Location & Geography

City Area: 227 Miles

Location: Tucson is in the southern part of Arizona, 115 miles southeast of Phoenix along Interstate 10 and 70 miles north of the United States-Mexico border along Interstate 19.

Elevation: 2,643 feet at Tucson International Airport. The highest point in the Tucson area, Mount Wrightson, in the Santa Rita Mountains, has an elevation of 9,453 feet. Mt. Lemmon is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,157 feet in elevation.

Tribal Lands: The Tohono O’odham Nation and Pascua Yaqui Tribe have occupied this area for centuries; their tribal lands extend to the south of the city.

Sonoran Desert: As currently defined covers approximately 100,000 square miles (260,000 sq. km.) and includes most of the southern half of Arizona, southeastern California, most of the Baja California peninsula, the islands of the Gulf of California, and much of the state of Sonora, Mexico. This is the only place in the world where the giant saguaro cactus grows.  (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum)

Surrounding Mountains: Tucson is in a valley surrounded by five mountain ranges: the Tucson, Santa Catalina, Rincon, Santa Rita, and Tortolita mountain ranges which include natural areas, Catalina State Park to the northwest; Coronado National Forest to the north; Saguaro National Park East and West on east and west sides; and the Santa Rita Mountains to the south.

Sky Islands: Isolated mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona and northern Mexico. Some rise more than 6,000 feet above the surrounding desert floor so their habitats vary from deserts to subalpine forests. In Southern Arizona, the Santa Catalinas are the best known; others include Baboquivari, Chiricahua, Huachuca, Pinaleño, Santa Rita, and Whetstone.

Desert Rivers: A network of riverbeds (locally called “washes” or “arroyos”) throughout the Tucson valley remain dry most of the year, but flood briefly during seasonal rains (notably in late summer’s monsoon rainy period but occasionally in winter months). On the banks of these riverbeds, Pima County has developed an interconnected multi-use recreational trail called The Loop.


Sunshine: 350+ days (one of America’s sunniest cities). Tucson’s mild winter weather is legendary.

5 Seasons:

  • Autumn (October & November).
  • Winter (December & January & February).
  • Spring (From early to late February through April).
  • Foresummer drought (May & June).
  • Summer monsoon or summer rainy season (early July to mid-September).

(Source: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum)


32nd largest U.S. city at 750,000 residents (2015); 1,010,025 people in Pima County (2015). Tucson is Arizona’s second most-populated city after the state capital Phoenix.

Sales Tax

City of Tucson
County = .55%
City = 6%
State of AZ = 5.5%
Per Room, Per Night surcharge = $4.00
Total = 12.05 % plus $4.00 per room, per night

Pima County
County = 6.55%
State = 5.5%
Total = 12.05%

Oro Valley
Town of Oro Valley = 8.5%
County = .55%
State = 5.5%
Total = 14.55%

Click here for this same information for other Arizona cities.

Bed Tax

Tax is added to overnight accommodation rate:

  • Tucson: 12.05% plus $4 per room per night
  • Marana: 14.55%
  • Oro Valley: 14.55%
  • Pima County: 12.05%

Time Zone

The State of Arizona is in the Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST). Arizona is one of only two U.S. states that does not make an adjustment for Daylight Savings Time, and during the months of April through October, Arizona time mirrors Pacific Daylight Time.

Liquor Laws 

Arizona law prohibits anyone younger than age 21 to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. The purchase, service, or consumption of liquor is prohibited from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. Monday-Sunday.

(Source: Arizona Department of Liquor, June 2015)