10 Best Budget Hotels in Tucson: Escape to the Desert for Less

Tucson is known for its luxurious desert resorts, but you don't have to be well-heeled to travel here in style. The city is home to dozens of budget-friendly hotel chains and comfortable independently-owned lodges.

One of the most convenient and budget-friendly hotels in downtown Tucson is the Hotel Tucson City Center Conference Suite Resort, a sprawling hotel located just off Interstate 10 at the edge of downtown Tucson. The spacious guestrooms and well-maintained grounds are clean and comfortable, and you can upgrade to a "presidential" suite with in-room jacuzzi tub. In the morning, guests can enjoy a large, hot breakfast buffet featuring hotcakes, sausage, gravy and biscuits, scrambled eggs and other breakfast items.

If you're looking for a slightly more hip stay, head to the historic Hotel Congress, situated in the heart of downtown. The hotel rooms are clean and nearly bare-bones, but that's all part of the hotel's historic charm (rooms famously do not have in-room TVs, although they are equipped with antique radios and large iron beds).

For a budget-friendly stay near the Tucson International Airport, look no further than Country Inn & Suites Tucson Airport, which earns rave reviews from travelers for its speedy check-ins, friendly staff, free hot breakfast, and comfortable suites.

In north Tucson, try the Red Roof Inn Tucson North, a pet-friendly hotel with free Wi-Fi, clean rooms and premium cable in every room. 


The Country Inn & Suites Tucson Airport is one of the best budget-friendly stays near the Tucson International Airport. The hotel offers plenty of amenities to make guests feel welcome, including free cookies and cool, fruit-infused water in the lobby. Guest rooms are clean, spacious and comfortable, decorated in cool neutral tones designed to calm and relax you after a long flight. There is also a free hot breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a free complimentary airport shuttle. There is also an outdoor pool and whirlpool tub for unwinding. Aside from being close to the airport, the hotel is also convenient to downtown and midtown Tucson attractions.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Country Inn & Suites Tucson Airport is a cut above other budget-friendly hotel chains, offering guests comfortable accommodations and a free breakfast buffet.

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If you want to stay close to east Tucson attractions like Sabino Canyon, Saguaro National Park, and Davis Montham Air Force Base, La Quinta East is a good budget-friendly option. The two-story hotel features clean, renovated guestrooms with flat-panel TVs and comfy beds. Amenities include free high-speed Wi-Fi, free local calls, free parking, and the hotel chain's free Bright Side breakfast, which includes all-you-can-eat waffles, hot or cold cereal, fresh fruit, bagels, toast, muffins, pastries and juice, coffee or milk. As with most La Quinta hotels, this one is also pet-friendly, so you don't have to leave your furry, four-legged best friend at home.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Free breakfast, Wi-Fi and an outdoor pool make La Quinta East a good budget stay in Tucson.

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The Country Inn & Suites is convenient to the Tucson Convention Center, Tucson Rodeo Grounds and the University of Arizona. The hotel is ideal for business and leisure travelers, offering good value and comfortable accomodations. The on-site amenities include fitness and business centers, daily free breakfast, free high-speed Internet access and an outdoor pool and whirlpool tub. The hotel is also pet-friendly. It accepts small and medium-sized domestic pets Guests pay a $25 nonrefundable fee per room per stay, and receive a pet amenity at check-in. Guests with pets get first priority to first-floor rooms near hotel exits for easy access to the nearby Riverwalk for walking your four-legged friends.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Country Inn in downtown Tucson offers free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and is steps away from the city's Riverwalk trail.

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The Red Roof Inn Tucson North earns rave reviews from travelers who appreciate the hotel's excellent value and amenities. The hotel offers easy freeway access, and its within short driving distance to Saguaro National Park and other north Tucson attractions. Free Wi-Fi, spacious guestrooms and clean, comfy beds make for a welcome stay. All guestrooms feature 37-inch flat-panel TVs and premium cable channels. Shopping and restaurants are nearby, and while there is no free breakfast, hotel guests receive a discount at the nearby Denny's Restaurant. Be sure to ask at the front desk for the breakfast discount. The hotel is also pet-friendly.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: This pet-friendly budget hotel is located in scenic north Tucson and offers clean, spacious guestrooms. Upgraded rooms have microwaves and mini-fridges.

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Best Western Plus Royal Sun is a no-frills budget option with a convenient downtown Tucson location. The rooms are spacious, with modern furniture and newer pillow top king size beds. Guest rooms also have LCD TVs, DVD players and work desks. There are also king suites available with in-room jacuzzi suites. All guests receive one free complimentary cooked to order breakfast each morning at the Royal Sun Restaurant. When you're ready to unwind in the evening, stop by the lounge for two-for-one drinks by the fireplace. For business travelers, there is free wired and wireless Internet and a business center with print, scan, fax and copy services.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Best Western Royal sun has all the modern amenities traveler's have come to expect from the chain, plus a free hot breakfast.

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This small, historic boutique Tucson inn is located in one of Tucson's most eclectic and popular neighborhoods, the West University district. The Queen Anne Victorian house, which dates back to 1899, is today a charming hotel situated within walking distance to the University of Arizona campus, the Main Gate shopping and restaurant district, Fourth Avenue shops and bars, and an easy drive to downtown and west Tucson attractions. The hotel features six elegantly appointed theme rooms. Your stay includes all the trimming, including full gourmet breakfast, in-room kitchenettes, premium cable channels, filtered water, and an eco-friendly, allergen-free environment. During the low season, rooms can be reserved for less than $100 a night.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Big Blue House is a historic boutique inn loaded with charm and featuring an unbeatable location and full gourmet breakfast.

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The Embassy Suites Tucson Paloma Village is a good option if you're looking for a budget-friendly stay in Tucson with plenty of welcome luxurious touches. The hotel is in Tucson's posh foothills district, offering excellent views of the Santa Catalina Mountains and easy access to some of the city's best shops and restaurants. The hotel offers loads of amenities, including spacious two-room suites, a cooked-to-order hot breakfast, elegant, Tuscany-inspired decor, heated outdoor pool, business center, and a complimentary evening reception. Most rooms feature a wet bar, microwave, coffeemaker and refrigerator, making this a good option for long-term stays in Tucson.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Embassy Suites Paloma Village lets you enjoy the great views and ambiance of Tucson's foothills district, without having to pay high resort prices.

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If you're looking for an authentically boutique stay in Tucson, don't miss The Downtown Clifton. This small, independently owned hotel is within walking distance to downtown Tucson restaurants and nightlife. No two rooms are exactly alike, but all feature mid-century-meets-Southwest chic design, vintage barware, original art on the walls, comfy queen-size beds, mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs streaming Netflix and Hulu. All rooms also feature a non-alcholic mini bar stocked with locally-made gourmet snacks. If you want to relax with music in your room, you can check out a record player and vinyl from the front office. Or, hang out in the charming central courtyard with fellow hotel guests.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Downtown Clifton is a hip, budget-friendly hotel located within walking distance to downtown Tucson shops and restaurants.

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The Historic Hotel Congress

Built in 1919, the historic Hotel Congress has loomed over downtown Tucson for decades. This landmark hotel retains its vintage Southwestern charm with 40 modest guest rooms that feature vintage radios, antique iron beds, and telephones that access a fully operational 1930s switchboard in the lobby. Hip and quaint all at once, the Hotel Congress remains a vibrant gathering place for local hipsters and weary travelers of all stripes. Also on-site is the Tap Room and Club Congress, one of the city's most vibrant nightlife destinations. When you get hungry, head to the adjacent Cup Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner 365 days a year.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Hotel Congress offers a hip, historic stay in the heart of Tucson, while still remaining affordable.

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Hotel Tucson City Center is a good budget hotel with easy access to downtown Tucson, Interstate 10 and the Interstate 19. It's within walking distance to the Tucson Convention Center and downtown government offices, and a short drive to the University of Arizona campus. Amenities include an Olympic sized heated pool and spa, fitness center sand volleyball pits and ballroom and meeting space. The hotel is pet friendly and offers free shuttle transportation to the airport. Most rooms are basic no-frill doubles, but you can upgrade to larger presidential or family suite. Upgraded bath amenities and free hot breakfast buffet make this Hotel Tucson City Center a good value.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Hotel City Center is a sprawling, budget resort located right in downtown, and offers a hot all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet.

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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.