Welcome to Phoenix
Moving to Phoenix?
PHOENIX: THE VALLEY OF THE SUN
Phoenix and its more than 20 surrounding communities are known as the “Valley of the Sun” – and that’s not surprising, given Arizona’s climate and its hot, rapid growth over the last several years.
One of the leading regions of the Southwest during the real estate boom from 2003 to 2006, Phoenix and its neighboring commu- nities have always benefited from an influx of relocating families, singles, and retirees and continue to do so today. In 2015, the Phoenix area added 88,000 new residents, raising the ranking to number four in the nation in the terms of population growth. Today, Arizona sits at the number eight spot, (as of January 2018).
The U.S. Census Bureau has estimated that by 2030, the population of Phoenix will reach 2.2 million, with the metro area reaching about 6.3 million. Currently, the Phoenix metropolitan area boasts over 4 million people and is home to the Arizona State University Sun Devils. The Phoenix-Casa Grande-Tucson corridor is anticipated to be one of the fastest growing areas in the United States.
Phoenix residents are not alone in recognizing the city’s appeal. The city has been praised by other organizations, including a receipt of the National Community Recycling Leadership Award from the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), a nonprofit public service organization dedicated to recycling rechargeable batteries and cell phones.
The city is a diverse and exciting combination of factors, from its status as Arizona’s capital city to the several major professional sports teams to its incredible scenery. The city is surrounded by mountains on all four sides, a geographical oasis that appeals to young singles, retirees, families, and everyone in between. It’s true that there really is something for everyone!
DEDICATION TO A LIVABLE CITY
Phoenix is dedicated to making – and keeping – the city a livable, safe area for its residents. For example, the City of Phoenix provides a School Safety program that is funded by a grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and aims to increase the number of School Resource Officers in schools.
This program is reflective of a commitment that continues with the Phoenix-area city of Goodyear, winning the National Civic League-sponsored All-America City Award competition. Given since 1949, the award, “recognizes civic excellence, honoring communities of all sizes in which citizens, government, businesses, and voluntary organizations work together to explain how they are successfully resolving critical local issues.”
The National Civic League has selected Phoenix as an “All-America City” five times. The All-America City award is given to communities across the United States that identify and tackle community-wide challenges. Businessweek.com also identified Phoenix as a, “…magnet for Generation Y residents because of its history of having some of the nation’s best job opportunities.” Readers of TV y Más magazine, a Spanish-language television guide, has also voted Phoenix as the “Best Place to Raise a Family,” and both Apartments.com and CbCampus.com rated Phoenix as number seven in its top ten cities in the United States for recent college graduates.
Valley Metro, an institution formed under the auspices of the Regional Public Transportation Authority, handles public transit in Phoenix and throughout Maricopa County, which is now more important than ever, given the recent growing gas prices. Its services include bussing, local area shut- tles, Paratransit (for residents with medical challenges in need of transportation), and METRO, a new, 20-mile, $1.4 billion light-rail transit system that takes commuters though a metropolitan area that includes major Valley of the Sun cities, such as Tempe and Mesa. Launched on December 27, 2008, future METRO plans include building 30 more miles of light rail lines by 2025.
Overall, Phoenix has a lot to offer its residents and has been recognized for its reasonable cost of living and universal appeal by national relocation companies and surveys.
PHOENIX’S COLORFUL HISTORY
The name “Phoenix” describes a mythical bird that lived from 600 to 800 years before building a nest of cinnamon twigs that it ignites, burning its nest and itself until both are reduced to ashes. But from the ashes, a new young phoenix arises to live again.
That mythical story mirrors the colorful and cultural history of Phoenix itself, a city that had its beginnings more than 1,000 years ago when the Hohokam people lived on the land that would eventually become the vibrant city it is today. In 1868, the city was a small colony first named Swilling’s Mill and then changed to Helling Mill. It eventually became Mill City and then East Phoenix. It was Phillip Darrell Duppa, an early Arizona pioneer, who suggested the name Phoenix, since the new town would include the rebuilding and updating of the city’s ancient Hohokam canal systems – rebuilding anew from the proverbial ashes of the old.
The city of Phoenix was officially recognized on May 4, 1868, when the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors formed an election precinct, and eventually incorporated in 1881.
Arizona’s rich Native American cultural background informs its history, and Phoenix is no exception. There are 22 federally-recognized Native American tribes in Arizona with a total population of about 300,000, many of whom reside in the Valley of the Sun. The area’s Pueblo Grande ruins, an ancient city occupied between 700 A.D. and 1400 A.D., embodies the city’s history where the wide Salt River ran through the Valley of the Sun. The city sits on the banks of the river, which is mostly dry today.
The city’s location in central Arizona made it preferential as the state capital, rather than Tucson or Prescott. Today, Phoenix the only state capital with a city proper population of more than 1.4 million and is the third-largest city in the western United States, just after Houston, Texas.
The Phoenix metropolitan area includes the city itself, Maricopa County, most of Pinal County, and parts of southern Yavapai County. The city’s combined metropolitan statistical area (MSA) population is just over 4 million and includes the communities of Anthem, Avondale, Buckeye, Carefree, Cave Creek, Chandler, El Mirage, Fountain Hills, Gila Bend, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Guadalupe, Litchfield Park, Mesa, Para- dise Valley, Peoria, Phoenix, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Sun City, Sun City West, Sun Lakes, Surprise, Tempe, Tolleson, Tonopah, Wickenburg, and Youngtown in Maricopa County. In Pinal County, communities include Apache Junction, Arizona City, Casa Grande, Coolidge, Eloy, Florence, Kearny, Mammoth, Maricopa, Oracle, Picacho, Picacho Peak, Red Rock, San Manuel, and Superior.
PHOENIX’S ARTS SCENE: MUSIC, FILM, TV AND CULTURE
The arts thrive in Phoenix, thanks in part to an active creative and civic community. For example, the City of Phoenix Office of Art and Culture is a great source of information on all things arts and culture, including theater and performing companies, music venues and concerts, art galleries, museums, dance performances, and much more.
The city’s Office of Arts and Culture offers many programs that continue to nurture and support the arts on a regular basis, including an Arts Grants program and Career Development grants, a Public Art program, a thriving community of Phoenix arts organization websites and partner agencies, and the monthly First Friday Artwalk that attracts residents and visitors alike to the city’s downtown art galleries. Several nearby cities boast annual art festivals, and art and locally-made jewelry can often be purchased at farmer’s markets throughout the area.
There are more than 130 nonprofit organizations that provide art and cultural experiences to the community, including a symphony orchestra and local community bands, opera and ballet companies, production and presentation theaters, dance organizations, art and history museums, a science center, the city zoo, a botanical garden, and countless festivals.
In fact, there’s such a rich concentration of arts and culture spanning the city’s unique and interesting communities that there are major annual festivals in almost every Phoenix-area city. Take the family and explore the Arizona Renaissance Festival, the Arizona Scottish Highland Games, the Dia de los Muertos Festival, Matsuri: a Festival of Japan, the Native American Fine Art Invitational, the Scottsdale Arts Festival, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, the Tempe Festival of the Arts, the Harvest Festival, the Family Cornfest and Arts and Crafts Fair, the Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival, or Way Out West Oktoberfest! The best part is that this is just a taste of the festivals available for Arizona residents and out-of-towners.
Museums and galleries celebrate Southwest art and culture, as well as classic art genres. The Phoenix Art Museum, which opened in 1959, is known for its diverse visual arts collection, including exhibitions and permanent collections that include famous artists, such as Rembrandt, Norman Rock- well, Annie Leibowitz, and Monet. The museum also includes more than 18,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Western American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design.
The Arizona Science Center in Phoenix features hands-on exhibits and a planetarium, and the Arizona State Museum is the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the Southwest. For a list of cultural and creative arts opportunities, visit www.visitphoenix.com/events.
PHOENIX’S BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Phoenix is also home to a thriving busi- ness community, with major, private-sector employers calling the city home, as well as corporate and regional headquarters for well-known Fortune 500 companies, such as Avnet, Freeport-McMoran, Republic Services, and PetSmart. Fortune 1000 companies based in the Phoenix area include Swift Transportation, Apollo Educa- tion Group, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Pinnacle West Capital. In addition, many other major corporations have significant operations in the Phoenix metro area, including Intel, U-Haul International, Honeywell, and Boeing, among several others.
Phoenix is also among the nation’s fast- est-growing regions and has been recognized for strong job growth and entrepreneurial environment, especially in the aerospace, high-tech, and bioscience industries. Not surprisingly, the local job market continues to grow at a steady rate. As of 2010, the Associated Press noted that Phoenix was number four on its list of major cities in the nation that were, “the largest generators of net jobs.” The city also sported an unem- ployment rate below the national average of 9.4 percent.
Arizona State University, the University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, and the internationally recognized Thunderbird School of Global Management graduate school, located in nearby Glendale, also provide a talented and educated work- force and entrepreneur community. In fact, Arizona State University is recognized as the number one university in the country for innovation, according to the U.S. News.
NATURAL BEAUTY – AND PLENTY OF OUTDOOR FUN
The Phoenix area’s natural beauty is just another reason for the city’s appeal, which has nurtured an active outdoor lifestyle and boasts beautiful places to swim, hike, cycle, boat, golf, and much more.
The city’s natural surroundings invite residents to take part in a vast range of outdoor and sports activities, a pastime of many Arizona residents. Thanks to more than 325 days of sunshine each year, an average high temperature of 85 degrees, and just 7.66 inches average annual rainfall, Phoenicians hardly ever need worry about the weather, so long as they wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water during the summer.
Golf, in particular, is a beloved sport every- where in Arizona, including the Phoenix metroplex. With more than 200 golf courses, including many municipal courses and a host of private links and country clubs, there is no shortage of golfing possibilities throughout the state. In fact, Arizona is home to the renowned Waste Management Phoenix Open every spring, and many courses throughout the area are world-class courses designed by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and others. There are golf greens for every skill level, so everyone can enjoy the abundance of golfing that Arizona has to offer.
There are also seven lakes within an hour of the greater Phoenix metro area that offer fishing, boating, water skiing, picnic areas, and camping. Three major mountains surround Phoenix and offer ideal terrain for hiking, climbing, or simply enjoying nature. Peaks in the Phoenix Mountain range include Lookout Mountain, Camelback Mountain, Stony Mountain, and Piestewa Peak, among others.
If you prefer spectator sports, you’re in luck here. Greater Phoenix is one of ten metropolitan areas that represent most major professional sports, including the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cactus League Spring Training division; Phoenix Suns basketball; the Firebird International and Phoenix International Raceways; Arizona Cardinals football; Phoenix Coyotes hockey; and Phoenix Mercury women’s basketball (WNBA). There is also an abundance of college sports available – be sure to check out the infamous ASU vs. UofA rivalry!
Arizona also hosts many annual sporting events, including the Safeway International LPGA Tournament, FBR Open Golf Tournament, the Tradition Senior PGA Tour, and the Arizona Men’s Tennis Classic.
Other popular sporting events include the Senior Pro Rodeo, Coors Light World Finals Drag Boat Racing, NHRA World
Series of Drag Racing, the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, and the Fiesta Bowl Foot- ball Classic. The Thunderbird Classic Hot Air Balloon Race also attracts thousands of visitors each year, who come to see hundreds of colorful hot air balloons in the Arizona skies.
FINE FOOD, ENTERTAINMENT AND SHOPPING
Just like its diverse terrain, Phoenix has an equally diverse offering of restaurants and dining options for every palate. While signature Southwestern and Mexican dishes dominate the city’s culinary landscape at top restaurants like Vincent’s Market Bistro and Rancho Pinot Grill, there are flavors to suit every craving, including Asian, Italian, Mediterranean, and, of course, the classic steakhouse.
Be sure to check out Alice Cooperstown, the namesake restaurant of the famous rock star and Arizona resident Alice Cooper. With its classic American dishes and great barbeque, it’s the perfect location for any taste. The Papago Brewing Company has a 30-tap bar with full menu, one of many brewery restaurants and tours throughout the area, perfect for any beer-lover. On a more upscale note, Kai is an elegant and classic American restaurant at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and was awarded a five-diamond rating by AAA Arizona.
For entertainment, Copper Square in the heart of downtown Phoenix is known as the place to be. This 90-square-block, revitalized district around the Convention Center offers plenty of popular locations and activities, including nightclubs, shopping, and dining. This area is also home to Chase Field, the indoor baseball diamond reserved for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
As for shopping, there’s no shortage of places to browse and purchase from. The massive Scottsdale Fashion Square is an upcale shopping and entertainment hub with luxury store brands that include Burb- erry, Hugo Boss, Kate Spade New York, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., and several others, while offering a massive luxury movie theater and a plethora of delicious eateries. Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix also offers an affluent shopping experience, with stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Hyde Park Jewelers, Escada, Ralph Lauren, Stuart Weitzman, and Cole Haan.
There are several other malls in the Phoenix area, including the Metrocenter and Paradise Valley Malls, the Desert Ridge Marketplace, Kierland Commons, Arrowhead Towne Center, Tempe Marketplace, and more. For a more local and individualized experience, be sure to check out the charming boutiques and shops on Mill Avenue in Tempe, the vintage and antique stores in Glendale, or the galleries and boutiques in Scottsdale.
Phoenix is also perfect for outlet shopping, with options like the Arizona Mills Mall and Outlet Center off I-10 in Tempe; the Outlets of Anthem just north of the metro Phoenix area; or the Phoenix Premium Outlets just east of Phoenix in the city Chandler.
PHOENIX HEALTHCARE IS TOP-NOTCH
Arizona has long been known as a place to heal because of its warm, dry climate, so it Is no surprise that the Phoenix metropolitan area has its share of highly-regarded health- care facilities for residents.
Statewide, Arizona has more than 100 hospi- tals, many of which are ranked on the U.S. News Best Regional Hospitals list, meaning that they meet or exceed high requirements in the healthcare industry. Phoenix, in particular, is home to many honored hospitals, including the renowned Mayo Clinic, and is considered a progressive city when it comes to healthcare policies and procedures. Phoenix recently became the second city in Arizona (after Tucson, in 2003) to allow hospital-visitation rights to both homosexual and heterosexual unmarried couples that live together.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
There is no doubt that Phoenix is a great city, and its variety of neighborhoods only add to the area’s desirability. Choose from living among the charming, inner-city history, or maybe consider living in a modern loft in downtown Phoenix, among the bar scene and plentiful restaurants. There are also lush developments around the city, quiet suburban neighborhoods, and rural farms on the outskirts of town. All in all, there is no shortage of diverse housing markets in the Phoenix metroplex.
The Phoenix area offers a variety of living spaces, including classy, downtown condos, elegant old homes, modern showplaces, friendly suburban neighborhoods, and countryside ranches or farmhouses. With a beautiful, southwest flair that epitomizes Arizona history, you’ll find a friendly neigh- borhood atmosphere, no matter where you choose to live in the Valley of the Sun.
Thanks to the nation’s ongoing economic recovery, the overall median home price in Phoenix has experienced a recent upsurge in value, while maintaining affordability for homebuyers. According to the Zillow Group, Inc., the average price of a Phoenix home rose 9.5% from the previous year. However, this mean price rests at $204,500, making homebuying possible for many residents in various income brackets. For those that choose not to purchase a home, however, there are many options for beau- tiful, upscale condos, apartments with stunning views, and affordable rental homes throughout the area.
Welcome to a city that residents and visi- tors adore – we know that you will, too! As you explore the Phoenix Relocation Guide and the city that it represents, Phoenix will surely become a treasured home in which to live, enjoy life, and prosper.