With year-round sunshine and plenty of opportunities for work and play, Arizona has become a popular destination for movers around the country. The state is also home to three national parks, including the Grand Canyon, lending it worldwide recognition and tourism. Some of the best places to live in Arizona offer stunning desert views with a lively career and social market.
If you’re a nature enthusiast, Arizona is a haven of outdoor adventure. A recent StudyFinds ranking listed the Rim Trail at Grand Canyon National Park among the top five best hiking trails in the United States. And the gorgeous desertscapes around the state are hard to beat, even if you prefer to enjoy them from inside an air-conditioned building.
Whether you’re already a nature lover or just circumstantially interested in moving to a sunnier state, research shows that the benefits are plentiful. Researchers at Plymouth University found that people who experience a connection with nature and spend time in green spaces weekly tend to feel better both physically and mentally. The study also noted that these people typically make more environmentally conscious decisions.
And if you plan to raise a family in Arizona, your children are also likely to benefit from the state’s more than 300 sunny days per year. A 2022 study from the National University of Singapore found that children born to nature-loving parents are more likely to favor time outdoors themselves.
If you’re ready to pack your bags and move where time outdoors doesn’t mean giving up on exciting city life, Arizona is waiting for you. But with so many great cities to choose from, it might be hard to find your perfect destination. That’s why StudyFinds searched the internet for the opinions of local experts to compile this list of the top five best places to live in Arizona. Of course, if we skipped over your favorite, be sure to let us know in the comments!
The List: Best Places to Live in Arizona, According to Experts
Thanks to Tempe’s many options for work, entertainment, and recreation, it comes as no surprise that our top pick is attracting new movers from around the country. “Tempe is a go-spot for young professionals, families, and college students,” says UpHomes.
As the home of Arizona State University, Tempe is a college town, and its options for entertainment are a fit for its diverse and youthful population. “Though Tempe is a small-ish city, it has plenty of character and big-city amenities,” claims Bellhop. “Enjoy thriving nightlife, delicious food, outdoor activities like biking and kayaking, art galleries galore, and plenty of affordable (and many times free) things to do. When the days get hot, Tempe Town Lake sits right in the center of town.”
Whether you’re a young professional looking for a city with great bars and better job opportunities, or a family seeking excellent public schools and access to nature, Scottsdale has what you’re looking for. Everyone from grade school through retirement can find their fit in Scottsdale, with its bustling downtown, thriving economy, and warm, sunny weather.
“Scottsdale has a reputation as a city for retirees, but it also has an incredible city experience with a vibrant downtown bursting with nightlife, art galleries, a gorgeous riverfront, and over 200 beautiful golf courses,” notes Bellhop.
But, UpHomes adds, “it is a popular destination for young professionals looking to jumpstart their careers and families wanting to settle down.”
From nightlife to the golf course, Scottsdale has it all. “Like many of the best places to live in Arizona, Scottsdale is full of trails and desert landscapes to explore. It’s also home to cultural offerings like the Scottsdale Arts Festival, Culinary Festival, International Film Festival, and historic museums and galleries,” says Apartment List. “It’s perfect for families, the crime rate is low, education is top-notch, and it has some of the best shopping in the Phoenix area,” Zumper adds.
Arizona’s capital city is well-regarded for its weather, job opportunities, cultural scene, and sports. And with a population of over 1.6 million, people of all ages are choosing to call Phoenix home. “Phoenix is a thriving city with a rapidly growing population,” says Zumper. “Comparatively safe, a relatively low cost of living, excellent schools, and incredible weather are all reasons why thousands of people move to Phoenix each year.”
The downtown boasts a thriving bar and restaurant scene, as well as plenty of shopping. “There are also endless outdoor activities like swimming, mountain biking, and trail running. It is a bike-friendly city – one of the top biking cities in the country,” adds Bellhop.
If you crave community but aren’t ready to compromise on city amenities, Chandler just might be your next hometown. “Chandler is half cosmopolitan and half family-friendly,” says Zumper. “Overall, Chandler is a great place for families and individuals looking for a city that offers a high quality of life, a strong sense of community, and plenty of opportunities for work and play.”
While Chandler has a more small-town feel than many of the other cities on this list, it is hardly short on things to do. “You get an award-winning school district, strong employment in the tech industry, first-class restaurants, and a highly-active downtown while also maintaining a decent safety scale,” states Bellhop.
Rounding out our list, Gilbert is a city that is solidly on the rise. “Named one of Arizona’s most prosperous cities, many young professionals and families are moving to Gilbert for abundant job opportunities, a high-quality education system, and a great real estate market,” claims UpHomes. “It’s no wonder this tight-knit community frequently ranks among the best places in the country to live,” Apartment List states.
The city is a great mix of downtown and outdoor fun. It’s also home to great schools, work opportunities, and community culture. “Gilbert is considered one of the best cities to live in countrywide thanks to its mix of low crime rate (one of the lowest in the country), home values, idyllic nature, outdoor activities, median income, a strong sense of community, and highly-rated public schools,” says Bellhop. “If you like to party, it even has vibrant nightlife and amazing restaurants to rival Scottsdale.”
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.