15 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Phoenix, AZ 2024

Arizona phoenix - things to know before you move

Phoenix is rapidly making its mark as one of the top ten swiftly expanding cities in the nation. If the hustle and bustle of pricier cities has worn you down, or if the quiet of the countryside no longer speaks to your heart, Phoenix beckons with its affordability and abundant sunshine.

Perhaps you’re seeking a fresh start, a new adventure, or simply a place where the sun generously graces the sky. Whatever your reasons, here are 15 intimate insights to consider as you contemplate making Phoenix your new home.

Stuff You Should Know

15. Dive into Academia in Phoenix

Arizona State University

City isn’t just a city of sunshine; it’s also a hub for higher learning. At the forefront is Arizona State University, a renowned institution that stands tall among the city’s academic offerings. While it’s celebrated for its rigorous academic programs, ASU also has a vibrant social scene that draws young minds from all corners.

For those seeking diverse educational avenues, Grand Canyon University and Phoenix College are just a stone’s throw away. Whether you’re aiming for academic excellence or looking to broaden your knowledge base, Phoenix offers a rich tapestry of educational opportunities.

14. Dive into the Sporting Spirit

City isn’t just about the sun and sand; it’s a city that pulses with athletic energy. Basketball enthusiasts can catch the Phoenix Suns (NBA) in action at the Phoenix Suns Arena, which also hosts the Mercury (WNBA) and the Arizona Rattlers (IFL).

Football aficionados can cheer for the Arizona Cardinals (NFL) at the State Farm Stadium, while hockey fans can watch the Arizona Coyotes (NHL) glide across the ice at the Gila River Arena.

For those who love the thrill of baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB) play at Chase Field. And if soccer is your passion, Phoenix Rising FC (USL) promises exhilarating matches at Wild Horse Pass.

13. Immerse Yourself in Phoenix’s Annual Extravaganzas

Phoenix is a city that knows how to celebrate life. From music to movies and markets, there’s always something happening.

The McDowell Mountain Music Festival is more than just a musical event; it’s a philanthropic endeavor that draws thousands to downtown.

Film buffs can indulge in cinematic delights at the Phoenix Film Festival, an 11-day event featuring 300 movies at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 theater, spotlighting some of the most talented filmmakers.

For those who appreciate handcrafted and vintage treasures, the Phoenix Flea offers a plethora of art, fashion, design, and gastronomic delights.

Whether you’re looking to adorn your new home or find a memento of Phoenix, this market has something special for everyone.

12. Family Adventures Await

Phoenix isn’t just a haven for adults seeking culture and nightlife; it’s a treasure trove of family-friendly activities. The city is brimming with exciting attractions that cater to the young and the young at heart. With its affordable cost of living, visiting places like The Phoenix Zoo and the enchanting Desert Botanical Gardens becomes even more enticing.

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For those curious minds, the Arizona Science Center is a playground of interactive exhibits that make learning a delightful experience.

Butterfly Wonderland is a must-visit, offering a magical journey into the world of vibrant butterflies. It’s not just about beauty; it’s an educational dive into the life of these winged wonders. And for those who are fascinated by the mysteries of the deep, the OdySea Aquarium, the largest in the Southwest, promises an immersive marine experience.

11. Cultural and Natural Wonders of Phoenix

Melting pot of arts, history, and nature. For the lovers of performing arts, the Arizona Opera Company and Ballet Arizona offer mesmerizing performances that captivate the soul. Art enthusiasts can lose themselves in the masterpieces housed at the Phoenix Art Museum and the ASU Art Museum.

For a taste of local flavors, pack a delightful picnic with fresh produce from the Queen Creek Olive Mill. Dive into the history of the state by visiting the Historic Arizona State Capitol museum, a testament to Arizona’s rich past. And if the call of the outdoors beckons, City doesn’t disappoint. Whether it’s scaling the heights of Camelback Mountain or wandering through the Desert Botanical Gardens, there’s an adventure waiting at every corner.

10. A Nightlife to Remember

Nightlife to Remember - Phoenix

When the sun sets, Phoenix truly comes alive. The city buzzes with an eclectic mix of cocktail lounges, craft breweries, hidden speakeasies, and vibrant nightclubs. If you’re in the mood for a crafted cocktail, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour is a must-visit, or step back in time with the sophisticated ambiance of Highball’s speakeasy-style bar. Dive bar enthusiasts will find their haven at Shady’s Fine Ales & Cocktails, Sizzle Inn, and the iconic Bikini Lounge.

For those with a penchant for craft beers, Phoenix doesn’t disappoint. Helton Brewing Company, Wren House, and State 48 are just a few of the city’s top breweries. And if live music or dancing is on your agenda, venues like Crescent Ballroom, The Churchill, and Culinary Dropout at the Yard are sure to keep you entertained.

9. Embrace the Great Outdoors in Phoenix

While Phoenix might be known for its soaring temperatures, it’s also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Timing is key; venture out during cooler parts of the day or year to make the most of the city’s natural beauty.

South Mountain Park and Preserve is a vast expanse, ranking as one of the nation’s largest municipal parks. Its “Silent Sundays” are a treat, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the park without vehicular interruptions.

Papago Park is a visual delight with its striking red butte formations, including the famous Hole-in-the-Rock trail. Beyond hiking, the park’s lagoons offer fishing opportunities, and its history as a fish hatchery during the Great Depression adds a unique touch.

For a refreshing experience, float down the Salt River, the Gila River’s significant tributary. Its journey over salt deposits makes for a unique tubing experience. You can also go on a wildlife lookout and encounter many wild animals safely.

For a bird’s-eye view of Phoenix’s sprawling desert, consider a hot air balloon ride. Companies like Rainbow Ryders offer memorable flights that last for hours, making it a bucket-list-worthy adventure.

Lastly, golf enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice. With over 200 public golf courses dotting the Phoenix metro area, there’s a course for every skill level and preference.

8. Culinary Delights

Culinary Delights - move to Phoenix

Culinary landscape is a delightful fusion of Southwestern, Mexican, and Native American flavors. The city boasts a plethora of award-winning eateries that not only tantalize the taste buds but also champion sustainability and positive food practices.

Every year, the Devour Phoenix event becomes a gastronomic pilgrimage for food enthusiasts, offering a chance to savor dishes from the city’s top restaurants and enjoy curated prix fixe menus.

7. Top Neighborhoods

Phoenix offers a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its unique charm:

  • Downtown Phoenix: A bustling hub of eateries, pubs, and cultural spots, it’s an urbanite’s dream where walking and cycling often replace driving.
  • Roosevelt Row Arts District: A haven for the artistically inclined, this district boasts modern living spaces and attractions like the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art.
  • Downtown Scottsdale: Sun-soaked for over 330 days a year, it offers a mix of outdoor trails, chic restaurants, and a vibrant arts scene. Plus, it’s among Phoenix’s safest areas.
  • Central Phoenix (CenPho): Stretching from Downtown to Uptown, it’s a blend of luxury and scenic beauty.
  • Paradise Valley Village: Tucked between mountain ranges, it’s a serene escape for those seeking peace after a busy day.
  • Encanto: A blend of history and urban charm, it’s also a hotspot for LGBTQ-friendly nightlife.
  • Warehouse District: A nod to Phoenix’s past, it now houses trendy bars, eateries, and the ASU School of Art.

6. Public Transport Insights

Public Transport Insights

While Phoenix leans heavily towards a car-centric culture, there are alternatives. The Valley Metro public transportation system, including buses and light rail, offers a respite from daily traffic. Many opt for the “park-and-ride” system, leaving their cars at designated spots and using public transport for the day’s commute.

For those keen on a car-free lifestyle, services like Uber, Lyft, bikes, and the Phoenix light rail are viable options. Monthly passes for local buses and light rail cost $64, while express routes are priced at $104. For short stints, car rentals like Zipcar are also available.

5. Phoenix’s Climate: Sun, Sand, and Storms

Dubbed the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix sits in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, North America’s warmest. Summers here are scorching, with temperatures often crossing 105°F. Residents usually have swimming pools and air conditioning to combat the heat.

But it’s not just about the sun; Phoenix also witnesses monsoons and dust storms. Locals often discuss “haboobs,” massive dust storms that envelop the city. When one approaches, the best advice is to stay indoors and let it pass.

4. Employment Landscape

Employment Landscape

Phoenix’s economic trajectory is on an upward swing, with a thriving job market at its core. The city’s allure for commercial real estate investors is evident, with many eyeing aggressive investments, indicating a promising economic forecast. Recent surveys have placed Phoenix in the Top 10 targets for retail real estate investors, with its ranking soaring to the 4th spot.

The city is also carving a niche for itself as an emerging tech hub. With its affordable living costs and inviting climate, tech professionals from pricier cities like San Francisco and Austin are considering Phoenix as their next destination.

Apart from tech, the financial sector in Phoenix is robust, with giants like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and American Express being some of the city’s major employers.

3. Migrant Demographic

Phoenix’s population is a vibrant tapestry of college students, families, and retirees from diverse origins. The majority of newcomers hail from cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Tucson, as per Apartment List’s migration report. On the flip side, Phoenix residents eyeing a move are exploring options in Flagstaff, Tucson, and Los Angeles.

2. Phoenix Living: What Does It Cost?

Phoenix Living - What Does It Cost

Is it an expensive city to reside in?

City offers a balanced lifestyle, blending urban amenities with a cost of living that’s below the national average by 5%. Housing, too, is 5% more affordable than the national median. Here’s a snapshot of living expenses in Phoenix, as per Payscale:

  • Energy bill: $161.12
  • Loaf of bread: $3.24
  • Doctor’s visit: $108.16
  • Gallon of gas: $2.39

Rent, though more affordable than many metropolitan areas, will likely be a significant chunk of your expenses. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment stands at $1,221, and for a two-bedroom, it’s $1,491. With the easing of pandemic conditions, rents are on the rise. To live comfortably, a one-bedroom apartment would require an annual income of $48,840 or an hourly wage of $25.05. For a two-bedroom, the figures are $59,640 annually or $30.58 hourly.

The median income in Phoenix is $60,914, slightly below Arizona’s median of $61,529. However, to live above the poverty line in Phoenix, a single individual would need to earn $15.41 hourly.

1. The Experience

Phoenix, Arizona’s most populous city and the fifth-largest in the U.S., is home to approximately 1.68 million people. The city boasts a rich cultural tapestry, with a significant Hispanic presence, and Spanish is commonly spoken.

History traces back to 1867 when it was established near the Salt and Gila Rivers as an agricultural hub. Its intricate canal system spurred economic growth, and by the 1900s, with the construction of dams, Phoenix transformed into a manufacturing and electronics hub.

Though situated in a desert, Phoenix receives about 15 inches of rainfall annually, leading to a bloom of spring wildflowers that paint a unique desert landscape. This climate, coupled with its attractions, draws “snowbirds” and tourists, with over 22 million visitors annually.

Phoenix’s allure continues to grow, with urban enthusiasts drawn to its affordable living costs. The city’s growth rate is impressive, accounting for over 80% of Arizona’s recent population surge. If Phoenix is on your radar, there’s a plethora of experiences awaiting you.


Is it a good idea to move to Phoenix?

Absolutely!City offers a unique blend of urban amenities, natural beauty, and cultural richness. With its affordable cost of living, diverse job opportunities, and abundant sunshine, it’s an attractive destination for many. However, like any city, it’s essential to consider your personal preferences and needs before making a move.

How much money do I need to move to Phoenix, Arizona?

The amount you’ll need largely depends on your lifestyle and housing choices. On average, the rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,221, and for a two-bedroom, it’s $1,491. It’s advisable to have at least three months’ worth of expenses saved up before moving. This would cover rent, utilities, groceries, and other basic necessities.

What do I need to know before I move to Arizona?

Before moving to Arizona, it’s essential to be prepared for its desert climate, which means hot summers and mild winters. Additionally, the state has a diverse cultural landscape, a growing job market, and offers numerous recreational activities. It’s also beneficial to research specific neighborhoods, local tax rates, and any state-specific regulations or requirements.

Is it a friendly city?

Yes, Phoenix is known for its warm and welcoming residents. The city’s diverse demographic ensures a rich tapestry of cultures, making it a melting pot of traditions and values. Communities often host events, festivals, and gatherings, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

Should I live in Vegas or Phoenix?

Both cities have their unique offerings. Phoenix is larger and offers a mix of urban and suburban lifestyles, with a focus on family-friendly activities and a growing job market. Vegas, on the other hand, is known for its entertainment industry, nightlife, tourism and a deverse wildlife. Your choice should depend on your career goals, lifestyle preferences, and what you’re looking for in terms of community and amenities.

Is it an expensive city?

Compared to many other major metropolitan areas in the U.S., Phoenix offers a relatively affordable cost of living. Housing, in particular, is about 5% lower than the national average. However, like any city, certain neighborhoods and lifestyles can be pricier than others.

Is Phoenix hotter than Vegas?

Both cities are known for their hot summers, but Phoenix tends to have slightly higher average temperatures during the peak of summer. However, Vegas can also experience intense heatwaves.

Does it get colder in Phoenix or Las Vegas?

Las Vegas generally experiences colder winters than Phoenix. While both cities have mild winters compared to many other parts of the U.S., nighttime temperatures in Vegas can drop more than they do in Phoenix.

Final Words

Phoenix is more than just a city in the desert; it’s a vibrant, ever-evolving metropolis that offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and natural beauty.

Whether you’re drawn to its academic institutions, sporting spirit, cultural events, or the promise of sun-soaked days, Phoenix promises a life filled with opportunities and adventures. As you contemplate making this city your home, remember that every corner of Phoenix has a story waiting to be discovered.

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