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!