Whether new arrivals are American citizens moving from other parts of the country to experience life in the Southwest or expats relocating to Phoenix for a US adventure, moving to a new city brings with it myriad challenges. A significant part of making relocation a success is finding a home where the individual or family is happy.
Much of this is also about the neighbourhood and community where the home is based. There is a lot to consider when looking for a place to live in Phoenix and we recommend narrowing the search down to a few selected areas and suburbs.
Factors that influence a person’s choice of neighbourhood include the following: types of property available, safety, proximity to good schools, the convenience of location with regards to road links and public transport, as well as personal lifestyle preferences. With so many things to consider, the decision may seem pretty overwhelming to those that are unfamiliar with Phoenix.
To help newcomers, we’ve drawn up a list of some of the most popular areas and suburbs in Phoenix:
City living in Phoenix
It's fair to say that public transport in Phoenix isn't great, so those looking for an easy commute might want to consider living close to the downtown area. Naturally, rental rates are higher in these prime city-centre locations, but the upside is that residents here have a wealth of entertainment amenities within easy reach.
Newcomers intent on living in the heart of Phoenix with easy access to all the commercial opportunities the city has to offer, might want to consider the downtown area. With mixed-use buildings popping up all around, the shopping and dining offerings here are constantly expanding. The advantage of city living in Phoenix is that residents have all the best sporting events, concerts and nightlife offerings right on their doorstep. When one considers the distance and traffic that suburban dwellers have to contend with to get into town, it makes sense to be close to the action if city living is a lifestyle priority. Having access to the light rail also makes it easy to get around without a vehicle.
Not far from downtown Phoenix is the Bohemian hub of Roosevelt Row, or RoRo as it is affectionately known. Designated the city’s Arts District, Roosevelt Row links the downtown area with several residential neighbourhoods. Newcomers will find predominantly humble craftsman homes in the area. Properties are very reasonably priced considering the area's proximity to the city centre. RoRo is popular with young couples finding their feet in Phoenix and creative types, as the area has a great collection of vibey bars, trendy eateries and eclectic boutiques.
Suburban life in Phoenix
Most people moving to Phoenix are drawn to the quality of life the city affords its residents. The population sprawl means that most people live in outlying suburbs where there is considerably more choice in terms of property options. There are a huge number of suburbs to choose from, some which are so extensive that they are often referred to as city-suburbs. The suburbs offer new residents much more in terms of space and value for money when it comes to renting or buying property in Phoenix.
Dubbed the ‘Beverly Hills of the Southwest’, what was once a rural outpost now boast multi-million dollar mansions, golf resorts and luxury resorts galore. Paradise Valley boasts an impressive range of restaurants and shopping facilities, most of which are based along N Scottsdale Road. It’s popular with wealthy families because of the prestigious schools that are located close by. For those with cash to splash, Paradise Valley has it all.
Just a short drive from Phoenix city centre, Gilbert is the family-friendly suburb. Families choose Gilbert because of its beautiful family homes, neighbourhood parks and, perhaps most importantly, excellent public schooling options. The suburb is in constant development with new housing complexes popping up as well as numerous child-friendly facilities. Gilbert’s is a bike-friendly area with loads of cycle paths and bicycle storage facilities that have been installed to encourage local residents to stay active. Gilbert’s nightlife scene is also pretty impressive and its range of laid-back bars and fantastic eateries means there is no need to travel into town for a night out.
Scottsdale is pretty much a city within itself. There is quite a buzz about the downtown area which boasts everything from great shopping facilities at Fashion Square to trendy yoga studios, coffee shops and quaint eateries. The downtown part of Scottsdale is popular with young professionals who have the disposable income to enjoy the perks of luxury-apartment living at the Scottsdale Waterfront.
For those looking for something a little more residential, Scottsdale has some excellent options as well. The pace of life in North Scottsdale is a little bit more laid-back which makes this part popular with a slightly older crowd. It also has a fair share of high-end boutique shops, fancy wine bars and luxury spas. Residents keen to take advantage of Arizona’s good weather can head to nearby McDowell Mountain Regional Park, which provides loads of opportunities for hiking and biking.
A 45-minute drive from downtown Phoenix, Surprise is a suburb-city that is often described to be a green oasis in the Sonoran desert. It is a great place to raise a family and many people choose to live here because of its low crime rates, parks and sports facilities. There are a number of good public schools including charter and magnet options in the neighbourhood, which is another reason it draws so many families.
Surprise’s population has increased four-fold over the last decade and is continuing to grow at a rapid rate. The area has a glut of lovely green parks, playgrounds and waterfront walkways which, combined with reasonably priced homes, make it an exceedingly popular area for young couples looking to buy.
►Learn more about the property market in the Valley of the Sun on our Accommodation in Phoenix page
Are you an expat living in Phoenix?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Phoenix. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.