What Is It Like Living in Phoenix in 2020? A Guide for Newcomers

Are you wondering what it’s like living in Phoenix in 2020? We can answer that question with a guide specially designed for everyone who is considering moving to Phoenix, the capital of The Grand Canyon State. Even though you’ve probably heard that it’s too hot to bear, we’d say that many satisfied residents would beg to differ. The famous Valley of the Sun is a great place to spend your days in, and here are the main things you should know as a newcomer.

What’s It Like Living in Phoenix, According to the Locals

People are subjective, which means that certain things that are good for someone don’t have to be necessarily good for you as well. But based on what locals think, residing in The Valley of the Sun is an overall positive experience.

Do you like being in the sun, enjoying outdoor activities, lovely sunsets, being close to many other states, and having a weekend trip whenever you want? If so, you’d enjoy this beautiful city. Residents are warm and welcoming, there are plenty of walkable streets and a lot of things to do. Locals love how easy it is to find a job, and take pride in the many popular local attractions and events, and the overall friendliness of the people.

Of course, as in every community, there are downsides – the summer temperatures or the winds that carry sand, which can be challenging to get used to sometimes.

Is Living in Phoenix, Arizona Expensive?

As for the cost of living in Phoenix, you might want to compare it with cities in another state to get a better picture of the prices. For example, it’s way cheaper than Los Angeles, according to Numbeo – the website that compares expenses in different cities. Rent is higher by almost 100%, and restaurant prices are 25% higher in LA.

Then again, if you compare the Texas capital with Arizona capital, you’ll see that only rent is more expensive in Austin. You’ll pay less for groceries and restaurant meals. As for the most prominent place in Illinois, Numbeo shows that everything costs more in Chicago than in The Valley of the Sun.

The cost of living index is moderate, and the most significant part of your monthly expenses will be the rent. Keep in mind that the average monthly salary after taxes is more than $3,600. A four-person family spends around $3,000 per month, meaning that the costs here really are reasonable.

Utilities can be expensive during the summer due to air conditioning

Is it Hard to Find a Job Here?

The short answer is no. Based on our research, Arizona capital offers a lot of opportunities for anyone seeking employment; it only depends on what you can and want to do.

This is a big city, the fifth biggest in the nation, and with a little look around, you’ll surely find a job you want. The population is growing, many companies are coming to this community, and tourism is always thriving due to many sunny days.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates are dropping year-on-year, and the wages and salaries are increasing. Similar to other cities, the best-paid job positions are doctors (surgeons, dentists, and other specialists) as well as chief executives. Here’s a list of the top five companies to apply to if your specialty isn’t mentioned above:

  • Cable ONE
  • Avnet
  • Western Alliance bank
  • Freeport-McMoRan
  • Alliance Residential

The biggest employer is the State of Arizona, with nearly 50,000 employees. Wal-Mart, Banner Health, the city authorities, and Wells Fargo are the others in the top five by the number of employees. If you’re looking to get a job before you move, try to connect with one of these employers.

Finding a job before you move would be a smart decision

Finding the Best Places to Live in Arizona Capital

The most populous state capital in the entire US has a lot of charming neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking for a place to live with your family, a great area for singles, or somewhere to move as a student, this place has a home for you. Here are some suggestions if you plan on renting an apartment in this community, or even buying one.

Niche, a website that discovers top areas, ranked the best neighborhoods in Phoenix based on the quality of life they offer. Ratings of public schools, levels of safety, costs, nightlife, housing, and commute are just some of the criteria they include in the rating of a neighborhood.

Some of the highly rated neighborhoods are the following:

Desert View is rated as the top place to live in this community. It’s in Maricopa County, and almost 44 thousand people live there. The vibe is dense suburban, it’s great for families, and the schools in this community are held in high esteem.

Another place in Maricopa County, Ahwatukee Foothills comes second, mainly due to its high level of safety. It’s a suburban neighborhood with a strong feeling of community.

Camelback East offers excellent nightlife with numerous bars, restaurants, and cafes. It’s one of the most established areas, surrounded by Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak. The rents are pretty affordable.

Rio Vista is great if you wish to buy a property. More than 80% of residents own their homes there. It’s an urban village in the northern part of the city.

For the urban feel with lots of art and culture, find a place Downtown. It’s an area for young professionals and everyone who wants to live in the center of all happenings.

Paradise Valley is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods since the median household income is more than $100,000. If you’re looking for an elite community, this could be the one.

Paradise Valley is one of the greatest places to enjoy the outdoors

Dealing With the Climate

We’re not going to lie – it’s hot. The city is located on the upper edge of the Sonoran Desert, and summer can hit a hundred degrees in July. Winter is mild, and the average temperature is around forty degrees in January. There is virtually no rain – only 9 inches fall during the year, and the US average is 38 inches per year. There is no snow either, and almost 300 days out of 365 are sunny. Locals say that the spring is perfect, and that weather is at its most pleasant between November and April. If you wish to get away from the snow and the cold, you’re welcome here, but keep in mind that summers that are this hot require a lot of hydration.

There is also a problem with dust storms that are unpredictable and may affect your health. If a dust storm catches you during a ride, it’s smart to park the car and wait for it to pass since it significantly reduces visibility.

The rainiest month is July, while the driest one is June

Living in Phoenix: Pros and Cons – the Ultimate List

Residing in this modern metropolis is just like anywhere else – there are advantages and disadvantages. We’ll list the ultimate goods and bads about life in this place and leave it to you to decide whether it’s worth relocating here.

Pro: The Weather Is One of the Best Things About Life in the Valley of the Sun

This place is heaven for everyone who hates the cold and the snow – there isn’t any. The heat is mostly bearable since the desert air is pretty dry (heat is a lot harder to bear when the air is humid), and there’s plenty of sunshine. Swimming is an all-year-round activity, with ice cream afterward, of course. Even though it’s warm, there aren’t any annoying insects flying around compared to some other states in the South.

Con: Keep in Mind That Heat Can Also Be a Drawback

If you can’t stand high temperatures very well, then maybe this community is not the one for you. For four months, the temperature can be above 100 degrees, so having some sort of medical issue and residing here might not be a smart combination. The summertime can be oppressive, and cooling your home with AC most of the time during the year will impact your electric bill unless you use renewable energy via solar panels.

Pro: Commuting Is Not As Bad As in Some Other Places

It’s very easy to get around. You won’t even have to turn on the GPS – no matter where you are, you’ll find your way easily because the community is planned as a grid. Roads are spotless, and most of the highways are new and well maintained.

The freeway system is composed of three major freeways – Interstate 10, Interstate 17, and U.S. Route 60. Sky Harbor International Airport is also there, 3 miles east of downtown. Public transportation is available – locals use Metro rail, Metro buses, local, express, and RAPID commuter bus service, taxis, and Uber.

Con: “Snowbirds” Can Make Traffic Problematic

People from other states who want to run away from the cold come to AZ during winter and the locals refer to them as Snowbirds. Once they arrive, the number of car accidents rises and so does the time you spend in traffic jams. Shopping malls and restaurants get crowded, so if you’re not from a place that is a tourist destination, you might need to adapt to this.

Pro: For Those Who Enjoy an Active Lifestyle, There Are Lots of Outdoor Activities

Close to 200 golf courses, many hiking trails, beaches, lakes, picnic spots, trails for horseback riding, or just walking in the Japanese Friendship Garden – The Valley of the Sun has many ways for you to escape the everyday hustle and bustle by finding the best things to do in Phoenix.

You can go water-skiing, boating, or fishing on Canyon Lake – it’s less than an hour ride away. Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area is excellent for hiking and biking, as is Dreamy Draw Recreation Area. Being closer to nature and having an active lifestyle is beneficial for both your body and your mind.

Pro: There Are a Lot of Popular Annual Events in Phoenix

Don’t think that this place lacks culture and nightlife. A number of festivals occur every year, like Tacolandia – annual taco festival, World Championship Hoop Dance Competition, Pride Festival, and Improv Festival of improvised comedy and drama. Comicon happens in May when you can watch or participate by dressing up as one of your favorite comic characters.

Museum scene is also vibrant, and you’ll be able to visit the Art Museum, Center for Creative Photography, Heard Museum, Symphony Hall, and many more. If you love Greek culture and food, don’t miss the chance to see the Greek Festival. Depending on how you feel about tattoos and marijuana, you can also go to the Hell City Tattoo Festival and The Errl Cup.

Pro: It’s Home to Great Food, Especially Mexican

This place has amazing food, from fine dining to cheap eats. It’s very diverse, but the main influence is from Mexico (keep in mind that Arizona achieved statehood in 1912 and that it had been Mexican territory until then).

Some of the best restaurants in Phoenix are Binkley’s Restaurant and Wright’s at the Biltmore if you’re up to some fancy meals. Grab lunch at True Food Kitchen or at Hillstone, and cheap bites are excellent at Chino Bandido where you can have not only Mexican dishes but Asian as well. There are always a lot of customers at The Capital Grille, which should say enough.

Pro: Road Trips Are a Huge Thing

The state is close to California, Nevada, Mexico, and many national parks that you can spend your weekend at some exotic and fun places with just a couple of hours’ ride. Las Vegas and many fun parts of Los Angeles will be at your fingertips. You’ll have easy access to Big Bear Lake and Mountain, Rodeo Drive, Redondo Beach, or Disneyland Park. Mexico is well known as a vacation destination, so pick your favorite, get in the car, and enjoy it.

Guns Are Very Available

Gun laws and gun ownership culture are strong here, and so is the conservative nature of the residents. This might be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on what your point of view is.

Look at our list and ask around if you're making a decision about moving to this city.

Things to Know About Moving to the Valley of the Sun

Relocating to this community with a rich cultural and historical background can be a great decision. Because of the heat, we’d recommend that you avoid June and July, but if you plan on moving in the summer anyway, it’s not impossible. The most convenient time would be the spring or winter, depending on the place you’re moving from. State to state relocation can be a stressful thing, so try using some moving hacks to ease this process.

Ask the Right Questions Related to Your Move

There are some important questions to ask movers so that you can be sure that you’re dealing with a reputable and professional company. A good relocation specialist will tell you anything that interests you and make you feel comfortable with moving your items with them. You can also ask about storage facilities and packing services. Don’t forget to ask your chosen Phoenix movers what they charge for and if there is a bundle deal if you decide to transport your car as well.

Written By: Christina Henry