Tucson, Arizona

Best Places to Retire in Arizona


Tucson (metropolitan population 885,000) is among the fastest growing metropolitan centers in the U.S. It is a blend of Native American, Spanish, Mexican, African American, Asian, and Anglo heritages. The Hohokam Indians who inhabited the area hundreds of years ago, were an advanced civilization that developed complex irrigation systems for their crops. The name “Tucson” is derived from the Indian word, “Chukson,” meaning village of the dark spring at the foot of the mountains.

A Mission was established on the Santa Cruz River in 1757 and in 1775 the City of Tucson was officially born. Arizona became a part of Mexico in 1821 and in 1854, after the Gadsden Purchase, it was under the jurisdiction of the United States. In 1863 Arizona became a Territory of the United States, and in 1880 the Southern Pacific Railroad reached Tucson. http://www.cityoftucson.org The city is located in a desert valley, at an elevation of 2,600 feet above sea level, surrounded by mountain ranges.

The Santa Catalina Mountains, which are to the north, are the highest range, reaching 9,100 feet. The Rincon Mountains are to the east, the Tucson Mountains are to the west, and the Santa Rita and Sierrita Mountains are to the south. Green trees, such as Palo Verde, Mesquite and Cottonwoods, grow in great numbers on the desert, and there are over 25 varieties of cactuses, including the mighty Saguaros that can reach more than 60 feet in height. The desert is very beautiful in April and May when the cactuses are in bloom. Tucson is a city that “has it all.” It is not surprising therefore that is has been rated among “America’s Best Places to Live.” It has a rich history and interesting cultural mix.

It has outstanding visual and performing arts, including a symphony, an opera company, and a ballet company. Tucson also has good museums and unique attractions, and is host to a number of professional sports teams. It has outstanding educational institutions and excellent healthcare options, including a VA Hospital. It also has its own international airport with about 70 flights a day. It is estimated that there are 3,000 eateries in Tucson, including many fine dining restaurants.

Over 150 restaurants serve authentic Mexican cuisine, and there is Italian, Japanese, and other ethnic foods, along with dinner theaters and nightclubs. Outdoor recreational options include hot air ballooning, mountain biking and hiking, rock climbing, exploring the Sonora Desert or the mountains, horseback riding, ATV touring, great golf and tennis options.

There are well over 100 major parks, including 26 swimming pools, and dozens of facilities and programs for all age groups. Tucson is also known for its good weather. It is warm, sunny and dry throughout most of the year and has a very low (25%) average relative humidity

Arts & Culture

The Tucson Pima Arts Council is a non-profit organization to encourage and support the arts in Tucson and throughout Pima County. 

Downtown Tucson Arts District has nearly 30 galleries and offers weekly ArtWalks and open studio tours. 

Tucson/Pima Public Library is comprised of a Main Library and 18 branches. http://www.library.pima.gov/

Tucson Convention Center houses the largest exhibition space in Southern Arizona, and is the primary location for concerts, wrestling, the circus, and sporting events. Its Music Hall and Leo Rich Theater are two of the regions most prominent venues for the performing arts. It hosts performances by the Tucson Symphony, the Arizona Opera, the Arizona Friends of Music, and the Theater League. It also hosts other cultural and touring events. 

Arizona Opera presents five productions of grand operas during its October-April season. http://www.azopera.com/

Tucson Symphony, with a history of more than 75 years, performs a series of classic, pops, chamber and family concerts. http://www.tucsonsymphony.org/

Tucson Museum, established in 1924, has a permanent collection of over 6,500 works of art. It also has a library, art school and sculpture gardens. 

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a zoo, natural history museum, aquarium, and botanical garden. It features the interpretation of the animals and plants of he Sonoran Desert. 

International Wildlife Museum contains over 400 kinds of mammals, insects and birds from around the globe, depicted in natural and realistic settings. There are hands-on exhibits and interactive computers, plus theater presentation. http://www.thewildlifemuseum.org/


The Tucson Parks and Recreation Department maintains 103 main parks, including 26 pools, The Reid Park Zoo, three tennis centers, five golf courses, three urban fishing lakes, recreation complexes, and more. 

The city of Tucson operates five golf courses: Dell Urich, El Rio, Fred Enke, Randolph, and Silverbell http://www.tucsoncitygolf.com/

There are a great many outstanding golf courses throughout the Tucson area. The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau offers a list of 27 of them. 

Tucson Electric Park is the centerpiece of the Pima County Kino Sports Complex, which also includes six-field practice facilities for both the Diamondbacks and the Chicago White Sox. 

It has a capacity of 11,000, including 8,000 seats in the main grandstand and another 3,000 available on the outfield lawn. It is also the summer home of the Tucson Sidewinders. 

Hi Corbett Field hosts spring training camp for the Colorado Rockies. 

Arizona Aerospace Foundation’s Pima Air & Space Museum is the “Living Boneyard” for 250 aircraft dating back to World War II. http://www.pimaair.org/

The University of Arizona’s Flandrau Science Center features hands-on exhibits, multimedia planetarium and laser light shows, over 15,000 gem and mineral specimens, and a 16-inch telescope for nighttime observing. http://www.flandrau.org/

Kitt Peak National Observatory, on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, is home to 22 telescopes representing dozens of astronomical research institutions. It offers tours and a nightly stargazing program. 

Ramsey Canyon Preserve offers outstanding scenic beauty and great diversity in its native plants and animals. Included are 14 species of hummingbirds. This 300-acre preserve, located at 5,280 feet, offers exhibits, a nature center and guided walks. 


Pima Community College is a two-year college with an enrollment of approximately 28,000 students. It offers a comprehensive curriculum of general education and occupational education courses. http://www.pima.edu/

University of Arizona is among the top 10 public universities in research money. It is a leader in astronomy and optical sciences, scientific instrumentation and electronics. The university offers the Bachelors degree in 142 fields of study. It has an enrollment of approximately 35,000. http://www.arizona.edu/  

The university also includes Arizona Medical School which is one of nine heart transplant centers in the U.S., and a comprehensive cancer center. http://www.ahsc.arizona.edu/

University of Phoenix is a private school offering a curriculum of post secondary courses leading to Bachelors and Masters degrees. It has an enrollment of approximately 700 students. http://www.phoenix.edu/campus-locations/az/ southern-arizona-campus/southern-arizona-campus.html

Senior Programs

The Tucson Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide range of programs for all ages, including seniors. 

Tucson Senior Olympics progam is run by the Tucson Parks & Recreation Department. 


Kindred Hospital is a 51-bed specialty hospital providing long-term acute care. 

St. Mary’s Hospital (Carondelet Health Network) is a 393-bed full-service hospital. It also has Southern Arizona’s only burn and wound care program. 

St. Joseph’s Hospital (Carondelet Health Network) is a 301-bed full-service hospital. 

Northwest Medical Center is a 253-bed acute care hospital. 

Southern Arizona VA Health Care System – 


Tucson International Airport – http://www.tucsonairport.org/


Tucson is known for its good weather — warm, sunny and dry throughout most of the year, with low relative humidity (avg. 25%). Annual precipitation is 12 inches, with 2.42 inches coming in July, which is the wettest month. It has 138 days of over 90 degrees, and 19 days below 32 degrees. January has average daily temperatures of 64 degrees and 38 degrees, while July temperatures average 98.3 degrees and 74 degrees. 


Arizona Daily Star – http://www.azstarnet.com/

Chamber of Commerce



Tempe – 114 miles Scottsdale – 120 miles Phoenix – 116 miles Grand Canyon – 344 miles Las Vegas – 404 miles San Diego – 409 miles

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