5 Great Cities to Move to in Arizona

Jon Fesmire | Jul 30, 2018 @ 08:00 AM

If you don’t mind hot weather—or are fine spending time in your air conditioned home—you can find a lot to love in Arizona. There’s the gorgeous scenery of Grand Canyon National Park, palm trees, lots of rivers and lakes, beautiful mountains, colorful sunsets, and plenty of open space.

The five cities we highlight in this article have great schools, reasonable cost of living and excellent quality of life.

Gilbert

Gilbert is technically an incorporated town rather than a city, but with 230,000 residents, it feels city-like in the sheer amount of things to do. It’s also scenic, with areas reminiscent of the old American frontier. The median household income is high at about $80,000 and unemployment is low at about 4.2%. That’s good, because the average price of a home is about $315,000, and the average rent is about $1,150.

High school graduation rate is 94%, making this a good place to raise your kids. Plus, there’s lots to do, like visit the scenic Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. If you’re 21 or older, you can check out the World of Beer, try some brews, and get a giant pretzel.

Scottsdale

Called “The World’s Most Western Town,” this is a modern city with a Wild West vibe. Yes, Scottsdale is a good sized city with about 220,000 residents, but the wide open spaces just outside the city help it live up to this title.

Naturally, you’ll find all the amenities of modern living, including many golf courses. Compared to most of Arizona, summer weather is mild, averaging about 91 degrees. The median home value is about $460,000, and the median rental price is about $2,100. The median household income is about $72,500. Plus high school graduation rates are high at 94%. The unemployment rate is a low 3.3%.

Chandler

Chandler is another spot that may surprise you. It has a population of about 250,000, and housing is more affordable than some other cities on this list. The median cost of a home is about $300,000, average rent is about $1,160, and the median household income is around $70,000. Downtown Chandler is charming with local shops, fine dining, art exhibitions, a farmers market, and more.

The high school graduation rate isn’t as high as the prior cities mentioned, but at 88%, it’s still 16% higher than the Arizona average, so not bad at all.

If you want to do something different, take your kids to Makutu’s Island, a tropical play center, or visit Desert Breeze Park to play in the pool or check out the lake.

Phoenix

As the capital of Arizona, Phoenix is huge compared to the other cities here. It’s home to about 1.5 million people. You might expect housing to be high, but the median home costs about $215,000 which is $10,000 less than the state average. The average rent is about $1,100. It’s a good place to find diversity, and all races are represented. The unemployment rate is about 4.1%, about 0.8% less than the state average, showing a strong economy. The median household income is $58,000.

Phoenix gets the brunt of the state’s heat, so there will be days you’ll do well to stay indoors. However, there are many outdoor activities to enjoy when the temperature drops below 100. For example, you can hike in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve or check out the Desert Botanical Garden. You can enjoy some of the many restaurants downtown, or hit a club at night. There are also many museums of local history, of music, and more. The high school graduation rate is on the low end, around 75%, so consider carefully where your children will go to school.

Peoria

If you like Phoenix but want to live in a smaller city, Peoria is only about 13 miles away. Peoria has a population of about 164,000 and an average summer temperature of 95 degrees. The graduation rate is much better here than the state or Phoenix average, at about 88%. The median household income is also better at $64,000. The median housing price is $267,000, while the average rent is $1,060. Many people who live in Peoria commute to Phoenix to work.

Residents consider Peoria quiet and peaceful, full of family owned businesses and a hometown feel. It’s close to the aforementioned Desert Botanical Gardens, is home to the Peoria Sports Complex, and values local arts and community theater.

So, if you’re looking for a great place to live in Arizona, we hope this helps you narrow down your search. The Grand Canyon state can be a lovely place to live.