Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, is home to 1.6 million people. If you enjoy the sun and hate snow, then you’re going to love Phoenix, which is also known as the Valley of the Sun.
The city lives up to its nickname – with an average of zero snowfall per year versus the national average of 28 inches. There’s not much rain, either, with only nine inches on average every year, compared with the U.S. average of 38 inches. Phoenix has more days of temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit than any other major city in the country.
Phoenix, the most populous city in Arizona, is as expensive as other large cities. Its cost of living is 20.4% higher than the national average. Median gross rent is $999 while the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,533. The good news is, food and transportation costs are 40.7% and 34.9% lower than the national average, respectively.
Arizona’s income tax rate of 2.59% to 4.50% is relatively low. The state’s sales tax rate ranges from 5.60% to 11.20%.
Urbanites love downtown Phoenix (called Downtown Core) for its high-rise apartments such as CityScape Residences and Orpheum Lofts. The neighborhood offers easy access to great restaurants, stores, and cultural venues. If you want to be close to downtown without living there, Evans-Churchill and Warehouse neighborhoods are closest.
To those who are dreaming of suburban serenity, Paradise Valley and Fountain Hills are popular choices for their resort-like ambiance and great schools, though they can be expensive. Glendale and Mesa are more affordable and within commuting distance.
Local sports fans have a team in every major league to cheer on: Phoenix Suns (NBA), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Arizona Coyotes (NHL), and Phoenix Mercury (women's basketball, WNBA). The Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series title in 2001.
Over 22 million people visit the Phoenix area every year. It’s a paradise for the outdoorsy type, with lots of places to hike and about 200 golf courses. Those who make it to the summit of Camelback Mountain (1,200 feet in elevation) are rewarded with a stunning view of the city.
Families love Papago Park, the site of the Desert Botanical Garden, a 50-acre desert garden featuring a wide variety of arid plants, and the Phoenix Zoo with more than 1,400 animals. For art lovers, the winter home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright is a must-see. Tour the rooms and gardens of Wright’s iconic home, Taliesin West, a UNESCO World Heritage site.