Living in Phoenix, AZ: 11 Honest Pros & Cons (Videos & Prices)

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix, Arizona, US
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.

Phoenix, Arizona, is known for its year-round sunshine, warm temperatures, upscale resorts, lush golf courses, vibrant nightlife, and the phenomenal Desert Botanical Garden. With a growing number of people flocking to this desert oasis in the last few years, it brings to mind the upside and downsides of moving to Phoenix, Arizona. Is it worth your consideration?

Population Median Age Bachelor Degree or Higher
1,633,017 33.828.60%
Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Top 10 Things to do in Phoenix

Pros: There’s so much to do in phoenix

Overlooking Phoenix At Night
Overlooking Phoenix At Night
(Source: @carleyc_az via twenty20)

There are plenty of fun things to do in Phoenix. Here are some places and activities to try out as a new resident:

  • Phoenix Zoo: This phenomenal zoo welcomes millions of visitors each year. Make a point of paying a visit to the zoo to admire exotic animals such as giraffes, zebras, lions, and giraffes. 
  • South Mountain Park and Preserve: This preserve covers three mountain ranges, and with over 16,000 acres, it is among the largest municipally maintained parks in the country. For scenic views of phoenix, travel up 2,330 feet to get to the highest publicly accessible peak at Dobbins Lookout.
  • Desert Botanical Garden: All the desert plants that you’ll find at this unique botanical garden are adapted to thrive in harsh conditions. The garden also hosts all sorts of events throughout the year, ranging from live music performances and art exhibits, to holiday celebrations and food festivals. 
Chihuly glass sculptures. Desert botanical gardens Phoenix Arizona
Chihuly glass sculptures. Desert botanical gardens Phoenix Arizona
(Source: @treznom via Twnety20)
  • Ak-Chin Pavilion: Pay a visit to this scenic outdoor amphitheater and sway to the music of live bands. Plenty of major musical acts and festivals take place at the Ak-Chin Pavilion, and with a lawn seating that accommodates up to 12,000 people, it’s the place to be during your down time.
  • Arizona Science Center: Are you captivated by science? Look no further than the Arizona Science Center for a day out – the center aims to provide access to science-based on the present demands of the community. It also offers programming for adults that includes cocktails, craft beer, and laser shows coordinated to music.
  • OdySea Aquarium: There are over 65 exhibits and more than 6,000 animals to discover at the OdySea Aquarium. It offers entertaining, educational, and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages.

Cons: The weather can take some getting used to

As a resident in Phoenix, you’ll quickly realize just how uncomfortable the summer heat can get. The average temperatures in July and August soar to highs of 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually, the temperatures don’t fall below 70 degrees Fahrenheit until you get to November. By the time April comes around, the temperatures start to rise again. Each year four months average temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some hot weather tips to consider as a phoenix resident include:

  • Whenever possible, park your car in the shade
  • Stay hydrated by drinking as much water as possible
  • Avoid leaving your phone in the sun as it might overheat and shut off
  • Avoid leaving kids or pets in the car unattended

Phoenix, AZ Temperatures Table

Best months to visit Phoenix: January, February, March, April, May, October, November, December.

MonthTemp. Low. Avg.Temp. High Avg.
Data sourced from numbeo.com – October 2021

Pros: Thriving food scene

Breakfast in Phoenix
Breakfast in Phoenix
(Source: @anniejanssen via Twenty20)

The food scene in Phoenix is definitely worth a mention. Given the city’s geographical location, it is no surprise that much of the cuisine has a Southwestern, Native American, and Mexican flare. Phoenix offers a wide variety of cuisines, many of which draw influences from cultures throughout the Southwest. There are plenty of excellent eateries in the area, everything from food trucks and dive bars to fine dining and international foods. Some acclaimed eateries worth trying include:

  • Short Leash Hotdogs
  • Matt’s Big Breakfast
  • Barrio Cafe
  • Phoenix Public Market Cafe
  • Stockyards Restaurant
  • Gallo Blanco

Cons: Dust storms are a common occurrence

Phoenix is a desert, which means that sometimes the city experiences high desert winds that can produce dust storms known as haboobs. Phoenix typically encounters about three of these storms annually. Haboobs can be dangerous as they are known to reduce visibility to zero when they roll through. In addition, the dust that they carry is made up of tiny grains of sand. This means that if you’re caught in one of these storms, some of the sand particles will end up in your lungs. For individuals with respiratory issues, all that dust can worsen their conditions.

Pros: The cost of living in the city is affordable

Phoenix Median Home Price in October 2021
Median Home Price
Data sourced from Zillow Median Home Sale Prices

Phoenix Average Cost of Utilities in October 2021
Utilities (Monthly)Prices
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment$181.14
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)$80.61
Data sourced from Numbeo.com

Phoenix Average Cost of Transportation in October 2021
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)$2.00
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)$64.00
Gasoline (1 gallon) $2.80
Data sourced from Numbeo.com

Phoenix Average Cost of Groceries in October 2021
Milk (regular), (1 gallon)$2.88
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)$2.44
Rice (white), (1 lb) $1.83
Eggs (regular) (12)$2.26
Local Cheese (1 lb)$5.04
Chicken Fillets (1 lb)$4.02
Beef Round (1 lb) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)$5.37
Banana (1 lb)$0.69
Tomato (1 lb)$1.77
Potato (1 lb)$1.05
Onion (1 lb)$0.90
Lettuce (1 head)$1.43
Water (1.5-liter bottle)$1.92
Data sourced from Numbeo.com

Cons: Beware of potentially dangerous wildlife

Coyote - Red Rock
Coyote – Red Rock
(Source: @jasmom1 via Twenty20)

Phoenix is a desert, which means that you may encounter wild animals adapted to this environment. Some of the animals you should beware of include:

  • Coyotes: Coyotes wander around some parts of Phoenix, generally near golf courses or greenbelts where they have access to water and food sources. If you live in an outlying area and spot them, you’ll probably want to avoid leaving small pets outside.
  • Scorpions: The most commonly occurring scorpion in phoenix is the Arizona Bark Scorpion. If you spot them, the best way to deal with them is to eliminate their food source (small insects) and to seal off potential entry points.
  • Snakes: If you’re out hiking in the desert, you’ll want to watch where you’re stepping as you may come across rattlesnakes.

Pros: Plenty of job opportunities in the city

When it comes to technology, Phoenix is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing regions in the United States and is widely regarded as a hub for technology and software companies. According to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, operational costs in the city are up to 42% less than California. 

Organizations are working hard to bring in more technological opportunities to the metropolitan area, which has led to a steady increase in tech jobs. Recently, renowned companies like Shutterfly, Uber, and Yelp have set up offices in the Greater Phoenix area, and the online shopping giant Amazon has a fulfillment center there. 

Cons: Walking isn’t an option

As a Phoenix resident, you’ll discover that walking is one of the least convenient ways to get around. Phoenix was ranked among the least walkable cities in the country. A mere 3 percent of the companies that operate in Phoenix were deemed tolerable to employees who would prefer to walk to work. Although conditions for walking are improving in the city, there is still the concern of summer heat to keep in mind.

The most suitable way to move around the city is by car. Although a bus and light rail system are in place, both are limited in size and accessibility. If you live in the city, biking might be an option for you. The Bicycle Boulevard is a 4.6 mile stretch of bike lane in Phoenix that allows commuters to safely make their way to the Downtown Phoenix area.

Median Phoenix Commuting Time Median U.S. Commuting Time
26.2 Minutes26.9 Minutes
Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Pros: Great neighborhoods in the city to live in

Top 7 small towns in Arizona

There are plenty of vibrant suburban areas and city neighborhoods in Phoenix. Here are a handful of the best places to live to help you get a better idea of what moving to Phoenix might be like for you:

  • City neighborhoods: Some of the best neighborhoods in the city are located in Downtown Phoenix. They include:
  • Greater Coronado: This is a historic neighborhood that is made up of three distinct districts: Country Club Park, Coronado, and Brentwood. Ranch-style, bungalow, and Spanish Colonial Revival homes are commonplace here. The Greater Coronado neighborhood is situated in midtown phoenix and is close to both the freeway and the downtown area, making it a great place to live for working commuters. 
  • Roosevelt Row: This is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood that is known for its award-winning restaurants, locally-owned boutiques, coffee shops, art galleries, and colorful events on the first Friday of each month that bring out thousands of locals.
  • Grand: If you plan to bike your way around the city, you’ll love living in Grand – it’s one of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in all of downtown Phoenix. This eclectic, hip neighborhood also features plenty of gallery spaces and colorful murals.
  • Arcadia: Situated in the greater metro area, Arcadia is a popular neighborhood, and with good reason. It offers scenic views of Camelback Mountain and is also just a short distance from the vibrant nightlife in downtown phoenix and shopping in downtown Scottsdale.
  • Suburbs: The following suburbs offer proximity to the city but also offer suburban amenities:
  • Gilbert: This is a rapidly growing suburb in the East Valley that has the elusive small town appeal to it. The downtown area of the Gilbert neighborhood comprises multiple trendy restaurants, and there’s also an outdoor farmers market where you can buy locally-grown produce and artisan products. 
  • Mesa: Mesa perfectly combines the perks of living in a fast-growing metropolitan and a distinct suburban lifestyle. It is close to several outdoor recreational spots.
Mega Moon/Eclipse rises above the Superstition Mountains. Mesa, Az
Mega Moon/Eclipse rises above the Superstition Mountains. Mesa, Az
(Source: @chrisfloresfoto via Twenty20)
  • Tempe: Tempe is a busy college town that is home to the Arizona State University which is one of the largest universities in the country.
  • Glendale: Glendale is a West Valley suburb that is situated approximately 9 miles outside of Downtown Phoenix. Sports fans will love the fact that the Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Coyotes both play in Glendale. 

Cons: Barren lands

If you want to live in a place with lush lawns and vast forests, the Phoenix is not for you. Most of the city is desert, so expect plenty of sand, cactuses, and palm trees if you plan to move there.

Pros: Sporting activities

4th of July at Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks vs Rockies
4th of July at Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. the Rockies
(Source: @chrisfloresfoto via Twenty20)

Phoenix is often described as a golfing paradise – after all, it’s home to more than 200 golf courses and hosts the biggest PGA event of the year, The Waste Management Phoenix Open. Other standout sporting events worth checking out include College Football’s Playstation Fiesta Bowl, Cactus League Spring Training, College Football’s Cheez-It Bowl, and NASCAR events. 

The Valley of the Sun is also one of the few cities in the United States to have professional sports teams in all major sports. They include:

  • Phoenix Rising – USL
  • Phoenix Suns – NBA
  • Arizona Cardinals – NFL
  • Phoenix Mercury – WNBA
  • Arizona Diamondbacks – MLB
  • Arizona Coyotes – NHL

Final thoughts

When moving to any new location, you’ll have to learn to accept that you might love some things about the place, but you might be particularly fond of others – Phoenix is no different.

Phoenix compared to other cities (June 2021 rent price data from Zumper national rent report)
Cities1-BR Avg. Rent 2-BR Avg. Rent
Houston $1,220$1,530
San Antonio$1,040$1,300
San Diego$2,060$2,730
Data sourced from Zumper national rent report October 2021

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author, and she enjoys traveling, reading, and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC.

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