Phoenix, Arizona is a great place to live. It's a bustling city in the middle of the desert and, yes, it does get hot. Yet, that's a minor inconvenience when you can enjoy the outdoors year-round, right?
Greater Phoenix has been and continues to be one of the hottest growth areas in the United States. But how do you know if it's right for you? What can you do to fit in? These are good questions, especially if you're moving from an entirely different part of the country.
The Phoenix metro area is very expansive. It's not a walking city by any means, so you will want to think carefully about where you want to live. There are nice places and some you will want to avoid, but they tend to be intermingled no matter which part of the area you're in.
The commute is likely to be a big factor for many new residents. It will, of course, depend on where you live and work, but we can give you a rough idea on rush hour commute times.
The schools your kids will attend is another major factor in where you choose to live. Maricopa County has almost 1000 schools in various school districts, so it's best to do extensive research on the schools in the areas you're interested in.
People usually move to Phoenix for work. There are a variety of opportunities both within the public and private sectors. The main employment opportunities are to be found in education, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, retail and hospitality.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
Salary: Salaries vary enormously depending which industry you are in. The costs we outlined above should give you a rough idea, how much more you’ll want to be making to make the move worthwhile. You can also check salary ranges on sites such as Glassdoor and Payscale.
How to find work: If you want to have a job lined up before you move to Phoenix, but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start: Monster, Indeed, Snagajob, Craigslist and Career Builder. You may also want to google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
If living in Phoenix brings to mind scorching temperatures and shopping malls, it's time to reexamine a false first impression. Yes, it's hot (but it's a dry heat), and yes, malls are aplenty, but the Valley of the Sun is multifaceted and richly explorable. New charms reveal themselves each year, and little by little more people learn that the correct answer to the question, "Should I move to Phoenix?" is a resounding "Yes!" You might want to jump in while the jumping is good, because the word on Phoenix is getting hotter than an Arizona summer.
Expect to need a car. Unless you are able to live very close to work and needed amenities you will be facing challenges getting around well on public transport. That being said here are some driving tips unique to Phoenix. People will be driving very fast in many areas. On freeways it is foolish to drive "slow" in the left lane(s). By slow I mean anywhere close to the speed limit. I drive about 7 over because I prefer not to get tickets. I stay to the right or center depending on conditions. If someone is trying to pass when I am to the left I merge right to allow them by. It causes hazards for other drivers to plug the left lanes forcing speed demons to swerve around you to the right. Just be smart and let them by for all of our sake. During rush hours surface streets can be good alternatives to freeways in many parts of town. You will need to get a feel for the corridors you frequent, but if you see bottlenecks on your commute try the excellent cross streets and see if it's better. Last tip you need car insurance.
There are some great answers here on other lifestyle tips and I suggest you read them for some good ideas to make life in Phoenix better. A few other things I think can be of use are to remember we don't do daylight savings time. You have to adjust communication times with other regions accordingly. Many street names and place names are in Spanish. Many people here speak Spanish better than English or only speak Spanish. If you have ever wanted to learn a second language you will get a good return on your study. Good luck!
According to Numbeo, the cost for a four-person family to live in Phoenix is around $2,700 a month (excluding housing). Expenses for a single person run around $800 (excluding housing).
When it comes to rent, you can expect to pay around $1,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. Or, if you’re interested in buying a home, the prices for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house average around $300,000.
If you are interested in a more thorough breakdown, Expatistan is a great site that will provide you with an extensive list of costs such as health care, groceries, clothing, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
If walking is your preference, the news isn’t good. According to a recent study, Phoenix is one of the least walkable cities in the nation. But residents do have access to public transportation: Not only does the Valley Metro have multiple bus routes throughout the city, it also offers a light rail.
And if you’re a frequent flier, the Sky Harbor International Airport is located three miles from Downtown and offers both domestic and international flights.
Anthem is very well planned adult type community. Lots of greenery, shopping, recreation facilities etc.. Most of the Phoenix traffic going north/south enter or exists either I-17 or the 101 freeways miles before Anthem. Therefore, I'd say a rough estimate to your work to/from Anthem would be about 25 minutes. Anthem is only about 2 years old, but they have a large shopping Mall nearby now with many factory outlets too. Not a place to live if you're commuting to the Phoenix area, but it is, IMHO, if you're going to work on the N/W side of the Valley. You'll adjust to the desert climate easily, but July & August can get really Hot and even humid with our 4-5 week Monsoon season.
Phoenix. Chicago has culture and stuff but we have a better cost of living, lower taxes and way better weather. Our culture is Mexican and not Mexican. Few Polish or Slovak or Greek restaurants and events, but we do have good museums. SW Florida is cool too, but humidity, bad real estate prices and storms. As for the politics, we are conservative for a major city but not really. We're like Springfield, Batavia or Bloomington-Normal, not Effingham, Rochelle or Mount Vernon. As long as you aren't in a super Mormon or retiree area, nothing will happen. Even if you were in one of those "anti-LGBT" places, worst thing would be dirty looks.
Phoenix has great culture, is LGBTQ friendly--Tempe is especially liberal and depending on where you work in Phx/Scottsdale is central and easy to get around in. I moved here 4 years ago (from NM) and I think there is a ton to do--not boring at all. I'm old and straight, so don't get downtown much at night, but my 20-something kids are there a lot. I work in Tempe at ASU and think it's a great fit. It gets freaking hot--not gonna lie. But a/c is everywhere and you adapt really quickly. If you like hiking and other outdoor activities this is your place--and the weather is gorgeous 8 months of the year. The final best part? I've never had to scrape ice of my windshield and no matter how long I shovel, I can't get the sunshine off my driveway. COL is reasonable. I love it here.
Down side of living in Phoenix area (all relative and YMMV).
Schools are really hit and miss based on where you live/school district. The legislature is always trying to screw the schools out of money.
Bland factor. There are a ton of cookie cutter like subdivisions, tons of strip malls. "Old" is typically something out of the 70's. There are pockets of character, but not as much as I'd like compared to many other cities.
Bakeries -- (or lack there of). going with the strip mall theme, it seems like we have very few really good bakeries in town.
The heat, oh that damn heat in in the summer. Even if you can deal with it, it does get old by the time you hit September. And having so much sun all the time is a bit boring too (yeah I know, weird, but I do like some change in weather). But net-net, 9+ months of really nice weather is not much to complain about.
Snowbirds. They can be a real pain in the ass-- nuff said.
I'd recommend central Phoenix (between McDowell and Bethany Home) or Arcadia, which is between central Phoenix and Scottsdale. The Camelback and Uptown areas are nice, with some decent options near $1000. As others have noted, your ~$75k salary will give you a comfortable lifestyle here. I currently pay about $1150 for my 2bed/2bath place. I'm around your age and feel that there are lots of shops/bars/restaurants/breweries nearby. Any other questions feel free to send me a message!
The Phoenix area is also home to some larger wild mammals such as coyotes and wild skunk pigs called javelina. If a coyote or javelina should visit your yard, you can usually frighten it away by making loud, threatening noises or spraying it with a garden hose.
Make it clear that the animal is unwelcome on your property and it will probably leave. If you have children, you’ll need to teach them to find adults quickly if coyotes are around.
Yes, Phoenix is hot. Temps can easily rise into the hundreds during summer. But, we never get that gross sticky feeling that you would in a humid climate, because it really is bone dry. And we like it that way.