Our family moved here for the school district. We heard good things about Kyrene School District, and Kyrene Traditional Academy, in particular. The community is pretty difficult to settle into as a result of people being somewhat clique-prone. The schools were a bitter disappointment for both my kids and myself. Children are either stars or they aren't, they are prized or put aside. One of my children was literally publicly humiliated by her teacher, who was forced to apologize. My other child had his fingers locked in a restroom door by bullies until one of the playground aides finally found time to notice. The only way to please the school district or blend into the community is to fit distinct mold and/or suck up quite a bit. Test scores are absolutely the main focus and the schools have a cut-throat drive to get their ribbons and A+'s. The school was so vile that simply leaving a 1 star on their page, after removing my children, resulted in a full-blown freak-out by the school PTO moms, volunteers and administrators. The reaction was literally something out of one of those cliche shows about horrible mothers and teachers in suburbia. There are a lot of amenities. The place is clean and neat. Underneath it, though, is a very isolating ugliness that is all-too-common to modern American suburbia. Neighbors aren't very neighborly and it can be quite lonely. But, the libraries are nice, there are lots of indoor play options, and community programs offer a good number of activities. If you don't mind not fitting in, it's at least clean and relatively crime-free compared to the rest of the Valley. The shopping is pretty good, too.
I have lived in the Chandler/Mesa area for 5 years. I moved here from northern California. My first impression of this area was that it is very clean and the weather is nice. In the winter, it doesn't rain that much and the temperature can get cold but nothing unbearable. The summer it is hot, but it is a dry heat for the most part with little humidity during the monsoon season which is only a couple of months of rain in the summer. So, cleanliness and good weather are the most attractive things about this area.As far as the people go... I would say, the people are what makes this state so blah.... People move to Arizona from all over the United States, so there are a lot of people here now, that didn't necessarily grow up in Arizona. It seems as though the people that grew up here are outnumbered by outsiders. Which in my opinion has created a lack of an Arizona culture, which can be a good or bad thing. I've noticed that the people who grew up here are .... weird... boring... not creative... blah... The joys of this area seem to be: wearing workout clothes as every day outfits (most of them wear the clothes but don't look like they are in shape), drive recklessly and always in a rush to go.. nowhere, and hang out at bars every day of the week, if you're single. The families tend to enjoy it here more, if kids are involved, because a family can be busy with going to parks or kids extra curricular activities, like sports or something.It's hard to really put my finger on the people and the culture here. It's like the people and the culture are....NOTHING. There blah, nothing, boring. If you are looking for a place to move where you will just fade into nothingness, this is the place to be! Also, I love people I love diversity. This area lacks diversity in ethnicities. There are A LOT of white people very few hispanic people, very few african american people, very few native american people, very few asian american people. 90% of the people I see are white. There is also a large number of retired people that either live here or visit during the winter from another state.This is not an area for single people. The singles here are weird. Guys are afraid of women, and women throw themselves at men out of desperation. Neither is attractive. A plus is that this is a pro gun state, and the crime rates are pretty low.
One of the things my family likes to do in February or March of each year is travel to Chandler and elsewhere in the Phoenix metropolitan area for baseball's spring training. Cactus League games are a great way to see fantastic baseball for less money than usual. The San Francisco Giants, the Anaheim Angels and the Chicago Cubs all train near Chandler, and while I wasn't a fan of some of these teams before, regular visits to spring training made me one!
I was last in Chandler in fall 2009, and I spent a really enjoyable evening in the city's historic downtown. Since I normally think of Chandler as just another suburb of Phoenix, I didn't expect it to have a downtown. But it does! There are many interesting shops and attractions there, as well as some good Mexican restaurants. My favorite place in Chandler, though, was the SanTan Brewing Company. It serves tasty bar food, and its Gordo Stout is one of the better dark beers I've had in a long time.