Moving to the Valley of the Sun
Home to authentic Mexican food, Phoenix is a paradise for all taco lovers. But this vibrant city is not a great place to live only because it offers delicious Mexican food, low taxes, and is close to attractions such as Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
The capital of Arizona and at the same time, its most populous city, receives over 16 million tourists every year. Many of these tourists fall in love with Phoenix and decide to become residents and start a new life in a city located in the middle of a desert thanks to its great weather, job growth, rising economy, affordable housing and cost of living, and great educational opportunities.
In fact, Phoenix is one of the top destinations to move to in the US and as of 2017, it has a population of over 1.6 million people. Did you know that skyscrapers, historic landmarks, potholes, and rusty cars simply don’t exist in the Valley of the Sun? What you will for sure find there is well-maintained highways, huge gardens, and professional sports. Arizona also has its own time zone and does not recognize daylight savings time, so you must keep that in mind and get used to it.
Compared to the Windy City, Phoenix has a hot desert climate that is typical for the Sonoran Desert which is the hottest desert in North America and one of the hottest in the entire world. If the heat won’t be a problem for you and you want to embrace the 300 sunny days Phoenix has to offer, then you are heading in the right direction.
Unlike Illinois climate which varies from humid continental (hot, humid summers and cold winters) to humid subtropical (with moderate winters), Phoenix has long, hot summers and short, mild to warm winters. Once you settle in Phoenix you will soon forget about Chicago’s cold and snowy weather during the winter season, enjoy the absence of snow and cold, and the abundance of sunshine. You will have to deal with a few hot months in Phoenix, but otherwise, the weather is pleasant for the most part of the year.
Living Costs and Economy
Rent, utilities, transportation, food, and other monthly costs in Phoenix are lower than the national average and much lower than in Chicago. The living costs in Phoenix are 10% cheaper than Chicago and its median home costs are 8% less expensive.
In the past, Phoenix economy has been mainly based on cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper, but nowadays its economy is more diverse. Besides agriculture and natural resources, the city’s economy is based on real estate, finance and insurance, manufacturing, retail trade, healthcare, tourism, and technology. Phoenix is home to five Fortune 500 companies and aims to become the next Silicon Valley since it offers lower cost of living and lower taxes which can attract California-based companies to expand into the Phoenix market.
Top Attractions and Activities in Phoenix
Phoenix has 189 city parks where you can spend your free time with your family or friends. It also has more than 200 miles of trails which is great if you are into hiking. The great weather is perfect for outdoor activities such as mountain biking, golfing, cycling, fishing, rock climbing, and horseback riding.
If you like, you can visit the Desert Botanical Garden, Camelback Mountain, Phoenix Zoo, Papago Park, South Mountain Park, Heard Museum, Piestewa Peak, Tempe Town Lake, Phoenix Art Museum, Hole in the Rock, OdySea Aquarium, Piestewa Peak Park, Talking Stick Resort, Castles N’ Coasters, Big Surf, Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Phoenix Mountains Preserve, and more.
Phoenix has a vibrant cultural and art scene, nightlife, and wildlife. Don’t be surprised if you encounter desert creatures such as scorpions, desert tortoises, wild pigs, coyotes. You might also spot lizards, rabbits, and Mexican foxes so have your camera handy.
Moving to Phoenix with a car
If you’re thinking that you can manage to move around in Phoenix without a car, think again. Having at least one car in Phoenix is a necessity since the bus systems and the light rail are pretty limited when it comes to their size and they are mainly functional to serve Phoenix tourists.
To register your car you have to submit all the required documents to your local Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) office in person. Keep in mind that in order to register your out-of-state car, you need to show proof of your car insurance which meets Arizona’s required coverage amounts. Find more info here dmv.org.