Moving to Tucson for Medical School at UA from Seattle (Phoenix: apartment complexes, rentals)
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Moving to Tucson for Medical School at UA from Seattle
I will be moving to Tucson in mid-July to start medical school at the UofA and I was hoping to get a few questions answered by the locals in the area.
1) Do you have any suggestions for good/safe apartment complexes within walking or biking distance of UMC? Currently, I pay ~$600/month with all utilities/internet/cable and I am hoping to stay within that price range. I would like a 1-bedroom apartment as well. If you have specific complexes or a general location in mind, that would be very helpful.
2) What would be the best way to move down to Arizona? I won't be able to look at any of the apartments before I actually sign a lease. My goal was to stay in a hotel for 2-3 nights and go apartment shopping in early July and then get everything settled for when I start. Is that a good idea or do you suggest doing something different?
3) I understand that I will need a car in Tucson. The city seems very spread out and having one will definitely be convenient. Are there any special features (besides A/C of course!) that you recommend a car have (e.g., leather vs. cloth seats, color, fuel efficiency, etc.)?
4) Lastly, what are some places in Tucson to absolutely avoid living? I have heard bad things about South Tucson, but are there any additional areas I should be aware of?
Thank you so much for all your help in advance. This is my first time moving out of the Seattle area so your help is much appreciated!
1. I can't help with specific complexes, but $600 with all utilities included may be a little optimistic for right in the UMC area, maybe....there are many choices within biking distance, of course, and you may find something...if you really need to stay low, stay west of Campbell, in general....UMC is only a few blocks from the main UA campus, so you'll see a lot of options...there may be others scrambling for places in July, so some competition may exist...
2. I highly, Highly, HIGHLY recommend staying in a cheap hotel (summer is our cheapest season, anyway) when you first get here and finding a place you like in person before signing a lease....store your stuff at a storage place for a week or three, if needed....or, if you were coming down here first before the big move, that's even better....check for noise issues, weird neighbors, junk and crap laying around, general good-maintenance feel....
3. any car can handle Tucson....yes, the city is low-density and spread out....you may want a sunscreen for the windshield and a towel for the steering wheel and seat if always parking outside....
4. you'll be fine if you stay within two miles in any direction of UMC....
by the way, July and August are our humid, rainy time of year (called "monsoon season" by some)....May and June are very warm and dry....no daylight savings time in most of Az....
The only question I can answer of yours is #3, about cars.
Since Tucson gets VERY hot in summer, I recommend a light colored car with a light colored, upholstery interior. Light colors reflect heat, while dark colors absorb them. Leather/vinyl seats are generally not preferred because they get much hotter to the touch than fabric. (If you wear shorts, the back of your legs will thank you for having cloth.)
As far as fuel efficiency, that is personal preference. Since the price of gasoline seems ever-increasing, I would think the most fuel efficient would be the most practical. You can see what our current gasoline prices are at gasbuddy.com.
While you're waiting for someone to come along and provide more answers for you, I just did a quick forum search for "apartments near UMC" and came up with many threads you may find useful. The search function is found on the main Tucson page. It's on the right hand side, near the top, as indicated in the pic I am attaching below.
When I was at the UofA years ago we had a woman from Seattle who talked about winter in Tucson being hotter than summer in Seattle. I knew several people from Seattle who did just fine there.
All the advice you are getting is accurate as far as I can tell. The neighborhoods in that area are kind of patchy in that area of Tucson although the neighborhoods due east and southeast of the Medical School complex are pretty nice. There are small 4-8 unit townhouse projects scattered all throughout this part of Tucson.
If you really want to walk to school then I would look for one of these in the area bordered by Speedway, Grant, Campbell and Country Club.
There are also going to be some places just west of the medical school campus but those places are going to have mostly undergrads in them and might not be conducive to studying or resting.
I spent part of last summer visiting my cousin in Seattle last summer. You are going from one special place there my friend. However, Tucson sits in maybe the "greenest" desert environment in the nation. Get a good pair of hiking boots and have at it.
Also, in the summer there, remember you can go up to Mt. Lemmon and cool off. You'll feel like you are back in the eastern side of the Cascades up there.
Good luck with your studies and welcome to our Wildcat family.
I came here from the mountains of Colorado at about 9200 ft. The hottest summer day there was about 85, but was usually in the 70's, and it rained almost every afternoon which cooled things down to about 65. My first summer here was in 2009, and I about died. The next summer, it wasn't so bad, and last summer when I went back to visit family in Denver, I froze at 75. So, I guess you become acclimated. One thing about summer, I missed fresh air in the evenings and when I slept. AC runs 24/7 all summer as it's still 90 degrees at midnight some nights. I've found that Summerhaven, up Mt. Lemmon, is almost identical to where I lived in CO; trees, weather, landscape, etc., so when I want a cool, mountain evening, I'll go up there. There is respite from the heat if you can find time to get away for a night or so.
The last thing I am concerned about is the heat! How long did it take for you to get used to it?
Some people get used to it pretty quickly and, as Marcy posted above, eventually feel like they're freezing at 75. (My husband is like this.) Conversely, some never get used to it. I've been in the desert since 2004. I still think it's hot at 80 degrees and prefer to hibernate indoors most of the summer, unless I'm in the pool. The lack of humidity really does make a difference though. Even at 110+ degrees, you don't get that "kicked in the chest"/"I can't breathe" feeling and you don't pour sweat, (because it evaporates immediately).
The best advice I can give a newcomer is drink lots and lots of water, even when you think you don't need it.
I've been looking at various websites and I feel like I am still striking out. I did find the Bellevue Towers complex, so if anyone knows anything about that area, that would be great!
Bellevue Towers sucks. Sorry to be so blunt, but it's been a problem complex for years and is not in a great neighborhood. If you go west of there, particularly west of Country Club, you're good. Look at Craig's List and stay away from the large complexes because they're all either overpriced or bad. You also need to pay attention to the bike routes. Elm is the good route into UMC but it's not great to bike on east of about Country Club. You also should look north, up Mountain, which is a well-used bike boulevard. The area north of Grant and west of Campbell has a lot of rentals and is very reasonable, but it's a little student-y.
There's an express bus that runs down Campbell and goes to the UMC. The #5, which runs down Pima/Elm to Tucson, is also a good bus to use. I mention the buses because you absolutely will not be biking every day and I doubt you'll be walking every day.
I think $600 is a tad optimistic but not by much. I think you can swing $650 - 700 with utilities, but also, of course, it varies wildly by seasons. You also should ensure that the place you move into has a/c and not an evaporative cooler. It's very common in Tucson to have this instead. I spent a summer living with my wife in one while I wasn't working and would have to just drive to Target or a coffee shop most days because I couldn't take it. You also need a place with ceiling fans in each room, unless you're okay with box fans (I don't mind them, but I know some who can't stand them). This will save you a tremendous amount of money. We used to keep the thermostat at 80 in the summer and use fans. Clothing was minimized and it was never totally comfortable during the day, but we kept the bill to a minimum.
Originally Posted by moving2tucson
The last thing I am concerned about is the heat! How long did it take for you to get used to it?
I don't think you acclimate, you just deal with it. You have to learn the various tricks. It's not quite as bad as people make it out to be, and Phoenix is much worse because at least Tucson gets rain in the summer and the clouds, even when there's not rain, keep the temps under control. June is the worst month. At least I've always thought so.
Feel free to ask on here if you want advice about specific properties.
1) I used to live around that area close to UMC. I'd recommend getting a place north of Speedway Blvd (around Mountain Ave.) . You shouldn't have any problems finding a place in July due to students away during summer. There's a number of apartments (small and big) on Mountain Ave. between Speedway Blvd and Grant Rd. That area is pretty quiet and well lit.
2) Whenever I travel I always lodge in a Motel 6 . They have key cards.
3) I'd recommend windows tinted and steering wheel/driver seat covered due to the summer's extreme heat. Find a good shade for your vehicle during summers.
4) Avoid living within the block of Grant Rd/Campbell Ave/1st Ave/Ft. Lowell Rd. - theft is common in that area. South Tucson isn't as crime ridden as it used to be. South Tucson is safer than the block I just mentioned.
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