The Most Underrated City: Tucson

underrated cities

 Most Underrated City: Tucson!

Tucson made Travel & Leisure’s List of the Most Underrated Cities. In fact, Tucson was ranked #3 on a list of 31 underrated cities.

It’s not all wild, wild west culture and year-round golf in this laid-back, nature lover’s paradise; With a population of 500,000+, Tucson has much to offer residents and vacationers alike.

Tucson’s natural beauty is enhanced by the magical weather patterns. Monsoon rain storms, rainbows, breath-taking sunrise and sunsets that always astonish locals and tourists alike.

Surrounded by mountains and The Saguaro National Park, Tucson attracts all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. The Tucson mountains bring together hikers, cyclists, rock climbers, bird watchers, storm chasers; all thrilled with what Tucson has to offer.

Downtown Tucson has an amazing list of attractions. Decade-long efforts to redevelop the area have resulted in top-rated restaurants for one. Tucson was also named UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy for one reason; the restaurants. Restaurants like The Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails and Poca Cosa.

In 2015, Tucson was even given this prestigious award for being a foodie’s paradise. Tucson was the first city in America to receive this honor. The city was also rated as most playable city for kids and families.

The 10 Cheapest Places for Millennials to Live

The Hub - Downtown Hot Spot for Millenials, Cheapest Places for Millennials to Live
The Hub - Downtown Hot Spot for Millenials

10 Cheapest Places for Millennials to Live published an article, The 10 Cheapest Places for Millennials to Live in the U.S. where they considered data about cheap housing, availability of jobs, and social + cultural advantages.

In the past, New York City and Silicon Valley were enticing millennials in groves with fast paced tech jobs and other business opportunities; unfortunately, housing prices were so high (and they still are!) that millennials had trouble finding affordable housing and those with dreams of home ownership had a difficult decision to make and the opportunity cost was high. But now people are saying that Tucson may be the next Silcon Valley.

On the flip side, Florida is known to have an abundant affordable rental housing market, but the retiree demographic and job availability makes it a less desirable long-term destination for millennials.

Young people today are being challenged to think-outside-the-box and find destinations that will offer a more complete package and Tucson definitely does.

Without further ado, The Cheapest Places for Millennials to Live:

10. Austin, TX

9. Dallas, TX

8. Louisville, KY

7. Columbus, OH

6. Dayton, OH

5. Wichita, KS


3. New Bedford, MA

2. Sioux Falls, SD

1. Cape Canaveral, FL

“With a median one bedroom apartment price of $540, it’s no wonder that Money rated Tucson number 4 of their best places for millennials. The article credits the city’s revitalized downtown area and ethnic restaurants as a draw for young renters. Tucson’s job growth is expected to rise 11% over the next five years.”
We’ve done the research and this isn’t an all-encompassing description of why Tucson is one the cheapest places for millennials to live. Did you know we have one the lowest point of entry housing markets in the country? Boasting many programs to help first time home buyers and some the lowest homeowners insurance prices making Tucson a great place for someone just starting out to start their life.
Tucson also has an abundance of art, culture, and a very fun and hip downtown. There’s an abundance of nature– to hike, climb, ski and explore and there are a lot of other amazing places that are a short road trip away like: Las Vegas — 4 hours, Phoenix– 1.5 hours, Rocky Point, Mexico (Where you can rent entire beach front houses for the weekend for a couple hundred dollars)– 4 hours, San Diego, CA– 6 hours, and Showlow, AZ (home of Arizona’s biggest ski & snowboard mountain)– 4 hours.
This is only the tip of the iceberg… If you have questions about art, culture, or housing in Tucson please contact me– I’d be happy to help you however I can.

IFEA Award Kudos to Tucson, AZ


IFEA Award Kudos to Tucson, AZ!

IFEA Award Luncheon in Tucson, AZ
IFEA Award Luncheon in Tucson, AZ Photo: Dawn Vandaveer

Congratulations are in order, once again, for Tucson, Arizona! Winning the IFEA Award (International Festivals & Events Association) for 2017.

Recently, FEATSAZ (Festival & Events Association of Tucson & Southern Arizona) submitted the video (above) to the IFEA for review.

After reviewing the video, beautiful Tucson, Arizona has met the IFEA’s most highest standards. And in doing so, on Thursday, September 14th, at 1:30 PM the IFEA officially designated Tucson as a World Festival & Event City!

This event took place at the 62nd Annual IFEA Convention, Expo & Retreat at the prestigious J.W. Marriott Starr Pass. This is the third year in a row Tucson has been host to the IFEA Convention and most likely the last in the region for some time to come.

Nevertheless, on top of Tucson becoming the first city in the United States to be recognized as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, winning the IFEA Award, for 2017, is a great honor and another huge success for our city! We love you, Tucson!

More about the IFEA:

The main focus of the IFEA is to identify and provide services for those organizations that put on festivals.   More specifically, organizations that create and run quality festivals and events that support their communities in a positive way.

In Tucson, that organization is FEATSAZ (Festival & Events Association of Tucson & Southern Arizona).  FEATSAZ deserves a big kudos for their ongoing work for our community.  They should get an even bigger high five for their video and pdf submission to the IFEA that helped Tucson win the renowned award.

Great job to everyone at FEATSAZ and thank you.

Have a great day,
Tony Ray

P.S. Shout out to my ghost-writer “Gonzo” for writing up this piece.
Also, Please check out these other great Tucson Accolades.

Best City for Young Creatives

Tucson Voted Best City for Young Creatives
Tucson Voted Best City for Young Creatives

Tucson ranked #1 Best City for Young Creatives by

Could the Southwest be the new Silicon Valley?

Organizations like Startup Tucson and the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship seem to think so.

With collaborative co-working spaces like Connect Co-Working, The RailYard, Spoke6, GangPlankHQ, and Co+Hoots plus entrepreneurial, art and tech meet-ups springing up across the sunny city, Tucson is wooing young entrepreneurs like crazy, and was even named one of the top tech hubs of last year.

Top it off with really cheap rent, one of the lowest housing markets in the country and a happening downtown, Arizona starts to looking like a delicious place for young creatives with an idea and a dream.

The affordable housing market really does set Tucson apart from big cities.

Young creatives thriving in these cities are obviously pulling in a chunky paycheck, but when you factor in how much of that money is going towards housing, the big city appeal starts to dwindle. Not to mention many of these rentals are tiny, and crowded and lack privacy.

Home ownership still is a great way to build wealth and invest in the future. The peace of mind that comes with having this kind of stability and not having to move every year or every few years is also incredible.

Another thing to consider when you’re looking for a place to live and deciding where to buy a house, is would the property and location also make a good rental? Because you never know, with your more settled and thriving life, maybe you’ll be in a place to buy another home and rent out the first, or possibly you’d want to travel and rent out your house to a long term tenant or even AirBnB. There are many options and benefits of home ownership.

With the way things are booming in Tucson, self-starters, smarty-pants and other hard workers could even pull in those fat, big city paychecks. Mix that with a low cost of living and you’re on track to build actual wealth.

Another cool thing about Tucson is we have one the best music scene’s in the country and a huge population of young people… around 30% which is the same as Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland and other young people melting pots.

I’d love to talk to you more about this!