in Tucson, AZ, with Landing

Ready to hit the Sonora running? If you’re looking to move to Tucson, AZ, do it with Landing. We offer flexible leases, easy move-ins, and 24/7 services to ensure your desert stay is an exceptional one.

Browse our furnished apartments in Tucson today to discover all the possibilities this Arizona city has to offer.

Trying to decide between living in Tucson and Phoenix, AZ? Check out our blog post, “Tucson vs. Phoenix: Which City Is Right for You?

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About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.