Map of Phoenix Arizona Area
Phoenix, AZ, along with a host of other townships and cities contiguous to it, has become one of the retirement capitals of the US. In addition, Phoenix is a great place to visit for outdoor lovers, with stunning desert and mountain vistas, and of course the Grand Canyon to the north.
Where is Phoenix Located?
Phoenix is located in Central Arizona, just north of the Sonoran Desert and in the Salt River Valley. I-10 runs east-west through Phoenix, while I-17 goes towards the Painted Desert and the Grand Canyon area up North.
Sky Harbor International Airport serves the city.
History of Phoenix
The history of Phoenix goes back over 9,000 years, when Paleo-Indians settled the area. A later group – the Hohokam Indians – introduced canals and agriculture in the area, till they disappeared around 1450 AD.
Modern day settlements in the area began around Tucson. The city of Phoenix was incorporated in 1881 with a western push and really grew by leaps and bounds post World War II, with the advent of the freeway system and air-conditioning, and saw a steady influx of both industries and retiree communities.
Phoenix was named after the bird of folklore, by Darrell Duppa – who saw the ruins left by the Hohokam Civilization and prophesied the rise of a new civilization in the area.
Phoenix Size and Population
Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the nation, with a population of 1,660,272.
The city is sprawled over a 517 square mile area, with many interconnected suburbs and sister cities.
Is Phoenix a Good Place to Live?
Phoenix has developed a reputation for being a good place for snowbirds to retire to, a boon for outdoor living and health pursuits and a plethora of good school districts.
Median Income vs. Income Required to Live Comfortably
An analysis of major US cities prepared by gobankrates.com lists median incomes against the amount it costs to live comfortably (using the rule that 50% of income is spent on necessities, 30% on extra spends and 20% is saved).
Residents of Phoenix have a median income of $52,080, while the income needed to live comfortably varies between $86,407 (for homeowners) and $86,143 (for renters).
The shortfall of $34,000+ is modest in comparison to the six-figure shortfalls in cities like New York and San Francisco.
A Multicultural Population
Phoenix has a strong mix of cultural influences between the old and young and different races and cultures – all with a strong bent towards family life.
Best Places to Live in Phoenix
Phoenix has a unique appeal to not only city dwellers, but those who like outdoor activities and natural vistas. The list of best neighborhoods reflects this as well, along with factors such as good school districts. Also, Phoenix has a number of closely connected suburbs that are incorporated as separate townships or cities within Maricopa County. Some locations include:
- Downtown Phoenix – the downtown area of Phoenix has seen some revitalization in recent years, especially with loft living and a pricey historical district.
- Arcadia – the most desirable suburb in the Phoenix area and part of the Scottsdale School District Arcadia is 15 minutes from Sky Harbor International Airport famous for shopping, dining, and being picturesque.
- North Central Phoenix – a neighborhood of ranch-style houses and historical homes stretching along Central Avenue, this neighborhood has some of the best private and public schools in the Phoenix area.
- Agritopia – this area is converted farmland, which shows in the lush tree lined boulevards and a mix of old and new housing.
- Chandler – a fast-growing community known for affordability, Chandler has reached its limits of population recently. It is known for many ethnic festivals.
- Anthem – a master planned community Anthem is known for a multitude of housing styles, as well as amenities like a water park, abundant greenery, and nature trails. It has been named as “one of the best places to raise a family” by Parenting Review.
- Robson Historic District (Mesa) – a spot similar to downtown Phoenix, but with lower housing prices that are available for middle-class families as well.
- North Tempe – close to Arizona State University, this area has a mix of old and new houses, that are coveted by the academic community as well as professionals who work in the big companies in the area.
- Glendale – Home to the Arizona Cardinals and other sports complexes, this Northwestern suburb of Phoenix is known for affordable housing with a botanical garden, large desert vistas, and antique shopping districts.
- Verrado – a family-friendly master community with 66 parks and 21 miles of hiking trails nestled close to the White Tank Mountains.
- Paradise Valley – a beautifully situated community in the backdrop of the Camelback Mountains, Piestewa Peaks, and the Mummy Mountains.
What is Phoenix Known For?
Phoenix, with close to 300 days of sunshine a year and health climate, has become a haven for retirees and resort goers. Some of its attractions are mentioned below.
Natural Beauty – Including the Painted Desert and Grand Canyon
Phoenix has a distinctive desert landscape, with mountains, valleys, and vistas. Mountains such as Camelback Mountain, buttes, mesas, and natural rock formations are everywhere. The Sonora Desert is famous for large cactus plants, as well as palm and Joshua trees.
A few hours up I-17 is the Painted Desert, which leads westwards into the Little Canyon and Grand Canyon – a natural wonder of the world. There are many other spots to hike and visit, including the red rock canyons of Sedona about halfway between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon.
Health Clubs, Spas and Clean Outdoor Living
Phoenix is home to a large Mayo Clinic campus, ranked in the Top 10 nationally in many areas of medicine. There are also a number of spas, resorts, and wellness centers featuring treatment regimens from all over the world. Many wellness resorts are designed along the same lines as the famous Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ.
Resorts and Golfing
The land available and the natural beauties have given rise to a number of iconic resorts, including the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa, and the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort.
Many world class golf resorts like the Wickenburg Ranch Golf and Social Club and The Boulders Resort are strewn around the area.
Architecture, Museums, and Nature Preserves
Phoenix has many historic landmark buildings, as well as structures built by Frank Lloyd Wright and other renowned architects.
The Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Musical Instruments Museum are all worth visiting, along with the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo.
Good Educational Institutions
The Phoenix and contiguous areas feature excellent school districts. Well-known colleges like Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University make the area attractive to families.
Phoenix has a multitude of professional and semi-professional teams, the three main ones being the Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Phoenix Suns (NBA) and Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB). One of the two popular destinations for baseball’s Spring Training, diehard fans from all over the country often visit the area during the spring.
Best Times to Visit Phoenix and How to Get Around
Summers in Phoenix can get brutally hot, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees for days and weeks on end. The Fall through Spring times are more pleasant.
Getting around Phoenix is easiest with an automobile, though public transportation is available within city limits.