The Best City for Remote Workers Has to Be Tucson
As a remote worker, you have an amazing opportunity to live in any city you want. If you’re looking for the best cities for young professionals, you can’t beat Tucson for its mix of affordability and lifestyle amenities. There is a reason that Tucson has received multiple honors recently, such as being included on Conde Nast Traveler’s best big cities in the world list and Livability.com’s 100 best places to live. Read on to find out why Tucson is one of the best cities for remote workers.
Best Cost of Living
The best way to make your paycheck stretch farther is to spend less, and Tucson’s low cost of living can help you do that. With a cost-of-living index of 91.6, Tucson is more affordable than most major cities in America. In Tucson, you can get a 2,000 square foot single-family home for the same price as a 400 square foot studio apartment in San Francisco. Tucson home prices average about 10% of the cost of Silicon Valley or the Bay Area.
In addition to affordable home prices, residents enjoy fine dining, arts and cultural activities, entertainment events, and nightlife at a significantly reduced price-point than the costs for those experiences in many major cities in the U.S., making Tucson one of the best cost-of-living metropolitan regions in the U.S. This is also why Tucson has received numerous accolades as an up-and-coming city.
Are you ready to call Tucson home? Enter to win a relocation and welcome package.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find an array of activities in Tucson and the surrounding area. Located in the Sonoran Desert at the base of Mountain Lemmon, Tucson has temperate winters with sunshine and blue skies almost every day. In the summers when temperatures rise, locals enjoy early morning outings when the cool night temperatures still linger in the air and our desert wildlife can be seen going about their morning activities. If you’re not an early morning person, you can still enjoy outdoor activities in the summer. A 30-mile drive up Mount Lemmon will take you to a completely different climate and ecosystem. Peaking at 9,157 feet, Mountain Lemmon‘s elevation makes it a cool summer respite with high temperatures in the 70s and 80s. In the winter, locals enjoy downhill skiing at Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, the southernmost ski area in the continental United States.
Bicycle Friendly City
Cycling is a major activity in Tucson with many professional cyclists visiting Tucson in the winter to train for competitions.
Amateur cyclists will enjoy tackling sections of The Loop River Path, which circles the city offering a total of 131 miles of paths linking Tucson and surrounding communities. Saguaro National Park, which bookends the Tucson metro area with pristine cactus forests on the east and west sides of the city, also provides trails that are perfect for amateur cyclists.
If you prefer mountain biking, Tucson also has plenty to offer. From flat and fast rippers you could take on even with a gravel bike to rock-strewn tech-fests, Tucson has trails appropriate for both casual and experienced riders.
The diversity of terrain makes Tucson one of the most bicycle friendly cities you can find.
Hiking is a favorite hobby of many Tucsonans. In addition to Saguaro National Park, there are dozens of dedicated recreation areas surrounding the Tucson metro area. Residents of Tucson’s foothills communities often have hiking trails just a short distance from their home.
Popular hiking areas surrounding the city include Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, Catalina State Park, Pima Canyon, Tanque Verde Falls, and Colossal Cave Mountain Park.
The Arizona Trail passes through some of these areas before ascending up Mount Lemmon. Madera Canyon is another popular hiking area located 45 minutes south of Tucson.
Runners will find a variety of terrains in and around the city.
The University of Arizona campus and the surrounding neighborhoods provide scenic, paved paths and streets in central Tucson, and there are flat paths along the dry riverbeds, known as washes, that weave through the city.
The real highlights of the Tucson running scene, however, are in the mountains nearby. Runners will find many trails to explore in mountains ranges that surround the Tucson Basin.
Tucson is well known for rock climbing with developed top rope and bouldering spots in many of the mountain regions surrounding the city.
If you’re seeking the adrenaline rush of climbing up a 40’ tower, Hitchcock Pinnacle on Mount Lemmon offers several trad, sport, and top rope routes including a series of anchors and chains at the top.
For a less thrill-inducing workout, Tucson currently has three climbing gyms, Rocks and Ropes, The BLOC, and a new facility in Northwest Tucson called Rock Solid Climbing and Fitness.
Golf has always been synonymous with Tucson. High-profile events such as Accenture Match Play and the LGPA Legends Tour elevated Tucson’s cachet as a golf destination, but locals have always enjoyed Tucson’s challenging courses set against dramatic desert scenery.
The metro area offers a variety of desert courses and parkland style courses. City courses offer affordable alternatives to the renowned resort courses, and beginners can take lessons through Tucson Parks and Recreation to get into the swing of things.
If you’re looking for an outdoor mecca to call home, enter to win our relocation and welcome package.
Up and Coming City for Best Culinary Scene
In 2015, Tucson became the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy designated in the United States. While the designation may have come as a surprise to those not familiar with Tucson, locals have celebrated the region’s rich culinary diversity for years. As Fodor noted,” Tucson’s multi-layered food culture thrives not only in its dining scene, but through a number of local, innovative food projects that keep the region’s heritage food culture alive.” Since 2015, the culinary scene has only gotten stronger with new, innovative restaurants, breweries and distilleries popping up around the city.
This is the place to enjoy distinctive flavors influenced by the region’s Native American, Mexican, and colonial Spanish heritage as well as native Sonoran Desert foods and flavors.
For a uniquely Tucson taste, find yourself a Sonoran hot dog as soon as you settle into life in Tucson. This food truck staple is a true merger of American and Mexican culture served on a bun. The Sonoran dog features a bacon-wrapped hot dog, topped with pinto beans, chopped tomatoes and onions, mayonnaise, and salsa verde. Which restaurant makes the best Sonoran hot dog is a hotly debated topic in Tucson, but one contender, El Güero Canelo, was recognized with the James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award in 2018.
Speaking of James Beard Awards, Tucson chefs and purveyors of fine food have been recognized many times. Chef Janos Wilder won in 2000, and a number of establishments have been recognized as semifinalists including Don Guerra of Barrio Bread, Stephen Paul of Whiskey Del Bac/Hamilton Distillers, and Maria Mazon of BOCA Tacos y Tequila (check her out on season 18 of Top Chef!). El Charro Café was a semifinalists in the Outstanding Restaurant category in 2019 and Mi Nidito Restaurant was a semifinalist in 2020 for Outstanding Hospitality. These culinary masters and legions of up-and-coming chefs make Tucson a vibrant food city and one of the best cities for young professionals to call home.
To take a deep dive into Tucson’s culinary scene, check out Tucson Foodie, a website dedicated to eating in the old pueblo. And, if you’re ready to make the move to Tucson, enter to win our relocation and welcome package.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Tucson’s nightlife is a fun mix of hipster hot spots, college hang-outs and quirky dive bars. With an ever-increasing number of places to get your drink on, it would be impossible to list them all here, but a handful rise to the top of every best of Tucson list.
Hotel Congress has been a favorite destination since it opened its doors in 1919. You can spend an entire evening in this art deco gem and enjoy a full range of entertainment. Stop in for a delicious dinner at the Cup Café and then stroll a few steps over to the Tap Room for a more divey vibe and a juke box full of nostalgic tunes. If you’re looking for a more sophisticated setting, the lobby bar is a relaxing place for glass of wine or a cocktail, and you may catch a local musician playing Spanish guitar. Later in the evening, you can find up-and-coming national musical acts on the stage at Club Congress which is next door to the Tap Room. If you’re a music buff, take a stroll down the hall just off the lobby in the hotel to see memorabilia of the famous musicians who’ve played in the venue on their journey to stardom.
Tap & Bottle is celebrated locally for its extensive selection of beers and great ambiance. With two locations, you can peruse their selections and sample new brews downtown or in Northwest Tucson. If you’re looking for a large selection and intriguing craft brews, you should also check out Arizona Beer House; Caps and Corks; Casa Video; Craft, A Modern Drinkery; and Hop Shop.
Tucson is a secret gem for music lovers. In addition to Club Congress, small venues such as 191 Toole and The Rock bring in up-and-coming touring acts. The historic Rialto Theatre, located downtown, hosts a broad array of performers and talent, including rock bands, jam bands, comedians, heavy metal, hip hop, film, jazz, flamenco, and county. With room for 5,000 fans, Ava Amphitheater at Casino Del Sol hosts larger touring acts.
The mix of work-from-home amenities and entertainment options make Tucson one of the best cities for remote workers. If you’re ready to call Tucson home, enter to win our relocation and welcome package.
Most Cultural City in the U.S.
The dramatic environment on the Sonoran Desert has inspired a rich arts and cultural community where the diversity of the borderlands is celebrated through visual arts, music, dance, poetry, and theater. Tucsonans applaud artistic expression and appreciate both the fine art of old-world masters and the colorful murals of downtown Tucson with equal regard. With its dynamic mix of visual art, music, dance and theatre, Tucson is certainly a contender for the most cultural city in the U.S. for metropolitan areas of its size.
At the University of Arizona Museum of Art, you can view European paintings and sculpture from the 14th through the 19th Century by luminaries such as Fernando Gallego and Maestro Bartolomé or peruse works by American artists from the 1920s through the 1940s, including Isabel Bishop, Edward Hopper, and Jacob Lawrence. The Edward J. Gallagher III Memorial Collection consists of more than 200 European and American paintings, sculpture, and works on paper, with particular strength in Modern art including artwork by Aristide Maillol, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.
Also on the University of Arizona Campus, the Center for Creative Photography has one of the best photography collections in the world. It opened in 1975 with the archives of five living master photographers—Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Frederick Sommer. Since then, the collection has grown to include 270 archival collections. Among these are some of the most recognizable names in 20th century North American photography: Lola Álvarez Bravo, W. Eugene Smith, Edward Weston, and Garry Winogrand.
Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block encompasses an entire city block in historic downtown. The complex features original and traveling exhibitions focusing on Art of Latin America, Art of the American West, Modern and Contemporary Art and Asian Art.
MOCA is Tucson’s only museum devoted exclusively to contemporary art from around the world. The museum hosts rotating exhibitions by locally, nationally, and internationally renowned contemporary artists.
The variety of artistic celebrations point to Tucson’s reputation as one of the most cultural cities in the Southwest.
Arizona Theater Company is a professional regional theatre company operating in both Tucson and Phoenix. Each season the company produces six plays ranging from classic to contemporary plays, and musicals to new works.
Borderlands Theater is a professional theater company recognized nationally and internationally for the development and production of theater and educational programs that reflect the diverse voices of the U.S./Mexico border region. The company also produces plays by established playwrights whose work resonates with Southern Arizona’s diverse communities.
Flam Chen creates dazzling public spectacles, merging daredevil acrobatics, pyrotechnics and a mastery of air and fire arts. Reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil, the ensemble delights Tucsonans at special performances throughout the year, especially the All Souls Procession held annually at the beginning of November. Fans of cirque-style performances will also enjoy the artist collective Cirque Roots, which also offers classes to the public.
Broadway in Tucson/A Nederlander Presentation is part of the nationally recognized Nederlander Producing Company of America. The Nederlander organization has developed and maintained a reputation for being one of the finest purveyors of theater in the world and has brought smash hits like Chicago, Evita, Riverdance, Avenue Q, Mamma Mia! and Disney’s High School Musical to Tucson. In addition to the operation in Tucson, The Nederlander organization owns and operates theaters in New York, London, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities around the country, as well as produces, co-produces, invests in, and books new musicals, revivals, and touring companies.
Arizona Opera has produced over 170 fully staged operas and concerts since its inception in 1971. The company blends a traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and American operas. Arizona Opera has also presented Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle twice, a feat that has only been accomplished in North America by four other companies.
Tucson Symphony Orchestra has been part of the Tucson community since 1929. In more than 90 years of existence, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra has grown from a volunteer community orchestra to a fully professional orchestra serving Southern Arizona.
If you’re ready to call one of the most cultural cities in the Southwest your home, enter to win our relocation and welcome package.
Easy to get to
If you need to frequently fly back to your company’s corporate headquarters or meet with clients in other cities or countries, Tucson International Airport (TUS) makes it easy to travel to and from Tucson. TUS offers nonstop flights to major cities around the U.S. and Mexico, and its relatively small size makes it easy to navigate, and security lines are usually much shorter than you’ll experience in major aviation hubs.
Easy air travel and its proximity to major cities in the West make Tucson a great home base for remote workers and one of the best cities for remote workers.