Phoenix started as an agricultural community in the 1860s, became the embryonic industrial city of the U.S. during World War II, and now reigns as America's fifth largest city with a population of nearly 1.6 million as of 2020.
Living in Phoenix has its perks. It's a relatively affordable city with a cost of living of 5% lower than the national average. Real estate expenses are still lower than those in other major American cities and 20 percent lower than their pre-recession peak in 2005, although median home prices increased last year. Arizona also has lower property taxes than other states, which is another good news for prospective homebuyers.
Whether it's to soak up the sun or benefit from the vibrant, high-tech economy, here are eight things you should know before you join the exodus headed to Phoenix, Arizona.
1. During hot summers, monsoons bring rain and bugs.
Let's address the elephant in the room first. From ants, bedbugs, caterpillars, and roaches to mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and flying insects, the monsoon season brings swarms of particles and pests. All these pest infestations are common in Phoenix and can take an immense amount of time to get rid of. Particularly so for bedbugs, the reason being that they tend to hide in any cracks or crevices they can find. Many people never see a live bed bug until the infestation gets severe. Before starting to unpack in your new house, call Ecoforce Bedbug Services Phoenix for an inspection.
2. The Phoenix startup scene is booming.
Despite scarce water supplies, a sweltering climate, and a rising population, the desert city of Phoenix is the perfect starting ground for startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. The metro area received more than $1.2 billion in venture capital investments between 2015 and 2020, despite once being thought of as having little money to invest.
For early-stage startups, labor costs can be a significant expense. But Phoenix offers some of the most affordable workers, with an average yearly wage ($51,851), which is 18% less than the average city income ($63,363). The more dollars on hand, the longer the runway, giving businesses more time to get off the ground.
There are more than 40 coworking spaces and accelerators to help young entrepreneurs expand their networks. Also, the local community supports fledgling enterprises through the Arizona Founders Fund.
3. Phoenix is a foodie city on the rise.
Phoenix is renowned for its mind-blowing authentic Mexican food. Thanks to the prevalence of cultural diffusion in the city, its culinary concepts are inventive, diverse, and welcoming. Whether you're keeping things budget conscious or are looking to splash out for something special, Phoenix is heaven for food lovers. When you're here, you must check out Barrio Cafe, Casa Corazon, Cocina Madrigal Tacos + Tequila, Comedor Guadalajara, La Santisima, and hundreds of other restaurants that serve the best Mexican food in the Valley. And that brings us to our next point!
4. Get used to the phrase "the Valley."
Due to its location in the Salt River Valley surrounded by mountains, the Phoenix Metropolitan Area (also the Valley of the Sun or Metro Phoenix) is known by most locals as "the Valley." Centered on the city of Phoenix, East Valley consists of cities in the Eastern part of the Phoenix Metro, such as Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, and Scottsdale. Glendale, Peoria, Avondale, Goodyear, Surprise, and Sun City are part of West Valley.
Much like a valley where two mountains meet, the region houses 4.8 million people, most hailing from different cultures and communities, and invites thousands more as we speak. To put things in perspective, the non-Hispanic white population in Phoenix forms less than half of the city's total population, so the title is very apt and suggestive.
5. Phoenix is a driving city.
The best way to get around Phoenix is by car. When going out with friends, exploring downtown, or not wanting to drive, light rails are the next best means to commute. They are super clean, safe, and extremely affordable. However, as the city is spread over a wide area, a car is necessary to get to local attractions, and restaurants - not to mention the options for scenic drives are plentiful!
If you want to live and work here, you must get a car with good air conditioning. Walking outside for more than a few blocks is also one way to navigate the city. Smaller shuttles and public buses are also useful. However, summers are hot in Phoenix. Waiting for a bus with 110 degrees plus temperatures during June, July, and August is no fun. It's much like sticking your head in an oven.
6. Phoenix has beautiful sunsets and great outdoors.
The Valley is home to some of the country's most striking and serene sunsets. Camelback, Piestewa, South Mountain, The McDowells, Papago Buttes, Thunderbird, the Superstitions, and Grand Canyon are great places to catch a glowing sunset. Whether you're planning to go on a picturesque trek, search for a romantic backdrop, or get a killer Instagram-worthy photo, it's hard to find a spot in the Phoenix Metro area that doesn't look breathtakingly beautiful during sunsets.
Also, it doesn't matter if you're into outdoor recreational activities like hiking, mountain biking, trail running, horseback riding, or simply going for walks, playing frisbee, or hosting an outdoor family cookout. Phoenix doesn't fall short of nature offerings. However, when enjoying the outdoors, remember to be sun safe and bring plenty of water.
7. Daylight savings are a thing of the past in Phoenix.
Except for the Navajo Nation property within the state, Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Phoenix doesn't observe Daylight Savings Time and runs on Mountain Standard Time. If you wish to abandon the spring-forward, fall-back ritual the country endures twice each year, moving to Phoenix will set you free.
8. Coffee is a big deal in Phoenix.
If you're a coffee lover, you're in luck, for the coffee scene in Phoenix is pretty much on-point! After you relocate to the Valley, you'll find an abundance of local shops serving solid, well-sourced, damn-good coffee. If 'people-watching' is your favorite pastime, stop by Jobot Coffee and enjoy a leisurely day while sipping down a double espresso. Belhaus is the right shop for art lovers to immerse themselves in a thought-provoking cultural and artistic experience and savor a great cup of coffee.
That said, Phoenix's coffee shops do more than satisfy the residents' taste buds; they are also helping transform the city's downtown into a thriving urban district. Whether you're looking for a posh cup of freshly roasted coffee, a place to spend a lazy afternoon on the patio with your dog, or a casual college-town café to hang out with your friends, Downtown Phoenix has you covered!
Wrapping It Up
Breathtaking natural attractions. Affordable cost of living. Thriving job market. Countless international culinary offerings. Plenty of options for recreational pastimes.
Phoenix is growing fast, and for all good reasons. But you know your circumstances better. Don't let the excitement at the possibilities and adventures that await you in the new city cloud your judgment. Make sure you consider every aspect before deciding whether moving to Phoenix is good for you.