Best Places to Live in Arizona

Phoenix

Phoenix is the state capital of Arizona and home to a large culturally diverse population. The Phoenix metropolitan area boasts a population of about 1.62 million residents making it the 12th biggest urban center in the nation.

As is usual with most state capital cities, the area is culturally diverse with a big city appeal and a lively nightlife scene to match. The city is also home to several leading tech firms such as Intel, Qualcomm, Apple, Amazon, and more.

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Cost of Living

The city’s cost of living is lower than the state and national averages. Utilities on average, are also cheaper in Phoenix compared to other large cities of its size. The median household income in this area is $62,850 while the median per capita income level at $34,100. The median home value for single-family homes is $383,924 while monthly rental costs will set you back $1,470 for a decent-sized two-bedroom apartment.

The state administration of Arizona has a progressive state income tax system that is based on tax brackets with rates ranging from 2.59% to 4.5% for higher-income earners.

Education in Phoenix

Phoenix is home to over 200 public school districts, and more than 400 charter & private learning institutions. The city’s school districts oversee the management of matters education for students in kindergarten all through to 12th grade.

Phoenix is a leading educational hub and leads the pack of college towns in the Grand Canyon state. There are several leading universities and colleges in the city that include Phoenix College, Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix Campus, Grand Canyon University, Brookline College-Phoenix Campus, and South Mountain Community College to mention a few.

Fun Things to Do

Phoenix offers a wide range of outdoor recreation activities you can indulge in thanks to its year-long warm weather. The area has something to suit everyone’s recreational preferences from a relaxing poolside episode to thrilling adventures out hiking and horseback riding in the desert trails and day trips to the world-famous Grand Canyon.

Phoenix city’s downtown area also plays host to numerous cocktail bars, restaurants, pizzerias, and scintillating breakfast spots worth checking out. For arts and culture lovers, there are art galleries and museums open to the public that put Arizona’s rich heritage on display.

A handful of renowned professional sports teams also call the city home making it the best place to live in Arizona for the avid sports fan. Professional sports teams in the city include the likes of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, and dozens more.

Glendale

Glendale is home to a large, culturally diverse population of persons from different ethnicities, religious affiliations, and ages. The city’s vibrant atmosphere, great weather, and job market make it a great place for anyone to live. It is however very popular among young professionals and millennials which explains the abundance of college sports teams in the city. Glendale

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Cost of Living

The city’s cost of living is slightly higher than the national and state averages. Glendale however is still considered affordable compared to most other best cities you can live in Arizona. The local housing market in Glendale is competitive with a median home value ranging between $499,000 and $1,100,00 for single-family homes. Monthly rental costs average about $1,286 which ranks Glendale among the most affordable, low-cost housing markets in the area.

The median income in this area is $29,586 while the median household income is $55,050. The city has a rapidly expanding job market, with job opportunities in the aerospace, defense, health care, education, entertainment, and manufacturing industries.

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Education in Glendale

Glendale offers a selection of amazing schools for your little scholar to choose from. The Glendale school district is home to 9 high schools and 18 elementary schools. If you plan to enroll your kids in a good public school, the city of Glendale offers several top-tier options such as the Legend Spring Elementary school with a pupil-to-teacher ratio of 20 to 1.

The city has several universities and colleges that include Glendale Community College, Midwestern University, the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and Arizona State University West Campus.

Fun Things to Do

Glendale is a treasure trove of entertainment hotspots and attractions. The city is home to the University of Phoenix Stadium, a half-billion-dollar marvel of engineering and home to the Arizona Cardinals. The stadium features a retractable moonroof, roll-out field, and a silver-frosted cupcake design.

Thunderbird Park is a 1,185-acre conservation park dedicated to the preservation of the desert environment. The park offers visitors different hiking options, jogging, bird watching, and while you’re at it, why not have a picnic?

Peoria

Peoria has for a while now been one of the best places to live in Arizona and for a good reason too. The city is an attractive destination to business owners, prospective homebuyers, and is an overall great place to live.

The city was recently named the Best City to Live in Arizona according to Money Magazine.

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Cost of Living

The city’s cost of living is lower than both state and national averages and it is no surprise that most residents own their homes, save for a small percentage who prefer to rent. Peoria consequently experiences a decreased demand for rental apartments which in turn leads to low monthly rent costs. The median income in the city is $30,694 while the median household income level at $58,945.

The median home value for single-family homes in this area is $460,000 while monthly rental costs level out at an affordable $1,559.

Public transportation in the city of Peoria is among the best in the state of Arizona.

Education in Peoria

The city of Peoria has a few school districts that oversee the management of educational affairs. The area is home to

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Fun Things to Do

Peoria is a regional epicenter for entertainment. The city boasts numerous world-class resorts, nightclubs, and bars as well as many restaurants and fine-dining establishments. The local diet incorporates influences from different cultures, a fact that comes to life in the vast food choices available here.

This city is most famous for Lake Pleasant Regional Park, a large outdoor recreational venue that is popular with locals and tourists as well. The park takes up a whopping 23,000 acres and is an excellent spot for boating, scuba diving, fishing, camping, and kayaking. Another popular recreational spot is the Peoria Sports Complex; the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners spring training grounds. The city also pays homage to the Space Shuttle Program at the Challenger Space Center.

Tucson

Tucson is a southern Arizona city and is the state’s second-largest city. It has earned its reputation as one of the best places to live in Arizona thanks to gorgeous views of the natural scenery, a growing, vibrant, and culturally diverse population as well as affordability. The city is located about an hour and a half to the south of Phoenix and one hour north of the US-Mexico border.

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Cost of Living

With an estimated cost of living that is 6% lower than both the national average and state averages, Tucson is easily one of the most affordable and best places to live in Arizona. The housing market is estimated to be about 25% cheaper than the national average. The median home price is $291,511 while the average cost of renting an apartment in the city of Tucson is for a two-bedroom apartment.

The median household income in the area is $43,425 while the per capita income level at $43,425. Utilities and other miscellaneous costs are also lower compared to similar-sized metros.

Education in Tucson

Several schools in the Tucson area have in the recent past been ranked among the top 25 schools nationally. This goes to show the quality of education offered in the city. There are 8 school districts in Tucson which includes one award-winning school district.

The city is home to a host of universities and colleges that include the University of Arizona, Tucson College, Carrington College, University of Phoenix, and Pima Community College to mention a few.

Fun Things to Do

Tucson is surrounded by beautiful views of four mountain ranges. There are plenty of fun outdoor activities ranging from desert biking and hiking trails, skiing on Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains to stargazing at the Kitt Peak National Observatory. The city is also home to Saguaro National Park, whose iconic attractions are protected giant cacti, a cultural symbol of the Southwest.

Tucson is renowned for its unique architecture, botanical gardens that showcase a variety of desert flora, and an animal zoo.

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The city has two museums and art galleries, dozens of world-class shops, and an exciting restaurant scene. The local cuisine borrows heavily from Mexican inspirations. Downtown Tucson is home to endless entertainment and fine dining options from restaurants, performing arts venues, museums, and the iconic grand Cathedral of Saint Augustine built in the 1850s.

The city of Tucson is among the best places to live in Arizona for plenty of reasons. High quality of life, a low crime rate, and a warm diverse local population are the top three.

Scottsdale

Scottsdale is a small town that embodies the essence of a western town with all the conveniences of a big city. The town is best known for its fairly warm weather, clean walkable streets, and sidewalks, lots of green open spaces and parks. The city of Scottsdale ranked highly in the “average family income,” “quality of public schools” and public-parks metrics achieving the first position.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in this city is on average higher than the state and national figures. The median home value in this area is $753,800. Most city residents own their homes except for of a small percentage who prefer to rent.

The city average cost of renting a decent-sized 2 bedroom apartment is $2,075.

The median income in the area is $47,240 while the median household income is $86,097. On average, utilities and other miscellaneous costs are slightly higher than the state figures.

Education in Scottsdale

For a city with some of the best parks, outdoor spaces, and public amenities, Scottsdale also has some top-notch schools to top it up. The area is home to several top-tier schools ranked highly both nationally and at the state level. The schools here offer a comprehensive and personalized approach to education ensuring every child’s needs are well understood and catered for.

The city is also home to a few mention-worthy names in higher education. There are 43 colleges in Scottsdale, which include 28 private universities and colleges, 6 public universities and colleges, and about 9 community colleges.

Places to Visit

From your typical western town desert sightseeing attractions to amazing Mexican-inspired dishes and golf, lots of it, Scottsdale remains one of the best places to live in Arizona. The city boasts over 100 golf courses all located within the city’s limits.

Dozens of shops offer the finest shopping experience you can get anywhere are in the heart of Downtown Scottsdale. Scottsdale’s restaurant scene has also earned the Valley’s dining scene a place on the national map. The city is an epicenter of good food and boasts numerous award-winning names.

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From humble neighborhood bodegas, dozens of seafood stands, and hidden gems to world-class fine dining outlets, Scottsdale has a lot going for it in the culinary scene. There are of course plenty more attractions and must-see places in the city which makes moving to Scottsdale somewhat of an adventure filled with the usual perks of small city living and more.

Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley is one of Arizona’s small towns and among the best towns to live in if you want to get away from the hectic daily routine and light pollution from big cities. Its idyllic nature, amazing year-round weather, and slower, laid-back way of life easily make it one of the best places to live in Arizona. Paradise Valley is home to world-class golf courses, amazing restaurants, and a high-end housing market.

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Cost of Living

The cost of living in Paradise Valley is significantly higher than both state and national averages. It is no surprise that most residents in Arizona’s most affluent municipality own their homes, except for a small percentage who rent. The city offers some of the best real estate in the state. The median household income in the city is $211,393 while the average per capita income level at $132,106.

The median home value for single-family homes in this area is $2,432,500 while monthly rental costs level out at $3,090.

Public amenities and social services in Paradise Valley are among the best in the state of Arizona. Leading employers in the area include the likes of Arizona State University, American Express, and Intel Corporation to mention a few.

Education

Arizona’s richest municipality boasts some of the best schools you’ll find anywhere in the state. The Paradise Valley Unified School District oversees the management of education in Paradise Valley and nearby areas. The city has 8 high schools, 26 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, and several colleges.

Places to Visit

Arizona is famous for its desert climate, and depending on where you choose to move to, the weather may vary slightly. The southwest region that runs along the course of the Colorado River is the hottest and driest part of Arizona.

There are numerous golf courses spread out across the city as well as world-class spa resorts.

The city has all the vital amenities and services you need to live comfortably. The education, healthcare, housing, and transportation are all top-notch making it another of the best places to live in Arizona.

Cave Creek

Last on our list of the best places to live in Arizona is Cave Creek, a small town that has managed to retain the old western look and feel. The town traces its roots back to the 1870s when it was a mining settlement.

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Cost of Living

The average cost of living in Cave Creek is well above state and national numbers. The housing market is fairly competitive while still managing to stay affordable. The median income for households in the small town of Cave Creek is $91,500 while the median per capita income is $55,732. Homeownership in this town is quite high at 86.9%. The median Renting in Cave Creek costs on average, around $1917 a month.

Compared to other places such as Oro Valley and Fountain Hills, the utilities in this area cost more while transport costs vary slightly.

Education

This town boasts the highest concentration of top-rated public schools in the state of Arizona. Schools here have among the highest math proficiency test scores in the state (65%). The Cave Creek Unified School District manages the educational affairs of five elementary schools, one high school, one middle school, an online Academy of Excellence, and a Fine Arts Center.

The town’s schools have a long history that goes back to the 1800s. The area also has several private and charter schools. There are a few colleges located a short distance from the town. These include Paradise Valley Community College, Arizona State University, Arizona Christian University, and more.

Places to Visit

There are plenty of entertainment hotspots and attractions spread out across this area. Perhaps the most appreciated and best known is the Frontier Town district.

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The area is an authentic, real-life replica of an Old West town. The attraction even features costumed performers and is complete with several gift shops, and restaurants. The area is Arizona’s last remaining old-style western town tourist attraction and has remained a top attraction for more than 50 years.

There are a few parks and playgrounds open to the public that make a great outdoor spot for kids, pet owners, as well as families. The parks make excellent picnic sites in the summer shade. There are walkable streets and plenty of themed dining choices in the area.

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