LATEST ARTICLES

Tucson Makes the Top 10 Hidden Gems Market

Hidden gem in a pile of rocksWe all know that Tucson is amazing but it’s always great to hear it mentioned by outside sources. This time Tucson made the top 10 list of hidden gems by the National Association of Realtors for 2022. Let’s look at what qualifies as a hidden gem market.

What is a Hidden Gems Market?

According to the NAR a hidden gem market has “strong underlying housing market fundamentals but where home prices are undervalue and relatively affordable. As such, these hidden gem markets are expected to experience stronger price appreciation in 2022.” There’s a more technical definition with numbers, income indicators, technical jargon, etc. But the basics are Tucson is undervalued and still relatively affordable. Now some might argue that locals are getting priced out by cash buyers. Usually from other states looking for “investment properties.” That is indeed happening. But, the fact that Tucson is still a hidden gem is the important part for locals.

What They Said

“Tucson is very affordable in comparison to Phoenix. As of 2021 Q2, the median property value was $261,046. This is equivalent to 3 times the median family income in comparison to the median property value in Phoenix, $364,186, which is 4.3 times the median family income. Among the top 10 undervalued markets, Tucson had the third-largest net domestic migration in 2020, at 10,778 (next to Dallas and San Antonio). Due to strong population growth and net domestic migration, home prices rose at a 3-year cumulative rate from 2018 Q2—2021 Q2 of 23.6%, outpacing wage gains of 15.6%.” What we heard was, Tucson is better than Phoenix! Tucson is more affordable than Phoenix. And Tucson is up and coming and ready for a population boom! Now is the time to think about your current home and what your needs might be in the future. Is it time to upgrade? If the answer is yes, or even a maybe, I can help make those dreams a reality. Download a PDF of the Top 10 Hidden Gems of the Housing Market in 2022! Have a great day! Darren & Tony Ray 😎 🌵🏠☀️  

Tucson is Ranked One of the Top U.S. Dog Friendly Cities

A Cute Picture of Baxter that we Overlayed on Top of a Flower Bed in our Garden, a Green Oasis in Tucson, One of the Top U.S. Cities for Man's Best Friend

We Love Tucson Dog Friendly Neighborhoods

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of owning a dog, you’d know that dogs have a powerful, if not magical, effect on humans. They decrease stress and blood pressure levels and can help people overcome feelings of loneliness and depression and so much more. Having a fido friend can drastically improve a person’s quality of life and I know this first hand.

The Huffington Post published an article about the analysis of data collected from a financial consulting company SmartAsset to rank the most wag-worthy cities across the map. The study considered both dog and human-friendly factors. A city’s dog accessibility as in the number of dog parks, dog-friendly shopping areas and dog-friendly restaurants was one and the other was based on the city’s quality of life, which took walk-ability, weather and housing costs into consideration (happy pets need happy owners).

petcationThe ranking is as follows:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Denver
  4. San Diego
  5. Albuquerque
  6. Sacramento
  7. Chicago
  8. Minneapolis
  9. Tucson
  10. New York City

I’d have to agree that Tucson has a lot of dog-friendly parks, beautiful Tucson dog-friendly walk and bike paths, lots of open properties with acreage for a dog to roam if that’s your style but also many of the homes backyards. There are dog-friendly bars and restaurants and even hiking trails. Tucson loves doggies.

In line with the other ranking, I can attest to that fact that the quality of life in Tucson is also high for humans. Tucson is one of the most affordable places to live, one of the most kid-friendly cities for children, and also a foodies paradise.

If you have any questions about Tucson, relocating, housing please don’t hesitate to call me. I’d be more than happy to speak with you to see if Tucson is right for you and find you your dream home.

Have a great day,
Tony Ray
(520) 631-TONY (8669)
Free relocation package and Tucson fun info

Tucson Awarded City of Gastronomy

Tucson UNESCO Award for Creative City of Gastronomy
Tucson UNESCO Award for Creative City of Gastronomy

UNESCO Awards Little Ol’ Tucson as Creative City of Gastronomy

Darren and I have been saying it for years; Tucson has Outstanding, Amazing, Spectacular, Delicious, Unique, Hard to Find Anywhere Else, Marvelous, Take Your Breath Away, Extraordinary Food! Thanks UNESCO for agreeing, sort of.

UNESCO recently awarded Tucson with the highly prestigious honor of being the first and only city in the United States to earn the title of, “Creative City of Gastronomy.” Tucson has made the New York Times!

What is Gastronomy?

Gastronomy – gas·tron·o·my – ɡaˈstränəmē/ (noun)

No, it is not a hybrid of gas and astronomy. It’s true you can see the stars very clearly here from Tucson especially from Kitt Peak National Observatory which houses the largest and most diverse gathering of astronomical instruments in the world, and it’s also true we love our beans in Tucson– beans beans the magical fruit… very funny. No, GASTRONOMY is the practice or art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food and the cooking of a particular area.

After living here for most of my life, I have dined out a lot and here’s what I can tell you about Tucson food.

Tucson Food

We Love Calle Tepa, a Great Mexican Restaurant in Tucson, City of GastronomyFilled with mom and pop shops, one-of-a-kind eateries and unique hole-in-the-wall cafes, Tucson is a Foodie’s Paradise. This is especially true, if the delicious, hard-to-find-elsewhere, Southwest, Mexican culinary style lights you up! There’s no doubt about it, Mexican food is a specialty and treasure in the Sonoran Desert. The rich history of this area lends itself to many homemade restaurants (and Food trucks) that showcase traditional family recipes.

If that’s not enough, a surplus of quality places and a community of people who appreciate food has inspired people to be creative and innovative. No matter what preference, traditional or adventurous, all pallets can be satisfied in Tucson.

You can try all kinds different dishes here, many of which, explode with flavor from all the different kinds of chili peppers. Some of them are strange like eating nopalitos aka cactus and some of them are mouthwateringly bold and unique like our famous Sonoran Hot Dogs.

Note:

Do not try a Sonoran Hot Dog if you want to enjoy hot dogs the “ballpark way” again, these bad boys are wrapped in bacon, grilled and loaded with beans, grilled jalapenos, sour cream, salsas and I don’t even know what else but they are something to be experienced.

But that’s not all, you can pair your food with local off-the-beaten-path tequilas and agave-derived liquors or with wine from the nearby vineyards in Soniota, AZ just minutes South of Tucson.

As a whole the Mexican food in Tucson in unparalleled with any part of the country including Southern California, New Mexico and Texas, Sorry other states but Tucson does Mexican food like no other! As good as it is, Mexican food is not the be all–end all for this little foodie mecca. There are many other food styles to be enjoyed from a wide array of different styles of Asian Cuisines, a plethora of Indian food places, BBQ, nice Sushi Restaurants, Italian food, Steak Houses and some vegan and vegetarian places as well.

The UNESCO City of Gastronomy Award

Tucson has always been a city of gastronomy but it was officially designated a World City of Gastronomy by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and is the first city in the United States to receive such a designation.

There are eight Cities of Gastronomy worldwide—

  • Popayán, Colombia
  • Chengdu and Shunde, China
  • Östersund, Sweden
  • Tsuruoka, Japan
  • Jeonju, South Korea
  • Florianopolis, Brazil
  • Zahle, Lebanon
  • Tucson, United States

Some of Our Favorite Restaurants in Tucson

There are so many brilliant places to eat here and these are just some of our favorites:

We Love North, a Charming Restraunt in La Encantada Mall in Tucson, City of Gastronomy

ZinBurger

ZinBurger is one of the most happening restaurant development groups in town and all of their restaurants are wonderful. Specializing in burger sandwiches you can build your own creation with options such as organic beef, bison, chicken, ahi tuna and veggie burger served with french fries, sweet potato fries, fried zucchini and more. Everything here is yum and there are multiple locations around town!

Penca

Penca is one of my favorite fancy Mexican food places to eat. The food here is so creative and fresh. Homemade chips and 4+ different varieties of fresh salsa daily. Penca has all of your traditional dishes with a twist and the cocktail menu is amazing as well featuring fresh squeezed juices and homemade beers and sangria to delight.

Cafe Poca Cosa & The Little One

This family owned restaurant has 2 locations that are both downtown a few blocks from each other. I recommend the chef surprise dish which is a random sampler make of three of the chef’s nightly dishes. The Little One is a cash only breakfast and lunch cafe featuring some of the favorite menu items off of Cafe Poca Cosa’s menu.

Urban Fresh

Stop into Urban Fresh and be sure to try their freshly squeezed juices. Also, try the salads and wraps. Most of the food, if not all of it, is organic. Check out their rotating lunch special; always delicious. You could also grab a fancy salad or healthy wrap to go.

Ermanos

Ermanos is a wine and beer bar that also specializes in locally grown fresh foods. Everything on the menu is so fresh and mostly local. The wine and beer menu is expansive and it is right on 4th Avenue and open late!

Tucson wasRecently Named the First UNESCO City in North America for GastronomyThe Hub & The Hub Ice Creamery

The Hub boasts a diverse menu of homes style cuisine making this  a great selection for families, large groups or even a first date. After dinner enjoy as scoop of some of the best ice cream in town; it’s homemade!

Martines

Another of my favorite Mexican food restaurants featuring secret family recipes. This place is so charming and delicious. Filled with beautiful art, this place has some seriously cool vibes and it’s BYOB! I recommend trying the veggie tacos or veggie mole burrito but everything is mouth watering.

Time Market

Time market is a great coffee shop and small grocery store filled with healthy, hard to find items. The pizza and salad are to die for and so is everything else.

5 Points Market

This is a go to breakfast and lunch spot for us. Everything here is good: the salads, the sandwiches and the coffee. Plus, there’s a small healthy grocery market in the back with specialty selected items. It’s located downtown near the Ice House Lofts on Stone and 17th Street.

BK Tacos

This is one of our go-to’s for Sonoran Hot Dogs and tacos. This authentic taco shop features a ginormous, help yourself salsa and salad bar with every kind of salsa and taco fixing you could imagine. They also have homemade sangria and a fantastic drink menu. They are open late and it on 1st Ave just North of the University of Arizona.

Tucson Ranks #7 as Best Music City in the U.S.

best music city
Tucson Ranks as Best Music City in the Country!!

If you ask Tucson music fans and artists alike they will tell you: Tucson is a great music town.

Best Music City: Tucson, AZ

A national survey released in 2016 shows that we’re better than great: We are really, really great.

In the list of top music cities in the United States, Tucson comes in seventh overall. Yay Confetti!

In the regional rankings, Tucson is second overall, right behind Austin, Texas — to which Tucson is often compared to.

The Value Penguin does demographically-based consumer lists and this is what they found about music cities in the U.S.:

• Tucson Ranked 7th Overall Nationally

  1. Nashville, Tennessee
  2. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii
  3. Seattle, Washington
  4. Madison, Wisconsin
  5. Austin, Texas
  6. Albany-Schenectady, New York
  7. Tucson, Arizona
    *Phoenix-Mesa landed at 103rd overall.
 • Tucson ranked 2nd regionally, right behind Austin and before Tulsa, Oklahoma.

• Tucson tanked to the bottom of the pile though, for having the most radio stations, coming in at 104 on the list of 200 cities

• We are number 39 for the number of record stores.

• Tucson came in 31st for the percentage of the population with music degrees.

The Value Penguin study evaluated 200 metropolitan areas using statistical data from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, Thrillist, the Burau of Labor Statistics and several media surveys including USA Today and Travel & Leisure.

Here is a PDF of the original article if you’d like to see it.
https://www.valuepenguin.com/2016/best-cities-music-fans

The Tucson Music Scene, from a Local’s Perspective

To expand on this article’s findings, as a Tucsonan, I can provide you with some first-hand feedback about the music scene. If I were going to describes Tucson’s music scene with a movie title I’d name it, Boogy Nights.

From local musicians – to emerging underground artists – to the biggest names in music, you will find it all here.

Geography

Simply thinking about geography, Tucson is a convenient travel stop next to L.A., San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Tucson ranked best music city in USA
Tucson ranked best music city in USA

Artists Love the Crowd at Tucson, Unless they Tell that to Everybody…

Not only is Tucson a convenient stop, but artists say they love coming to Tucson because the crowd gives them all “the feels”.

This isn’t a surprise to me — Tucsonans are friendly, energetic and love to dance. It’s a pleasure to be a part of a good community and then to show artists and visitors what we’re all about.

Intimate Venues

If big crowds aren’t your thing and you are more into the private party style vibe, you’ll appreciate how the style is in Tucson. You won’t have to fight LA style crowds here and smaller venues = better views.

Tucson Music Venues

One of Tucson’s most popular music venues is the Rialto Theater, and it has a capacity of 1,200 people making it a small-big venue. This historic venue is congruent with Tucson in the same way that  Tucson is a big city with a small-town vibe (Tucson’s population: 500,000 people).

There are many popular Tucson venues that are a lot smaller than The Rialto, like Hotel Congress, The Rock, Flycatcher, Solar Culture, 191 Toole and many more. Bigger venues are also present in Tucson like the Fox Theater, Tucson Convention Center, Casino del Sol and The Pima County Fairgrounds.

Proximity to Other Happening Places

Did you know that Phoenix is the 6th largest city in America? The drive to get there is easy and simple, a nice straight-shot up I-10 for about 75 minutes will open up another world. Enjoy the happenings and amenities of this big city and then return home to your quiet, safe, better-weathered community (Yes, Tucson has better weather than Phoenix, it’s cooler.). When the moment strikes for different adventures, you also have Vegas, San Diego, and L.A. all in close proximity for a road trip or a short flight.

Smaller Town Lifestyle with Big City Amenities

This is what Tucson is known for. It’s easy to have the best of all worlds living in Tucson. You get small town community with all the big city action coming straight to Tucson and nearby.

Do you want to learn about upcoming concerts in Tucson? Here’s a music meetup group and you can also check our events calendar.

Are you wanting to know even more about Tucson? Do you think Tucson might be a good place for you to live? I am a Tucson realtor with a passion and appreciation for this city. There are many articles on this site for you to go through to learn more and I am happy to help you learn more about Tucson and maybe even help pick out the perfect home for you. As one of the most affordable places to live in the country, home prices are low, making the point-of-entry to own a home actually accessible. There really are some great reasons why you should consider Tucson to build your life, home and business. I’d love to talk with you.

Take care of yourself and if we don’t speak on the phone soon, I will see you on the dance floor.

Have a great day,
Tony Ray
(520) 631-TONY (8669)
Free relocation package and Tucson fun info