Pros and Cons - 4/10/2011
Having lived in Tucson for over 5 years I thought I'd provide my take on this city. By the way, I do agree with many aspects of what a few other commenters have written.
Pros: Coming from coastal Oregon, I'd say home prices are fairly inexpensive. Right now you can easily buy a decent 3-bedroom home in a fairly nice neighborhood for about $140K. Of course you can buy a brand new house, in less than desirable neighborhoods for around $100K. Depending on area, Tucson can be a viable place to raise a family. Several private schools, not so much public ones, are said to be good. Gas prices, while climbing, are generally cheaper compared to many other parts of the country. And for those who don't like long cold winters, rainy or partly cloudy days, you "may" appreciated Tucson's weather. More on weather later. Tucson has mountains. Tucson is indeed a slower-paced city with a little less hustle and bustle.
Cons: While homes and rents are fairly cheap, the pay scale is pretty low here. For example. If you were making $22/Hr working in IT, expect $18 here. In other words, expect to possibly make about 20% less than you're used to making elsewhere. While jobs are hard to come by anywhere in the US these days, it's particularly hard to land one in Tucson. As other commenters have stated, speaking Spanish often helps. Crazy huh? I'll keep my mouth shut one that one. Back to that weather thing. Tucson has lots of sun. In fact, the sun is utterly relentless! Yes, I know, It's the desert. I suppose if you're a lizard 100 to 116 degree weather, from around May thru October, is optimal? But for humans? On a positive note, we do experience about 2 to 3 months of really nice weather. Then again, Southern California experiences more like 12 months of good weather. As for the mountains. Unless you are close up they appear rather drab. It's when you are closer that you can see signs of life, i.e. green cactus. I have to be upfront. Apart from the mountains Tucson is not a real pretty place. Tucson has no meaningful bodies of water. Downtown is worn out and tired looking. Now the more important stuff. Among a few area to avoid are the southern areas of Tucson. From a freeway prospective, you really want to avoid areas south of say the Grant Rd exit. And forget about living remotely close to the airport. Lots of gangs, graffiti, liter, and trailers that look completely unlivable abound. By no means does this applies to everybody, but I'll say Tucson does have its share of brain dead, out-of-touch, unmotivated people. You'll notice this almost daily when it comes to the customer no service mentality that infects most businesses. Tucson is also not a place to live if you like going out for great food. Good restaurants, including Mexican, are sorely lacking.
To close, I'd say that if you elect to live on the north side of town or out towards the further east side of Tucson, and you can leave during the stupidly hot summers, you may find happiness.[read more...]