Downtown is the apex of culture, especially the Sam Hughes neighborhood. Here you’ll find active neighbors, recently renovated homes, and a bike friendly ‘hood. Lots of young’uns from the University of Arizona rent in the blocks between Speedway and Grant Streets, from North Euclid to North Campbell, so if you’re a fan of the college scene and/or you prefer your sidewalks to be café-lined (East Speedway), this may very well be the place for you. Keep this in mind: because of the close proximity to campus, some of the apartment complexes in Downtown Tucson run more like extensions of the dorms than independent housing options. If you're young and looking to live with similarly aged whipper-snappers in a secure building (and all with the freedom of living off-campus), then this option will provide you with decent rent and a college atmosphere. Downtown leans toward the more expensive end on the renting spectrum (up to $1,000 per month for one bedroom), but at least rent usually includes all utilities -- including air conditioning, which can become a great value if you are a homesick penguin.
Northwest to Northeast
The areas spanning West University, Alvernon Heights and Northeast Tucson are all verydesireable, especially as one moves toward the western part of the city. The Northeast and the West neighborhoods have an Old West vibe, they’re the ones that can take credit for giving Tucson a unique feel unlike any other in Arizona. Here, the sky is wide, the nights are dark, and the coyotes can be heard for miles. If you want to hop on your mountain bike or cinch up your hiking boots and take off for the day, you'd be doing no wrong in these parts of town. The Eastern part of the city, especially as you head a bit south of Northeast, is a bit less expensive than the West because it's further from Downtown and University of Arizona. Though units typically don't have air conditioners here, most offer a ceiling fan or at least surprisingly efficient window treatments. If that doesn’t strike your heat beating fancy, rest assured that outdoor swimming pools are commonplace. If you’re a pet lover, good news (kind of)! Most complexes allow pets, (this is the great outdoors, right?) the only downside is that a few have breed or size restrictions. Make sure to check with your to-be landlord before moving in your Irish wolfhound.
“But what about the children?!” you’re probably asking your computer. Don’t worry, Tucson’s got an app- Er, I mean, area for that. The Catalina Foothills to the east and Vail to the south are home to some highly recommended areas. Sabina Canyon and Ventana Canyon are upper-class neighborhoods with beautiful vistas and plenty of natural beauty to go around. Up north, the new development of Casas Adobes is working to fill a gap in Tucson residential apartments by providing a quiet area for young adults and new families. The apartment complexes in these neighborhoods are based around communities -- some more youth-culture friendly than others, so if you’re looking to settle down with the fam it’d benefit you to take a peek first or ask the manager. Renting in these outer suburbs satisfies the appeal of living in the wild, wild west without all the gun-slinging, pestilence, droughts, and giant spider robots. If you’re not completely sold just yet, how do spa facilities in addition to the amenities common among most Tucson apartments sound? Those stress knots don’t stand a chance.
Tucson International Airport is only 6 miles south of Tucson's central business district. Thankfully, expedient travel between TIA and your Tucson destination doesn’t require bending the space-time continuum to your will. Shuttles, taxis, or even the Sun Tran city bus can get you to wherever you need to go in a relatively painless fashion. Once in Tucson, the roads are fairly bicycle friendly and the city is equipped with a good amount of bike paths to help all you velophiles move easily from one spot to the other. The Sun Tran bus system is, like most any bus system, less than ideal but is being constantly improved upon. As an added bonus, some apartment complexes provide covered parking for tenants with cars, free shuttle transportation to the University of Arizona and some other hotspots around town, which helps alleviate traffic congestion and the communicative college illness of wallet shrinkage.
On the plus side, Tucson nestles right up to Saguaro National Park, Catalina State Park, and Tortolita Mountain Park. If you are a nature lover, you have the option to leave your front door and enjoy the great outdoors without having to endure hours in traffic to reach it. While the summer days can reach up to 100°F, advocates aren’t lying when they say, "it's a dry heat." The winters rarely drop below 55°, so you don’t have to worry about bringing any heavy jackets with you. Make sure you bring a raincoat though, you’ll need it by the time monsoon season hits around July-August (when it downpours for 15 minutes to an hour every day). If anything, you'll be happy for the novelty of rain and a change from that expansive blue sky.