Located in the southernmost central part of Arizona, Santa Cruz County borders Mexico and serves as the gateway to North America’s most important port of entry, Nogales, in the Mexican state of Sonora. It is one of the Arizona’s smallest counties, but it is also one of the most diverse and interesting destinations in this state.
If you are considering moving to Santa Cruz County, AZ, here are ten things you need to know about this Tucson county.
Get Ready for the Heat
While it’s not true that Santa Cruz weather is hot all the time, the temperatures within the month of June can be excruciatingly high, so be prepared for the generally hot weather in this area.
- Spring brings some of Tucson’s sunniest and driest days, and you’ll feel the warm weather start as March approaches.
- June is typically the hottest month in the whole of Tucson, AZ.
- Rain starts to pour in by September, when storms from the Pacific Ocean influence the area.
- While Tucson has the same four seasons as most states, residents experience both a dry and rainy season over the course of the summer.
Add a Trip to Downtown Tucson in Your Winter Plans
The Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase is held every year, particularly in winter, and it draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world.
- Over 65,000 guests from around the globe go to this event to buy, sell, trade, and view rare and enchanting gems, minerals, and fossils at over 48 gem show locations across the city.
- The Tucson Gem & Mineral Show is the main event and takes place in the fabulous Tucson Convention Center which spans over 181,000 square feet.
- The JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show is another popular jewelry event that brings together dealers, buyers, exhibitors, and more to witness a large selection of to-die-for gemstones, jewelry, and wholesale rough stones.
Be Sure to Experience Skiing in the Sky Islands
Although there are no beachfront properties in Santa Cruz, AZ they do have island getaways — sky islands.
- A sky island is a forested mountain that rises up out of the intervening desert and grasslands.
- There are 55 sky islands in Southern Arizona and northern Mexico, and each mountain is unique in that they are isolated by different, low-elevation habitation.
- In the winter, you can go skiing in Ski Valley on Mount Lemmon, which sits between the Rocky and Sierra Madre Occidental mountains and the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts.
Santa Cruz, AZ is a Thriving Arts Community
Santa Cruz and the whole of Tucson has a rich and vibrant arts scene and is a haven for artists.
- The affordability, landscape, climate and welcoming community of Santa Cruz, AZ are some of the reasons why so many artists choose to move here.
- Public artworks, such as murals and sculptures, can be seen as one drives around Santa Cruz.
- The unique art community can be attributed to the blending of cultures and people that you won’t find anywhere else in the country.
Get Your Red and Blue Jersey On
The rivalry between the University of Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State University Sun Devils runs deep for locals, so be sure to root for your team.
- In 2019, the New York Times reported that the UA/ASU rivalry was the biggest in all of college football.
- The Territorial Cup game is an annual meeting between the two teams which dates back to 1899.
- In 1899, ASU defeated UA in a game played on Thanksgiving Day and became the keepers of the silver-plated trophy.
- Since 2001, the winner of the Territorial Cup game, or “Duel in the Desert,” keeps the trophy until the next year.
Look Up and Marvel at the Stars at Night
One of the perks of moving to this Tucson county is the majestic view of stars at night.
- Local dark sky ordinances regulate light pollution, this is why it’s so dark in many Tucson areas at night.
- The dry weather is also another factor why this area is perfect for stargazing.
- While the area experiences some storms, most of the spring and fall have clear skies.
Don’t Swim in the Santa Cruz River
Most of Tucson’s rivers, except the Santa Cruz River, stretch across the landscape dry and dusty, flowing only after heavy rainfall. While it is safe to wade in this river, never swim in it or drink its water as this is treated water released to the river to keep it alive.
- The Santa Cruz River starts in the San Rafael Valley, near the United States-Mexico border, and flows south into Mexico, forming a horseshoe shape as it makes a turn back towards Arizona and flows north all the way to the Gila River.
- People have lived and farmed beside the Santa Cruz River for thousands of years, sustaining generations along its wide floodplain.
- However, in 1910, a group of businessmen established the Tucson Farms Company, which drilled wells at the base of Sentinel Peak, limiting the amount of water flowing to the Santa Cruz River.
- By 1915, most of the river’s water was flowing into the canal to the farmlands, and much of the Santa Cruz River became a dry riverbed that flowed only intermittently with rains.
- Thanks to the Santa Cruz River Heritage Project, a new method of water management was introduced in May 2019 and revived the river.
Have a Sip at Arizona's Wine Country
Although Southern Arizona is not the first place that comes to mind when you hear “wine country,” this area has the perfect climate and soil composition to grow grapes for making great tasting wine.
- The area between Sonoita and Elgin is known not only for its vineyards but also for the view it offers of the scenic Santa Rita Mountains.
- There are around a dozen wineries that specialize in a range of varietals in this area.
- Aside from making a trip to these wineries, be sure to visit the beautiful Patagonia Lake State Park.
Go Bird Watching at the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve
- The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy.
- The preserve spans 873 acres and is one of the few remaining sites in Arizona where the rare Fremont Cottonwood-Goodding Willow Riparian forest still persists.
- It is home to one of Arizona’s few permanently flowing streams, endangered fish, butterflies, and birds.
- Some of the trees in the preserve are among the largest, more than 100 feet tall, and oldest, over 130 years old, Fremont Cottonwood trees in the country.
Have a Taste These Unique Tucsonan Foods
Tucson boasts of its unique food scene, from noodle shops to taco spots. If you are going to move to Santa Cruz, you have to try these foods before you can consider yourself to be a true Tucsonan.
- Eegee’s drink: a fruit-flavored ice slush that you can order at the numerous sandwich shops bearing the same name all throughout town. Choose from these flavors – lemon, piña colada, and strawberry, plus a rotating flavor of the month.
- Sonoran hot dog: this is Tucson’s answer to the Chicago Dog.
- Mexican food: There are 23 miles of Mexican food in the area with over 50 Mexican restaurants that represent Tucson’s culture and history, including El Charro Cafe, the oldest Mexican restaurant in the country.
Santa Cruz, AZ is indeed an amazing place to move to. If you want to explore the options you have in the Santa Cruz County AZ real estate, we’ll be more than happy to show you the residential properties that are available in this area. Feel free to give us a call at 520-604-6853 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.