Good with the bad
My husband and I moved out of Phoenix in Sept 2020 and I never want to go back. We both lived there for 4 years (coming from the Midwest) and enjoyed the novelty of desert living and lots of things to do, but eventually the heat, traffic, nasty drivers, and overall insane pace of the city just wore us down in every way possible.
Most of the east valley is quite nice (not counting Mesa, sorry Mesa). The amount of small businesses really surprised me in a good way; Phoenix tends to be way more open to unique stores and restaurants than the Midwest was. Not everything is a chain restaurant in Phoenix, so it gives you lots of options. Food service is the best I’ve ever had anywhere.
People are generally pretty nice. I moved from Minneapolis and the people in AZ are far more genuinely nice without the passive aggressive snootiness. They’re more open to jokes, small talk, and just general interaction.
Solid music scene if you’re a musician or music lover. Lots of venues (as least pre-COVID), and the scene is very supportive. I found a great band here to join.
Winter is gorgeous, and unfortunately the only thing bearable about the weather here.
Variety of things to do. The city is REALLY spread out (that’s a con), but it gives you lots of smaller communities and more chances to catch a show, art festival, taco festival, or whatever you dig.
The eternal sun. 2020 had triple digits starting in April and went until November. Absolutely unbearable during the summer. You can’t “dress for it,” you literally “run for it.” Drink lots of water and wear SPF 5000.
The drivers. Omfg the amount of crazy drivers is something I’ve never seen in the 7 states I’ve lived in. People will fly by you going 100 in literally any lane, motorcyclists driving IN BETWEEN the cars on the highway, people riding your ass even if you’re doing 20 over the limit in the right lane. My mom has been involved in three road rage incidents (just in the last two years) where psychos have followed her home, run her off the road, and had to get the police involved.
Don’t drink the water. It’s so over-chlorinated for algae prevention and will literally make you vomit. Get a filter asap.
Pollution is surprisingly bad for a city that mandates emissions testing. I never had allergies in my life until I moved to Phoenix.
Rednecks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m conservative and I like the blue collar folks who work hard and are good people. I’m good with them. What I don’t like are the tatted up macho a-holes in the pickup trucks who act like they’re god. Phoenix is absolutely filled to the brim with these idiots. For a city with no inclement weather, literally everyone drives a pickup. If you move here, it’s required to buy a pickup truck. And put a Monster energy decal and “don’t tread on me” sticker to make it really authentic.
Cost of living is going up. You can thank the Californians.
The pace. Everyone is in a massive hurry even in the suburbs. The millisecond the lights turn green, people will literally try to race each other to get to to the next red light. I’ve lived in larger cities most of my life, but Phoenix people drive like they want revenge on life itself. I’m not a slow driver by any means, but it all becomes needlessly stressful really quickly.
Chelsea | Prescott Valley, AZ