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North Tucson includes the urban neighborhoods of Amphitheater and Flowing Wells. Usually considered the area north of Fort Lowell Road, North Tucson includes some of Tucson's primary commercial zones (Tucson Mall and the Oracle Road Corridor). Many of the city's most upscale boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries are also on the north side, including St. Philip's Plaza. The Plaza is directly adjacent to the historic St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church (built in 1936).
Situated between the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Rincon Mountains near Redington Pass northeast of the city limits is the affluent community of Tanque Verde. The Arizona National Golf Club, Forty-Niners Country Club, and the historic Tanque Verde Guest Ranch are also in northeast Tucson.
The expansive area northwest of the city limits is diverse, ranging from the rural communities of Catalina and parts of the town of Marana, the small suburb of Picture Rocks, the affluent town of Oro Valley in the western foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, and residential areas in the northeastern foothills of the Tucson Mountains. Continental Ranch (Marana), Dove Mountain (Marana), and Rancho Vistoso (Oro Valley) are all masterplanned communities in the Northwest that have thousands of residents.
South Tucson is the name of an independent, incorporated town of 1 sq mi south of downtown, and which is completely surrounded by the city of Tucson. It has a colorful, dynamic history. It was first incorporated in 1936, and later reincorporated in 1940. South Tucson is widely known for its many Mexican restaurants and architectural styles. The South side of the city of Tucson is generally considered to be the area of approximately 25 sq mi (65 km2) south of 22nd Street, east of I-19, west of Davis Monthan Air Force Base and southwest of Aviation Parkway, and north of Los Reales Road.
Southeast Tucson continues to experience rapid residential development. The area includes Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The area is considered to be south of Golf Links Road. It is the home of Santa Rita High School, Chuck Ford Park (Lakeside Park), Lakeside Lake, Lincoln Park (upper and lower), The Lakecrest Neighborhoods, and Pima Community College East Campus. The Atterbury Wash with its access to excellent bird watching is also in the Southeast Tucson area. The suburban community of Rita Ranch houses many of the military families from Davis-Monthan, and is near the southeastern-most expansion of the current city limits.
Famous for its dramatic beauty, the Sonoran Desert covers this region with spectacular cacti – including the giant saguaro, a symbol of the American Southwest. ... Tucson's legendary year-round sunshine and saguaro-and-sunset landscape have romanced visitors for decades.
East Tucson is relatively new compared to other parts of the city, developed between the 1950s and the 1970s, with developments such as Desert Palms Park. It is generally classified as the area of the city east of Swan Road. The area includes urban and suburban development near the Rincon Mountains. East Tucson includes Saguaro National Park East. Tucson's "Restaurant Row" is also on the east side, along with a significant corporate and financial presence.
This area is generally defined as the area west of I-10 and encompasses the banks of the Santa Cruz River and the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. Area attractions include the International Wildlife Museum, Sentinel Peak, Saguaro National Park West, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and movie set/theme park developed at the Old Tucson Studios. As travelers pass the Tucson Mountains, they enter the area commonly referred to as "Old West Tucson". In this large, undulating plain extending south into the Altar Valley, rural residential development predominates.
Similar to many other cities in the Western U.S., Tucson was developed by European Americans on a grid plan starting in the late 19th century, with the city center at Stone Avenue and Broadway Boulevard. While this intersection was initially near the geographic center of Tucson, that center has shifted as the city has expanded far to the east. Development to the west was effectively blocked by the Tucson Mountains. Covering a large geographic area, Tucson has many distinct neighborhoods.