10 Communities in Phoenix
Phoenix is the capital of Arizona and the biggest city in the state. Located in Central Arizona, it experiences year-round warmth and sunshine perfect for retirees looking to escape the winter. In addition to its desirable climate, Phoenix is a hub of sports, art, and outdoor recreation throughout its many neighborhoods, offering active adults all of the local amenities of a big city with the charming, close-knit feeling of a small neighborhood.
Climate & Geography
Located in the Salt River Valley, Phoenix is a flat, grid-like city surrounded by gentle mountains (McDowell Mountains to the northeast, White Tank Mountains to the west, Superstition Mountains to the east, and South Mountain and Sierra Estrella to the south). It is the largest city in the U.S. built within a hot desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters. Residents can expect over 300 days of sun each year as Phoenix is one of the world’s sunniest regions, receiving more sunshine than any other major city on earth. Summer temperatures are the hottest of any U.S. city, and while freezing temperatures are possible in winter, they are rare. Though desert climates usually have a dramatic variation in day and night temperatures, the urban heat island effect in Phoenix limits this variation, keeping nights warmer.
Phoenix is divided into many urban villages, many of which were annexed over the years. There are 15 urban villages, each with its own planning committee, as well as common districts like Downtown, Midtown, and Uptown.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
With so many nearby mountains, Phoenix is a great destination for active adults looking to hike, bike, and rock climb. South Mountain Park, Piestewa Park, Papago Park, anad the Echo Canyon Trail and Recreation Area all offer both difficult and easy trails for all types of hikers. The Desert Botanical Garden not only has thematic trails and festive, seasonal events, but also classes for landscaping, art, and cooking. There are also nearly 200 golf courses in Phoenix and its neighboring communities, with many that are nationally recognized.
The CityScape complex downtown has trendy boutique shops, eateries, and entertainment centers, and is a destination in itself with its energetic open plaza. Residents can also explore their local community at the Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Theatre Company, and the Orpheum Theater. Besides all this, residents can attend numerous popular farmers markets, including the Open Air Market, Uptown Farmers Market, and Roadrunner Park Farmers Market.
Sports enthusiasts have several options in Phoenix. The Phoenix Suns (NBA), Phoenix Mercury (WNBA), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), and Arizona Cardinals (NFL) all call Phoenix home. Retirees looking to travel outside the city can do so at one of the top ten airports in the country, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is a hub for both USAir and Southwest.
Cost of Living & Taxes
Phoenix’s cost of living hovers slightly above the national average. The biggest factor is transportation, followed by housing. Utilities and health care are about the same as the U.S. average, whereas groceries are below.
Arizona is considered moderately tax friendly toward retirees. It does not tax Social Security benefits, but it does tax other forms of retirement income like pensions, IRAs, and 401(k)s. Property taxes are low, and Phoenix’s sales tax is high at 8.6 percent. Groceries and prescription medication are exempt from the sales tax.
Phoenix scores well on Gallup’s Well-Being Index, ranking in the top 45 communities in the U.S.
There are three U.S. News nationally ranked hospitals in Phoenix. Mayo Clinic Phoenix is the No. 18 hospital in the country, the No. 1 hospital in Arizona, and is nationally ranked in eight specialties. Banner University Medical Center is the No. 2 hospital in Arizona. Finally, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center is the No. 5 hospital in the state.