Click on a neighborhood name on the map to learn more, or download Tucson’s Historic Neighborhood Guide:
Learn about the Downtown Neighborhoods and Residents Council (DNaRC) here.
The second national residential district to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, this downtown neighborhood takes its name from the Military Plaza where the Armory was located prior to its relocation to Ft. Lowell in 1873. With its close proximity to the railroad, rapid growth in the area occurred following the arrival of the Southern Pacific in 1880, offering prominent railroad men and their families a convenient place to live. The neighborhood features wide avenues, Victorian, Queen Anne, Greek Revival and Anglo-Territorial style houses and the Carnegie Free Library, designed in the Neoclassical Revival Style by Henry Trost in 1900, and now home to the Tucson Children’s Museum.
First platted in 1903, over 90 percent of this historic Hispanic barrio had been built by 1920, with the remainder built prior to WWII. Early neighborhood dwellings were built in the Sonoran Tradition of adobe with flat roofs, later dotted with Queen Anne and American Territorial styles at the end of the 19th century. Beginning in the 1930’s The Oury Park Tigers baseball team used to bring out 400 fans at a time in what is now the David G. Herrera/Ramon Quiroz Park. Once home to an irrigation canal which watered trees and gardens, the barrio also contained numerous Chinese grocery stores; only the Anita Street Market, known for its tortillas and burritos, continues today.
Barrio Hollywood – “Where everyone’s a Star”. One of Tucson’s oldest neighborhoods, Barrio Hollywood features a rich history and culture with family-owned restaurants that Tucson has known and loves for years.
The Santa Cruz river banks hosted Tucson’s earliest populations – many located within Barrio Kroger Lane. The area was mostly used for agriculture purposes. The most prominent features of the neighborhood are Sentinel Peak on the western edge and the Santa Cruz River channel. The river park brought positive changes and open space to the neighborhood, as well as the realization there are significant unexplored Hohokam and Piman settlement sites. The population of Barrio Kroger Lane has remained fairly consistent; many residents affirm their strong sense of community.
Tucson’s Barrio Anita Neighborhood will soon be on the National Register of Historic Districts. It is located Downtown west of Main Avenue, east of Interstate 10, south of Speedway and north of St. Marys Road. The Neighborhood’s major landmarks include the Oury Park and Davis Bilingual Mag net School. Homes in the Neighborhood are as varied as the multi-cultural families who have lived there over the decades. Visitors will see adobe, plaster and masonry walls, gabled roofs, covered entry porches, and decorative gates. The neighborhood is home to two award-winning public art projects, a delicious family-run Mexican restaurant and a community garden.
Barrio Santa Rosa in downtown Tucson lies directly south of the Barrio Viejo National Historic District. Part of the original urban core of the city, its history and buildings are tied to Tucson’s most indigenous architecture, the Sonoran tradition, specifically the Sonoran Row house, built of adobe with flat roofs and situated on the street. The arrival of the railroad meant building materials from the East arrived, spurring the architectural use of pitched metal roofs seen in the later adobe Bungalow and Mission Revival styles. In the mid-50’s ranch style housing was built by younger families moving to the area. The neighborhood is also home to Santa Rosa Park and an elementary school, Drachman Montessori Magnet.
Tucson’s second oldest historic district, Barrio Viejo is anchored in the 1870s, but lost its northern half to bulldozers during urban renewal in the late 1960s. It still has more territorial adobes than any other Tucson district. The architecture is predominantly Sonoran Traditional where zero setbacks are common, creating long, continuous streetscapes of houses, offices, and shops. South Convent Avenue has become the center of historic rehabilitation and infill, most of it residential. El Tiradito, or the Wishing Shrine, on South Main Avenue remains a major attraction along with the Cushing Street Bar and Restaurant.
Built on land that was originally Tucson’s Court Street Cemetery (1875-1909), “Dunbar”, platted in 1904, was the first predominantly African-American neighborhood in Tucson and the site of The Dunbar School, Tucson’s segregated elementary school. Designed by architect Henry O. Jastaad in 1917 and named after renowned African-American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, the school later became the non-segregated John Spring Junior High School, named after one of Tucson’s early schoolteachers. The neighborhood reflects its early roots in its mix of architectural building styles including Victorian, Territorial, and Bungalow. Jim’s Market, at the corner of 9th Ave. and 4th St., is representative of several former markets now converted to residential use.
The city’s first neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places, El Presidio is where Tucson began. Most of the structures date from 1860 to 1920 and include Sonoran Row houses, Mission Revival, bungalow style and American Territorial. El Presidio encompasses Hohokam pit houses, the 18th-century Spanish colonial presidio, the subsequent Mexican village, and Anglo homes designed by legendary Tucson architects such as Henry C. Trost and Holmes & Holmes. Celebrated territorial families left their names on historic houses they built: merchants including the Steinfelds and Jacomes, bankers, attorneys and civic leaders including Sam Hughes and J. Knox Corbett. Home to restaurants, offices, shops and the Tucson Museum of Art, this is an eminently walkable neighborhood.
In order to follow the “one mile rule” established by the Southern Pacific Railroad, numerous railroad employees lived in this district in order to hear the whistle blow, calling them to work. Established from 1890 to 1908, the neighborhood presents a mix of building styles including Sonoran adobe, Territorial, Bunglaow and Queen Anne. Foundation stone of granite and basalt seen on numerous residences was gathered locally from Sentinel Peak (A Mountain). 180 historic properties, including the Josias Joesler designed Don Martin Apartments and the Coronado Hotel add to the charm of this neighborhood, noted as the most walkable in Tucson thanks to bike and walking paths and its proximity to cafes, restaurants and shops.
The Menlo Park Historic District is nestled dramatically between downtown Tucson and the Santa Cruz River to the east, and Sentinel Peak (“A” Mountain) and Tumamoc Hill to the west. Part of Tucson’s oldest continually inhabited region, the district incorporates the recognized birthplace of Tucson and is situated on what were once irrigated fields for the Mission of San Agustin del Tucson, popularly referred to as the “Convento”, dating to 1771. Originally developed for Anglo/Europeans in a time of discriminatory covenants, Menlo Park evolved into Tucson’s most upscale Mexican barrio hosting Spanish Colonial Revival, Bungalow, post-war Ranch, Modern, and Prairie-style architecture.
The Mercado District is an innovative new development located within the Menlo Park neighborhood. In the early 2000’s, a team of Tucson custom home builders partnered with a local developer to construct a high density, mixed-use community on a vacant parcel near the base of “A” mountain. With its walking streets, alley-accessed garages and integration of retail and residential property, a thriving pedestrian-friendly district in the tradition of great city centers throughout Europe and Latin America is taking shape. Click here to check out PureBuild Homes website.
Before 1920, the Miles Neighborhood was a few isolated homesteads but development steadily progressed through the 1930’s. A defining landmark in the Neighborhood was the Miles School, now the Miles Exploratory Learning Center, is an elementary school in the Tucson Unified School District. This roughly 1/8 square mile neighborhood has a distinctly residential feel – the University of Arizona is located approximately ½ mile north of Miles. A park project is planned along the Arroyo Chico Wash, creating a multi-use path connecting Reid Park to downtown. Local residents consider this future trail to be an important outdoor recreation amenity.
This neighborhood is truly diverse; a very eclectic neighborhood with a good mix of residential and mom-and-pop stores creating that mixed-living culture that is very attractive. The railroad cuts right through this neighborhood, but adds to the rich and diverse character present. Barrio Metalico and Ice House Lofts, both residential developments, were completed in late 2004 and spring 2005 respectively. The market and brewery are the central hubs for Tucsonans and residents. Residents and merchants alike believe this is a neighborhood with the greatest potential for infill and growth.
Named for homesteader and former mayor, John Brackett “Pie” Allen—known for selling dried-apple pies to soldiers— this historic 23-block area counted railroad families as early tenants after the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad in1880. By 1910, 60% of the neighborhood was made up of railroad families and employees, many of whom lived in some of the first rental properties in Tucson. Numerous housing styles, including Transformed-Sonoran, Territorial, Western Colonial, Queen Anne, Bungalow and Period Revivals are evident today. The neighborhood experienced a revival in the 1970’s and is now a popular housing area for students and young professionals due to its proximity to the Fourth Avenue Shopping District and the nearby University of Arizona campus.
Developed as one of Tucson’s first suburban neighborhoods, Rincon Heights exhibits an eclectic blend of 1920’s-1940’s Revival Styles and vernacular designs, including Bungalow, Spanish Revival and Ranch. A unique feature of this walkable neighborhood is High School Wash, a natural riparian area with WPA era curbs, sidewalks and culverts. In recent decades its housing types have been influenced by the growth of the University of Arizona directly to its north. Neighborhood planting and beautification projects continue to make this a popular housing area intent on keeping its historic appearance.
The area known as “Santa Rita Park Neighborhood” was historically divided by 22nd Street and developed in two phases. Although laid out 30 years apart the architectural character of the area is consistent. The neighborhood is characterized by small bungalows, early twentieth century revivals, and post war ranch houses. The physical and social center o the neighborhood was historically South Park, or today Santa Rita Park. This is one of the oldest parks in Tucson. Borton Elementary School is also located here. The school has an educational emphasis on literature, fine arts, integrated curriculum and computer assisted instruction.
West University was the first Tucson suburb north of the Southwestern Pacific railroad and was settled between 1890 and 1930. The neighborhood includes more than 700 buildings in a great variety of architectural styles from Transitional to Art Deco with about half being bungalows. In 1980, West University Neighborhood, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and became the largest historic district in Arizona. Bordered by the University of Arizona on the east, and located on both sides of Fourth Avenue, this busy neighborhood is in easy walking distance of numerous shops and eateries.