I lived in Phoenix, Arizona, for 24 years. I was born and raised in the city, went to college there, and only moved away to the Middle East in 2009. There were good reasons for leaving; Phoenix is not the prevue of young people. But there are reasons why many keep moving there.
Phoenix and its satellite cities are essentially gigantic suburbs, with all the blessings and headaches such places imply. It's also a cultural outpost of southern California without the creativity (and pretentiousness) of Hollywood. People in Phoenix value their wide open spaces, their ease of transport, their abundant malls, but for a city of 1.5 million, with a metro area of 4.5 million, there's not much of a soul to the place.
Much of that has to do with the suburban vibe of Phoenix. Malls are easy to get to and plentiful. Prices are generally lower, as are taxes. There are several amusement parks, including Castles and Coasters, which has the state's only major roller coaster. There are plenty of golf courses and hiking opportunities on the mountains sprinkled throughout the city limits. It has plenty of food options, as well.
But there's very little in Phoenix that is unique to the city. Hardly anything of the cowboy past has been allowed to survive. Beyond the weather, there's not much to differentiate Phoenix from Los Angeles, New Jersey, or Las Vegas. Culturally, the city attracts headliners but produces very little of its own; successful creatives move to the coasts. Neighbors are often strangers to one another; there's hardly any incentive to leave one's abundant yard and home, and community life is stagnant in most neighborhoods. Parks sit empty, remarkable only when they're used.
I have lived in the Ahwatukee Foothills, Phoenix, AZ neighborhood for about five years. While living here, I have noticed that it is one of the safest places I have ever lived. It is ranked as the number two neighborhood in Phoenix. This makes me feel very confident in raising my family in the area. Gas prices are low in this area, and driving an SUV, that is something I enjoy. The crime rate is also considerably lower than other neighborhoods I have lived in, and that means a lot considering I have children.
I live in a very nice apartment complex. My rent is about $700 for a two bedroom. Most apartments in the area are within the $700-800 range. This is very affordable for Phoenix and compared to other large cities in the same area of the country. My view of the mountains in the distance is breathtaking. I enjoy taking my bike and riding along the numerous trails I have found, and I also enjoy hiking on the mountains.
One thing that I don't like about the neighborhood is that everything seems so congested. The beauty of the city is amazing, but it doesn't mean a lot if you can't get to your destination easily. My children don't have to worry about schools because there are at least a dozen that I have seen in the area. Coffee is a favorite part of my day, and I have only seen a few coffee shops that I like. There is only one park in the area, but it is beautiful. There are plenty of activities for my children, and I feel safe in letting them play on the equipment while I sit on a bench nearby and watch them. Something I noticed about the area is that there isn't a local library. This saddens me because I grew up going to the library every year. However, there are plenty of restaurants, my favorite being Dessert-a-Licious. This is somewhere I can get a delicious pastry or cake. I also enjoy The Melting Pot because it offers a variety of foods from Italian to Mexican.
Phoenix is hot. Most people will tell you you will get used to it, but you may not. It's hot enough in the summer that it's not really safe for kids to play outside very long. That can be a problem when they're out of school with nothing to do. Also, the air quality in Phoenix is not good, and that's a big consideration when raising young kids like we are. Education is good in spots, downright miserable in others. The economy is probably way too based on housing and entertainment. We've lived here over 10 years, generally enjoyed it, but also know there are things that may induce us to leave before too long.
As the capitol of Arizona, Phoenix is a phenomenal place to visit and experience. From an active and young nightlife, to beautiful gardens, to breathtaking landscapes, this city is a must see on anyone's "bucket list".
I traveled to Phoenix recently with my husband and young children. We found plenty of child friendly restaurants with reasonable prices and kid friendly menus. In addition, my husband and I had a fabulous time visiting area attractions like the unbelievable Botanical Gardens, museums, and galleries. The kids really enjoyed the Rawhide Western restaurant and, of course, the zoo. There was a wide variety of animals for viewing, and the staff was more than patient with our little one's inquisitive minds. For us adults, our favorite places to explore were those with quiet and romance- specifically the museums, with their mystery and intrigue.
Phoenix's best feature is by far its residents. They are some of the friendliest people we have encountered in any city we have visited. The weather in this city can be challenging to the very young or old, or for those with health issues. We would recommend that travelers visit the area either in the spring or in the fall. There are plenty of adventures to be had, and memories to be made at both times of the year. Fortunately, there is an abundance of attractions to be found indoors, or in cooler areas. Phoenix is high on our list to visit again, and there has been some talk of retiring there too!
Phoenix is a huge, sprawling city - the fifth largest in the United States. Because the metro area is so spread out, it's often hard to find other people who enjoy what you do, an ethnic grocery, a special restaurant, a place to hike or bike. But it's all here! Just keep looking, and you will find what you want.
Along the way, you'll definitely find friendly people. It may be because almost everyone is from somewhere else, but you'll find that people are willing to go out of their way to help you.
You're also close to hiking, sailing, swimming, skiing - Arizona is an amazing state.
I visited Phoenix in the spring of 2008. It was the perfect time to be in Arizona because the weather was always sunny and about 80 degrees, and there were desert flowers in bloom everywhere! I don't think I'd like Phoenix much in the summer, but that dry heat is amazing in March!
When I was in Phoenix, I spent a lot of time outdoors, and surprisingly, I did a lot more than just sit by the pool. The amount of natural beauty in the Phoenix area was simply astounding! I spent a full day at the Desert Botanical Garden, which is about halfway between Phoenix and <a href="http://www.areavibes.com/scottsdale-az/city-guide/" title="Scottsdale City Guide">Scottsdale</a>. The flowers were beautiful, especially in the butterfly pavilion. They also have live jazz music there every Friday night, so it is an excellent place to kick off the weekend, surrounded by flowers and great music. I also found the Arizona Science Center and the Phoenix Museum of History very interesting. Phoenix is a great place to visit, and I'm sure I'll be back soon!