Living in Phoenix: Pros and Cons
Transferring to a new city can be scary. The culture, lifestyle, and amenities will vary depending on where you’re located—and uprooting these comforts for a new home isn’t always easy!
That’s why it’s so important to research a city before you take the plunge.
Fortunately, Phoenix, Arizona, is a beautiful city with a lot to offer. From its picturesque desert landscapes to its thriving nightlife, this versatile locale has a little something for everyone.
If you’re interested in moving to Phoenix, AZ, here are some pros and cons of living in Phoenix:
The pros of living in Phoenix, Arizona
Home to 1.63 million people, Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona, and the fifth-largest city in the nation. The area spans 517 square miles, making it the largest city in Arizona in terms of land as well.
Besides its spaciousness and vibrant population, there are some equally big reasons for what Phoenix is known for and why people are so drawn to this Sonoran desert city. The pros of living in Phoenix include:
- Close proximity to nature
- A lively arts district
- Affordable housing
- Growing economy
- Easy parking
- Mild winters
- Great neighborhoods
The cons of living in Phoenix, Arizona
While Arizona’s capital is certainly a great place to live, it’s important to consider the following cons of the area as well, including its:
- Hot summers
- Lower-than-average income
- Limited public transit
Here’s a deeper dive into each of the area’s pros and cons:
Pro: Close proximity to nature
In many places in the U.S., finding a balance of natural beauty and urban sprawl can be difficult—but not in Phoenix.
This city is located in the heart of Arizona’s Valley of the Sun. Surrounded by towering plateaus, vast canyons, and more cacti than you knew existed, the desert is the perfect escape from bustling city life. Whether you want to go golfing or go on a hike, you’ll be able to spend plenty of quality time outdoors.
Locals have tons of options for exploring this nearby nature, as well. From climbing Camelback Mountain to visiting the Desert Botanical Garden, the list of attractions is seemingly endless.
Con: Hot summers
It probably comes as no surprise that the typical Arizona summer can be hotter than others. With average temperatures rising well above 100° Fahrenheit between June and September, there’s a portion of the year where Phoenix’s desert climate can be tough to handle.
Of course, this is why nearly all properties in the area come with air conditioning. In a city known for its heat, you can rest assured that landlords and property managers are prepared for this type of weather.
Pro: A lively arts district
There are plenty of fun things to do in this Arizona city, such as visiting the lively art district. Just north of the downtown area, Roosevelt Row is rich in fine art, shopping, and entertainment. For no cost at all, residents can pursue the unique street art that lines this area’s buildings.
For a more refined cultural experience, check out the Phoenix Art Museum on North Central Avenue. Other artistic hotspots include the Phoenix Hotel, which features the work of local artists, the MADE Art Boutique, where you can buy locally crafted jewelry and pottery, and FilmBar, a lounge and arthouse that screens indie and foreign films.
The bottom line? If you’re looking for a daily dose of culture, Phoenix has plenty of ways to get it!
Pro: Low cost of living
According to PayScale, the cost of living in Phoenix is approximately 5% lower than the national average. Housing is estimated around 5% lower as well, with utilities and groceries following behind at 4% and 5% lower (respectively).
Here’s the thing: Compared to rural areas of the county, this area probably won’t seem like an affordable place to live. That being said, Phoenix has exceptional living costs compared to other major cities in the nation.
Let’s take another Western hotspot into consideration: Los Angeles. PayScale reports that the cost of living in Phoenix is a whopping 33.8% cheaper than Los Angeles, and that number jumps to 58.1% lower for housing costs.
On the East Coast, Phoenix compares to the metropolitan hotspot of New York, NY. The cost of living is going to be 58.6% lower than New York, and housing will be 79.7% lower.
So, while city living is never going to be your cheapest option, this Arizona city does offer a tempting balance of affordability and convenience.
Con: Lower-than-average household income
The median household income in the area is reported at $57,957—a bit lower than the national average of $61,937.
With that in mind, it is important to note that while this Arizona city offers a fairly low cost of living (as mentioned above). So, while the average salary is a bit lower, you shouldn’t be too worried about not making enough money to live comfortably.
DataUSA also reports a 2.22% income increase for the city over the past year. If these trends continue, residents can look forward to higher salaries in the coming years!
Pro: Growing economy
Phoenix has a number of large industries that contribute to the city’s booming economy, meaning there are plenty of job opportunities. Some major areas of employment include:
- Aircraft parts
- Electronic equipment
- Agricultural chemicals
- Air conditioning equipment
- Native American art
The city is also home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Avnet, Freeport-McMoRan, Republic Services, Magellan Health, and Sprouts Farmers Market. Arizona’s capital is also home to over a third of its entire labor force, making it the epicenter of the state’s economy and job market.
Pro: Parking is a breeze
Phoenix is definitely a car owner’s dream location. This area is much more relaxed when compared to the limited parking options in major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York.
Most homes will come with a driveway or garage that offers free parking, but even the areas that don’t are fairly easy to navigate. With more than 25,000 parking spaces in Downtown Phoenix alone, you’ll have plenty of options for storing your vehicle. There is also affordable metered parking, public garages, and surface lots throughout the city that many people take advantage of.
Con: Limited public transit
While this isn’t to say there’s no public transit in the city of Phoenix, the areas with these services are fairly limited.
The Valley Metro Department of Transportation has two main options when it comes to public transit: bus routes and the metro rail. Bus routes can be found only within the downtown area, while the metro rail is a bit more widespread (28.2 miles, to be exact). On the light rail, you can jump around to areas such as Tempe and Mesa.
In general, however, having a car is recommended if you plan on living here long-term. Certain communities are considered walkable, as well—but not if you’re trying to go far. Having a car also means being able to take advantage of nearby attractions like Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon!
Pro: Mild winters
If you’re tired of the snow, ice, and frigid temperatures that come with Northern winters, the Phoenix area may be the perfect place to call home.
Phoenix’s coldest month is January, with average daytime lows of 46° Fahrenheit (and daytime highs of 67° Fahrenheit). The city gets under a single inch of precipitation, so rain and snow won’t be a problem, either. This is why this Arizona city is known for having 300 days of sunshine, which is much higher than the national average of 205.
Pro: Great neighborhoods
The Phoenix metropolitan area is rich with diverse and interesting neighborhoods, which gives locals lots of options when choosing where to live. Some of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix for residents include:
- Paradise Valley: Often referred to as the “Beverly Hills of the Southwest,” this rural area is home to multi-million-dollar homes and plenty of space to go around. Don’t worry, though—Paradise Valley isn’t too rural. The area’s glamorous shops and restaurants are all located on the lively N. Scottsdale Road. Paradise Valley also boasts three different golf courses and 10 resorts and spas, so you’ll never run out of relaxing activities while you’re here.
- Downtown Phoenix: If you’re looking for nightlife, shopping, and entertainment, Downtown Phoenix is the place to be. Locals can enjoy a show at the Comerica Theater, hit the dance floor at the Dwntwn nightclub, or grab a delicious Japanese-Latin fusion dish at Kaizen. Downtown Phoenix is made up of high-rise apartments and smaller buildings, so you’ll have a choice of where to live, as well.
- Downtown Scottsdale: Although technically its own city, Scottsdale is considered a part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. For a lively neighborhood that’s slightly more residential, Downtown Scottsdale is highly recommended. This area is known for its youthful population, gorgeous waterfront views, and plenty of luxury shopping centers.
Land in a great apartment in Phoenix, AZ
Weighing the pros and cons of a potential new city is never easy. But thankfully, Phoenix’s pros greatly outweigh its cons!
If you’re thinking about moving to the area, Landing offers fully furnished apartments in Phoenix, all with flexible lease terms that make moving easy. Browse our available apartments in Phoenix, or contact us to learn more about what a Landing membership can do for you!