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Old 01-11-2010, 09:51 PM   #1
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Moving to Arizona? Visit this Thread!

For those moving or visiting newbies... I guess there are a lot of questions about Arizona schools, crime, housing prices, economy, culture, air quality, good food, shopping, commute time, and good neighborhoods.


Stay tuned and feel free to update/chime in my fellow Arizona residents! Chris, can you sticky this in the AZ sub-section?




Unique Arizona Photos;

Meteor Crater


Grand Canyon


Route 66


Glen Canyon Dam


This thing


Gangs


Mt. Graham


Sunsets


Sunset over Kingman


Flagstaff under snow


Safford area


Tombstone


Sedona


On the way to Jerome/ Sedona


Stupid traffic (hehe)


The McDonalds Dinosaur in Tucson


Oro Valley (suburb of NW Tucson)


London Bridge (Yes, the real one from Europe and the song) moved to Lake Havasu City


Trees


Spi... fuck that... der


Teddy Bear Cholla (pronounced Choy-ya) Cactus


Cactus League Spring Training


University of Arizona Coeds


Arizona State Coeds


Northern Arizona Coeds
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:51 PM   #2
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Gilbert

Schools: Great schools. Some are under the Chandler Unified School District, others within Gilbert. While I don't have personal experience with the schools yet, I know MANY who have kids in school and also who work as teachers and principals, and they all say wonderful things about the schools. Ratings can be seen at greatschools.net. While I don't know this from personal experience, I have heard from many people that Higley School District, which is a pocket inside Gilbert, should be avoided b/c scores aren't great.
Commute: to Phoenix isn't too bad (our comparison is DC and Boston, so it's not bad at all). Between the I10, the 202, the 101, and the 60, plus surface streets, there are many different options to get into the city. Surface street construction is a bit of a pain though - the population is growing so quickly that the city is having a hard time keeping up, and they're slowly widening all the roads. With the construction, it can take some time getting to the highway. But once the roads are finished, it'll be great.
Shopping: A subject near and dear to my heart Gilbert has a bunch of Super Targets, Super Walmarts, strip malls, Costco, car dealerships, grocery stores...there's really no need to leave the area at all. There isn't a mall here yet, but they're building two new high end malls, due to open at the end of 2007. Santanvillage.com is the site for one, not sure of the other. They're both rather close to each other (Greenfield and the 202) and, along with all the other shopping there already (Costco, many other shopping centers) it'll be a fabulous shopping destination when finished.
Recreation: Riparian Preserve; close to Schnepff Farms which is in Queen Creek; bike trail (can't remember the name, but it's really long); Old Town Gilbert is really cute and has a Farmer's Market; Agritopia has a Farmer's Market; a huge park is being built on Chandler Heights and Gilbert/Lindsay that will have large fishing lakes, a skateboard park, horse trails, etc.; Bounce U and Rolli Polli's for kids; movie theaters; Freestone Park has a small amusement park for young kids, a train, big lake and playgrounds; many great restaurants. Gilbert is a very family friendly city.
Crime: VERY low! Gilbert is a very safe city, people are very friendly and neighbors help each other out if needed. We feel very safe here.
Housing prices: they were drastically on the rise during the time when the market went nuts-o. Right now, I think they're still over priced, but in the process of correcting - pretty similar to the rest of the valley. There is a TON of new construction here, as opposed to Chandler, Tempe and other areas which are close to being built out. So Gilbert offers a large selection of new builds as well as resales.
Good neighborhoods: I can't really think of a bad one, off hand. TW Lewis has beautiful communities at Valencia (Chandler Heights and Gilbert) and in Power Ranch. Power Ranch is a great, family friendly community with an elementary school, two pools, and many playgrounds. Seville Golf and Country Club is an incredibly beautiful community with a great golf course, country club with 3 pools and water slide, gym with child care, and upscale restaurant. Spectrum at Val Vista is a very family friendly subdiv with a great location - right off the 202 and close to all the shopping. Morrison Ranch at Elliott and Greenfield is beautiful - lots of green grass, beautiful houses, close to the 60. Really, you can't go wrong in most of the subdivisions, and there are houses for all price ranges.
Economy: depends on your profession. Gilbert is pretty much a bedroom community, but there are many healthcare jobs at the hospitals, retail, and certainly other options. There's a very high number of people who telecommute here.
Culture: hmmmmm....that's a tough one. I don't think there's much culture here. The vibe in Gilbert is really "family." It's very much about family and raising kids here, with some shopping and restaurants thrown in to "spice things up a little"
Weather: 80's in the summer, balmy nights, 60's and 70's in the winter - perfection!!! Just kidding. It's just like the rest of Phoenix - obnoxiously hot in the summer, pretty darn fabulous in the winter. Just make sure you have a pool in your backyard for the summer, and a spa for the winter, and an umbrella drink year round, and you'll be fine
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:51 PM   #3
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Scottsdale

Weather: We're often a few degrees cooler than Phoenix, due to slightly higher elevation. We also get a little more rain - around 9 to 11 inches per year on average. My house is located at about 1,900 feet, almost 1,000 feet higher than downtown Phoenix.
Schools: Some of the top schools in the state, including Desert Mountain High School, Mountainside Middle School and Anasazi Elementary. Always score at the top of the AIMS tests.
Commute: Much better than most of the Phoenix metro area. I live near 136th Street and Shea, and downtown Phoenix is about 30 miles away. Most days, I can make the trip in about 40 minutes. If I really get lucky and haul butt in light traffic, I can make it in 30 minutes, and rush hour will require 50 minutes to just over one hour to make the journey. The traffic is worse for people living on the west side and in the southeast valley, as Loop 101 is jammed with commuters heading out of the Scottsdale Airpark in the afternoon. I've driven 30,000 miles per year for the last 13 years I've lived in the Phoenix metro area, or roughly 400,000 miles on Arizona's roads since I moved here in 1993. Trust me, I know traffic in the metro area better than anyone, because I used to spend my days driving around the entire city to meet clients at their homes, offices, apartments and so on. Scottsdale's traffic woes pale in comparison to the west side (Surprise is beyond hideous) or the southeast valley (Gilbert isn't much better than Surprise).
Food: Outstanding selection of restaurants, including Casa Mia, George & Sons, Busters, The Muze and many more...
Shopping: All the typical suburb shopping (Target, Pier 1, Michaels, Best Buy, Barnes N Nobles, Starbucks, etc.) We do have several major strip centers near Shea and Loop 101 and also near Frank Loyd Wright and Loop 101 with a lot of shopping opportunities. The biggest mall in the state is in downtown Scottsdale - Scottsdale Fashion Square, with almost 2 million square feet of shopping nirvana for the discriminating shopper.
[b]Air quality:[/
Economy: Growing and strong! Lots of healthcare and retail jobs right now. Some tech jobs are out there as well.
Crime: Low crime.
Housing prices: Compared to Phoenix, they're very high right now because this area is so popular. Median price in south Scottsdale (south of Shea) is about $350,000 and in north Scottsdale (north of Shea) it is well over $600,000. California prices for Arizona real estate, I like to say, although you get much more bang for your buck here. To give you an example, we paid $721,000 about two years ago for a brand new home in Hidden Hills, Phase II, built by Golden Heritage. 3,700 square feet, nicely upgraded, fabulous views of the desert mountains behind us, 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, three-car garage.
Good neighborhoods: Just about every neighborhood is pretty nice. The cheapest homes in Scottsdale are 1950s ranches near downtown that go for $300,000 to $400,000, so to some degree, it is a matter of you get what you pay for. I'm particularly fond of DC Ranch, Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale Ranch, McCormick Ranch, Stonegate, Hidden Hills, and Ancala, just to name a few. Scottsdale HOAs tend to be strong and the city has powerful zoning and planning departments.
Culture: Scottsdale likes to think of itself as a suburb without a central city (Phoenix). It has a symphony, a nice performing arts center, a great downtown with lots of party spots, nightclubs and bars, small to medium (5 to 15-story) mid and high-rises under construction everywhere, museums, parks, etc. Right now, more than 20 residential mid-rise and high-rise construction projects are underway, adding more than 2,000 residential loft/condo units representing some $3 billion in private investment, just in downtown Scottsdale alone.

City population (2006 estimate): 240,000
City land area: 180+ square miles
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:52 PM   #4
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Prescott Valley

Weather: Four seasons. Fairly mild. Summer temps seldom reach 100 and cool at night into low 60's. Winter temps - highs around 45-55, lows usually in the 20's-30's. Occasional snow that melts within the day. Worst months - May/June when it's extremely dry and windy = Fire season.
Schools: I'm not an expert on this one, but supposedly Prescott has some of the best public schools in AZ and one or two good private schools, too.
Commute: Avoid Hwy 69 between Prescott/PV during rush hour. However, unless there's a wreck, it still only takes 1/2 hr to get from downtown Prescott to Dewey (5 mi SE of Prescott Valley). Total drive is about 15mi, so I don't think it's too bad. However with all the new construction it's bound to get worse.
Food: We have the usual chains (Outback, Chilis, Olive Garden, etc. But I really like some of the unique eateries we have.
Shopping: All the typical suberb shopping (Target, Pier 1, Michaels, Best Buy, Barnes N Nobles, Starbucks, etc.) We do have a mall. Ditto in Prescott. More shopping on the way. Good thing or bad thing depending on your point of view. Will definitely add to traffic and growth.
Air quality: Except for when the Forest Service does controlled burns, it's very good. I love the smell of the pines after a summer rain storm.
Economy: The area needs more good paying jobs. Medical and service jobs are the majority of jobs here, although others are available - just not plentiful. Other than the job situation, the economy is very strong!
Crime: Generally low. You will find a few areas that have a reputation for being less safe than normal. An occasional meth-lab or drug bust or domestic dispute. As Prescott/Prescott Valley grow, I'm sure crime will too. Right now, though, I feel very safe in the area.
Housing prices: Generally high compared with wages. However not as high as many people imagine. New 3/2/3, 1600-2000 in PV will be around $250-$300k. In Prescott, you'll probably spend $375-$450 for a comparable home.
Good neighborhoods: Doesn't really apply up here. It's more like views/boulders/pines in Prescott vs more affordable housing in Prescott Valley vs horse property in Chino Valley and Dewey.
Culture: Depends on your perspective. We have some nice museums and art galleries, some musicals and plays, and some concerts and restaurants with live music. Prescott is a town of about 40,000, so you're not going to have an abundance of cultural experiences here
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:53 PM   #5
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Glendale

Weather: Right on par with Phoenix temp wise. It gets a bit cooler in the northern reaches of the city, though. It also seems as if we get less rain than anywhere else in the valley. Bummer, eh?
Schools: Glendale is covered by a few different school districts; The Glendale Elementary School District, Glendale Union High School District, and the Peoria Unified School District. The schools in GESD40 cover southern Glendale, and are sub par, to say the least. Understaffed, and underfunded. I spent a vast majority of my school life in this district, and while I must say, while I didn't exactly ENJOY my time there, it could've been much worse.

The Glendale Union High School District covers the southern and mid-sections of the city. The schools are really very different. Glendale High and Independence are alright, the area is home to a large population of minorities though.

The Peoria district is probably the best in the entire west valley. It covers the northern portion of the city. It seems as if most schools in the district are excelling, and Peoria High School gets a lot of praise. There seem to be alot of administration issues here, though.

I think the Deer Valley district is up there at some point, as well.

Commute: You probably couldn't find an easy commute from the West Valley. Glendale shares a large border with Phoenix, which makes commuting rather easy.. Except if you're in the north part of the city. The city is serviced largely by Loop 101. It runs along the western edge of the city, until it turns eastward at Union Hills Dr in the north part of the city. Traffic snarls are common, but its not really that bad, compared to what east valley people have to go through. Grand Ave (US60) runs diagonally through the city. It's technically a 6 lane divided parkway.. And it does carry a lot of traffic. Notorious for its 6 way intersections. There have been recent 'improvements' made to most of the intersections, though, I just think they make things more complicated and frustrating. You really don't wanna be stuck on Grand in late afternoon traffic.
Food: Pretty good! (if you like chains) at Loop 101 and Bell Road theres the Arrowhead Mall, and it has spawned pretty much every restaurant imaginable.
Shopping: Typical. You've got all your big box stores. We're lacking upscale stores though. Almost completely without them! Enjoy your Kohl's!
Air quality: Ick. It could be worse. But its the same as Phoenix.
Economy: Thriving. With new stadiums and the shopping being thrown up around it, the economy is better than what it used to be. (Glendale was pretty much a sleepy farming city with a few large neighborhoods.. up until the 90's or so.)
Crime: The area south of Northern Ave in the middle of the city has some pretty bad crime issues. Once you go even FURTHER south (Below Bethany Home Rd) You're in one of the worst neighborhoods in the valley. Maryvale. (Maryvale Terrace, actually. But its all the same.) North of Northern, there are some really safe and nice neighborhoods. Arrowhead Ranch being one that you'll hear about pretty frequently.
Housing prices: Soaring. Over priced. Hopefully that'll change. It seems like the average house here will cost you about $275,000 or so. Compared to the high $100's only a few years ago.
Good neighborhoods: As mentioned above, in the northern reaches of the city, you can find some very good neighborhoods. Arrowhead Ranch, and Stetson Valley/Stetson Hills among them. Not sure you can really go wrong up there. Stay away from Maryvale.
Culture: What culture? Unless you're a sports fan, there isn't any.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:53 PM   #6
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Fountain Hills

Weather: Similar to Scottsdale.
Schools: Rated very high - high school won several awards recently. Good elementary schools also.
Commute: To get to Phoenix there are only two ways - down Shea to the 101 or down the the beeline highway to the 202 freeway in Mesa. It takes 40 minutes to get downtown in good traffic up to an hour commute.
Economy: This is a smaller community east of Scottsdale that has few jobs or industries. Most people commute to Scottsdale, Phx or Mesa for jobs. There are lots of service industries - restraunts, etc.
Health Facilities: Closest hospitals are Shea Healthcare in Scottsdale or down to Mesa.
Shopping: Has great boutique shopping, unique shops and restraunts. Does have a large Target but no mall. People go to Scottsdale Fashion Square or the Pavilions. There are quite a few restaurants - some chain restaurants and some wonderful non-chain restraunts.
Housing: Housing is generally very high. Most of the neighborhoods are all custom housing with the average housing over $600K. There are new building in the $1Million range and new condos in the $300K range. Best bet is to look at the resale value. Wonderful views of the famous fountain, the McDowell Mountains, Red Mountain and Four Peaks. Some great lots of land.
Recreation: There is Lake Saguaro a few miles northeast for boating and picnics and fishing. There is Fort McDowell casino for those who enjoy bingo and gambling. There are multiple walking trails. This is a small town - i.e. comunity theater. Most will go to Scottsdale or Phoenix for more.
Crime: Low Crime.
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Flagstaff

Weather: Usually 30 degrees cooler than Phoenix. Summer highs in the upper 80’s, winter highs can be in the 20’s at times. We used to get a lot more snow but are in a drought. About 300 days of sunshine per year. July and August afternoon monsoons.
Schools: Good elementary but squeezed in the middle schools. High schools are average. FUSD does promote the academics AND the arts so the schools here are better than many that are going back to basics with dropping arts and PE. FUSD makes it a point to keep PE and arts. NAU has excellent forestry, teachers and dental programs.
Commute: Early morning, after school and evening rush hours can be crowded but the rest of the day and weekends the streets are remarkably uncrowded. Flagstaff is only about 11 miles across at its longest so getting where you need to be is very easy.
Shopping: There is a mall, Walmart, Kohl’s, Barnes and Noble, Target, lots of smaller stores and Bookmans, a trade and buy bookstore. Restaurants run from Thai and Indian food to Mexican, Italian and Chinese. There’s a couple of Japanese restaurants and sushi bars.
Air quality: Excellent except during control burns. Lowell Observatory is in the city limits because of the low pollution and low lighting.
Economy: Low paying jobs, few jobs, high cost of living and high housing costs. Main employers are NAU, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Joy cone company, Purina, the tissue company, FUSD, City of Flagstaff, Walgreens warehouse and Gore.
Housing: Single family homes go for around $350,000 to 400,000. Condos for $200,000 and up though there are some for less than $200,000. Custom homes from $500,000 to well over a million. Manufactured homes for the $170,000’s to 200,000 and up. Rents are high, too. The cost of housing got so bad, NAU had to consider building housing for their teaching staff because they couldn’t attract professors because of the prohibitive cost of housing. Leases are high, many physicians are closing their practices and contracting with the hospital to save the cost of overhead.
Crime: Very low but there are areas where it can be bad. Overall for over 60,000 people population, there’s maybe 1-3 murders a year. The I-17 and I 40 corridors do have drug transports, but the crime element these usually bring seem to be in transit, not coming into town as much as Phoenix. There is some gang activity in the Sunnyside, Greenlaw, and Christmas Tree areas.
Good neighborhoods: Behind the Hospital, Cheshire, Coconino Estates off Hwy 180, Doney Park off Hwy 89, University heights, and some of the newer areas but these are more expensive. The country club area is nice but pricey. For friendliness, don’t go to the country club area or the area called Fox Glenn. Sunnyside is a bad area for crime as are the older part near Thorpe Park and Christmas tree and Greenlaw areas.
Culture: Educated, environmentally conscientious, university town people all over. Education is a focus in this town so there’s a lot for kids to do. There is a good hospital here and Urban trails and outdoor activities are big. The big reservations next door with their Hopi and Navajo people add the quiet, kind, non-consumptive attitudes of the Natives and their friendliness. Flagstaff people are for the most part (the snobby ones being the exceptions) very polite, friendly, considerate, and helpful. Compared to the nasty attitudes one gets off the seniors in other areas of Arizona, seniors here (and all people here) don’t have nasty attitudes or entitlement attitudes. There are the haves and have-nots, but overall Flagstaff is an ideal place if you are Democrat, liberal, pro-education, pro-kids, pro-family, open minded, pro-conservation and pro-environment. The city works to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. A train runs through the city about 60-80 times a day. Everyone recycles, most businesses do and the schools do. Water IS an issue so there are some restrictions.
What to do: Hike urban trails, ski when there’s snow, visit Cameron for excellent Native American food and arts, see and climb around the Wupatki Native Ruins AND visit Sunset volcano crater (both with educational centers) for the price of one park fee. Visit Walnut Canyon native ruins, see Lowell Observatory where Pluto was discovered, come to the Deer Park where you can feed and pet deer and other wild animals, get to see the rare White Buffalo, visit the Museum of Northern Arizona for all things geological, historical and cultural of the Colorado Plateau, come to the annual Science Fair, take a ski-lift ride in the summer and fall to see the peaks in all their splendor, ride ATV’s in the cinder pits, camp in local campgrounds, and do day trips to Sedona, Jerome, Grand Canyon Caverns and the Grand Canyon. Take the Grand Canyon Railway. Watch fireworks at the Fourth of July at Mormon Lake. Boat on Lake Mary, fish at some of the local lakes. See the free thousands of lights at Little America at Christmas time. Visit Los Abrigados in nearby Sedona for their astounding Christmas lights displays that change eaxh year and that take about an hour to walk through. Flagstaff has so much to do and see! (No, I don’t work for the chamber. )
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:54 PM   #8
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Payson

Population: Fluctuating 15,000 to 25,000 people depending on season.
Traffic: Very little to speak of, only becomes an issue during summer weekends or major holidays.
Weather: Altitude 5000, occasional snow during winter, heavy rain during monsoon season. Otherwise mild temperatures. Perfect balance between phoenix and flagstaff weather-wise.
Schools: 3 Elementary schools (300 students per school, k-5th), 1 middle school (6-8th grade) and a high school (1000 students, 9-12th). Overall good quality.
Commute: 70 miles from Phoenix via Highway 87, depending on route (country club for loop 202/west phoenix or bush highway for east mesa.)
Economy: Service based economy supporting the large retired and wealthy population. Few specialized jobs.
Who you bump into in the grocery store: People are very nice and friendly, with several celebrities and important business people living in the gated golf communities here.
Shopping: Walmart, Home Depot, Safeway, Bashas, and mom & pop shops. It is a small town after all.
Food: The usual fast food chains (McDonalds, Taco Bell, ect), chain restaurants like Chilies or Denny's, and a very good selection of local-owned restaurants.
Housing: Everything from cheap apartments to million dollar housing. Most available houses run around $150-200k. Horse-zoned property is somewhat common.
Recreation: Public parks, casino, movie theater, public and private golf courses. A lot of forest to hike or ride in.
Crime: Low, occasional vandalism from bored teens and a very small drug trade. Good, responsive law enforcement.

Payson is a great retirement town, but may be to small or boring for any teenagers or young adults. Cost of living is somewhat high relative to the below-average jobs available. Local newspaper only runs 2 full editions a week. Good cable/DSL access within town, otherwise spotty at best. The bulk of the population lives within the city limits, but several small towns lie near its borders including Strawberry, Pine, and recently founded Star Valley.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:55 PM   #9
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Tucson

Weather: HOT, long summers. Tucson heats up around April and doesn't really cool off too much until about the last week in October. While the temperatures can easily reach the triple digits, we look foward to the monsoons every summer that provide some relief from the heat. Winters are very mild (we have "snow birds" that come to Tucson for the winter from the midwest). We rarely have snow.
Schools: It's a real mix. Arizona is not known for their outstanding schools, but I believe that Tucson has some of the best options for education in the state. I would recommend Wilson K-8 and Ironwood Ridge High School or Canyon Del Oro High School, which are all in the NW side of town/ Oro Valley.
Commute: Depends on what part of Tucson you live in. It can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. Unfortunately, Tucson has hardly any public transport to speak of (with the exception of a few busses downtown). Also, parts of the freeway will be closed for the next few years, which can get to be very frusterating for some commuters.
Food: Because of Tucson's close proximity to the border, the food that we are known for is Mexican! Great enchiladas, burritos, tamales, beans, rice, etc... I think you'll be able to find almost any type of food you're looking for- we have some great asian and Italian resteraunts and good pizza places. Of course, we have all of the typical chain resteraunts as well: Olive Garden, Mimi's Cafe, Subway, Outback Steakhouse, etc...
Shopping: No Nordstroms. We have several malls that have all of the typical stores (American Eagle, Dillards, Sears, Barnes and Noble, Ross, Victoria's Secret etc...) and one high end shopping center- La Encantada- that has Anthropologie, Bebe, Lucky, Coach, Tiffany's, Crate and Barrel, William's Sonoma, BCBG, etc...
Air Quality: Pretty good. It can get a little smoggy in central Tucson, but it's not bad. The plants that bloom here in the spring can give some people pretty bad allergies, but I think you can find that almost anywhere.
Economy: Growing. Arizona is a popular spot to retire, so there is a lot of work in the healthcare field.
Crime: Personally, I have had no problems with the crime here. Because we live so close to the border, cars do run the risk of being stolen and hacked apart at a chop shop. But overall, I think that Tucson probably has about the same amount of crime as any other city.
Housing Prices: The market for houses in Tucson was really hot a couple of years ago, which drove the prices up significantly. Now we've slowed down a bit, and there is a wide range of prices for houses. A lot of it has to do with which part of Tucson you live in. If you're moving from California though, I think that you'll find even some of the most expensive houses quite reasonable.
Good Neighborhoods: NW/ Oro Valley. The center of Tucson is a bit dicey- you can find a really nice renovated house right next to a horrible, ugly dump of a house.
Culture: As I mentioned before, living so close to Mexico has a strong influence on our culture.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:55 PM   #10
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Show Low

Weather: Four season climate with snow in the winter and fairly mild summers compared to most of Arizona. Areas at lower elevation such as Snowflake get hotter in the summer and see less snow. Moving toward Pinetop-Lakeside, your snow shovel will get a real workout in the winter. Highs in July are generally in the low to mid 90s, lows in January are typically in the teens and occasionally single digits.
Schools: Not very familiar with the Show Low school district. There aren't any 4-year colleges nearby, but Northland Pioneer Community College has locations in Show Low and Snowflake.
Commute: During the winter, usually pretty good (weather notwithstanding). During the summer, the roads are choked with tourists. It's still not anything like big-city traffic, but the roads here are not designed to handle a lot of cars and the speed limits are very low... so don't expect to get around quickly.
Food: Not a lot of big chain restaurants except for fast food, but there are some good locally owned places. RT's Black Bull does steak and burgers very well, Grumpy Jake's is renowned for its BBQ pork, Charlie Clark's Steakhouse gets good reviews. There are some hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants, a so-so Chinese food place... everything else is beef, BBQ or fast food.
Shopping: There's Super Wal-Mart and Safeway. That's about it. There is a strip mall with a Sears, Radio Shack, Bealls and JC Penney. Nature's Realm is a natural food/health store in Show Low, with a smaller location in Pinetop. Everything else is either a discount store such as Dollar General or a mom-and-pop shop. There are some interesting craft, hobby and souvenir stores such as quilting stores, rock shops and locally crafted rustic furniture.
Air Quality: Generally great unless there's a wildfire or prescribed burn nearby. Very low humidity. Pine pollen can be bad in the spring. Little or no smog.
Economy: High unemployment. Wages are generally low. The area is growing and there is work to be had in construction and in service industries. It's much easier to live here if you're retired or have a secondary source of income.
Crime: The area is struggling with a meth problem and the level of property crimes and drug-related offenses reflect that. A lot of DUI, which makes driving at night a little scary. Not a whole lot of violent crime.
Housing Prices: Very good compared to most of Arizona. Steadily going up. Right now you can get a decent 3 BD house for $250-$300k. Toward Snowflake or Vernon property is less pricey, around Pinetop-Lakeside and also Linden or Pinedale you'll pay more. More trees = more expensive.
Good Neighborhoods: It's kind of a crap shoot. There are some very nice houses right next to some real dumps. Do your homework, visit the neighborhood several times and chat with your potential neighbors before you buy. Pay attention to the police logs and notice places that keep popping up. The police logs are posted in the local newspaper, the White Mountain Independent, which is published twice weekly and is available online.
Culture: Show Low and Snowflake are mostly cowboy towns, with a lot of ranchers and blue-collar workers. Snowflake is a strongly Mormon community. Pinetop-Lakeside tends to be more retirees, wealthier people and tourists. There is also the White Mountain Apache reservation nearby. You'll find a lot of rodeos, cowboy museums and the like around Show Low. The Apaches have an annual pow wow on the reservation, to which everyone is invited. They are willing to share their culture with respectful non-Indians and have a museum and cultural center which is open to the general public. All told, this is a very conservative area and its citizens are not always amenable to new ideas, though with the influx of people from other areas this is (slowly) beginning to change.
Recreation: Lots of wilderness and places to go hiking, hunting or camping. The Sunrise Ski Resort is nearby. If you like the great outdoors, you will find plenty to do. If you don't, you will have to look a little harder for entertainment.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:55 PM   #11
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Queen Creek

Weather: We're often a few degrees cooler than Phoenix. Probably get a little more rain. Many of th Haboob's blow through that don't reach Phoenix, coming up from southern Arizona.
Commute: Anyone that has to go into the phoenix area to work will encounter long drive and traffic. If you work on the SE side of Phoenix it's not as bad.
Food: Not much here right now, but growing. Still has the small town diner in middle of town.
Shopping: Currently there is a Walmart and odd and end shopping. In December of 07 there will be a new mall close to town and other strip malls coming in as well.
Air quality: Better than Phoenix, but it still gets very dusty.
Economy: Growing and strong! Lots of healthcare and retail jobs right now.
Crime: Very low crime, near, has a lot of crime associated with Hispanic communities. I haven't heard of any real issues though.
Housing prices: Comparing to Phoenix, they're very low since we are so far from the city. I think it takes about 45 minutes to drive into downtown Phoenix --without traffic. Resale houses are going for really cheap because the market is saturated. Many people have homes on an acre+. Lot's of horse property out here. So I would say that an average 2000 sqft home goes for around $230. Homes with a nice view of the mountains will cost more.
Good neighborhoods: Scneff farms is close and has a lot of different activities. Most of the property here, being horse property, does not have the big block fences...everything is open, which I love after living in Tempe, Chandler, and Gilbert over the last 10 years. From here you can see the San Tan mountains and the Superstitions.
Culture: Amazingly the town has a theater group and there are plays and shows are brought in pretty regularly. But for the real stuff you need to go into Phoenix.
Stuff to Do: A lot of horseback riding. We are involved in 4-wheeling/off roading. Florence Junction is about 15 minutes away and there is a lot of challenging trails. We also enjoy hiking and the Superstitions offer great trails and aren't far away. It also about a 30 minute drive to the NE side of Tucson/Oro valley with Mt Lemon skiing/hiking...etc. Lot's of small towns to go visit and do site seeing...Bisbee/Tombstone, etc.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:56 PM   #12
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Globe

Weather: The weather here runs in the 100's during summer but is generally around 10 degrees cooler than Phoenix. Winters are nice and mild and snow is rare, although we have been known to get it on occasion.
Schools: Schools are about average...although some would say worse than average. So I guess it depends on the person. There are charter schools available here that have smaller classrooms and better student to teacher ratios.
Commute: Not really any long drives to work here. You can usually get anywhere in under 15 minutes. However should you have to drive into the valley you would be looking at about an hour and a half drive...maybe more if the freeway was backed up on your way in.
Food: Not much here right now, but growing. There are plenty of Mexican food places...my favorites being Libby's El Rey in Globe and Guayo's El Rey in Miami on Sullivan. We also have a pretty good Italian restaurant. A couple of places to get a good steak...Crestline and Country Kitchen. Then there are the usual fast food eateries...McDonald's, Wendy's, Jack in the Box, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, KFC, Churches and Subway.
Shopping: We have a Walmart and a Bealls Outlet but that is pretty much it in the way of clothing. If you can't find what your looking for there, the valley (Mesa) isn't very far away.
Air quality: Better than Phoenix, but it can still get dusty during high wind. I have heard from some that Globe/Miami is un-livable due to the mines....this just isn't true. The smelter smoke from the mines was horrible when I lived here during my youth back in 1974-1988 and smelled awful. But since I have moved back there has not been one time that the air was polluted with smoke unless there was some nearby fire....or the dust was blowing during the monsoon. And the mines are up and running strong!
Economy: Growing and strong! Lots of mine jobs available right now.
Crime: There are the usual misdemeanor crimes...check fraud etc.... but I have not heard of any murders, or rapes in the news.
Housing prices: Rentals are hard to come by with the mines re-opening recently and run between $800-$1000 for a 3 bedroom. But I have heard there are new apartment complexes going to be springing up soon! I have seen houses for sale from anywhere between $70,000 and $200,000.
Neighborhoods: Just like anywhere you have your good and bad sections. But there are plenty of nice areas.
Culture: There are antique shops downtown. We have a local theater that is being re-built due to fire, but in the meantime there is a drive-in. We have the local fair every year and of course there is a decent casino about 5 minutes from town. But for the real stuff you need to go into Mesa/Phoenix.
Stuff to Do: Hiking...biking....horseback riding....and the Pinals are just a short distance if you seek pine tree's and a cooler breeze during the summer months. There are 2 public pools for the kids...one in Miami and one in Globe. Both offer swimming lessons and are reasonably priced.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:56 PM   #13
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Surprise

Weather: We're often a few degrees warmer than Phoenix.
Schools: Struggling because of the rapid growth, but I'm confident that this will even out. There is a school (I'm not sure if it's charter or private, but there's no tuition) that has a good reputation for their K-8 program. It's call Paradise Education Center (I've heard it referred to as PH school, too). The other charter schools out here seem to attract otherwise would-be drop-outs. Valley Vista HS and Willow Canyon HS are the better high schools. Willow Canyon has an IB program, but Valley Vista has the better overall reputation.
Commute: The worst thing about Surprise IMHO. If you work in the area, it's not bad, but when you're commuting out of Surprise during rush-hour it can be a nightmare! It generally takes 45 to 75 minutes, depending on how bad traffic is. I find that taking Olive is the fastest way out of here. Bell Road has greatly improved in the last few months, but during snow-bird season, it backs up a bit.
Food: I do like My Daddy's Bakery on Bell. Not technically in Surprise, but close. It's an Italian deli and bakery. My other choice is Babbo's... SO good and affordable Italian food. My fav chain restaurant here is El Paso BBQ. For a good, local coffee shop, check out Over Coffee on Greenway and the 303.
Shopping: All the typical suburb shopping (Target, Pier 1, Michaels, Best Buy, Barnes N Nobles, Starbucks, etc.) We do have a mall and Desert Ridge-like shopping center coming (construction begins this year).
Air quality: terrible, just like Phoenix.
Economy: Growing and strong! Lots of healthcare and retail jobs right now.
Crime: Very low crime, although El Mirage, very near, has a lot of crime associated with Hispanic communities. I haven't heard of any issues in Surprise, though. I guess this is one advantage of being difficult to get to... some of the problems you want to stay away from don't come out here!
Housing prices: Comparing to Phoenix, they're very low right now because so many investors are trying to get rid of the houses they built. Resale houses are going for really cheap because the market is saturated. You'll pay 235-260k for an 1,800 square foot home in my area.
Good neighborhoods: Marley Park is a nice gated community. I like Sierra Verde and Surprise Farms. The further west you go, the longer the commute is into Phoenix. I would try to stay west of Litchfield, because east of that is where the first Surprise boom took place (originally selling for under 100k). Also, it's very close to El Mirage. I'm sure there are some nice pockets, but I wouldn't choose to live there when I can go west for the same price! But again, too far west just packs on the commute! Also, I'd stay south of Bell to stay away from Sun City (I hear the elderly can be crabby when you're that close to em!).
Culture: Heh. We're a city of transplants, and we don't have one set culture. We're not really close to much, so several Californians have moved here, realized that night life isn't a hop, skip, and a jump away, and moved right on back to CA. But, it is closer to the I-10 and further west, so I guess this is an attraction to those that still have family in CA.
Stuff to Do: We have the Heard museum out here now. Surprise center on Bullard has a pool/waterslide, library, fishing pond, huge playground. There's also a Spring Training center where the Royals and Rangers play. Lots of shopping and parks around. Other than this, we drive into other cities, but like I said, that'll change very soon.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:03 PM   #14
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This will include Sedona, Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Jerome, Cornville, Rimrock, and Camp Verde. I'll do my best. I've frequented or lived in all areas for quite some time. It's really all one big place. Please bear with my rambling account. If you just want facts and statistics, get an atlas or travel guide. I'm sorta new to this internet stuff.

First off the entire Verde Valley is the basin left over from an ancient lake that extended from the Sycamore Canyon to the east end of Camp Verde near Fossel Creek. Cottonwood is located along the Verde river about in the middle and east. Housing is rather inexpensive overall and it has all the convenience stores for a small town.(11,000) If you go to the Safeway at the right time you very well might run into John McCain. For young people the area overall is pretty void of things to do unless you are on a spiritual quest. Sedona has more religous centers that any other place in America per population. Once about 12 years ago someone actually sold tickets to a spaceship landing on one of the Redrocks and promptly skipped town with the money. There are lectures on the planet Narubu that is in our solar system but nobody has ever seen it except the guy who gives the presentations. He has alot of graphs. In Sedona You can buy a crystal for every part of your body and every mood one could have. They heat rocks up and will put them anywhere you want.

There are 5 million tourists who come from all over the world to see the Grand Canyon. They all come to Sedona on their way there and on their way back. Sometimes I think they all come the same day. Especially if you are part of the 6 mile Conga Line following the "Blue Haired Crawler" doing 15mph on the only road into town. Most everyone who lives in the Verde Valley works in the service industry and most of the service industry is in Sedona. Wages are low. Hours are long. Employee Benefits are sparse to non existant. Right now business overall is way down. Hotel occupancy is way off and the unemployment rate for the Verde Valley is way above the state average. The Red Rocks are absolutely stunning and will take your breath away when you first see them. Every morning I'm awed by the shear beauty when I drive to Sedona from Cottonwood for work. The only people who can afford to actually live in Sedona are retired heart surgeons and a divorce attorney. Try 750,000 and up. Rents are high in Sedona. Schools are good as you would expect them to be.

Cottonwood is where many who work in Sedona live. There is no industry in Cottonwood except stores and repair shops for the workers to buy their stuff. Schools are not as good. Nothing for the young people to do unless they belong to a church group. My Stepson went to China as a missionary with a church group. Housing is very reasonable now with doublewides on their own property along the Verde River green belt for 70,000 on up. In 55 or over developments you can get them for much less. Stick house range from 125,000 to 300,000 depending on the area and view. The most exciting thing that happened in Cottonwood in the last 10 years was the rabid Bobcat that came into the Chapparel Bar one evening and bit three people.

Clarkdale is a postcard from 1920. The town was built by the mining company for the miners and all the houses are yellow brick and old, lining main street. There is a cement plant in Clarkdale and it offers some limited industrial employment. Other than that there is no industry not even service. A few nice things about Clarkdale besides the fine living conditions for retired folk(dogs in the street, very quiet) is the Copper Station. It is an old 1940s 2 pump gas station with a copper roof and two repair bays. They provide full service gas. When you pull up to the station you run over an air hose which rings a bell in the station and a young man comes out and fills your gas, cleans your windsheild, checks your oil and tops off all your fluids and will put air in your tires if you ask him. They don't sell cokes or hotdogs nor tee-shirts that say, "I found a cactus while sitting down in Arizona". Just gas and repairs. Definately an anachronism of a bygone time. Every Saturday evening in the summer there is a different popular band that plays in the central park for free. Everybody comes to it.

Jerome is an old mining town located in the foothills of Mingus Mountain. It used to be mined for Gold, Silver but mostly copper. there are deep open shafts located on the edge of town that you can see. After a rain you can walk the washes in Clarkdale and see turquoise lying on the ground. The whole town is built on stilts on the side of the mountain. There are mostly resturants and tourist souviner shops now but there is a thriving artist community that sell their wares. Mostly in converted ***** houses and bars that the locals proudly proclaim to you. Veiws of the Verde River Basin are spectacular and you can see all the way to Sedona, 30 miles away.

Cornville is nothing. Nothing at all. Once you pass the "Honey Doo Ranch" in the center of town you say, "That's it?" But looks can be deceiving. There are numerous small ranches in Cornville and John McCain owns one there. Everything is spread out more and property owners have more elbow room from each other. Lots of horse people live in Cornville. The main attraction in Cornville is the Old Corral Bar on a Saturday night.

Camp Verde was built around Fort Verde which was a U.S. Calvary Fort that General Crook operated out of while he exterminated the Apaches that actually still live here in numbers. There are places named "Bloody Basin" and Dead Man's wash to commemorate his soldiers dastardly exploits. Ultimately the Apaches have the final say though as Camp Verde has the Apache casino and we all go there periodicly to pay our indian taxes, as we call it. The casino has an outdoor ampitheatre where there are top acts like War, Starship, Steppenwolf and other old chestnut bands that play for about 20 bucks a head. Just stay away from the slot machines; especially the third one from the left as you walk in the door. Camp Verde is rather economicly depressed compared to Cottonwood or certainly Sedona. Generally low-middle class and housing is relatively cheap. Schools are under funded and social services are spotty. Camp Verde just can't seem to find it's niche in the Greater Verde Valley scheme of things. Someday it will shine I'm sure.

Beaver Creek and Rimrock are located just under the front end of the dog's tail in the Verde Valley. There is no industry, no stores to speak of and is a haven for those who still need a place but can't afford Camp Verde. No schools, no hospitals but too many drugs. The hot spot in Beaver Creek is the Ranch House that is located on an old golf course that still uses the irrigation ditches from 300 years ago that the indians built. When you hit your golf ball in the rough at Bever Creek you can still find wild squash and cornstalks growing in the bushes. Montezuma's Well is located in Rimrock/Beavercreek and is a huge sinkhole with old indian houses lining the inside and outside of it. There is a huge bass that lives under a very large boulder in the creek that feeds the sinkhole. I know he's at least 7 years old.

The Verde Valley is a very unique place. When my relatives from back east come here for a visit I take them to Sedona for the Red Rock experience, then out to the vortex spots, to Montezuma's Castle, an old indian ruin, Tuzegoot City, an old indian city on the banks of the Verde River. If I'm feeling spry, I take them for a hike to see the indian cliff carvings. Actually the whole Verde Valley is paved with indian ruins. I'll take them through Oak Creek Canyon, one of the most scenic canyons in the world. For Dinner, we'll go to Jerome and eat at the Haunted Hamburger an old ***** house that is said to have ghosts.

Temp is about 10 to 20 degrees cooler in the Verde Valley than in Phoenix due to the elevation (4200 to 5500 feet) and the cooling effect of the Verde River Green Belt.

Me, I spend alot of time walking along the banks of the river and treking through Sycamore Canyon. There are sites that even the archeolgists don't know about. The antelope run in herds and the coyotes still howl at night. Once a bear backed me down Mingus mountain to protect her 2 cubs. Mountain lions come into your backyard and eat your poodle. Rattlesnakes curl up on your doormat at night to keep warm. All in all I love the serenity and peace the area has to offer and the chance to see the stars as I've never seen them before. The spirit of nature is everywhere and after a while you can feel it and make friends with and understand the animals. You see the same bobcat year after year and notice he's getting a little worse for wear. The kingsnake is bigger down by the bend in the river and has had a good year. The big antelope buck is gone and the younger has replaced him. Nature and the spirits of tribes long gone rule here. The cycle of life, nature's harmony and rebirth are evident and I am at peace in my later years.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:04 PM   #15
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YUMA

Weather: Two season climate, hot summers and very nice winters. The months of June, July, August and September tend to run near 110 degrees for highs, especially July and August. The monsoon season brings humidity which drives down the high temps, but makes things less comfortable. But by October things tend to cool down to less than 100 degrees for highs and the evenings are very pleasant. Winter is very nice with warm days and very little cold weather. By late March temperatures start to go back up and we generally hit 100 degrees some time in late April or early May. The summers are tollerable if you have AC in your car and don't have to work outside.

Schools: The schools in Yuma struggle with the immigrant population and tend to score low on with the state requirements. There are several private schools that do better. Yuma also has two separate elementary school districts and a separate high school district. Crane district (elementary) has a better reputation, but that seems to be based more on self promotion than on fact. Some schools tend to be better than others though, so picking the neighborhood seems would be important. There is a 2 year community college, Arizona Western College, that is affordable and it is linked to Northern Arizona University to offer bachelor degrees in education and business.

Commute: Depends on where you live in respect to where you work. If you work at Yuma Proving Ground, the commute is 35 to 50 minutes and can be a little un-nerving. A commute in town may take 15 to 20 minutes, except during the winter months when it can take longer because of the conjestion caused by all the winter visitors.

Food: There is a nice selection of chain resturants and fast food places. As for the local establishments, most people tend to have a favorite or two, it just depends on your tastes. There really aren't very many "exceptional" resturants here, but plenty of pretty good places. There are lots of Mexican food places, but once again it depends on your tastes.

Shopping: We have three Wal-Marts and a Target, as well as Penneys, Sears, Dillards, Ross, Kohls, Burlington Coat Factory, Sam's Club, Circuit City, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, PetsMart, Lane Bryant, shoe stores, smaller clothing chain stores, etc. There is a mall, but with the opening of the Regional Shopping Center, the mall has all but closed. For food shopping we have Wal-Mart, Frys, Food City, and several mercado's, no specialty or upscale food stores.

Air Quality: Generally pretty good, but when the wind blows hard, or the farmers are burning fields, then the air quality goes down. Little or no smog.

Economy: High unemployment during the summer. Wages are generally low. The area is growing and there is work to be had in construction, farming, service industries, medical, and government (Border Patrol and Customs, Proving Ground, Marine Base). But the cost of living is lower than many places and the service industries and medical fields can never find enough employees in the winter.

Crime: For a smaller town, there is more crime than would be expected, but most of the serious crime is related to gang activity fueled by the proximity of the Mexico border. There are parts of town to avoid living in, but most of town seems pretty safe. No place is immune from grafitti though, we just get rid of it as quickly as possible and than tends to discourage further tagging.

Housing Prices: Probably some of the lowest in the state. Depending on the neighborhood, three bedroom homes are availble starting around $150K, but for the nicer neighborhoods, the prices start closer to $250K. The town is a bit mixed when it comes to homes and neighborhoods. There are often very nice homes in some of the less desireable neighborhoods and most neighborhoods will have homes that are not very well maintained. It seems to be popular to come from California to buy investment property here, so there are many homes owned by people who don't live in the area or even the state.

Good Neighborhoods: Most of the nicer neighborhoods tend to be outside of the core area of town, like down in the valley (off the mesa), out by the college, Mesa del Sol, or south of 32nd Street (out in the county). There are some nice neighborhoods in town, but you would need to explore the neighborhood to find the boundaries of the nice areas.

Culture: Mexico provides a very strong influence on Yuma, some is good like the food and diversity, some is not so good like the poverty. So Yuma struggles to offer cultural events, although the college and high schools provide some performances and there are some groups in town who do drama or dance performances. Most of the community activities are scheduled during the winter like the rodeo, parades, car shows, balloon fest, air show, and the county fair.

Recreation: Yuma has two rivers and several lakes that are close enough to enjoy easily. There is camping, hiking, and boating, some can even be enjoyed year round if you are hearty enough. Another favorite diversion offered here is lots of fishing. If the heat is a problem, about 2 hours west into California is camping and hiking at higher elevations that can be very pleasant when it is hot in Yuma. 2.5 to 3 hours will put you in San Diego and all that it has to offer. East, Phoenix is about 3 hours away and Tucson is about 4.5 hours from Yuma. 30 minutes south is a major border crossing into Mexico, a gateway to the Gulf of Mexico and all of it's bordering towns. We never seem to have any trouble finding something to do.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:06 PM   #16
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Pinetop

Weather: Most nights are cold during the year. There is snow and it can snow heavy. The snowing usually lasts, off and on, till march. Most of the time it does melt. The lowest i've been in was 10 degrees. This was in the morning in the middle of winter. The highest i've seen it is 100 degrees with the monsoons.
Schools: Great education system. Blue ridge is one of the best in the state. All 3 of my brothers have gone there and love it there. The high school football program is top class. They are currently working on expanding the jr high as a stand alone school
Commute: It can be bad to be limit to go 40 mph, but everything isn't that far drive wise. Bicycle or walk wise its pretty bad. Most of the jobs are in show low. There is minor mass transit. Only operates during the day
Food: Steak, Thai, fast food. There is all sorts of restaurants. Most of it is good.
Shopping: Small nick nack shops, super walmart. If you want anything beyond this you need to go to the valley or shop online
Air quality: great because all the pollution gets pushed down to the valley.
Economy: Growing slowly at a small town pace. If you are looking for a career in this area, you need to know someone or start a business.
Crime: Low to no crime. In the winter the town is an estimated 6,000-10,00 people. Not including holidays. Most crime is drunks from the bar, speeding, or from the reservation.
Housing prices: Pricing can be fair. You need to know someone in town to find a good price and lots of neighborhoods going up. Other then that its like everywhere else.
Good neighborhoods: All
Culture: Small town culture. friendly, polite. Everyone might know you if you work for a big company up in that area.
Stuff to Do
I would say you can do anything you can do in the city, but fancy shop. There are bars, restaurants, grocery store, and a lot of outdoor activities. Lots of hiking trails, beautiful scenery
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:07 PM   #17
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:09 PM   #18
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Central Northwest Phoenix, Shaw Butte and Metro-Center area

Weather: Typically about 2 to 5 degrees cooler than Sky Harbor's official temp because of the mountains/hills in the area.

Schools: Lots of grade schools that are local to each neighborhood, plus Thunderbird and Cortez High School are close by.

Commute: If you work in downtown Phoenix, morning I-17 and I-10 into downtown commute is easy, depending on what time you leave, but afternoon commute is a nightmare. It takes a long time to get out of downtown and get on I-10, and once you do, you'll have to deal with the parking lot on I-10. You'll be better off taking 7th Street or 7th Avenue, since they have the reversable lanes. My morning commute takes 20 minutes, afternoon commute can take up to 45 minutes if I take the freeway. 30 minutes if I take 7th Street.

Housing Prices: The area has a lot of new neighborhoods that were built recently within established areas that have been around since the early 1960's. Home prices vary between 200,000 and up to 450,000 in certain areas. probably because of the close proximity to downtown Phoenix. Good and clean apartment complexes in the Metro Center area are also plentiful and their rents are reasonable.

Air Quality: It depends on the wind. If there's a 10 MPH wind, air quality is usually good. But on some days, it can get pretty bad.

Food: Many good restaurants are around the Metro Center area, The Outback Steakhouse, Sweet Tomatoes, El-Torritos, Fajita's, The Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Black Angus, Mimi's Cafe, Papa Deaux, Macayo's, plus the usual fast food places.

Shopping: Metro Center has been the icon shopping center in that area for almost 34 years now, Fry's Electronics, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe's are all on Thunderbird and I-17, plus several grocery stores, including Fry's, Albertson's, many drug stores, including Osco, Walgreen's and CVS. There aren't any Walmarts in the area though.

Crime: Depending on the area, it's usually acceptable, but when you get into Sunnyslope, it goes up higher. A burgler alarm will add a little more comfort when you're away from the house. I've been living in the area for 9 years now, and I have only seen one burglery in the neighborhood.

Good Neighborhoods: They are located between Northern and Dunlap, then north of Peoria to Bell Road, between 7th and 19th Avenues. If you go a little further north, there are a number of houses located on the northside of Shaw Butte and on the hills just north of Thunderbird High School. The immediate area just south and west of Metro Center was a good neighborhood at one time, but it has gone down in the past few years.

Recreation and Leisure: Plenty of places in and around Metro Center, including Harkins Movie Theater. North Mountain and Shaw Butte hiking trails are a good exercise, several parks are also in the area, Cortez park on 34th Ave & Dunlap, Alicia park is on Alice just west of 19th Ave, and there's a park on 15th Ave and Butler, and not to mention Squaw Peak park is only about 6 miles souteast of Metro Center.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:11 PM   #19
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Peoria:

Weather: Similar to Surprise.

Schools: Rated fairly well overall and the reason we moved here. Sunrise Mountain High School and the new Liberty High are decent. There is a new High School in the development stage for Vistancia.

Commute: Horrible driving to the east side, roughly 2 hours in bad traffic to Tempe. An hour and a half in moderate traffic. 45 min with light traffic to airport. The 303 Loop is scheduled to be complete by 2011. That will go from the 10 freeway N. to the I-17 below Hwy 74.

Ecconomy: Slated for growth. Larger companies bringing new jobs will hopefully come to this side soon. A new Banner Health hospital is in preliminary stages of planning. Still, most of the employment in on the east side.

Health Facilities: Closest hospitals are Del Webb, Sun City, Arrowhead on 67th in Glendale.

Shopping: Glendale Arena on the border of Peoria/Glendale which has West Gate Phase I, a destination center with unique shops/ restaurants
On 83rd and Bell we have a large selection of restaurants, PF Chang, Cheesecake Factory, Elephant Bar etc. Arrowhead Mall is in Glendale which is a short drive. Within a 15 mile radius of Vistancia Village, there are approximately 200 restaurants and more being built now. There is a new Super Target and a Home Depot center recently opened on Happy Valley Rd and Lake Pleasant.


Housing: There are many nice developments being built in N. Peoria. West Wing, Vistancia Village, Trilogy (55+) in Vistancia, Centex Homes started grading for their new sub-division on Happy Valley Rd. Homes starting around $179,000 (Trend Town Homes) to mid to high $200K's for single family detached.

Recreation: There is Lake Pleasant a few miles up from Happy Valley Rd and Lake Pleasant for boating, camping and fishing. There is a sports complex where spring training is held for baseball fans. There is also a professional hockey stadium next to the university of Phoenix. Coming soon to that location, another stadium.

Crime: They recently posted a drop in crime. You can find crime stats online.
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:15 PM   #20
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