Why do so many people visit and then move to Phoenix, Arizona? Some people love the year-round sunny weather, while others appreciate being close to places like Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon. Phoenix is a large, sophisticated, and prosperous city that offers everything from a taste of the old West to James Beard Award-winning restaurants.
Don’t be confused, thinking that Phoenix might be a desert wasteland. Just minutes from the city center you’ll discover a wide array of plants and animals in the nearby Sonoran Desert. Plus, lush mountains, red rock hills, and inviting canyons surround the city. Phoenix is home to loads of entertainment options ranging from outdoor adventures, arts, culture, nightlife, shopping, sports, and spas.
Whether Phoenix fascinates you with its healthy and growing economy, affordable housing, or its unrivaled lifestyle, we hope the following resources are helpful to you.
Living in Phoenix, AZ: What to Know Before Moving to Phoenix
The Valley of the Sun, the 5th largest city in the US, is known for its sunny weather, high-end resorts and spas, and exciting job opportunities. If you’re thinking of joining the 1,660,272 residents who call Phoenix home, here’s what you need to know before moving there.
Pros and Cons of Living in Phoenix
Every city has its pros and cons. Some of the best parts of living in Phoenix include:
- Access to big city amenities and city life fun
- Affordable housing and living costs, especially relative to a big city
- Year-round sunny weather
- Steady job market and plenty of opportunities
- Cultural, sports, indoor, and outdoor activities to enjoy
- Fewer insect problems to deal with due to the dry air
Some aspects of Phoenix that potential residents might not like include:
- Sweltering summers with temperatures over 100 degrees and consistent dry weather
- Temporary winter residents, making Phoenix busier during colder months
- The big-city vibe, large population, and crowds
- The crime rate is 61% above the national average
- The majority of jobs are in real estate and construction, which can be a downside for some newcomers
- Traffic can be frustrating with Phoenix being in the top 100 most congested cities in the world
- Property Taxes: Smart Asset reports that the average property tax rate in Phoenix is 0.77% or $2,005. By law, there’s a cap on the total property tax rate on owner-occupied homes.
- Sales Tax: Avalara lists Phoenix’s combined sales tax rate at 8.6%.
- Income Tax: Bank Rate explains that Arizona collects income taxes at five brackets, with the lowest rate at 2.59% and the highest at 4.54%. Compare these rates to your current state’s policies so you can estimate your new budget for taxes.
Phoenix New Times reveals that renting a three-bedroom home in the city is more affordable than buying a home in the median price range. Biz Journals backs this data up by saying that the Phoenix metro area has seen a significant increase in families with children renting over the past decade. That means about 70,000 families in the Phoenix area are choosing to rent rather than buy.
The median home price in the Phoenix area, according to Zillow, is $242,600. This rate has been increasing over the past year and is predicted to continue rising. According to Keri Baker from Paramount Management & Realty, Phoenix is expected to be a booming real estate sector in the next few years and is poised to be one of America’s top real estate markets. It is among the top 20% of the nation’s list of property value appreciation and has a 50% higher appreciation rate compared to other cities in Arizona. Rent Jungle discusses Phoenix’s rent trends, with an average rent of about $1256, but rates seem to be fluctuating up and down from month to month and year to year.
If affordable housing is one of your top priorities, Home Snacks suggests you look into some of Phoenix’s more affordable neighborhoods, such as New Village, Estrella, South Mountain, Maryvale, and North Mountain.
Cost of Living
The deptofnumbers.com reports the median household income for the Phoenix metropolitan area is $61,506, compared to Arizona’s median household income of $56,581.
Family Budget Calculator shows some of Phoenix’s monthly costs so you can compare them to your current budget. For two adults and two children, you can expect to pay about $1,013 in housing, $748 for food, $ 1,409 for child care, $1,154 for transportation, $1,531 for healthcare, $710 for other necessities, and $1020 for taxes. Your total monthly expenses for these costs would be $7,585. Best Places states that the Phoenix cost of living is about 13 points above the US average and 12 points above Arizona’s overall average.
Weather & Natural Disasters
According to US Climate Data, the average temperature in Phoenix throughout the year is 75 degrees, with an average annual high of 86 degrees and an average yearly low of 63. Summer highs in the city get up to 105 degrees, and January lows get down to about 43 degrees.
Best Places says that on average, Phoenix has 299 sunny days per year, which is 94 more days than the US average. With these temperatures, the only snow you’ll see will be on the surrounding mountain peaks. Average annual rainfall is about 8”.
The Arizona State Climate Office analyzes some of Phoenix’s common weather dangers. Number one on the list is heat stroke. Remember to drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and suitable clothing. Listen to your body if you’re experiencing headaches or light-headedness. Keep an eye on children, the elderly, and other high-risk groups for heat-related symptoms.
Arizona’s natural disasters include lightning storms and dust storms, although these pose a much lesser risk than the heat. Head indoors when lightning storms threaten and don’t use telephones, water faucets, or electronic devices. In a dust storm, pull off the road and apply the emergency brake or stay indoors. Be informed about additional critical precautions by reading about ‘Arizona Weather Hazards’ on azclimate.asu.edu.
Economy & Job Market
According to Best Places, Phoenix has an unemployment rate of 4.2% but has seen the job market improve by 3.3% over the past year alone. US News ranked Arizona #10 overall in environment, employment, and growth, making its economy look pretty dependable overall.
The Phoenix Relocation guide lists some of Phoenix’s major employers, including:
- Banner Health
- City of Phoenix
- Wells Fargo
- Bank of America
- Maricopa County
- JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Intel Corp.
- US Airways
- Dignity Health
- American Express
- Scottsdale Healthcare
- Mayo Clinic Hospital
- Boeing Co.
- Abrazo Healthcare
AZ Commerce says that top industries in Phoenix include aerospace and defense, technology, manufacturing, healthcare, business and finance, and digital media. Fortune 500 companies include Freeport McMoRan, PetSmart, Avnet, Republic Services, and Insight Enterprises.
Tips for Finding a Job
- Are you wondering if you’ll be able to land a job in Phoenix, Arizona? According to Zippia, the best jobs for new job seekers in the area include management, computer, architecture, office, and healthcare.
- Finding a job after moving can be tricky, especially if you are coming in from out-of-state. First and foremost, network. Ask friends and family who live in the area for help.
- Next, perfect your resume and cover letter. Be prepared to be very communicative with your potential new employer, making the process as easy on them as possible. Provide them with Skype and email addresses and offer to fly out to the area for interviews.
- You should know your stuff about your desired job position before applying, and then do everything in your power to make it feel less complicated for your employer to hire you from out-of-state.
Traffic and Transportation
The busy city of Phoenix does have decent public transportation. You’ll pay a low fee to take Phoenix’s Valley Metro light-rail system, with an all-day pass as another option to save money. The light rail connects all of Phoenix’s major destinations, making travel convenient for those who do not want to drive their vehicles.
If you want to get to the airport, you can also take the PHX Sky Train. People with disabilities can take advantage of Phoenix Dial-A-Ride.
Arizona uses SR-## to label all major routes and highways, but each road has its own nickname. A few of the names you’ll want to know, as listed by Waze, include Stack, Mini-Stack, North Stack, Split, and Durango Curve.
Phoenix is considered the 25th most congested city in the nation, so prepare for traffic snarls and stops, especially at rush-hours. Although the city of Phoenix’s population is under 2 million, the greater Phoenix metropolitan area has over 4.5 million residents. When those folks decide to get out on the road, that’s a lot of cars vying for position to get from place to place.
Were you hoping to walk around the city? Phoenix gets a walk score of 41, according to Walkscore.com, and is considered the 31st most walkable large city in the United States. If walking is a priority for you, the most walkable Phoenix neighborhoods are the downtown area, Booker T. Washington, and Eastlake Park. A 4.6-mile dedicated downtown bike lane called Bicycle Boulevard makes pedaling to errands or work quite safe. Phoenix receives a bike score of 52.
What to Do
You’ll find Phoenix buzzing with activities and events to attend all the time. US News lists some great options in the area, including:
- Desert Botanical Garden: Discover thousands of breathtaking species of trees and flowers or take a scenic hike on one of its trails. The Garden also hosts community events like outdoor concerts from time to time.
- Museum Hop: Phoenix is home to a variety of museums that are great to explore, especially when you ready to escape the heat. The Musical Instrument Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum, the Arizona Science Center, the Penske Racing Museum, and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix are all worth a visit and engage young audiences with interactive features.
- Camelback Mountain: Hiking is a favorite activity in Phoenix, and Camelback Mountain is one of the best places to do it. See stunning views of Phoenix and Scottsdale and select the difficulty of your hike. There are both beginner-friendly trails and also steeper hikes for those who prefer more of a challenge.
- Sports: Phoenix is also an excellent place for sports fans, with six professional teams and various sports museums. And golf enthusiasts won’t be disappointed with the surrounding clubs and courses.
Schools and Universities
According to US News, Phoenix ranks a little low in terms of education, at #40 out of 50 states. But rest assured that there are many great public and private school options, as well as excellent continuing education programs where you can have an above-and-beyond schooling experience.
Great Schools provides a list of some of Phoenix’s most successful and respected school districts. While these include some districts outside of the big city itself, you’ll want to know these names:
- Phoenix Union High School
- Glendale Union High School
- Tempe Union High School
- Washington Elementary School District
- Kyrene Elementary School District
Phoenix Relocation Guide says that Phoenix is well-known for its higher education, both inside and outside of the city itself. Options include Arizona State University, University of Phoenix, and Grand Canyon University.
Neighborhood Scout cites the number of crimes in Phoenix at a total of 72,864, or an average of 44.81 per 1,000 residents. Overall, Phoenix crime is 61% higher than the national average, making Phoenix safer than only 7% of other cities in the country. However, like any large city, crime rates vary among areas. Some of the safest Phoenix neighborhoods are near W Pecos Rd, or N 7th St and E Irvine Rd, N Central Ave, and W Carefree Hwy.
Are you gearing up to transfer your utility services? Below, we’ve listed some of the trusted Phoenix utility providers with links to their websites. To learn more about setting up your services, and who you should call, check out the City of Phoenix website linked below. They can answer your questions about recycling and waste management, gas, water, and electric. This is a handy place to get started setting up utilities or contact these providers directly through their websites or by phone.
Best Neighborhoods in Phoenix, AZ
The Central Corridor extends from Camelback Avenue to Northern Avenue. You’ll see Seventh Ave to your west and Seventh Street to the east. Many people choose Central Corridor due to its proximity to downtown Phoenix for a more convenient commute. Major industries in Central Corridor include finance, technology, law, and government. The current population, according to Dwell Phoenix, is 27,143.
Central Corridor is known for its large ranch-style homes and grassy yards, but it also offers French Provincial and Cape Cod styles. It’s a great neighborhood for walking and also has public transportation with abundant light rail stops. Central Corridor shows a higher median home price at $697,000, based on data from realtor.com. Rent Café shows average rent rates in Phoenix at about $1,000, with 45% of properties at $701-$1,000, 38% at $1,001-$1,5003, and 5% at $1,501-$2,000. Central Corridor is likely to show rent prices slightly higher than the baseline Phoenix price.
Central Corridor residents enjoy dining at the best local eateries, like Joyride and Postino Central. And there’s no problem finding a neighborhood place to step in for cooling ice cream or meet friends for coffee. Also, there is significant nightlife with bars, bistros, and pubs. Some of the best places to visit and explore are the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix. There is plenty to see and do in the Central Corridor since it is so close to the downtown area.
Central High School is an important establishment in the area, and part of the Phoenix Union High School District. Great Schools rates the school below average, but many residents love the school. Other schools in the area include All Saints’ Episcopal Day School and Phoenix Coding Academy.
Paradise Valley, located about 14 miles northeast of downtown Phoenix, has a population of 13,961 residents according to Niche. Paradise Valley is a suburban paradise, filled to the brim with parks, restaurants, and things to do. But don’t be fooled, there’s also plenty of open space and privacy, so if you’re looking for a combination of peace and activity, Paradise Valley could be optimal for you.
Paradise comes at a price, with a median home price of $1,406,700 and a rent of $1,789. 92% of the individuals living in Paradise Valley own their homes. Paradise Valley AZ’s website says that homeowners take pride in their neighborhood and are very involved.
Niche reports that Paradise Valley public schools are highly rated. The best public schools serving Paradise Valley include Chaparral High School, Montessori Academy, and Cherokee Elementary School. These schools lie within the Scottsdale Unified School District and have A ratings.
Residents of Paradise Valley enjoy visiting Cosanti, which is the sculpture studio of world-famous Italian-American architect, Paolo Soleri. They might suggest you dine at Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn or check out the nightlife at Jade Bar.
Arcadia is a highly desirable Phoenix neighborhood, with stunning citrus groves, peaceful tree-lined streets, and lots of shopping and dining. Arcadia has a population of 40,621 according to Point 2 Homes. The boundaries of Arcadia seem to change based on who you ask, says sibbach.com. As with Paradise Valley, it seems to overlap both Phoenix and Scottsdale. Arcadia is a sought-after location with a median home price of $544,800, according to Zillow. The Phoenix New Times, reports the average rent in Arcadia is about $1,406.
In Arcadia, you’re next door to the Camelback Mountains, so you can appreciate some of the best hikes and recreation in the state. Foodies should try out Chelsea’s Kitchen, The Henry, O.H.S.O Eatery & NanoBrewery, and wine bars such as Postino Wine Café, according to 10Best.com. If you love luxury, you’re going to enjoy Arcadia. Some of the oldest luxury resorts are here, such as the Arizona Baltimore Resort. Relax in the spa, a pool cabana, or go for some activity and launch down a waterslide.
Great Schools says that Arcadia High School’s graduation rate is an excellent 93% with AP course participation of 18%. Other top schools in the area include Hopi Elementary School and The Hills School.
Where is uptown Phoenix? Downtown Phoenix Journal loosely defines it as north of Indian School Road and south of Missouri Avenue. Uptown Phoenix is sometimes called Phoenix City, and it’s teeming with life. Enjoy dining, shopping, great homes, and office spaces. The current population of Uptown Phoenix is around 109,295, according to Data USA. The median household income showed a $2,000 increase from 2016-2017, and it now is $43,153.
If you’re excited to walk the city and find things to do, you are going to love Uptown Phoenix! There are also plenty of family-friendly suburban spots, so you can have it all in this area. If you don’t have your own vehicle, you’ll be happy to hear that the light-rail is a major feature of this area. The Gabel Phillips Groups lists some of the best places in Uptown, including Uptown Plaza, which contains diverse retail shops and delicious dessert stops. You can find gourmet foods at a unique market and café called Luci’s at the Orchard. There are also plenty of great outdoor activities, including the wide-open Granada Park, nearby tennis courts, or Piestewa Peak.
Phoenix’s government website lists some of the preferred schools in the area, including Brophy College Prep, Central High School, and Xavier College Preparatory School. Niche reports that Madison is a revered school district here, with a B- grade.
Uptown Phoenix is full of well-established neighborhoods but has a fusion of fresh new restaurants and cafes plus activities to explore. Some of the historic districts in the Uptown area that you might want to consider for your new home include North Central, Madison, Lookout Mountain, and Northwest Central.
Downtown Phoenix has a population of 6,110 and includes the area between 7th Street and 7th Avenue, with McDowell Road to the north and Buckeye Road just south. Street Scout reveals that you’ll find an exciting combination of historic homes, high-rise condos, and apartment complexes in the Downtown area. If you are a job-seeker, this is the place to go, with lots of opportunity in areas like retail, food, and tech. You probably already guessed that there are plenty of activities for everyone Downtown! Enjoy sports venues, hotels, boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, museums, music, and more.
The median home price in this area is $218,000. AZ Central says that the median rent is high at $1,608, about $50-$100 lower per month than other areas like Scottsdale or Tempe.
One of the most attended elementary schools is Kenilworth Elementary School in the Phoenix Elementary District, which Great Schools rates as about average in year-over-year academic improvement. The Bioscience High School also serves the Downtown area.
Roosevelt Row (RoRo)
Roosevelt Row, with a population of 8,618, is a distinct historic district within the downtown urban core and is proud to be an advocate of the arts and small businesses. They pride themselves on creating a diverse, artistic, and walkable community. You can immerse yourself in downtown life, with immediate access to bars, boutiques, and breweries. Participate in the independent film festival, visit the Heard Museum of Native Cultures, or dig into some delectable crepes at Jobot Coffee.
Now that you know about the center of RoRo, you might want to know more about the residences. Many of your neighbors likely live in townhomes and condos, but there are also single-family homes for sale. There are many safe suburban areas throughout the district. Zillow lists the median home value in RoRo at $221,400, and the median rent price is $1,175, somewhat lower than the general Phoenix median rent of $1,450.
Some of the schools in the area include Bioscience High School and Garfield Elementary School, within the same school district that serves all of downtown Phoenix’s schools. These schools have lower ratings on Great Schools, but many parents who have reviewed the schools on the site are pleased with their experiences at these institutions.
Coronado is a downtown district located in midtown Phoenix and features homes constructed between 1920 and 1930 in California Bungalow and Spanish Colonial Revival styles, according to the Coronado Neighborhood site. Neighborhoods.com reports that Coronado’s current median home sale price is $290,000. Median rent falls under the same category of all of downtown Phoenix, at about $1,450. This neighborhood of about 6000 residents is centrally located, so you have access to amenities and job opportunities downtown, as well as access to major freeways, public transport, and great hospitals.
It’s served by downtown Phoenix’s school districts, including Phoenix Elementary School District, as well as Scottsdale Unified District. US News explains that Coronado High School’s total enrollment is 1,044 with 64 full-time teachers.
Small businesses drive this neighborhood, and it thrives on a friendly sense of community and togetherness. Coronado boasts trendy coffee shops, delicious delis, and live local music. There are both nightlife activities like clubs and dive bars, and family options such as community gardens or Coronado Park.
Neighborhoods.com states that Ahwatukee Foothills has a population of almost 80,000, a median home value of $298,053, and a median income of $95,258. Rent Café reports the average rent price is $1,176. The numbers show that this is a desirable and fairly affordable place to reside.
This urban village forms the southernmost portion of Phoenix. Real Estate Chandler says Money Magazine called Ahwatukee one of the top places to live in all of the US. Why? There’s stunning scenery, friendly neighborhoods, safe streets, and highly rated schools.
Ahwatukee has a suburban feel with plenty of parks and open spaces. The City of Phoenix designed Ahwatukee Foothills with three golf courses and South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the US. Get out and go hiking, running, walking, or biking, then stop by the Ahwatukee Foothills Farmers Market to pick up dinner on your way home.
Niche says that public schools are rated at a competitive A-. Schools include Kyrene de las Manitas School which is part of the Kyrene Elementary School District, and Summit School of Ahwatukee, a private school.
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