Hidden Gem Neighborhoods in Central Tucson

Hidden Gem Neighborhoods in Central Tucson

  • Daniel Sotelo
  • 01/21/22

Armory Park, Credit: Tucson Topia

One of the most important things to consider when moving to a new location is the neighborhood you’ll live in. Do you want a relaxed and quiet feel? Or, do you value a community close to all of the trendiest bars, restaurants, and shops? Perhaps you want your neighborhood to reflect the city’s rich culture and history. There are so many wonderful neighborhoods in Central Tucson to choose from — picking one can feel a bit overwhelming! To help ease your decision, we’ve curated a list of Central Tucson neighborhoods that we think top all others.

Armory Park

Tucked in downtown Tucson are Armory Park, a nationally-registered historic neighborhood and one of the area’s most fascinating communities. 

Known for its beautiful home designs, the Armory Park neighborhood houses various architectural styles spanning the last 150 years. These carefully-maintained buildings allow a unique glimpse into how designs and styles emerged in Central Tucson, as the city developed into the one we know and love today.

Homeowners can enjoy Victorian, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, bungalow, contemporary, modern, and various other styles inside this community. Just south of downtown Tucson’s main commercial area, Armory Park draws in the city’s historic and cultural icons and incorporates them into the design, color, and texture of each home. No cookie-cutter houses here — a walk around the block in Armory Park is a unique experience.

Because of its location, residents never have to look far too fine dining, shopping, or entertainment options, like the Maracana Indoor Sports Arena and the Premises Park Indoor BMX/Skate Park

Dunbar Spring

Celebrated as the first African-American neighborhood in Tucson, Dunbar Spring is located just north of downtown and offers an ethnically diverse living experience. Vibrant murals, sculptures, and artisan goods can be found throughout the community, offering a unique cultural experience. It’s home to the Wild West-inspired Trail Dust Town, an outdoor shopping center complete with saloon shows, and a vintage carousel. You’ll also find the Dunbar Pavillion, an African-American community center with various cultural events, workshops, and panels. Residents can also enjoy Estevan Park, a recreational area inside Dunbar Spring that houses a large playground, soccer field, and basketball court. 

El Encanto Estates

It’s impossible to think of a reason to not live in El Encanto Estates. Centrally located in the heart of the city, historic El Encanto combines a luxurious feel with the convenience of living close to everything the city offers. Various styles of stunning homes reside in this community, including Spanish Colonial Revival, Pueblo Revival, and Sonoran architecture. Mansions, villas, and modern landscaping can be found in this iconic neighborhood, which winds its way around a centralized courtyard. Residents are pleased to find that although the midtown neighborhood is surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city, El Encanto Estates feels leagues away from the traffic and noise. The neighborhood is just minutes away from popular destinations like El Con Center, an open-air shopping mall complete with a theater and nationwide retailers, and Randolph Park, a flat park with walking paths, picnic tables, and a skate park.

El Presidio Neighborhood 

In this community, history comes to life. As Tucson's first and oldest neighborhood — built on top of a Hohokam Native American site — El Presidio is located in the heart of downtown and provides a historic and modern feel for visitors and residents alike. 

In this district, artisans sell their goods inside museums, shops, art galleries, and the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum, a distinct historical location where locals and visitors can enjoy family-oriented events year-round. Restaurants serving traditional, authentic foods from various cultures can be found on El Presidio's streets, including El Charro Café — said to be the originator of the chimichanga — and Café a la C'Art, a prestigious restaurant tucked inside the Tucson Museum of Art.

Architecture in this neighborhood is full of history and personality. Locals can find a variety of architectural building styles that reflect the rich culture of this neighborhood, making each and every space unique. With massive, historic homes, impressive architecture, delicious food, and deep-rooted culture, El Presidio stands out as one of Tucson's best neighborhoods.

Iron Horse Neighborhood

Located between downtown and the University of Arizona, the historic Iron Horse neighborhood is perfect for residents who want to be close to everything the city has to offer. As one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, the area’s architecture and landscape is teeming with history and culture. Classic bungalows, adobe homes, and beautiful Queen Anne houses are just a few kinds of residences found in this eclectic community. The Iron Horse neighborhood is home to many shops and public spaces like Iron Horse Park

Regarded as one of the city’s most walkable neighborhoods, Iron Horse has various walking and biking paths throughout the area — making for an easy stroll to destinations like downtown businesses, entertainment, and dining. 

Miramonte Neighborhood

Located north of downtown Tucson is Miramonte, a residential neighborhood known for its quiet feel. Here, residents can enjoy a peaceful, laid-back vibe without having to travel too far for entertainment, dining, and work. While Miramonte sports a calm environment, it’s near Speedway Boulevard, a commercial strip that hosts many businesses, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Third Street, a prime bike passage that runs from one end of Tucson to the other, crosses through Miramonte and allows a quick and safe ride to popular destinations like the University of Arizona and downtown. 

This community is distinguished by historic, quaint homes on generous lots. Incredible views of the desert and mountains can be found here, especially at sunrise and sunset. It’s hard to believe that this little slice of heaven is so close to the hustle-and-bustle of the city! 

Sam Hughes Neighborhood

Because of its proximity to the University of Arizona, the Sam Hughes neighborhood houses a blend of young couples, artists, students, and professors inside of its beautifully-built homes. Quaint bungalows and modern townhouses sit alongside local and exotic landscaping in this historic Central Tucson neighborhood, where the meandering streets are shaded with trees. The Sam Hughes neighborhood hosts an annual community home tour, so be sure to bring your camera and admire the dazzling architecture in this iconic residential area. Housing prices span a wide array of price points, so most buyers can find a home they love within their budget. 

With its proximity to downtown, Sam Hughes residents have easy access to dozens of shops, grocery stores, cafes, bars, restaurants, and businesses — as well as a wide range of job opportunities. Residents can also enjoy Himmel Park, a neighborhood residential park with picnic tables, playgrounds, and courts for basketball, tennis, and shuffleboard.

Living in the historic Sam Hughes neighborhood mixes beauty with convenience, granting residents the best of both worlds. 

San Clemente Neighborhood

Nestled in central Tucson is the San Clemente neighborhood, a midtown community known for its historic background and prime proximity to restaurants, schools, parks, coffee shops, bars, and entertainment. In 2005, the city of Tucson announced that San Clemente was a historic neighborhood, which granted homeowners property tax breaks. Present-day San Clemente residents love that the homes of their dreams are affordable, historic, and in close proximity to everything they could need.

Developed in the 1920s, this area showcases a variety of both modern and classical architectural styles. Here you’ll find Spanish Colonial Revival, Southwestern, Ranch, and Mission Revival homes, making for a cultural and historical experience every time you meander down its streets. 

San Clemente is not your run-of-the-mill neighborhood. Packed with beautiful homes with lots of personality on quiet, safe streets, this community is one to seriously consider.

West University Neighborhood

Bungalows. Art Deco. Spanish Colonial Revival. Modern. These are just a few of the styles of homes in the West University neighborhood, making it one of central Tucson’s most architecturally-diverse residential areas. 

An energetic community neighboring the University of Arizona, the West University neighborhood is a perfect area for young adults, graduate students with families, or someone-young-at-heart who wants a livelier, more vibrant lifestyle. Extremely walkable, West University is perfect for residents trying to decrease their carbon use. There’s no need for locals to drive out to dinner or drinks, as there are many restaurants, shops, and bars all within a short walk from home. Specialty coffee shops, taco eateries, and local indie stores selling vintage goods are just some of the attractions located inside the West University neighborhood.

Residents who want to venture further into the city have the option of riding the community’s very own streetcar, which travels through West University to downtown and other popular Tucson areas. The West University neighborhood also houses Catalina Park, a flat, shaded recreational area complete with a splash pad, picnic tables, and fitness stations that are perfect for athletes looking to work out in the sun.

It’s clear that Central Tucson has a wide variety of distinctive places to live. If any of these unique areas have caught your eye and you’d like to explore Tucson real estate, contact Daniel Sotelo today. He can help find you a home in your dream neighborhood!



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