The weather in Tucson is really nice, which is wonderful. Pretty good amenities, and short drive to PHX. I really liked a lot of the dining options within the city, especially the Mexican food. For a so called "college town" the night life is pretty lame overall. However, there are lots of bike trails, hiking paths and other things that are pretty cool. The only problem which i would describe as a MAJOR PROBLEM is the HIGH CRIME RATES within the city. This is not as much of a problem a short distance north of the city i.e. Oro Valley, or Catalina Foothills area. If possible, I would not live inside the city unless almost absolute certain property crime or threat of much worse doesn't bother you. Overall, I liked living in Tucson and would prefer it over many other places i lived, but if moving to AZ i would probably go with Oro Valley or a PHX suburb.
I've only lived in Tucson a few months, and then mostly because I got sick here. My husband and I were on a two-year RV trip around the United States, and had originally planned to stay in Tucson a couple of weeks or so. Then I got too sick to travel. Now that I'm better, we're thinking of staying here permanently as we like the city so much, and have been looking at houses to buy.
First off, the medical care here is excellent, much better than I ever received in my home state. It's also more affordable. The climate isn't as hot as Yuma or Phoenix in the summers. Tucson is scenic, sitting in a valley surrounded by five mountain ranges. There's so much to see and do here, from famous attractions like the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and Old Tucson, where more than 300 Western movies were made, to less famous ones like the DeGrazia Art Gallery and the Mini-Time Machine Miniature Museum. Should the weather get too hot in the valley, a scenic drive up to Mount Lemmon, the highest point in southern Arizona, cools us off.
I love the charm of the adobe houses that reflect the city's Spanish heritage. Tucson has thousands of restaurants, from fast food to fine dining, and many ethnic restaurants. We particularly enjoy Jasmine, a Middle Eastern restaurant on Oracle Street, and one known simply as Indian Restaurant on Grant Street. If there's one thing I would change about Tucson, it's the condition of the city streets; most of them are filled with bumps and potholes, and flood easily when it rains for even a few minutes.
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, unless you are going from Tucson to Phoenix on a shuttle. Although, the direction between Tucson and Phoenix is a diagonal straight line veering northwest, believe me, it is a convoluted labyrinth, or a very expensive one-hundred and twenty mile trek. As a result of "one more airline tale" (another long story), I arrived in Tucson International Airport when my destination was Phoenix ‘s Sky Harbor International Airport. Thus, I needed to transit by ground to hit my target. When I arrived at the transportation terminal in Tucson International Airport, I went to the Arizona Stagecoach Shuttle counter, an on-site shuttle service right in the terminal. Arizona Stagecoach Shuttle service specializes in shuttling around the Tucson area. Nonetheless, they would happily escort me to Phoenix for a hefty sum of $275 for one way. After clearing my throat, and turning to run, I learned the following:
• I should be communicating with Arizona Shuttle, not Arizona "Stagecoach" Shuttle.
• Arizona Stagecoach Shuttle is the only shuttle service inside of the terminal at Tucson International Airport.
• Arizona (No Stagecoach) Shuttle is not on the premises, not in the terminal.
• The passengers must go to the off-site to take Arizona (No Stagecoach) Shuttle.
• This shuttle service leaves from their main business office or a separate shuttle stop.
• The on-site Arizona Stagecoach Shuttle will take the traveler to the off-site Arizona (No Stagecoach) Shuttle for an $18 stipend.
Personally, I felt that the charge of $18 dollars to take me to the Arizona (No stagecoach) Shuttle site seemed excessive. In addition, I would have to wait longer for Shuttle #1 (AZ Stagecoach Shuttle) to take me to Shuttle #2 (AZ "No Stagecoach" Shuttle). Thus, I fled to my trusty computer (better have access to the internet) to the worldwide web searching for this Arizona Shuttle service (no Stagecoach, remember). Instead of booking on line, I called for clarification. I was instructed of the following:
• The fare was $35 for one person.
• The was just about a $10 dollar reduction for additional companion travelers.
• The shuttles went every hour during the day, but the passenger must come to them.
• They have three different locations.
I chose the University of Arizona location being the closest at 8 ½ miles distance from the airport. I believed that a taxicab would be most economical and expedient way to go. The agent advised me that since there were still five seats available I did not have to commit right then, rather get my reservation with the driver and settle up at the time of departure. I learned later that this was either not the correct information or at least, not the best advice. Based on what I was told, I decided to pick-and-pay with the driver in order to save time. In the midst of my urgency, I would not have to standby and pull out my credit card. I was intent on making the next shuttle, soon to depart. I easily found a taxi stand right outside of the terminal, and took the first taxi in line. After a seemingly sluggish $28 taxi ride ($10 more than the Arizona Stagecoach Shuttle), I arrived to a sign on a pole, that seemed to "suggest" a shuttle pickup was nearby. There was a telephone number on the sign. I had just missed the last shuttle by mere moments and would have to stand in the 100 ºF (38 ºC) Tucson heat for the best part of an hour. I thought that I better call that posted telephone number on the sign to corroborate my situation and their actual standpoint station. The agent affirmed I was indeed in the correct place, but did not see my name on the reservation roster. It was then that I was informed:
• I indeed needed a reservation.
• I must give her my debit/credit card.
• Travel for the same day of booking is $45 dollar not $39, but with a commensurate
differential for companion travelers.
I was further informed that there was no accommodations (inside or out) at that station. I could find a shady spot to stand (100 ºF = to 38 ºC), or I could take shelter inside the convenience store that was just behind me, if need be. After going into the air conditioned refuge, I felt obliged to purchase water and a snack so that I could guiltlessly make use of the facilities. As the time approached, I waited outside as not to miss the shuttle and to prevent the air conditioned cool air from escaping from the convenience store with an enter-exit strategy while checking for the shuttle. As a result, $73 dollars and a tip to the driver later, about a $10 snack with water (convenience store, remember?), $85 lighter in the wallet, on a scorching, clammy, typical summer day in Tucson, I waited an elongated hour, minute by minute before I was on my way to the Valley of the Sun. A couple of other reserved passengers arrived, so my apprehensions about being left behind waned for the most part. One of the passengers who had traveled on the shuttle previously told me that it was her first time waiting in this Park Avenue-University location. She indicated that the location of the main office on Speedway Boulevard was significantly superior because a comfortable air-conditioned office with accessible and obliging staff, tidy restrooms, snacks, complimentary water, and a fleet of shuttles right outside, with one ready to board . The distance of this Speedway location was just a bit more than 11 miles from the airport. With the price of my convenience store water and snack, my vacillation between wilting and icing, I would have easily compensated for the two plus mile discrepancy in my taxicab fare. Who knew?
Returning to the reality of the situation, our driver was on time. He organized the luggage for the now six passengers, which took about 15 minutes for check-in and loading. Ultimately, we were on the route to the next pick-up, which was the final pickup off of Interstate 10, about 10 minutes away. It took then took another ten minutes to be in the direction of Phoenix Sky Harbor terminals . The driver was polite and drove the SUV-like shuttle carefully and unhurriedly to the Airport. We were about fifteen minutes behind schedule of a two hour journey. My frustration was not with Arizona (No Stagecoach) Shuttle service that did meet their provisional obligations, albeit, with a tug and pull here and there. My annoyance was and remains with the poor planning of the City of Tucson where there is no direct and affordable shuttle service from Tuscon's "International"Airport to Phoenix's "International" airport....really? The prevailing costs for this direct service were extortionate for me and I dare say most reasonable travelers, whether one could afford it or not. There was another less affluent option, which I will mention now:
• West Express Shuttle, a family owned company departs from the subway district, about a mile from the airport.
• Again, you have to get there on your own.
• It would have been a much less expensive taxi ride, and who walks a mile in 100 ºF (38 ºC) temperature?
• Their fare was a standard $35 anytime you travel.
• The caveat was that they traveled every three hours, and the next one was not until 6:00 p.m., wherein I would have arrived after 8:00 p.m., much too late for me.
• The tradeoff is time versus money.
• You can get a door-to-door pick-up, including the airport for $149.
The problem is that in either one of these scenarios, Arizona (No Stagecoach) Shuttle or West Express Shuttle, the convenience factor is woefully lacking!
The direct route options may be a "budget-buster" for the average vacationer, such as:
• Arizona Stagecoach Shuttle - $275 one way from airport to airport.
• Limoport - a limousine service that sported three types of vehicles - $293 for a sedan,
$320 for an SUV or MiniVan for a one way ticket.
I would stake my good sense that the City of Tucson will justify this "claptrap" with their official gibberish, righteous ordinance, or some supreme certitude. Perchance, it has something to do with someone's "squatter's rights" or another preposterous shenanigan. I honestly do not know. What I do know is that the commuter customers should come first. If the City of Tucson is seeking favorable tributes, they need to figure this out this ridiculous conundrum. Ultimately, and dimes to dollars, this bad dream has something to do with greenbacks coming out of the public's pockets and going into someone else's pouches. My modest advice would be that if you find yourself flying into Tucson - in order to get to Phoenix....don't! You might find yourself winding through the same wormhole. It was during this wacky excursion that I was reminded of Yogi Berra's idiom:
• "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else."
Having lived in Tucson, Arizona for nearly half a century, I've seen it grow from a quiet cowtown to a thriving metropolis. Although I arrived long after horses plodded down dusty dirt streets, cowboys had shootouts in the local saloons and the citizenry was often on guard against Apache raids, Tucson had retained an ambience of the old west and still does today.
Tucson sits in a desert valley between four mountain ranges with the desert floor rising into foothills and the foothills rising into rugged colorful mountain peaks all around. This part of the Sonoran desert is unique to the world and is forested with majestic saguaro cactus that stand tall over a landscape that is adorned with barrel and prickly pear cactus, mesquite trees, greasewood and sage brush. Arid yet lush, the desert is home to a variety of wildlife including lizards and snakes, coyotes and bobcats, mule deer and javelina and in its upper reaches, bighorn sheep and mountain lions.
Tucson has long been a winter home for those escaping the cold winters of the north and Mid-west and although the temperature can dip down into the thirties at night in the winter, by mid morning you can expect a sunny eighty degrees. Tucson hosts endless activities and attractions. Resorts offer world class golf courses, art and historic museums are well represented, there is a multitude of hiking trails, exceptional restaurants and lively nightlife. Just thirty miles from the desert floor is Mount lemmon and very acceptable snow skiing. West of Tucson is the Old Tucson movie set that will take you back in time and the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is world renowned.
Those who visit Tucson will return again and again and many will never leave.
Tucson as of now (Oct 2011) is crumbling apart. It is beautiful to visit. Gorgeous year round weather (although very hot April-September). This desert has a lot to be appreciated. Wildlife galore (no not just scorpions and lizards) LOTS of various plant life, trees, cactus and such. Great swimming, biking, motorcycling, hiking and camping spots. Saguaro National Parks both west and east are a great place to see via car, bikes, hiking, etc. If you love nature, you will love to see the Sonoran Desert. there is no place like it on earth. If you want a great nightlife, not gonna find it. If you want some delicious "hole in the wall" eating, you will get it for sure! If you want fine dining, lol. There is a large college population. In the winter a huge "snowbird" population of seniors RVing and driving. Large Mexican population too, of course. People are friendly for the most part however medical care is hit and miss. Many places are closing shops. Housing prices are a deal right now. Must have a pool for the hot months. Vail (just outside of Tucson) beautiful, cooler and fresh clean air always. Not a huge job pool either in Pima county. GREAT PLACE FOR A VISIT FOR SURE!!! stay hydrated and sun block. Even if you don't think you are dehydrated, you are, even in the winter.
Tucson has been my home for nearly five years now, and I continue to find a lot to love about it. The weather is sunny and bright nearly all the time, which I think rubs off on the people, who are sunny and bright too! It's not a sprawling metropolis, but there is definitely a lot to do in and around the city.
Downtown in particular has a variety of nightclubs, restaurants and bars. There are also a number of theaters, probably the most popular of which is The Loft, which shows classic movies as well as new releases, and frequently hosts movie-related special events. Within close driving distance there are no less than four large casinos, which offer frequent concerts and shows in addition to the chance to enjoy some gambling. For lovers of the old west, the infamous Tombstone is only a short drive away.
Tucson manages to offer much of the entertainment and qualities of a larger city, while avoiding many of the downsides. It's a great place to live or visit!