First Time Home Buyer 101- Top 3 Questions Most First Time Home Buyers Have

Question #1- How Much Money Do I Need?

  • You need at least 3.5% down with a FHA loan, 3% down with a Conventional loan, and 0% down with a VA loan.
  • There are government grants available for down payment assistance. Ask your lender. If you need a lender, I can refer you to a top professional in the business.
  • You need a decent credit score to approve for a home loan. I’ve seen 590 approve but the rate will be higher. You can work with a credit repair specialist to improve your credit score.
  • Expect to pay around 3% of the home in closing costs. Closing costs include the fees are the fees the bank charges for taking out a loan, title insurance, and escrow fees to change over the title.
  • Did you know that you don’t pay for your Realtor? Your Realtor is considered the buyer’s agent. The seller of the home negotiates a rate with the listing (seller’s) agent and the seller pays the buyer’s agent and the listing agent.

Question #2- How Do I Make An Offer On A Home?

  • After you get pre-approved with a lender and set a budget, you hire a Realtor to show you homes. Hire a Realtor with experience, good communication skills, knowledge of the market you are buying in, a good attitude, trustworthy, and someone who doesn’t push you into purchasing a home.
  • When you find the home you love, have your Realtor run comps on the property that way they can guide you on what an appropriate offer may be. Your Realtor will share what knowledge they have on the home itself and if anyone else is interested, that way they can set you ip in a position to have the winning offer.
  • You will sign a purchase contract with your Realtor outlining turns such as purchase price, down payment, concessions (this is what you ask the seller to pay for), when the close of escrow will be, and how long the offer is good until.
  • You can make offers on homes site unseen and never sign a physical piece of paper. Everything can be done electronically, even signing legal paperwork! Just make sure that your Realtor is tech-savvy for this convenience. In Real Estate, “Time is of the essence,” and everything is time sensitive and documents signed electronically is a big time saver when you are in a time crunch.

Question #3 What Happens After My Offer Is Accepted?

  • When your offer gets accepted, you will deposit your earnest money with the escrow company. Your earnest money is the good faith monetary value that ensures that you are serious about buying the home. You will then be in the period of “Due Diligence,” which is also known as the inspection period. Your Realtor will give you recommendations on inspectors and will facilitate the whole process.
  • After your inspection period is over (usually about 10-days after contract acceptance), your Realtor and you will write a “wish list” of repairs and the seller will have 5 days to respond to whether or not they will honor all or some of the repairs. This is also when you can ask for concessions/money from the seller to fix a problem instead of them actually fixing something before the close of escrow.
  • If the seller response is unsatisfactory, you can cancel the contract and you will get your earnest money back. The only money you would be out is the money you paid the inspectors to investigate the home.
  • If the seller response is satisfactory, the transaction continues. If using a loan, your lender will have an appraisal done to make sure the home is worth the amount they are lending to you.
  • If the appraisal comes up short, your Realtor can renegotiate the purchase price. If the home appraises at value, the loan gets approved and the loan gets clear to close and the documents will be sent to the title company. The title company will make sure there are no liens on the home and will issue the title insurance and get the loan and title documents signed so you can get the keys to your new home!
  • When using a lender, the whole process from offer acceptance to close of escrow is around 30-40 days.

Spotlight on The Catalina Foothills

The Catalina Foothills, simply referred to as “The Foothills” by Tucson locals, is on the North side of Tucson, on the Southern side of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The Foothills is considered anything North of River, East of Oracle Road and West of Sabino Canyon Road. The Coronado National Forest is the Northern boundary of the Foothills. Development of the Catalina Foothills began in the 1920s and prior to that, the area was Federal trust land and was used as open grazing for cattle. This affluent area features some of the most expensive homes in land in all of Arizona. The housing in the foothills is unique, ranging from some of the oldest and most charming homes in all of Tucson, to affordable condos and townhomes, to modern/contemporary dwellings. 

The Santa Catalina Mountain Range is Tucson’s most famous mountain range with its spectacular peaks and it is home to Mount Lemmon and Sky Valley, the Southern-most ski resort in all of the United States. The Catalina Foothills neighborhood has incredible hiking, spectacular resorts and golf courses, amazing restaurants, upscale shopping, famous art galleries, and awesome views of the city and mountains because of its elevation. The Catalina Foothills is also home to the highest-ranked public school in all of Arizona. This article will touch upon all of these amenities.

Hiking In The Catalina Foothills

The Catalina Foothills has amazing hiking trails that attract hikers and sight-seers from all over the world. Click on the links to view maps, pictures and information about the hikes.

Pima Canyon Trailhead– 1610 E Magee Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Finger Rock Trailhead- Pontatoc Canyon Trail, Tucson, AZ 85718

Ventana Canyon Trailhead– 6601 N Resort Dr, Tucson, AZ 85750

Sabino Canyon– 5700 N Sabino Canyon Rd, Tucson, AZ 85750

Golf Courses in The Catalina Foothills

Luxury hotel and spa in The Catalina Foothills, La Paloma

The Catalina Foothills has three of the most famous golf courses in all of Southern Arizona. Click on the links to find out more information and how to book a round of golf.

Public Courses:

La Paloma Country Club– 3660 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Ventana Canyon Golf Club– 6200 N Club House Ln, Tucson, AZ 85750

Private Courses:

Skyline Country Club– 5200 E St Andrews Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Resorts In The Catalina Foothills

The Foothills has some of the most luxurious resorts in the state. Click on the links to find out more information on what amenities each resort offers.

The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa– 3800 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort– 7000 N Resort Dr, Tucson, AZ 85750

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort– 5501 N Hacienda Del Sol Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Canyon Ranch Tucson– 8600 E Rockcliff Rd, Tucson, AZ 85750

Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa– 245 E Ina Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704

Schools In The Catalina Foothills

According to, the Catalina Foothills School District ranks best overall district on all of Arizona. There are 4 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and one high school in the district. The Foothills also has private and charter schools. Click on the links below to find out more information about each individual school.

Public Schools:

Ventana Vista Elementary School, K-5- 6085 N Kolb Rd, Tucson, AZ 85750

Sunrise Drive Elementary School, K-5- 2101 E. River Road, Tucson, AZ 85718

Canyon View Elementary School, PreK-5- 5725 N Sabino Canyon Rd, Tucson, AZ 85750

Manzanita Elementary School, K-5- 3000 E Manzanita Ave, Tucson, AZ 85718

Esperero Canyon Middle School, 6-8- 5801 N Sabino Canyon Rd, Tucson, AZ 85750

Orange Grove Middle School, 6-8- 1911 E Orange Grove Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Catalina Foothills High School, 9-12- 4300 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Charter Schools:

Khalsa Montessori School, Prek-8- 3701 E River Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Basis North, 9-12- 5740 E River Rd, Tucson, AZ 85750

Private Schools:

Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, Grammar School, K-8- 6450 N Camino Miraval, Tucson, AZ 85718

Lamb’s Gate Christian School, Prek-8- 4700 N Swan Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Restaurants In The Catalina Foothills

There’s no doubt about it that the Foothills has some of the best restaurants in all of Tucson. Click on the restaurant names to view the menus and check availability to make a reservation.


Firebirds Wood Fired Grill- 2985 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Commoner & Co– 6960 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson, AZ 85750

Wild Garlic Grill- 2870 E Skyline Dr Suite 120, Tucson, AZ 85718

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar– 6360 N Campbell Ave Suite 180, Tucson, AZ 85718

Sullivan’s– 1785 E River Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718


North Italia- 2995 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Vivace– 6440 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85718

Tavolino Ristorante Italiano– 2890 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Trattoria Pina- 5541 N Swan Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Fiamme Pizza– 4706 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Piazza Gavi– 5415 N Kolb Rd, Tucson, AZ 85750


Blanco Cocina + Cantina– 2905 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Fini’s Landing– 5689 N Swan Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

El Charro Cafe Ventana– 6910 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson, AZ 85750


RA Sushi Bar Restaurant– 2905 E Skyline Dr #289, Tucson, AZ 85718

Ginza Sushi & Izakaya– 5425 N Kolb Rd #115, Tucson, AZ 85750

South American:

Inca’s Peruvian Cuisine- 6878 E Sunrise Dr #130, Tucson, AZ 85750

Shopping In The Catalina Foothills

Nestled in the Catalina Foothills, La Encantada offers 60+ shops & restaurants—including many you won’t find anywhere else in Southern Arizona.

La Encantada Mall– 905 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Art Galleries In The Catalina Foothills

Southern Arizona has a rich arts culture and some of the most famous art pieces are located in galleries and museums in the Catalina Foothills. Learn about the galleries by clicking on the links below.

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun– 6300 N Swan Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery– 6872 E Sunrise Dr #130, Tucson, AZ 85750

Settlers West Galleries– 6420 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85718

Southern Arizona Arts Guild– 2905 E Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Churches In The Catalina Foothills

The LDS Temple on Skyline Dr.

Lutheran Church of the Foothills– 5102 N Craycroft Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Catalina Foothills Church- 2150 E Orange Grove Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church- 5150 N Valley View Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Tucson Arizona LDS Temple– 7281 N Skyline Dr, Tucson, AZ 85718

Congregation Bet Shalom– 3881 E River Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Chadash Synagogue– 3939 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85718

St. Phillip’s in the Hill’s Episcopal Church- 4440 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85718

Journey Church– 4700 N Swan Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718

Are you thinking about buying or selling a home in the Catalina Foothills? Please feel free to contact me to go over your needs: 520-869-3176.

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Spotlight on The Tanque Verde Valley

The Tanque Verde Valley is nestled in the valley between where the Catalina and Rincon mountains ranges meet. The landscape is very green and lush because of the close proximity to the mountains and this area gets much of the rainfall flowing off of the mountains. There are large washes and creeks running through the Tanque Verde Valley and the two largest ones are the Tanque Verde Wash and the Bear Canyon Creek. There are several natural hot springs in the area, making the Tanque Verde Valley very unique to the rest of Tucson. Also, because the two mountains border the Tanque Verde Valley, the area has little room for growth so the population is low. Zoning ordinances require dwellings to be on larger lots which makes this area a highly desirable place to live in Tucson.  The Tanque Verde Valley has become an affluent community with a rich ranching and farming history and still has a significant equestrian presence. According to the most recent census, the median household income is one of the highest in all of Arizona. The Tanque Verde Valley has amenities such as parks, above average public schools, churches, golf, hiking, restaurants lodging, and shopping. This article is going to touch upon these community amenities. 


There’s no doubt about it that the Tanque Verde Valley has some of the most amazing hiking in all of Arizona. Here is a list of some great hikes in the area:

Tanque Verde Falls Trailhead-783P+Q4, Tanque Verde, AZ 85749

Seven Falls VIA the Bear Canyon Trailhead– 5150 N. Bear Canyon Rd.

Sabino Canyon Trail #23 VIA the Bear Canyon Trailhead– 5150 N. Bear Canyon Rd.

Agua Caliente Trailhead– 3798 N .Cam Cantil #3600

La Milagrosa Trailhead– 4996 N. Avenida De Suzenu

Douglas Springs Trailhead– 14306 E. Speedway Blvd.


Tanque Verde Unified School District has two elementary schools, a junior high, and a high school. All four schools in TVUSD are highly-ranked and 75% of the students have scored above average on standardized tests.

Tanque Verde Elementary (Pre-K-6)- 2600 N. Fennimore Ave.

Agua Caliente Elementary (K-6)- 11420 E. Limberlost Rd.

Emily Gray (7-8)- 11150 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

Tanque Verde High School– 4201 N. Melpomene Way

Tucson Unified School District has one elementary school in the Tanque Verde Valley. Collier Elementary is a very small school and test scores are slightly above the state averages.

Collier Elementary (K-5)- 3900 N. Bear Canyon Rd.

Sabino High School- 5000 N. Bowes Rd.

The Tanque Verde Valley has one public charter school, Hermosa Montessori. Hermosa Montessori was labeled an “excelling” school, which is the highest rank that awarded by the state.

Hermosa Montessori (Pre-K-8)- 12051 E. Fort Lowell Rd.


Tanque Verde Lutheran Preschool– 8625 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

Real Kids Preschool– 3353 N. Houghton Rd.

Hermosa Montessori Preschool– 12051 E. Fort Lowell Rd.

Tanque Verde Pre-K– 2600 N. Fennimore Ave.

La Petite Academy– 8940 E. Tanque Verde Rd.


Tanque Verde Lutheran Church, located at 8625 E. Tanque Verde Rd., TVLC offers 3 unique services, a Saturday 5pm service, a traditional 9:15am Sunday service, and a 10:30am Sunday contemporary service.

Desert Skies United Methodist Church, located at 3255 N. Houghton Rd., has 2 services on Sunday mornings, 8:30am and 10:00am.

Hope Church, located at 3255 N. Houghton Rd., is a non-denominational Christian church with one service at 10:30am on Sundays.

Corpus Christi Catholic Church, located at 300 N. Tanque Verde Loop Rd., has three weekend masses: Saturday at 4:30pm, and Sunday at 7:45am and 9:45am. There is also mass Monday-Friday at 8:00am.

Church of Latter Day Saints, located at 9541 E. Snyder Rd., is a ward located in the Tanque Verde Valley. Please visit for more information on times throughout the week.

Rincon Mountain Presbyterian, located at 8445 E. Tanque Verde Rd., has one Sunday 10:00am service. Sunday school is at 9:00am on Sundays.

The Bridge, a nondenominational church located at 8355 E. Tanque Verde Rd., has one Saturday service at 5:00pm and two Sunday services at 9:30am and 11:00am.

Oasis Church, located at 8961 E. Tanque Verde Rd., has two Sunday services. One at 9:00am and one at 11:00am.


Forty-Niner Country Club Golf Club, located at 12000 E. Tanque Verde Rd., is a 110-acre golf course that opened in 1961. The golf course was designed around a wooded riverbed and has beautiful Rincon and Catalina mountain views, mature mesquite, cottonwood, eucalyptus and weeping willow trees and a couple of lakes. There is a driving range on the grounds and it is open to the public.

Arizona National Golf Club, located at 9777 E. Sabino Greens Dr., is a public golf course with a diverse 6,785-yard layout, that has been noted as being particularly “challenging.” Nestled right up again the Catalina Mountains, this course has spectacular mountain views, forests of saguaros, and nine natural springs.


Le Buzz– 9121 E. Tanque Verde Rd. #125

Rincon Mountain Grill– 12000 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

Bear Canyon Pizza– 8987 E. Tanque Verde Rd. #335

Fortinatos– 9100 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

Viv’s Cafe– 8987 E. Tanque Verde Rd. #361

The Gardens– 8991 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

The Barnyard– 11011 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

Taco Giro– 9165 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

Risky Business– 8848 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

Firetruck Brewing Company– 9155 E. Tanque Verde Rd. #177

Viv’s Cafe– 8987 E. Tanque Verde Rd.


Safeway– 9125 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

Walgreens– 8980 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

CVS– 8920 E. Tanque Verde Rd.

Dollar Tree– 9135 E. Tanque Verde Rd.


In the Tanque Verde Valley there are authentic ranch-like bed and breakfasts, a large dude ranch resort, and many privately owned Airbrbs. Here is a list of some of the B & Bs and resorts:

The Casitas at Desert Springs – 9690 E. Sabino Greens Dr.

Tanque Verde Ranch– 4301 E. Speedway Blvd.

Desert Trails Bed & Breakfast– 12851 E. Speedway Blvd.

The Casitas at Smokey Springs Ranch– 1451 N. Smokey Springs Rd.

Karrel’s Double K Ranch– 3930 N. Smokey Topaz Ln.

Jeremiah Inn Bed and Breakfast– 10921 E. Snyder Rd.

Are you thinking about buying or selling a home in the Tanque Verde Valley? Please feel free to contact me to go over your needs: 520-869-3176.

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Alexis Burrows, Real Estate Agent in Tucson, Arizona.

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Top 15 Things To Do With Kids In Tucson

Are you visiting Tucson, new to living in Tucson, or new to being a parent? As a season parent and Tucsonan, I compiled this list of The Top 15 Things To Do With Kids In Tucson.

1 – Skate Country

Located on Tucson’s Eastside, on 7980 E. 22nd St., Skate Country is Tucson’s largest roller skating rink. Open 7 days a week with sessions throughout the day to suit the needs of all skaters, Skate Country offers an experience for everyone. “Skate mates” are available for novice skaters, and they even have a small practice rink. They also have games and races at most of the sessions and they offer prizes. They have a wide variety of food and treats at their snack bar, as well as a store with top-of-the-line new and used skates for purchase. Don’t have your own skates? Don’t worry, Skate Country offers rentals in any size. Also, the entire rink has some pretty amazing murals of famous musicians, which is my personal favorite thing about Skate Country. For more information, please visit:

2– Wild Katz

Centrally located in Tucson, on 4629 E. Speedway Blvd., Wild Katz is a large indoor playground for kids. There are a number of large slides, a dodge ball arena, a ninja warrior course, rock walls, a ball pit, and a toddler area perfect for the little guys who don’t want to have to dodge the bigger kids. Wild Katz offers affordable birthday party options and has a snack bar with a large variety of fountain sodas and other treats. For more information, please visit:

3- Happy Foot Farm

Located on Tucson’s Northwest side, at 2405 N. Wetmore Rd., Happy Foot Farm is “not your normal petting zoo,” according to their website. Happy Foot Farm has traditional petting zoo animals, including chickens and goats, but also has animals that you would only see in a zoo, including capybaras, porcupines, Patagonia maras, emus, and kangaroos. In fact, Happy Foot Farm is one of the only petting zoos in the United States where you can feed these exotic animals. A tour guide takes you through the farm to interact with these exotic animals and it is a fun and educational thing to do with the entire family. For more information, please visit:

4- PlayFormance

Located in Tucson’s downtown, on 119 E. Toole Ave., PlayFormance offers a parkour program and play-based fitness program for every age and stage, from beginners to advanced. Based on a challenging physical curriculum, this is the perfect place to get your children tired from all of the physical exercise and fun. They even have “nerf battles” in their nerf playground. Playformance also offers camps throughout the year. For more information, please visit:

5- Resort Staycation

My personal favorite resort to have a staycation with kids is La Paloma and Star Pass Marriott is a close second. Let’s start with La Paloma. Located at 3800 E. Sunrise Drive on Tucson’s Northside in the Catalina Foothills, La Paloma offers a large water slide and large swimming pools and spas enjoyable for the entire family. They have a swim-up bar and grill and offer special vacation packages for Tucson locals. Be on the look-out on your Groupon app for those. The JW Star Pass Marirott is located at 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd., on Tucson’s West side, and has a lot of fun things to do for kids as well, including a large lazy river to float down. The JW Marriott also has a few large pools and a large water slide. For more information, please visit: &

6- The Sonoran Desert Museum

Located on Tucson’s far West side, just beyond the Tucson Mountains, on 2021 N. Kinney Rd., the Sonoran Desert Museum attracts visitors from around the world with its interpretation of the Sonoran Desert, one of the most diverse deserts on earth. An AZA-accredited zoo, the Desert Museum has 21-acres with two miles of walking paths through various habitats. The Desert Museum has 230 animal species, including Mountain Lions and Big Horn Sheep, and 1200 types of plants, including a beautiful cactus garden. There are mineral and art exhibitions, and even a man-made cave that strikingly resembles a real cave. In addition, there are restaurants, gift shops, and even an aquarium on the grounds. They even have an exhibit where you can touch live sting reys. For more information, please visit:

7- Defy

Located at 4861 N. Stone Ave., Defy Tucson is Pima County’s largest trampoline and extreme air sports park, offering fun for families, gymnasts and friends. They have basketball hoops on trampolines, a ninja warrior obstacle course, a zip line, just to name a few of their amazing attractions. They offer an amazing venue for kids birthday parties, group events, corporate events, company team building, holiday parties and they also have a summer camp. For more information, please visit: 

8- Trail Dust Town

Located at 6541 E. Tanque Verde Rd., Trail Dust Town has fun for all ages! See the amazing Pistoleros Wild West Stunt Show or take a ride through the “West” on a real “mini” train that even goes through a mine. Enjoy a spin on the vintage Carousel or Circle-the-Wagons Ferris Wheel. Try your hand at panning for gold or test your skill in the shooting gallery! The shops and restaurants are unique and the grounds are impeccable. For more information, please visit: 

9- Funtasticks

Located at 221 E. Wetmore Rd., Funtastics has mini-golf, a large arcade, bumper boats and cars, laser tag and more. Kiddie Land has rides geared to accommodate younger guest. The Cactus Springs Water Park is a perfect place to cool off in the summer. Cactus Springs Water Park attraction has multiple levels, featuring colorful water slides and multiple gigantic tipping buckets that dump 1000 gallons of water every 10 minutes. You can rent a cabana or enjoy sitting in the sun on a lounge chair while the kids play. For more information, please visit: 

10- Golf-n-Stuff

Located at 6503 E. Tanque Verde Rd., Golf-n-Stuff features unique miniature golf courses, go-karts, bumper boats and laser tag. In addition, Golf-n-Stuff has lush landscaping and water features. Golf-n-Stuff also has a batting cage and the most current and up-to-date video and prize arcade games. If you are planning a group outing, birthday party, company event, sports banquet, or just a special get together, look no further. According to their old commercial “Golf N’ Stuff can’t get enough.” For more information, please visit: 

11- Mount Lemmon Day Trip

Mount Lemmon has a summit elevation of 9,159 feet, which is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains. It is located in the Coronado National Forest and is an average of 15-30 degrees cooler than Tucson. In the summer months, you can take the kids to Rose Canyon Lake to beat the heat and fish, or you can take them on a hike and let them play in a stream. In the winter, it snows often and you can take the kids to Ski Valley to ski, which is the Southern-most ski resort in the United States, or you can just find a place to play in the snow or sled. At the top of Mount Lemmon is a town called Summer Haven and it has restaurants like the Cookie Cabin, the Iron Door Restaurant and Sawmill Run. Creative fudge flavors at Mt. Lemmon General Store & Gift Shop satisfy any sweet tooth. For more information, please visit: 

12- The Tucson Children’s Museum

Located downtown, at 200 S. Sixth Ave., the Tucson Children’s Museum provides fun, hands-on learning experiences for kids. It has 17,000-square feet and 13 exhibit areas filled with components that encourage kids to build, create, imagine, explore and discover. There is also a large outdoor playground. The Tucson Children’s Museum is play-based learning at its best! For more information, please visit:  

13- Hiking Trails

Number 13- Hiking Trails. There is no doubt about it that Tucson has some of the best hiking in the United States. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do with my kids. My personal favorite thing to do after it rains is to take my kids to running washes and let the kids play in the water. It truly feels like a beach and my kids can play for hours. My favorite creeks include the Bear Canyon Trail Head and the Tanque Verde wash. Another Tucson favorite is the hike to 7 Falls where at the end of the hike, there are 7 waterfalls leading to large pools of water. Make sure you bring a bathing suit, plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat. And please educate yourself on what a flash flood is before venturing out by washes especially during monsoon season. For more information, please visit:

14- Reid Park Zoo

Located minutes from downtown, at 3400 E. Zoo Ct., the zoo has been a local favorite for generations. There are over 250 animals from around the world. Take a ride on the Cox Wildlife Carousel and the Zoo train, and sign up for behind-the-scenes for a once in a lifetime tour.  The zoo also offers the unforgettable “feed a giraffe experience.” The zoo also has holiday events, including Boo at the Zoo for Halloween and Zoo Lights around the holidays. After enjoying a zoo, go play at the park where there is a large duck pond,  water falls, and playgrounds. For more information, please visit: 

15- The Pima Air & Space Museum

Located at 6000 E. Valencia Rd., the Pima Air & Space Museum features about 400 historic aircrafts, from a Wright Flyer to a 787 Dreamliner. Sitting on 80 acres, the museum opened its doors to the public in May of 1976. Over the past forty years, the museum has grown immensely and today encompasses six indoor exhibit hangars (three dedicated to WWII). The Pima Air and Space Museum also offers exclusive tours of the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Known as the “Boneyard,” it is the world’s largest military aircraft storage facility. For more information, please visit:

So, there you have it, the top 15 things for kids to do in Tucson! Here is a video of the same information:

Are you thinking about buying or selling a home in the Tucson area? Please feel free to contact me to go over your needs: 520-869-3176.

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What The Heck Kind Of Cactus Is That?

Are you new to Southern Arizona and wondering what some of those funny-looking plants with thorns are? This post is all about cacti (plural for cactus). The many species of cactus is what makes Tucson so unique because Tucson is in the Sonoran Desert. I took a class while getting my bachelor’s degree back in the day at the University of Arizona called “Arizona Plant Life,” and learned that Tucson’s vegetation is part of the Sonoran Desert Scrub. I am going to go over a few of the cacti and point (pun intended!) out the ones to particularly look out for while hiking or just taking a walk to the mailbox!

Saguaro Cactus 🌵

Probably the most iconic cactus in the Sonoran Desert is the saguaro. Saguaros are the largest cactuses and, like trees, grow arms, and most do not grow their first arm until they are 50-years old. An extremely slow growing cactus, the saguaro lives 150-200 years and can grow to be 40-60 feet tall. When they die, the woody ribs can be used for furniture and natives used the ribs for roofs on houses. Saguaros are covered in protective spines, blooms white flowers in the spring and grows red fruit in the summer.

Prickly Pear Cactus

There are many different types of prickly pear cactus. Some prickly pears are green and some are purple but all of them have flat pads. Most have 3″ thorns on the pad, as well as little hairs that are quite pokey and are not fun to get out of your skin if you get stuck because the thorns are so tiny. Yellow flowers emerge in May and June and red fruit, known as the prickly pear fruit, emerges in late summer. You can eat the prickly pear fruit when cooked and it makes a delicious jelly. Prickly pear cacti live for about 20 years and are fast growing.

Ocotillo Cactus

The ocotillo is a very unique cactus and is essentially a plant with a root with a bunch of long sticks with thorns sprouting from the root. After a good rain, usually in the summer, the ocotillo sticks grow green leaves. The ocotillo blooms a pretty red flower “cluster” once a year between April and June. Ocotillos live around 60 years and get up to 20 feet high. Ocotillos also have a practical purpose in that they have been used for centuries as fences to keep out introducers.

Cholla Cactus

The cholla cactus, also known as the “jumping cactus,” is one to look out for because it literally jumps at you and attaches to your skin if you accidentally brush up against it. They have little stems that grow like a chain and if one chain jumps off of the plant, it causes no harm to the plant and harm to the thing it attaches to! The spines on the stems are shaped like a fish-hook and that is why they hurt so badly when they attach to skin. Chollas are very fast-growing, almost like a weed and it blooms in the summer. Birds take advantage of its hostile thorns by using the plant to protect their young from predators.

Barrel Cactus

Like other types of cactuses, there are many species of the barrel cactus and some get between 3 and 9 feet tall, though most are short, stumpy and round with large thorns. The barrel cactus lives to around 100 years old and the flowers typically bloom in April. As the flower wilts, pineapple-shaped fruit forms. Although you can technically eat the fruit, the fruit is extremely bitter and natives only ate the fruit in extreme situations where no other food was available.

There are other types of cactuses but the saguaro, prickly pear, ocotillo, cholla and barrel are the most common in Tucson. All of those cactuses have thorns, but particularly beware of the cholla cactus that literally jumps up at you if you get too close. Do not be too afraid of these funny-looking plants though. They are beautiful and if you’re new to Tucson, you will enjoy seeing them bloom every year. You just might find yourself on the side of the road taking pictures of them (like me!)

For any real estate-related needs in Tucson, please feel free to contact me anytime!

Alexis Burrows

Discover Tucson’s Suburbs

This post is all about Tucson’s suburbs! Although Tucson has a population of a little over a half a million, combined with the entire metropolitan area, the population is a little over one million people. This article will go over four of Tucson’s suburbs: Oro Valley, Vail, Marana, and Sahuarita.

Oro Valley, Arizona

Oro Valley, Arizona is a suburb to the Northwest of Tucson and has some amazing scenery, which includes the Santa Catalina Mountains to the East and Tortolito Mountains to the North. Oro Valley has a population of 45,000 and, interestingly, the majority of the residence own their own home. A quarter of the residence are over the age of 65 and many own properties in other places in the United States. Tucsonans often times refer to this type of Tucson resident as a “Snow Bird.” There are many golf courses, country clubs, and hiking trails in the area. There are also multiple community events hosted in Oro Valley, including the Oro Valley Festival of Arts, the Oro Valley Music Festival and the Oro Valley Triathlon. Referred to by the Arizona Daily Star Newspaper as the “Tech Mecca of Southern Arizona,” Oro Valley hosts ten high-tech firms. The public schools in Oro Valley are in the Amphitheatre School District and Oro Valley is home to several private and charter schools, including the renown Basis School. Oro Valley has many family-oriented attractions like the Children’s Museum and the Farmer’s Market at Steam Pump Ranch, Aquatic Center, Honey B Canyon Park, and the Gaslight Music Hall just to name of the few. Most of the homes in Oro Valley are newer than 30 years and are in track home communities. Although the home prices are more expensive than Tucson, the crime rate is low and the city is kept up nicely, which makes Oro Valley an amazing place to live.

Vail, Arizona

Vail, Arizona is a suburb to the Southeast of Tucson and is unincorporated, which means it is not technically a city. The Rincons Mountains, which is home to Saguaro National Park East, are to the North of Vail, and the Santa Rita Mountains, home to Madera Canyon, are to the South. The population in Vail is around 15,000 and the homes in Vail are lower price-wise to homes in Tucson and some of the neighborhoods are track communities and some are more rural-type homes on acreage. The Vail Unified School District is award-winning and has been highlighted throughout the country and has an A+ distinction. In general, Vail is made up of families who moved to Vail because of the school district and for the lower cost of living. In fact, 30% of residents in Vail are under the age of 18, and 60% are between the ages of 18 and 65. Close to Interstate-10, Vail offers an easy access to other cities in Southern Arizona where many of the residents are employed. Attractions include Colossal Cave, which is one of the largest dry caves in North America, horseback riding, the Cienega Creek Trail Head, the golf course at Del Lago, and the farmer’s market at Rocking K Ranch.

Marana, Arizona

Marana is a suburb of Tucson located to the Northwest of Tucson and Oro Valley. Marana’s population is growing and is currently right around 50,000 and the median age of residents is 37. Located by the Interstate-10, living in Marana is a relatively easy 90-minute commute to Phoenix, which is very convenient for people who commute to Phoenix for work or for people who like to attend professional sporting events. Marana features beautiful landscapes, with the Tucson Mountains, home of Saguaro National Monument West, to the West and the Tortalita Mountains to the East. Like many areas in Southern Arizona, Marana has ranching and farming in its history and many of the homes are on acreage. Marana has several Master Plan Communities so many of the homes are track homes. There are many things to enjoy in Marana, such as Sombrero Peak and Cathedral, the Wild Burro hiking trail, the Gallery Golf Course at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, the Premium Outlet Mall, Dove Mountain Park and Gladden Farms Park and splash pad. Seasonally, the Marana Pumpkin Patch has the largest pumpkin patch in all of Pima County open to the public in the month of October, and is truthfully, more like an amusement park with its large variety of kid-friendly activities.

Sahuarita, Arizona

Sahuarita, Arizona is along the Interstate-19 and is a suburb 15-miles South of Tucson and is about a 40-minute drive North of the US/Mexico border. To the East of Sahuarita are the Santa Rita Mountains, home of Madera Canyon. Running through Sahuarita is the Santa Cruz River, which runs typically during a wet monsoon season. Sahuarita, which means “Little Saguaro,” has a population of roughly 35,000 and the median age is 35. According to, Sahuarita is Among the Top 10 safest cities in Arizona and it attracts families raising children. The Master Plan Community of Rancho Sahuarita started building homes around 2000 and most of the homes are new track homes with a community-feel. Close to Interstate I-19, many Sahuarita residents commute to work in Tucson or Green Valley. Madera Canyon is Southeast of the town and offers hiking trails and bird/nature watching. Other attractions include the Titan Missle Museum, ASCRO Mineral/Open Pit Mine, San Xavier Del Bac, which is the oldest European structure in Arizona, and Green Valley Pecan Company, the largest pecan orchard in the world. There are many family-oriented activities, mostly centered around Rancho Sahuarita and Sahuarita Lake, which is a 10-acre man-made lake, which lends for a day of fishing, biking, and hiking.

So there you have it… the four largest suburbs of Tucson in a nutshell. If you are looking to buy real estate in Tucson, I’d love to help you decide which area fits your family’s criteria!

Alexis Burrows

Alexis Burrows, Tucson Real Esate Agent

Are you thinking about buying or selling a home in the Tucson area? Please feel free to contact me to go over your needs: 520-869-3176.

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Extra! Extra! Read All About… Tucson!

Extra! Extra! Read All About… Tucson!

Southern Arizona. A place with a whole lot of sunshine and mountains which offers a plethora of outdoor activities for people who just like to enjoy life. This post is all about the largest city in Southern Arizona: Tucson. Tucson is the second most populated city in Arizona with a population of just over a half a million, and the entire metropolitan area is just over a million, according to the 2020 census. Tucson, commonly known as “The Old Pueblo,” is home to the University of Arizona, Tucson’s largest employer. This post is all about areas in Tucson specifically, not including suburbs, and is a good resource whether you already live in Tucson and wish for a change or relocating to Tucson for a job or for a new adventure!

University/Downtown Area

Downtown Tucson has had a positive change due to the Rio Nuevo Project over recent years and has attracted many small businesses and beautiful art pieces throughout. Although it has experienced growth in recent years, Tucson’s downtown is still more manageable pace of life than some larger cities. Night life has improved because of the light rail, which was installed a few years ago making it easy to go back and forth from the Downtown area to the University of Arizona area. Top notch cuisine and fresh produce make this area perfect for the foodies out there. There are many theaters in this area to view live performances for the culturally refined folks. New high-rise hotels in the downtown area, including the AC Hotel by Marriott, make this a desirable side of town to stay in while visiting Tucson, as well as the historical Hotel Congress. The homes in this area range from charming early 1900 bungalows to Spanish-style homes on larger-sized lots. 

Catalina Foothills

The Santa Catalinas is a mountain chain that spans the entire North side of Tucson and directly below it is the Catalina Foothills neighborhood. Gorgeous views of the mountains and downtown make this area extremely desirable, as well as the fact that it has the highest rated school district in Tucson. Many of the neighborhoods have custom homes on hills without sidewalks and many homes use natural cacti for landscaping. The homes range from modest townhomes to multi-million dollar mansions. Up scale shopping centers like La Encantata and St. Phillips Plaza offers outdoor shopping and restaurants. The Catalina Foothills also has several golf resorts, including La Paloma and Ventana Canyon, which attracts vacationers from around the world. World renown hiking trails are in “The Foothills,” including the hike to 7 Falls which is in Sabino Canyon.

Central Tucson

In the heart of Central Tucson lies Tucson’s largest park; 131-acre Reid Park is home to Reid Park Zoo, a baseball stadium, duck pond, public pools, playgrounds  and Randolph Golf Course.  Other top attractions in Central Tucson include the Tucson Botanical Gardens, which is a butterfly/nature garden, the Park Mall, and upscale shopping and restaurants at Plaza Palomino, just to name a few. The area has many historical neighborhoods built between 1920 and 1960, featuring varied architectural styles. One of the most iconic hotels in Tucson is the Arizona Inn, and is located by one of Tucson’s most famous centrally located historical neighborhoods, the Sam Hughs neighborhood, which also borders the University of Arizona. 

East Tucson & Tanque Verde Valley

Tucked in the Northeast corner of Tucson at the base of the Catalina and Rincon Mountains is the Tanque Verde Valley. Tanque Verde means “green valley,” and it is called this because the mountains get a lot of rain running off into the valley, making the vegetation more lush. Most of the homes are ranch-style homes on large lots that are zoned SR-1 and many of the residents own horses and other live stock. The road to Mount Lemmon (which is on the Catalina Mountain chain) makes it appealing for Tanque Verde Valley residents because it is a hop, skip, and a jump to be in a forest with an elevation of 8,000 feet. The school district in the Tanque Verde Valley is one of the best and smallest in the city, which is an attractive quality for many young families. There are also two golf courses, and several “dude” ranches, including the famous Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. Saguaro National Monument East and Agua Caliente Park make Tucson’s East side an incredible and quiet place to dwell.

West Tucson

Tucson has one interstate running through it and it separates both the West and South sides of Tucson. Anything West of the I-10 is considered to be the “West side.” The West side is also positioned along side the Tucson Mountains, which offers amazing hiking trails including Tomamok Hill, one of Tucson’s most popular paths for walkers, hikers and runners, as well as trails in Saguaro National Park West. West Tucson is home to one of the most beautiful resorts in Tucson, the JW Marriott Star Pass Golf Resort. Attractions in West Tucson also include the Sonoran Desert Museum, which is a “living” museum and world renowned zoo and botanical garden. Tucson’s “A” Mountain is also located in Tucson’s West side and has walking trails and a road to the top, for that extra amazing view of the city. Homes on the West side consist of ranches, to track communities, to multi-million dollar mansions.

I hope this article helped you get an inside scoop of Tucson. Please be sure to look out for my next post which will be all about the surrounding areas of Tucson, including Oro Valley, Vail, South Tucson, and Sahuarita. If you are looking to purchase a home, I would love to assist you on the adventure. As a Tucson native, this city is truly my passion and I believe it is important to hire someone who knows the ins and outs of the city you are purchasing in.

Thanks for reading!

Alexis Burrows

Alexis Burrows, Realtor, Omni Homes International

Are you thinking about buying or selling a home in the Tucson area? Please feel free to contact me to go over your needs: 520-869-3176.

Subscribe here to get more Tucson real estate posts sent directly to your inbox!