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min read

A transferee’s guide to the greater Phoenix area

Discovering the magic of the Valley of the Sun from a local’s perspective.

Hello, and welcome to the heart of the Sonoran Desert! I'm Tamela Rohde, a longtime resident of Phoenix, and I'm thrilled to introduce you to the Valley of the Sun. My roots in this area run deep, and not only do I call it home, but as a Relocity Concierge Personal Host, I've also spent years helping transferees make this vibrant community their new home.

Let's embark on a journey to explore the essence of Phoenix, its unique history, geography, culture, and the many gems that it has to offer. As you consider relocating to Phoenix, I'm here to provide you with a local's perspective on what this vibrant desert city has to offer.

A Homecoming to Phoenix

I've had a connection with Arizona for over 30 years, including my time as a student at the University of Arizona. Living in metro Phoenix for close to two decades has allowed me to experience the best of what it has to offer and witness its dynamic growth. I returned here to raise my family and for my professional journey, joining Relocity nearly two and a half years ago. My experience as a Personal Host has given me an insider's perspective on what makes Phoenix a unique and thriving community, and I'm excited to share my insights with you.

The Lay of the Land: Exploring Phoenix's Geography

Understanding the geography of Phoenix is essential for anyone considering a move to this desert city. Phoenix is known for its dry climate and is nestled in the heart of arid desert terrain with towering saguaro studded mountains that surround the city. The distinctiveness of this environment sets the stage for what makes this capitol city truly unique.

With over 300 days of sunshine per year, the outdoor lifestyle is a draw for those considering a move here. Phoenix's true beauty shines in the fall and winter months. October through May offers ideal weather, with temperatures ranging from the low 70s to 80s during the day and comfortably dipping into the 50s to 60s at night. Summer temperatures here can soar well over a hundred degrees, making the cooler pines of the Arizona mountains a perfect weekend escape from the valley heat. We enjoy a monsoon season, with large rain storms building up toward the middle to the end of summer.

Navigating Phoenix's Real Estate Landscape

Metro Phoenix is the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States by population and consistently one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the country.

Overall, you’ll enjoy a relatively lower cost of living compared to many other metropolitan areas in the U.S., making the Phoenix area an economically appealing place to reside.The real estate market in Phoenix has been a hot topic in recent years experiencing tremendous growth and earning a reputation as one of the hottest real estate markets in the country. 

While the growth has slowed a bit over the last 12 months, it continues to demonstrate appreciation in property values and pricing. Finding affordable homes close to the city center can be challenging and many opt for the new home communities and more budget-friendly options in the suburban outskirts of the city.

Rental prices in Phoenix tend to fluctuate seasonally. Interestingly, as the city welcomes an influx of winter residents looking to escape colder climates, demand and rental prices often rise. However, as summer approaches, you can expect to see vacancies increase and prices dip, a unique seasonal trend that may surprise newcomers.

The Thriving Business Community

For working professionals considering a move to Phoenix, our business community is buzzing with opportunities, particularly in healthcare, technology, and manufacturing. Major corporations and a growing number of small to medium-sized businesses contribute to a robust economy, fostering innovation and job creation.

Phoenix is home to a plethora of thriving companies, including Intel, ASML, Apple, Petsmart, Lucid Motors, and Amazon, to name a few. Intel stands as one of the state's largest employers, and Lucid, a prominent electric vehicle manufacturer, has rapidly gained prominence in recent years with a manufacturing facility south of Phoenix in Casa Grande. ASML, a technology company, is making a significant move to Phoenix to support the TSMC plant, marking an exciting chapter in our tech sector's growth. The healthcare sector, including the renowned Mayo Clinic, is predicted to continue impressive growth in Phoenix. Arizona State University in Tempe is a significant local hub of innovation, business partnership and job growth within the metro Phoenix area. Whether you are a tech enthusiast or seeking opportunities in various other industries, Phoenix has something to offer everyone. 

The Phoenix area stands as a dynamic and promising destination for those seeking diverse career paths and professional growth.

Nurturing Minds: Education in Phoenix

Education is a paramount consideration for families making a move to Phoenix. As a Personal Host, I will work with you and your family to help you find the right school for your children, considering your academic, athletic and activity priorities, as well as the perfect home in a nearby neighborhood. I know that the quality of our schools matters to you and your children, and I'm pleased to share that we have some excellent public, charter and private school options to choose from. 

Arizona leads the country with the most expensive school choice laws in the nation giving parents the right to choose the best school for their family within their public school district, as well as offering Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESL) for all students. Within our strong public school districts including top rated Chandler Unified School District (CUSD), metro Phoenix boasts more than 300 Charter School options. 

Life in the Phoenix Suburbs: A Perfect Blend

The Phoenix Metro Area is a sprawling expanse of suburban cities all easily accessible by wide open freeways, and each offering its own unique vibe, landmarks, and activities. From popular centrally located suburbs of Arcadia and Scottsdale to the East Valley cities of Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert to the West Valley’s heavy new growth in Glendale, Peoria, and Surprise along the new 303 freeway, the Phoenix suburbs are diverse and offer everything from urban townhomes to large single family homes with pools and mountain views.

Cities such as Chandler, Gilbert, Peoria, and Scottsdale, are well-favored among residents. Safe, affordable neighborhoods and proximity to recreation, major retail centers and employers make the metro Phoenix suburbs the perfect choice for many working professionals. These communities offer a balance between work and leisure providing a relaxed and pleasing environment that many find appealing.

Chandler, known as the innovation and technology hub of the Southwest, features a booming economy, top rated schools and family friendly neighborhoods.  Residents flock to the historic, charming downtown for community farmer’s markets, local chef centric restaurants, and live music venues. Recreational and community amenities in Chandler are also a big draw for residents with beautiful parks, walking paths including the Paseo Trail, Ocotillo waterways, swimming pools, and pickleball courts.

To browse popular communities within the Relocity app, go to your interactive map, select the “Explore” tab, and click on each neighborhood guide.

Scottsdale, known as a top golf and vacation destination, is also an attractive relocation choice of young professionals and families. From the vibrant, upscale shopping, dining, nightlife and art scene in Old Town to the unparalleled mountain views, hiking trails, and luxurious golf club neighborhoods in North Scottsdale, it offers the perfect lifestyle for many. As host of the Phoenix Open golf tournament, Spring Training baseball, Barrett Jackson car show and a bevy of additional high profile events, there is no shortage of exciting community sporting and cultural events. 

Gilbert, historically a farming community, has experienced booming growth and transformation into a community of safe, family-friendly neighborhoods featuring white farm fences, lush grass and shade trees. In Gilbert's walkable downtown Heritage District, visitors stroll through blocks of historic downtown buildings with eclectic shopping and dining options. Family dairy and hay farms still dot the landscape and offer seasonal activities such as pumpkin patches, pony rides, and fun for the whole family.

While North Phoenix and the West Valley are experiencing tremendous growth, Peoria is in the center of it all. Featuring close Sonoran mountain trails and abundant outdoor recreation, such as Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Peoria is a favorite of individuals relocating to Phoenix. The new Loop 303 freeway extension through the northern section of Peoria, is adding new home communities, retail, and additional highly rated schools to the area.

Phoenix and Public Transportation

While Phoenix may not boast an extensive public transportation system, it excels in freeway infrastructure. Our city's freeway system is a testament to forward-thinking urban planning. The well-structured freeways, including the new Loop 303 play a crucial role in ensuring manageable commute times, a rarity in many metropolitan areas. 

Valley Metro provides a variety of light rail, bus and local shuttle services in the Phoenix metro area, Our light rail system stretches from Mesa to the west side of Phoenix, serving residents in specific areas efficiently. In central Phoenix and its surrounding neighborhoods, people frequently use public transportation, including the light rail, especially if they reside downtown or near Arizona State University, which makes traveling through the city a breeze. However, outside of these areas, personal vehicles are a necessity in our spread-out city.

Embracing the Phoenix Lifestyle

Now, let's delve into some of my favorite recommendations for professionals living and working in different parts of the Valley. 

Working Remotely and Lunch Breaks

In Chandler, consider settling down at Peixoto Coffee, a local favorite that offers a unique and comfortable work environment. Scottsdale offers Berdenas, a hidden gem perfect for a refreshing remote work experience. In Central Phoenix, Lux Central provides a comfortable and productive setting for your remote work sessions. These spots are cherished for their local charm and are located in walkable neighborhoods, making them ideal for remote work and leisurely lunch breaks. 

A couple of other great finds for a lunch or happy hour with coworkers are Cocina Madrigal Tacos & Tequila in Central Phoenix and downtown Chandler’s The Hidden House.

Lunch Break Eateries

Old Town Scottsdale and Chandler beckon you to savor a meal at The Chop Shop, a local favorite known for its healthy options. Gilbert introduces you to Joe's Grill at Agritopia, a fantastic spot for a tasty and satisfying lunch break. Central Phoenix offers the delightful Flower Child, a place where you can indulge in fresh and organic food. Each of these eateries caters to different preferences and dietary choices, promising a delightful dining experience during your lunch break.

Enjoying Cultural Diversity

Phoenix offers a dynamic lifestyle, blending urban amenities with the tranquility of the desert, creating a unique and fulfilling living experience. You can embrace a rich cultural scene with theaters, museums, and performance spaces, fostering a vibrant and diverse community. 

In Downtown Phoenix, explore Roosevelt Row, Phoenix’s walkable arts district, home to art galleries, restaurants, bars and boutique shops in a landscape dotted by colorful street art. Also downtown is the internationally acclaimed Heard Museum—one of the best places to experience the myriad cultures and art of American Indians of the Southwest.

Exploring the Cultural Landscape of Phoenix

Phoenix is renowned for its desert landscape, abundant sunshine, and the active outdoor lifestyle it encourages. Our natural surroundings, including the stunning mountains that surround the city, play a pivotal role in shaping our unique identity. With the allure of year-round sunshine, living in Phoenix often feels like an endless vacation, where every day is an opportunity to explore the great outdoors.

This environment invites various outdoor activities such as golfing, outdoor dining, swimming, and hiking. Hike the scenic trails of Camelback Mountain for breathtaking views. For boating, head to Tempe Town Lake—rent a kayak or paddleboard or enjoy Tubing the Salt River. Embrace nature at the Desert Botanical Garden, showcasing diverse flora and Las Noches de Las Luminarias during the holiday season. Phoenix offers a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, blending adventure and tranquility.

To browse popular outdoor activities within the Relocity app, go to your interactive map, select the “Explore” tab, and click on each neighborhood guide.

In conclusion, Phoenix is a city that boasts a unique blend of natural beauty and urban living. It's a place where the desert's wild, rugged charm meets modernity, offering residents and newcomers a rich tapestry of experiences. If you’re relocating for work, the Valley of the Sun beckons you with its warm weather, welcoming culture, and the promise of exciting adventures in a city that never ceases to amaze.

I look forward to the possibility of welcoming your transferees to this vibrant desert oasis and sharing in the beauty and opportunities that Phoenix has to offer. 

Check out Relocity’s latest articles below or request a demo if you want to see how Relocity can help your talent thrive in Phoenix, or your other key locations.

Tamela Rohde

Personal Host

Tamela, a Wyoming native, is a Phoenix expert, familiar with schools, recreation, food, and outdoor adventures. She's ready to guide you through your move to the Southwest.