West Tucson – An Overview

image overlooking West Tucson from Pima Community College's West campus.

West Tucson is a diverse area ranging from dense urban neighborhoods to resort communities and established suburban communities nestled in the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. It features ready access to Downtown Tucson and the freeway yet in some parts it can feel quite remote and fully removed from hustle and bustle of the city.

 

Attractions

West Tucson is home to many of Tucson’s favorite destinations including Sentinel Peak (“A Mountain”), Tumamoc Hill, Tucson Mountain Park and Saguaro National Park (including Gates Pass). It is also home to the Mercado San Agustin, Pima Community College’s West Campus, the El Rio golf course, The International Wildlife Museum, the JW Mariott Starr Pass resort and more!

 

Living Here

This area offers a wide range of living options. Apartments ranging from affordable and student-oriented to upscale luxury are available as well as condos, townhouses and homes in almost every price bracket.

If you enjoy living in an urban environment, within walking distance to dining and entertainment options, you may consider Barrio Hollywood and the surrounding neighborhoods. This vibrant area is one of Tucson’s oldest neighborhoods, features a strong community, sits just to the West of Downtown and along Grande Avenue you can find some of the city’s most beloved, family-owned restaurants. It is just South of the El Rio golf course and bordered to the East by the Santa Cruz River and The Loop, with access to over 100 miles of nearly traffic-free, well-paved multi-use trails to explore. Just South is the Menlo Park neighborhood, the birthplace of the city and one of the most important historic areas in Tucson.

Further West the hills begin and things begin to grow less dense as you very quickly find yourself out of the city and into the Sonoran Desert. Pima Community College’s West Campus and Greasewood Park help to open things up with hundreds of acres of open desert space with many trails available for exploring. The surrounding neighborhoods are almost strictly residential with very few businesses. You can find newer homes in well-kept communities, older homes in classic desert landscape with winding roads, luxury hilltop estates with commanding views of the Tucson valley and everything in between. And even though these homes are nestled among the ocotillo and saguaro, resting on gentle hills and host to diverse wildlife, they remain only a short 10-15 minute drive from Tucson’s bustling downtown district!

The night sky looking East from Tucson’s West side

Activities

This part of Tucson is a paradise for people who enjoy the outdoors. Tumamoc Hill is easily among Tucson’s favorite exercise spots, featuring a 3-mile (round trip) walking/jogging path which ends at the top of the hill and features incredible 360-degree views and arguably the best skyline view of downtown Tucson. There is also Sentinel Peak (aka “A Mountain”) which is a popular drive and also popular with joggers and cyclists and Tucson Mountain Park which features any number of hiking and mountain bike trails. Greasewood Park and Pima Community College’s West Campus provide hundreds of acres of desert paths, and just to the West is Saguaro National Park and the ever-popular Gates Pass Recreation Area.

Cyclists flock to the area to take advantage of access to The Loop, to ride their bikes up Sentinel Peak or Gates Pass or just to cruise the hilly roads, many of which feature bike lanes and signage.The Mercado San Agustin serves as a popular endpoint for hungry cyclists looking to replace calories and socialize after the ride. The Tucson Bicycle Classic road race’s final stage traditionally finished on Greasewood, offering pro and amateur racers alike an excellent course, and giving fans an excellent show!

Runners, walkers and hikers will appreciate the many available trails in the area and also take advantage of the track at Pima Community College West. The campus also features a number of tennis courts.

 

Food & Drink

You are never far from something tasty in West Tucson. Several of Tucson’s most beloved institutions are here, including Daisy Mae’s Steakhouse, Mosaic Cafe and of course the Starr Pass Resort and it’s infamous sunset tequila toast!

The culinary heart of the area is likely the stretch between St. Mary’s Road and Speedway along Grande Avenue. There you will find St. Mary’s Mexican Food, Tania’s “33”,  Pat’s Chili Dogs, El Rio Bakery, Mariscos Chihuahua, and Taco Giro.

If it’s beverages you’re after there’s Rusty’s Bar and Grill and Famous Sams as well two excellent micro-breweries (Dragoon and 1912) and Hamilton Distillers, the makers of Whiskey Del bac. And let’s not forget the excellent micheladas available from Mosiac!

And even though you really don’t need to leave the area to find great food and drinks, it’s worth mentioning that downtown and all that it has to offer is literally minutes away!

The clouds roll in over Tucson’s West side!

 

 

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