The city of Phoenix is the capital of Arizona and the seat of Maricopa County.
It had an estimated population of 1,626,078 in 2017, making it the U.S.’s fifth most populous city.
The Phoenix Metropolitan Area had an estimated population of 4,737,270 in 2017, making it the nation’s 11th largest.
The place has sunny weather throughout the year, so it’s no wonder that this area is known as The Valley of the Sun! With its desert climate, no other major city in the U.S. has a higher average maximum summer temperature.
The landscape around Phoenix is spectacular, and hiking the desert is one of the popular outdoor activities here.
The area is also well-known for its nightclubs, high-end spas, resorts and its many golf courses.
In terms of real estate, Phoenix is known for both its impressive Downtown skyline and its vernacular architecture, and there are options on the market for all types of buyers.
Nickname(s): "Valley of the Sun"
Population: 1,626,078 (2017 estimated)
Land: 517.64 sq. miles
Urban: 518.90 sq. miles
Metro: 14,565.76 sq. miles
Phoenix is close to the great outdoors and locals enjoy activities such as hiking, climbing and horseback riding. Golf is also popular and there are over 200 courses in the area. The city maintains its links to its pre-Columbian past, most notably in the form of The Pueblo Grande Museum, which preserves Native American tribal culture remains from 1,500 years ago. The city is very much part of The West, something exemplified by the annual Cowboy Artists of America exhibition, which takes place in the Phoenix Art Museum.
With the frequently very high temperatures, Phoenicians often enjoy themselves indoors as well. Dining options vary from upscale restaurants to classic Mexican taquerias, and steakhouses are also traditional and popular places to eat. Scottsdale—which is within the Phoenix Metropolitan Area—is also very well-known for its nightlife, spas, restaurants, and swanky hotels.
Papago Park is a natural park open for visitors and contains very interesting rock formations, including the famous Hole-in-the-Rock. You can view the local flora in a more relaxed manner at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden that displays many species of plants and cacti. The Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium & Safari Park has a huge collection of animals from all over the world. Sport can be enjoyed here—Phoenix has professional men’s teams in all the four major leagues.
The hot temperatures tend to make the summers an off-season for visiting Phoenix, but many indoor recreational activities can be enjoyed throughout year. Science lovers can visit the Arizona Science Center, which offers a wide variety of exhibits and is well-appreciated for the hands-on interactive experiences it offers. The not-for-profit Heard Museum features Native American cultural artifacts.
Since 1979, Phoenix has been divided up into many ‘urban villages,’ some of which are historical neighborhoods while others have been added to the city more recently, and there are also other names of regions that are used colloquially. Below you will find four representative areas:
Downtown Phoenix is at the heart of the metropolitan area and serves as the city’s central business district. It is also host to many offices providing governance at the local, state and federal levels. There are a number of impressive skyscrapers here, with most of the development concentrated in an area surrounding the intersection of Washington St. and Central Ave. Renovation has transformed the area in recent years, and has included the construction of a light rail system.
Sunnyslope is a neighborhood within city limits which used to be famous for providing clean air and a dry climate to people suffering from tuberculosis. It covers approximately nine square miles and has a diverse population in socio-economic terms. One interesting landmark here is El Cid Castle, which was designed to look like a Moorish fortress but was in fact a bowling alley. The neighborhood makes an active contribution to the city’s music scene, with several record labels being based here.
Biltmore is a residential neighborhood to the north east of the city center that has largely a high-income population. It is famous for being the location of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel and two championship golf courses. There are also upscale shopping and dining opportunities here to serve the neighborhood’s exclusive clientele. In addition, the area is host to a financial district, which brings in still more revenue.
The Arcadia neighborhood is one of the most famous in the city. It is reasonably near the city center, even nearer to the entertainment options in Scottsdale, and only a short drive from the airport. The area was once home to grapefruit and orange groves, and some citrus trees can still be seen here. As the city expanded the neighborhood was absorbed, and traditional architecture made way for more modern living areas, though some of the big old properties still remain.
There are impressive sky-scrapers in the center of Phoenix, but due to the large amount of space that is on offer there, it also has very many detached houses and a low population density rate. Much of Phoenix’s current inventory was built during building booms after World War II and in the early 2000s—during the latter period, a new plan was adopted where properties of greater height could be built.
There are relatively few restrictions on developers here, and the city may now be prone to overbuilding. In early 2019, it was forecast that Phoenix would be one of the top 10 cities that will outperform the predicted national price growth of 2.2%, but that home prices may rise at a slower pace than has been seen recently.
Neighborhoods that have been tipped to be interesting for home buyers include Scottsdale, which is still swinging, Arcadia, which is still picturesque, and Paradise Valley, with its golf courses and upmarket attractions.
Property sales figures source: the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, January 2019 and December 2018, and PropertyShark data for December 2018.
The Phoenix area has no fewer than 33 school districts, including 4 high school districts and 21 elementary school districts, which serve more than 27,000 students. The city also has more than 100 charter schools.
The main campus of Arizona State University—one of the largest public universities in the US—is located in Tempe, in the East Valley part of the Phoenix metropolitan area, and it has other campuses in Glendale, Mesa, Downtown and in the northwest of the city. With an enrollment of over 300,000, the University of Phoenix is the largest for-profit university in the U.S. There are also numerous other colleges of higher education here.
Phoenix has come a long way since its wealth was based on the 5Cs—copper, cattle, cotton, climate, and citrus. The city had a reputation of surviving financial downturns better than some places because of its diverse economy, but over-reliance on the construction industry caused problems in the 2007-2010 downturn. The economy has since largely rebounded.
The city has attracted important hi-tech companies such as Motorola and Intel, and American Express has a big presence here. Phoenix is home to four Fortune 500 companies. The military also has a strong influence in the economy here, as several bases have been situated in and around the area. At the beginning of 2019, the unemployment rate in Phoenix was slightly higher than the national average, but it was predicted that more jobs would be added to the market.