Everything you need to know about moving to Phoenix Arizona.

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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 blisteringly hot growth over the last several years. One of the leading regions of the Southwest during the real estate boom years of 2003 until about 2006, Phoenix and its neighboring communities have always benefited from an influx of relocating families, singles and retirees and continue to do so today, with more than 50,000 people choosing to relocate to the area each year.  In fact, between 2000 and 2010 the city of Phoenix alone experienced a 24 percent population increase, from some 1.3 million to more than 1.6 million residents covering 517 square miles, making it the sixth largest city in the country. It also is the second fastest growing metropolitan area in the country, following only Las Vegas. In all, more than 4.3 million people call the communities in the Valley of the Sun home – and for good reason. Consider that, in 2008, Phoenix was ranked number one as the "nation’s largest metro area for recruitment and attraction”– and that Arizona as a state was ranked the “Best market in the nation to attract business expansions and relocations”– both by Expansion Management magazine.  Phoenix   residents   are   not   alone   in   recognizing   the   city’s   appeal.   The   city   has   been   praised   by   other organizations, including receiving 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’  capital  city  and  home to several major  professional  sports  teams  to its  incredible  scenery –  the  city is  surrounded  by mountains  on  all four sides – and a demographic that appeals to young singles to retirees and everyone in between. It’s true that there’s really something for everyone!

 

DEDICATION TO A LIVABLE CITY

And the city is dedicated to making – and keeping – Phoenix a livable, safe city for its residents. For example, the Phoenix City Council adopted 26 recommendations and provided funding for six new positions and several new programs to enhance school safety in 2001. That’s a commitment that continued in 2008, 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” 2009 the Valley of the Sun received more accolades because of its commitment to livability. For the third year in a row, KaBoom!, a national nonprofit dedicated to encouraging cities to devote time, energy and resources to creating  play  opportunities  for  kids,  designated  Phoenix  as  its  2009  Playful  City  USA  for, “The quality  of  and access to hundreds  of city  parks,  recreation facilities  and  other  playspaces.dz  Also,  Businessweek.com  identified Phoenix as, Dz...a magnet for Generation Y residents because of its history of having some of the nation’s best job opportunities.dz  Readers  of TV Y Más  magazine, a Spanish-language television guide, that year voted Phoenix as their “Best  Place  to  Raise  a  Family”  and  both  Apartments.com  and  CbCampus.com  rated  Phoenix  as  number seven in its top 10 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. It’s services include busing, local-area shuttles, 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  such  major  Valley  of  the  Sun  cities  as  Tempe  and  Mesa. Launched on December 27, 2008, future METRO plans include building 30 more miles of light rail lines by 2025. The bottom line is that Phoenix has a lot to offer, 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. 

The state’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  3 00,000,  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 actually sits on the banks of the river, which is mostly dry today. The city’s location in central Arizona gave it preference as the state capital over Tucson or Prescott, and today it’s the only state capital with a city proper population of more than 1.4 million. It’s also 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, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Phoenix,  Queen  Creek,  Scottsdale,  Sun  City,  Sun  City  West,  Sun  Lakes,  Surprise,  Tempe,  Tolleson,  Tonopah, Wickenburg  and  Youngtown  in  Maricopa  County.  And, 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, art galleries, museums, dance 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. All  total,  more  than  130  nonprofit  organizations  provide  arts  and  cultural  experiences,  including  a  symphony orchestra,  opera  and  ballet  companies,  producing  and  presenting  theater  and  dance  organizations,  art  and history museums, a science center, zoo, 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, or Way Out West Oktoberfest! 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  such  artists  as  Rembrandt,  Norman  Rockwell,  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  business  community,  with  major  private  sector  employers  calling  the  city home,  as  well  as  corporate  and  regional  headquarters  for  such  well-known  Fortune  500  companies  as  Avnet, Freeport-McMoran,  US  Airways  Group,  Republic  Services  and  PetSmart.  Fortune  1000  companies  that  call  the Phoenix  area  home  include  Insight  Enterprises,  Apollo  Group,  Pinnacle  West  Capital  Corporation,  Amkor Technology,  First  Solar  and  ON  Semiconductor.  In  addition,  some  84  other  major  corporations  have  significant operations  in  the Phoenix  metro area,  including  Intel, U-Haul  International, Honeywell, and  Boeing,  to  name  a few. Phoenix is also among the nation’s fastest-growing regions and has been recognized for strong job growth and entrepreneurial environment, especially for aerospace, high-tech and bioscience companies. 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 unemployment rate below the national average of 9.4 percent. Besides a flourishing corporate business culture, Phoenix is  also tops  for companies  and people moving to the area, ranking first among metro areas for “recruitment and attractions” according to a 2008 report by Expansion Management magazine. 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 workforce and entrepreneur community.

 

NATURAL BEAUTY – AND PLENTY OF OUTDOOR FUN

The Phoenix area’s natural beauty is just another reason for the city’s appeal – and that has nurtured an active outdoor lifestyle, including 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 – and they certainly do, thanks to more than 325 days of sunshine each year, mean high temperature of 85 degrees, and just 7.66 inches average annual rainfall. It’s no surprise that golf is a big sport everywhere in Arizona, including the Phoenix metro area. With more e than 200  golf  courses,  including  many  municipal  courses  and  a host  of  private  links  and  country  clubs,  including  a number  of  world-class  courses  designed  by  Arnold  Palmer,  Gary  Player,  and  others,  there  are  golf  greens  for every skill level. There  are  also  seven  lakes  within an  hour  of  the  greater Phoenix  metro area  that  offer  fishing,  boating,  water skiing, picnic areas and camping, plus three major mountains that surround the Phoenix area that offer perfect terrain  for  hiking,  climbing  or  just  enjoying  nature.  Peaks in the Phoenix Mountain range complex include Lookout Mountain, Camelback Mountain, Stony Mountain and Piestewa Peak, among others. Prefer spectator sports?  You’re in luck here!  Greater  Phoenix  is  one  of  10  metropolitan  areas  that  have  most major  professional  sports  represented,  including  Arizona  Diamondbacks  (MLB)  and  Cactus  League  (MLB) baseball;  Phoenix  Suns  basketball  (NBA);  Firebird  International and  Phoenix  International  Raceways;  Arizona Cardinals football (NFL); Phoenix Coyotes hockey (NHL); and Phoenix Mercury women’s basketball (WNBA). Annual  sports  events  include  the  Safeway  International LPGA  Tournament;  FBR  Open  Golf  Tournament;  The Tradition Senior PGA Tour; The Waste Management Phoenix Open; and the Arizona Men’s Tennis Classic. Other  sports  events  include  the  Senior  Pro  Rodeo;  Coors  Light  World  Finals  Drag  Boat  Racing;  NHRA  World Series of Drag Racing; the; and the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, plus Cactus League Spring Training and the Fiesta  Bowl  Football  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  such  top restaurants  as  Vincent’s  Market Bistro and Rancho Pinot Grill, there are flavors to suit e very craving, including Asian, Italian, Mediterranean, and of course the classic steakhouse. Try Alice Cooperstown –  the namesake restaurant of the famous  rock star and Arizona resident Alice Cooper –with its classic American dishes and great barbeque, or the Papago Brewing Company with its 30 tap bar and full menu. Kai is an elegant – and pricey – classic American restaurant at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort on the Gila River  Indian  Community  reservation  that’s  been  rated five  diamonds  by AAA Arizona,  while  Christopher’s French restaurant has earned wine accolades from both Gourmet and Wine Spectator magazines. For entertainment, Copper Square, in the heart of downtown Phoenix, is the place to be. This 90-square-block, revitalized district around the Convention Center has plenty to do and see, including nightclubs, shopping and dining. It’s also home to Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team plays their home games. As  for  shopping,  there’s  no  shortage  of  places  to  browse  and  buy.  The  huge  Scottsdale  Fashion  Square  is  a shopping and entertainment paradise that includes such luxury store brands as Burberry, Hugo Boss, Kate Spade New  York,  Lacoste,  Louis  Vuitton,  Tiffany  &  Co.,  St. John,  Max  Mara,  Nordstrom  and  Neiman  Marcus,  while Biltmore  Fashion  Park  offers  even  more  luxury  shopping  with  Saks  Fifth  Avenue,  Hyde  Park  Jewelers,  Escada, Ralph Lauren, Stuart Weitzman and Cole Haan. Malls in the Phoenix area include Metrocenter Mall; Phoenix Spectrum Mall; Desert Ridge Marketplace; Kierl and Commons; Arrowhead Towne Center; Tempe Marketplace; and Paradise Valley Mall.  And  don’t  miss  the charming  boutiques  and  shops  on  Mill  Avenue  in Tempe,  or  the  vintage  and antique  shops  in  Glendale,  or the galleries and boutiques in nearby Scottsdale. For outlet shopping, this area can’t be beat, whether you head to the huge Arizona Mills Mall and Outlet Center off Interstate 10 in Tempe; the Outlets of Anthem just north of the metro Phoenix area; or the Phoenix Premium Outlets just east of Phoenix in Chandler, Arizona.

 

HEALTHCARE IS TOPS IN PHOENIX

Arizona  has  long  been  known  as  a  place  to  heal  because  of  its warm,  dry  climate,  so  it’s  no  surprise  that  the Phoenix metropolitan area has its share of top-notch healthcare facilities for residents. Statewide,  Arizona  residents  and  visitors  are  served  by  129  hospitals  in  14  counties  and,  since  1990,  Arizona hospital employment growth has  significantly outpaced the annual employment growth of hospitals  nationally. During  that  time,  Arizona  hospital  employment  soared  46  percent  while  hospital  employment  nationwide increased 24 percent. Phoenix is also a progressive city when it comes to healthcare policies and procedures – and recently became the second  city  in  Arizona  (after  Tucson  in  2003)  to  allow  hospital-visitation  rights  to  unmarried  gay  or  straight couples that live together.

 

NO PLACE LIKE HOME 

There’s no doubt that Phoenix is a great city, and its variety of neighborhoods only add to the area’s desirability. Choose from charming inner city history to downtown loft living to lush developments around the city to quiet suburban neighborhoods – there’s no shortage of diverse housing in Phoenix.

Thanks to the nation’s ongoing economic recovery, the overall median home price in Phoenix has experience a recent upsurge in value while still remaining very affordable. In 2012 home values increased by 34 percent since 2011, from $122,500 to $164,000 – yet that’s still lower than the national median home price. Nationwide,  the  median  price  of existing homes  increased  11.1  percent  to  $175,900  in the  First  Quarter 2013 according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.  Offerings range from classy downtown condos to elegant old homes to modern showplaces to friendly suburban neighborhoods to countryside ranches and farmhouses on the outskirts of town. Wherever you choose to live in the Valley of the Sun, you’ll find a friendly neighborhood atmosphere. Welcome  to  a  city  that  residents  and  visitors  adore –  and  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!

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