Like Any City, it Has Issues, But I love Phoenix - 10/15/2013
Certainly Phoenix is hot five to six months out of the year, and REALLY HOT about four of those months, but it is the desert, and if one moves here, and does not understand that deserts gets hot, they're likely to be unhappy. Having said that, the remaining months are a delight. I've been here six years now, having moved from the panhandle region of Florida, and those complaining of the heat here (it's not uncommon to have from 3%-6% during the heat, although that increases during the monsoon season) should live on the Gulf Coast, where it can be 100-105 with 100% humidity. I'll take 117-120 here in Phoenix ANY time.
As it is an urban environment, of course there are many freeways, lots of concrete and asphalt, the traffic can be heavy, drivers lousy, and frustrations high. Did I mention that Phoenix is an urban environment? With nearly 5 million people? I'm amazed with some of the experiences others on here have cited. I couldn't help but wonder about them, as I've ridden the Light Rail often (it is true that the distance it covers is relatively small at the moment, but it has been a success, and is expanding), have had interactions with police officers, and such, and haven't had any negative experiences. But I recognize that each individual has their own unique circumstances and experiences.
As with any major city, there is crime, but the crime rates have been declining here the past 5 years.
Phoenix was heavily hit by the burst of the housing bubble. Many people were very hurt, and some suffered financial ruin. It seems as though this area went overboard putting its financial hopes and dreams into speculations. However, the economy is on the upswing at this time here, and the housing market is also recovering. Arizona, though, does not pay well. It is a right to work state, and employers tend to have workers over a barrel, and pay accordingly. That is a definite down side. An upside to that is the cost of living here is not as high as in many urban areas. It is true that the public transportation system leaves much to be desired, so dependable vehicular transportation is necessary to secure employment here.
I was struck by one reader's comments that Phoenix is nothing but concrete and asphalt. The only thing that came to my mind when I read that was that the person must not get out very much! There are Desert Preserves scattered all round the metro area. Phoenix is one of National Geographic's best hiking cities and has been recognized by Travel Website TravelNerd as one of the Top 10 Urban Destinations for Nature Lovers. South Mountain Park alone, a centrally located area, has more than 16,000 acres. The South Mountain Park/Preserve is the largest municipal park in the country, according to the Trust for Public Land. It boasts 51 miles of primary trails for horseback riding, hiking (and superb trail running) and mountain biking for all ability levels. And there are nine other similar reserves located IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA. Anyone who thinks this area is just concrete and asphalt really has no idea of what they're talking about. I can, literally, hop in my car, and within 30 minutes, in an area of 4+ million people, feel as though I'm in a wilderness setting. I know of no other major city in the United States that can duplicate that. The air quality varies with the time of year. During the winter, it is not good at times...very not good. But it doesn't remain that way all winter. Fronts moving in from the west coast clear the air out on a cyclical basis.
I have read others' comments that Phoenix is an extremely conservative city. I suppose, to some degree, there is truth to that. Personally, I found it more liberal than the Gulf Coast of Florida where I moved from. But there are pockets of more conservative areas, and pockets of more liberal areas. There are also large Hispanic areas, which some might view as a negative, while others view as a positive. An aspect which, for me, I find disconcerting, is the laws pertaining to guns...it is truly the Wild West in that regard. It's not particularly uncommon to see a gun strapped onto someone's hip.
There is a very active jazz and blues scene here. There is a wonderful NPR radio station, KJZZ, which dedicates much of its playing time, to both genres of music.
There are numerous colleges and universities in the metropolitan Phoenix area:
> Arizona State University,
> The Maricopa County Community College District, being comprised of:
Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Chandler, Mesa, Sun Lakes
Estrella Mountain Community College, Avondale
GateWay Community College, Phoenix
Glendale Community College, Glendale
Mesa Community College, Mesa
Paradise Valley Community College, Paradise Valley
Phoenix College, Phoenix
Rio Salado Community College, distance learning community college
Scottsdale Community College, Scottsdale
South Mountain Community College, Phoenix,
> Arizona Christian University, baccalaureate university affiliated with the Conservative Baptist Association of America in Phoenix
> Grand Canyon University, doctoral university in Phoenix
> Ottawa University, in Phoenix
> Park University, baccalaureate university in Glendale, Arizona
There are Graduate Institutions:
> A.T. Still University, medical school in Mesa
> Midwestern University, health sciences graduate school in Glendale
> Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, naturopathic medical school in Tempe
> Thunderbird School of Global Management, business graduate school in Glendale
> Phoenix Seminary, Masters and Doctorate level classes, Phoenix, Arizona
There are For-Profit Institutions:
> Argosy University, Phoenix
> The Art Institute of Phoenix, Phoenix
> Brown Mackie College - Phoenix
> Chamberlain College of Nursing, Phoenix
> CollegeAmerica, Flagstaff, Phoenix
> Collins College, Tempe, Phoenix
> DeVry University, Phoenix
> Dunlap-Stone University, Phoenix
> Grand Canyon University, Phoenix
> High-Tech Institute, including Arizona College of Allied Health, Glendale, Arizona
> Lamson College, Tempe
> Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Scottsdale (formerly Scottsdale Culinary Institute), Scottsdale
> Penn Foster College, Scottsdale
> Phoenix School of Law, law school in Phoenix
> Sessions College for Professional Design, Tempe
> Universal Technical Institute, Avondale
> University of Advancing Technology, Tempe
> University of Phoenix, Phoenix
> Western International University, Phoenix
And, finally, there the Religious Institutions:
> American Indian College, Assemblies of God Bible college in Phoenix
> Cook College and Theological School, Nondenominational tribal Bible college in Tempe
> Fuller Theological Seminary, Nondenominational Bible college in Phoenix
> International Baptist College, Independent Baptist Bible college in Tempe
> Phoenix Seminary, Nondenominational seminary in Phoenix
For me, coming here for a job, with the expectation that I would hate the area, I have been very surprised to find that, in six years, I have grown to love the area. I would not call it a great city, but I wouldn't call it a lousy city, either. In the time I've been here, I've seen it become more diverse, more artistic. I wouldn't advise someone to move here without a job first lined up, but if you have one secured, Phoenix can be a wonderful place to live.