Best Places to Live

Tucson, AZ

Population: 548,073
LIV
SCORE
631
iStock/Sean Pavone

Tucson is a quintessential Southwestern city, with the Catalina Mountains providing a stunning backdrop, and the saguaro-studded landscape adding to the area’s majestic beauty. Plus, here in the Sonoran Desert, residents enjoy a rich arts scene influenced by Native American and Mexican artists as well as some of the best Mexican food north of the border. (Did you know Tucson earned a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy designation?) Affordable housing and a diverse economy are a perk for those relocating to Tucson, and, for the bonus round, the city gets 310 days of sunshine. 

Top Industries and Employers: Education and defense are industry leaders, and some of Tucson’s major employers are the University of Arizona, Raytheon, and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Best Coffee Shop: Savaya Coffee is a beloved shop that also holds coffee classes for those who love coffee culture.

Best Local Beer/Brewery: Churros Cream Ale from Borderlands Brewing Co

Must-Have Meal: From tortilla factories to taquerias, Tucson takes Mexican food seriously and claims to have “The Best 23 Miles of Mexican Food.” Your must-have meal is more like a Bingo card: A Sonoran Dog! Soft tacos! Frosty raspados! You’re a bonafide local once you order tostitos, which is a bag of corn chips that could be topped with jicama, lime, pork skins, carne asada and other house toppings. 

Best Co-Working Space: Catalyst in the Tucson Mall has a teaching kitchen, arts and crafts studio, music studio, and a robotics and engineering lab in addition to its offices, conference rooms and co-working spaces.

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Casa Film Bar, which is a bar within a video store where you and your crew can pair a craft beer with a movie.

Creative Hub: Housed in a repurposed firehouse, MOCA Tucson features contemporary art from around the world.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Slip away to Kitt Peak to watch one of Arizona’s famous sunsets and then enjoy epic stargazing with access to a telescope. 

Free Way to Have Fun: Take a hike (and a swim)! Seven Falls, a moderate 8-mile hike, is a local favorite, and the waterfalls will cool you off.

Local Dream Job: A geologist. Tucson is a known destination for rare gems and minerals.

Read More: 
Tucson is One of the Most Bicycle-Friendly Cities in the US
Love Vintage Shopping? Check Out Tucson 
The 8 Best Things To Do in Arizona

- Brittany Anas

"In bigger cities, it would have taken years for me to be promoted to a position where I could be at a place of real impact and shaping my city. Tucson is incredibly welcoming and supportive of new talent — if you are passionate about making a difference, invitations to join thought leaders on boards, panels and task forces come easily. When I started my own company, I was immediately introduced to mentors, free community supports and networking opportunities."  

 

Dre Thompson
Executive Vice President, Startup Tucson

Tucson, AZ Ranking Data

Civic
27
Demographics
57
Economy
75
Education
65
Health
58
Housing
59
Infrastructure
58