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Phoenix is located in the Sonoran Desert about an hour north of Arizona’s second-largest city, Tucson. Phoenix is surrounded by mountain ranges and receives ample sunshine, earning it the nickname Valley of the Sun.
Here are some things you should know before moving to Phoenix.
Moving Season: Moving to Phoenix during the summer can considerably reduce your moving costs (for example, renting a moving truck or paying for professional movers) because it is the off-season. Winter is more expensive, and due to an influx of seasonal residents, it is more difficult to book moving trucks and companies.
Traffic: Phoenix has two interstate highways (Interstate 10 and Interstate 17) as well as numerous state highways (US Route 60 and State Routes 51, 101, 143, 202, respectively) providing access to the city. Like any major city, freeway traffic is much heavier during high commute times and during special events.
Phoenix sits on 475 square miles, a third of which is undeveloped desert. Since 1986 the city has been divided into 15 urban villages that represent various different neighborhoods in the city. There are many other neighborhoods beyond the urban villages too.
The cost of living in Phoenix is pretty much in line with the national average, coming in at only five points lower than the national average of 100. Gas is 10 percent lower than the US average. Rent for an apartment is $1,027 (national average is $799) and the median home value is just over $258,720 (national average is $192,591).
Related post: Best Neighborhoods in Phoenix for Families
Traffic in Phoenix is typically congested, as is normal for a city of its size, but the highway system has been expanded and improved dramatically over the past decade. Public transport is available via Valley Metro bus service and METRO light rail.
Other than downtown Phoenix and downtown/shopping districts of neighboring communities (Scottsdale, Tempe, etc.), Phoenix is not considered to be a walkable city (ranking 33 out of 50 according to Walk Score).
Phoenix is the largest city in America without an intercity train service and has not had the Amtrak rail service in over a decade (Amtrak does stop in Maricopa and Tucson, both south of Phoenix). Amtrak buses are available at Sky Harbor International Airport for direct connections to Flagstaff, Arizona.
If you are moving to Phoenix for a new job, consider the location of your new employer when searching for housing. Because the city is sprawling, you’ll want to find a Phoenix home near the office that will cut down on the amount of time you have to sit in traffic.
Despite the recent economic troubles, there are still plenty of Phoenix jobs available (and the employment climate appears to be getting better!). If you are searching for a job in Phoenix, look no further than this list of the top employers in Phoenix.
One of the first things you’ll want to do when moving to Phoenix is to get up to speed on all of the local media outlets. Here is a list of the most widely read newspapers and publications available throughout Phoenix, as well as a roundup of local and network affiliate TV stations.
The Arizona Republic
Not only the largest newspaper in the city of Phoenix but also the largest in the entire state, The Arizona Republic is the leading source of news for residents living in and around the Phoenix metro area. Founded in 1890, the newspaper is published seven days per week and draws roughly 350,000 daily readers, with more than 525,000 picking up each week’s Sunday edition. The Arizona Republic’s distribution is statewide, focusing on state and world news, sports, and business, with a slight conservative lean. The paper also regularly features arts and entertainment listings for events in and around Phoenix and is a great way of finding out the best places to go in the evening.
Phoenix is known as the Valley of the Sun for good reason. It’s hot! Really hot. Sure, it is pleasant and warm in the spring and fall, and you might even need a jacket during the coldest days of winter (or at the least the nights), but summers are scorching. On the bright side, it’s a dry heat. Even during the monsoon months (late June/early July through early September) when it rains (or at least threatens to rain) most afternoons, the humidity manages to stay relatively tolerable.
The average daytime temperature in the summer (which tends to run from May to September) is well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The spring and fall seasons average about 85 degrees, and the winter high cools down to an average of 65 degrees. Night-time temperatures during all seasons cool off quite a bit from the daytime highs and range from around 45 degrees in the winter to 80-plus degrees in the summertime.
The average annual rainfall for Phoenix is 8.3 inches.
Finding the right school is one of the biggest undertakings faced by families moving to Phoenix. There are more than 30 school districts in the Phoenix area. Recent changes in state funding have taken their toll on public schools, but the area is still full of great teachers providing quality education to their students.
Current school rankings (elementary, middle, and high schools), campus and district zoning/location maps, information, and reviews are available online for parents moving to Phoenix. Phoenix preschool information is also available.
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