Everything you need to know about moving to Phoenix Arizona.

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Arizona Living - Welcome

Courtesy TPC Scottsdale

With its captivating landscape, resort-like temperatures, booming business sector and growing art community, Arizona is a prime location for a fresh start.  Boasting wide open spaces, majestic mountain ranges and sunsets that can’t be beat, Arizona is truly an oasis in the southwest.  Mountains  and plateaus  comprise more than half the  state  and  Arizona  is  home  to  the  largest  ponderosa  pine  forest  in  the  country.      There  is  something  for everyone  here –  world  class  resorts,  backpacking  or  hiking  in  remote  areas and  family  friendly  communities.   The  cactus,  orange  blossoms,  and  Palo  Verde  trees  provide a  unique  backdrop  for  new  adventures  and experiences.  Bordering on California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada, The Grand Canyon state encompasses a wide range of influences geographically, culturally, and politically.  Formerly a mining and cattle territory, Arizona is now a contemporary industrial state with modern farms, large cities and emerging technologies. 

 

DESERT ORIGINS

The  name  Arizona  comes  from  the  Native  American  word “Arizona”  which  translates  to “place  of  the  small spring” is  the  48th  contiguous  state  of  the  United  States.    This  was  declared  on  February  14th,  1912  thus earning the nickname of “The Nation’s Valentine” Arizona  history  dates  back  to  1539  when  Friar  Marcos  de  Niza  explored  the  state  on  his  quest  to  find  the mythical seven cities of gold.  Missions were established in the 1690’s and introduced Christianity to the region.  Arizona was once part of New Mexico before The Arizona Organic Act was signed in 1863.   In the 1700’s, prospectors flocked to Arizona to stake their claims on the state’s precious metals.  Copper, lead, zinc, silver and gold have all been mined here. Mining continues to be a substantial player in Arizona’s economy.  When gold was discovered in California in 1849, Arizona’s Gila Trail became a main route to the west coast.  As this brought an influx of gold seekers unable to cope with the desert environment, the Tohono O’odham Tribe assisted the prospectors in surviving the unfamiliar climate.   Arizona’s bid to make history continued.    In  1930,  former  planet  Pluto  was  discovered  by  an  astronomer  at Lowell  Observatory  in  Flagstaff.    Sandra  Day  O’Connor,  who  is  the  first  woman  appointed  to  the  US  Supreme Court  was  born  in  the  small  town  of  Duncan.    Other major political players such as John McCain, Janet Napolitano, Barry Goldwater and G. Gordon Liddy hail from the nation’s Valentine State. 

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Home  to  The  Sonoran  Desert,  The  Coconino  Forest  and  The  Kaibab  National  Forest,  Arizona  offers  a  wide spectrum  of  landscapes  and  things  to  do.    Residents  can  ski in  Flagstaff,  boat  on  Lake  Powell,  visit  caverns  in Benson,  hike  in  Scottsdale,  kayak  on  Tempe  Town  Lake,  wine  taste  in  Sonoita,  and  to  a  mine  in  Bisbee.   Arizona  is  rich in  natural  wonders  such  as  The  Petrified  Forest,  Monument  Valley,  Saguaro  National  Park,  The Painted Desert, Sunset Crater and Havasu Canyon.  Arizona’s wildlife population is another draw for new residents.  A variety of species, such as coyotes, javelina, bob-cats, and roadrunners can be found roaming the desert.  The Grand Canyon State also boasts more parks and national monuments than any other state.    

SUNNY AND MILD

Temperatures  range  widely  from  North  to  South  but  Arizona  averages  306  sunny  days  per  year.    Arizona residents  needn’t  worry  about  changing  their  clocks  backward  or  forward.    The state observes Mountain Standard Time year round.  Most of Arizona’s rain occurs in the summer months but there is sometimes a short rainy season mid-winter.  Summer monsoon storms are often precipitated by dust storms.    Although  unpleasant  sounding,  dust  storms  are  generally  harmless  and  visually  stunning.    The rainy seasons are vital to recharge the riparian areas like the Upper San Pedro River Basin.   Surprisingly, Arizona  has  3,928  summits  and mountain  peaks  which make it  a great  location for  hiking,  biking and other outdoor sports.  Moderate winters allow for an exceptionally long period of time residents can engage in alfresco activities.  Golf is immensely popular in Arizona and ample courses provide for a variety of playing options. Perhaps the best things about Arizona weather are the things it’s missing - no humidity, no blizzards, no frozen windshields, and no tornados.  Every morning of the year, wake up and go.  

DAYTIME EXPEDITIONS

Although Arizona covers 113,998 square miles (and is roughly the size of Italy), there are a multitude of day trip options.  From Phoenix, you can easily visit the red rocks in Sedona, hike the Superstition Mountains, take in the vastness  of  The  Grand  Canyon  or  enjoy  Whiskey  Row  in  Prescott.    From Tucson, you can visit Tombstone (Arizona’s most famous ghost town), check out the art galleries in Bisbee, or take a guided hike of the Charleston Ruins.   Drive the Apache Trail – visit a ghost town, tour a mine and take a nature cruise on the Dolly Steamboat.  Stop in Tortilla Flat for lunch and prickly pear ice cream.   Although  Arizona  is  not  considered  wine  country,  it  is  home  to  a  number  of  local  vineyards.    Have a glass of Zinfandel and relax on the patio at Alcantara Vineyards in Camp Verde.  Stop in at Pillsbury Wine in Cottonwood for a tasty wine and chocolate pairing.  Visit Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards in Cornville, owned by Tool front man Maynard James Keenan.   See over 3200 desert plants and 250 species of birds on a 1.5 mile trail at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.   Take the Verde Canyon Railroad to see beautiful landscapes in Central Arizona.  Discover pine country in Payson and see the Shoofly Indian Ruins or Rim Country Museum.     

A STATE OF CELEBRITY

A  number  of  celebrities  hail  from  Arizona  including  folk  singer  Michelle  Branch,  baseball  star  Curt  Shilling, musicians  Alice  Cooper  and  Chester  Bennington,  comedian  David  Spade,  actress  Emma  Stone,  television  star Lynda Carter and music maven Stevie Nicks.   Acclaimed architect Frank Lloyd Wright lived in Arizona and his influence is seen in real estate throughout the state.  Taliesin West was built on 600 acres of Sonoran Desert and still houses an architectural studio and school.   Another  famous  architect,  Paolo  Soleri,  spent  time  with  Frank  Lloyd  Wright  at  Taliesin  West  and  went  on  to create Arcosanti which is based on his concept of “arcology” (combining architecture and ecology).   Best-selling  author  and  first  lady  of  household  humor,  Erma  Bombeck  made  her  home  in  Arizona  until  her passing in 1996. Pioneers  of  the  old  west  era,  Cochise,  The  Apache  Kid and Geronimo  were  all  born  in  Arizona.    The infamous Gunfight at The O.K. Corral took place in Tombstone, Arizona.   

JEWELS IN THE DESERT

Arizona’s two largest cities, Phoenix and Tucson, each have their own charm.  Phoenix is home to over 20 Native American tribes, communities and nations.  Public art reflects the history of the city and it’s clear that its roots haven’t been forgotten.    Tucson  lies  an  hour  north  of  the  Mexico  border  and  as  expected,  there  is  a  strong Hispanic influence in this smaller but vibrant desert oasis.      Metropolitan Phoenix is quickly becoming a foodie destination.  Up-and-coming chefs are pleasing the palettes of Phoenicians in a wide array of culinary genres.    A  James  Beard  finalist  two  years  in  a  row,  Kevin  Binkley  has restaurants in Cave Creek, Carefree and Central Phoenix.  Residents can enjoy inventive menus and cocktails at Lon’s At the Hermosa located in scenic Paradise Valley.    James  Beard  winner  chef -owner  Chris  Bianco  offers three  locations  for  diners  to  delight  in  his  Italian  influenced fare.    Metro Phoenix is also home to many family owned restaurants featuring cuisine from El Salvador, Peru, India, Greece, Cuba, Germany and Japan.   Phoenix is also a mecca for public art.  Because it’s a relatively new city, urban developers understand the value of art in everyday places.  Highways, overpasses, bus stops and parks feature art work, sculpture and design.  It adds beauty and also effortlessly blends this fair city into its natural environment.   The  feel  of the  old  west is  more  palpable  in  Tucson  than  anywhere  else.    Day or night, summer or winter, Tucson is casual.  Jeans and sandals are apropos almost anywhere.  It operates at a slower pace than Phoenix and has the feel of a small town.  Residents can visit the San Xavier Mission which is thought to be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States.  Tucson also offers the very unique but interesting The Mini Time   Machine   of Miniatures   Museum where   visitors   can take a   self-guided tour   through an interactive experience.   Experience Old Tucson Studios – a set for countless Western movies as well as a theme park.  Built in 1938, it was revamped in 2011 with new sets, streets and buildings.  While it’s still a must-see for any western diehard, it also  features living  history presentations  that  feature  educational  programs  about  Hispanic,  Chinese  and Native American culture.  

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