The Best Places to Retire in Arizona

Scottsdale residents have access to dozens of golf courses nearby, including TPC Scottsdale.

Most people know Arizona is a popular state for active adults and retirees. Its warm, dry climate, endless recreation opportunities, and prime shopping and dining make it a desirable state to settle down. On top of that, Arizona is an ecologically and culturally diverse state with many different regions that appeal to a variety of active adults.

With several major metropolitan areas and slight climate differences in the states, it is hard to choose where to retire. Whether you want the artsy, eclectic vibes of Tucson or the scenic views of Green Valley or Northern Arizona, there is bound to be a region and city that fits you best. So if you’re considering the Grand Canyon State, here are some of the best places to retire in Arizona.

While this list compiles the top 10 cities for retiring in Arizona, four cities offer exceptional amenities for active adults. With plentiful culture and entertainment, greenspaces, and some of the best retirement communities in Arizona, these first four cities stand out among the crowd.

1. Green Valley

View of a mountain top with greenery in Coronado National Forest of Arizona. A lone hiker stands at the peak.
Green Valley is home to several popular recreational spots, including Coronado National Forest.

Located in Southern Arizona, Green Valley was originally founded as a retirement community and retains that status today. While that’s a plus for those looking to find a well-established active adult home, Green Valley comes with more than just its 26 active adult communities.

The area is also home to several popular recreational spots, including Coronado National Forest, Desert Meadows Park, and Quail Creek-Veterans Municipal Park. The mountainous landscape of Southern Arizona provides residents with scenic views and plenty of hiking opportunities.

Other places to visit include Historic Hacienda De La Canoa Ranch and the Titan Missile Museum. While surrounded by nature, Green Valley includes a good selection of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Not to mention, retirees have an incredible variety of age-restricted communities from which to choose. That means the region comes with everything active adults desire, including living among peers, private amenities, ample healthcare options, and a variety of clubs, groups, and classes.

Recommended 55+ Communities in Green Valley

2. Scottsdale

Blue horse sculptures a part of a fountain in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale is home to world-class shopping, dining, entertainment, and outdoor activities.

The Phoenix area has long been a popular spot for retirees, and you can’t really go wrong with most of the city’s suburbs. Mesa, Gilbert, Goodyear, and of course, Sun City. All provide active adults with a relaxing, warm retirement. One suburb that stands out among the rest is Scottsdale.

It’s home to seven different active adult and active lifestyle communities, as well as world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment options. It’s also a popular spot for outdoor activities, including at Camelback Mountain, Papago Park, and McDowell Sonoran Preserve. There are also dozens of golf courses nearby, including TPC Scottsdale. The city’s swanky lifestyle and endless leisure possibilities make it a great place to spend your retirement.

Recommended 55+ Communities in Scottsdale 

3. Prescott

Four canoers on Lynx Lake in Prescott, Arizona with a forest covered mountain in the background
Retirees in search of an outdoor-focused lifestyle should look no further than Prescott.

If you’re looking for an active, outdoor-focused retirement look no further than Prescott. Located 100 miles north of Phoenix, Prescott is right in the middle of some of Arizona’s most popular natural spaces.

Prescott’s location provides the city with a more mild climate than the southern part of the state. It sits in the Bradshaw Mountains so its high elevation means the city sees more rainfall than most of Arizona as well as summer temperature averages in the 80s and winter averages in the 50s.

There’s an incredible variety of recreation spots nearby, whether you want to hike one or take in a few. Coconino National Forest, Prescott National Forest, the Peavine National Recreation Trail, and several waterways are all nearby. Cultural attractions nearby include Sharlot Hall Museum, Smoki Museum, and ‘Tis Art Center and Gallery. Active adults will also find plenty of golf courses, medical centers, restaurants, and shops in Prescott.

Recommended 55+ Communities in Prescott

4. Tucson

Mountain landscape with a golf course in the center, located in SaddleBrooke of Tucson, Arizona
Tucson provides residents with both access to Phoenix and natural surroundings.

Located between Phoenix and Green Valley, Tucson provides residents with the best of both worlds. If you want to be near the metropolis of Phoenix while also living at a slower surrounded by culture and nature, Tucson is perfect for you.

The city is a good mix of entertainment, outdoor activity, and culture. Throughout the year residents can enjoy several art festivals and street fairs. The Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, and Tohono Chul Park are also close to home. The area is actively proud of its history with iconic architecture like that found at San Xavier del Bac.

Besides that, residents enjoy multiple golf courses, healthcare convenience, a variety of restaurants, and plentiful shopping options. Those who are looking to continue their education will love being near the University of Arizona, as well.

Recommended 55+ Communities in Tucson

5. Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona skyline viewed through palm trees in front of a lake in Encanto Park
Phoenix has no shortage of arts, entertainment, and attractions.

The capital of Arizona, this populous desert city offers residents the year-round warmth they come to expect from the state as well as numerous cultural spaces. With multiple museums and science centers, the Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona, and the five-day fine art festival Art Detour, residents have no shortage of arts and entertainment.

In addition to its cultural offerings, Phoenix has a number of outdoor attractions, including the Phoenix Zoo, the largest privately-owned non-profit zoo in the country, and South Mountain Park and Preserve, the largest municipal park in the U.S.

Residents also love practicing their swing at over 200 golf courses in the Phoenix area. The city’s highly active downtown and bustling scene make it one of the best cities for active adults seeking an exciting lifestyle in Arizona.

Recommended 55+ Communities in Phoenix

6. Mesa

A dirt road with desert greenery in Dreamland Villa, located in Mesa, Arizona
Mesa is highly sought-after for retirees looking for iconic Arizona landscapes.

One of Phoenix’s many popular suburbs, Mesa is highly sought-after for retirees looking for iconic Arizona landscapes. The city is located within the Sonoran Desert, so residents can golf, hike at Papago Park or Usery Mountain Regional Park, and dine outside while taking in the famous rust-colored mountains in the distance.

Mesa also has a vibrant live theater and art scene. The Mesa Arts Center is the cultural hub of the city, encompassing four performance venues for comedy, dance, music, and seasonal events. The Arizona Museum of Natural History and Mesa Historical Museum are also found in the city, as well as over 200 sculptures lining the city’s downtown streets.

One major benefit to retiring in Mesa is the abundance of highly rated medical facilities. When considering retiring in this culturally and recreationally rich city, active adults have 10 choices, ranging from large, country club communities to small, more intimate communities. This abundance of choice makes Mesa one of the best retirement cities in Arizona.

Recommended 55+ Communities in Mesa

7. Buckeye

View down a sidewalk in Sun City Festival, of Buckeye, Arizona
Buckeye is an outdoor lover’s dream.

The westernmost suburb of Phoenix in Central Arizona, Buckeye is an outdoor lover’s dream. The Skyline Regional Park offers residents 8,675 acres of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, as well as programs like fitness classes and stargazing events. In addition to its sprawling outdoor recreation, the city hosts cultural events, such as the Hometown Holiday Boutique featuring local arts and crafts vendors. 

Labeled the fastest growing city in 2017, Buckeye’s rapid expansion means increasing amenities for residents. The new Sundance Towne Center and recently revitalized Buckeye Main Street have all the name-brand and local boutique shopping an active adult needs. 

Recommended 55+ Communities in Buckeye

8. Sierra Vista

Sunset over a grassy field and mountain range in Sierra Vista, Arizona
Sierra Vista has more than just popular age-restricted communities.

Located on the southern border of Arizona, Sierra Vista has more than just popular age-restricted communities. The city itself embraces the active adult, offering programs aimed at retirees that include Sunday concerts, movies in the park, health groups, and day excursions.

In addition to Sierra Vista’s local offerings, including 10 area golf courses, historical museums, and hiking trails, retirees looking for a journey have plenty of options. The city itself has numerous RV parks and campsites, the Tucson International Airport is just an hour’s drive away, and vibrant shopping cities in Mexico are just across the border.

This combination of local and distant amenities makes Sierra Vista one of the best places to retire in Arizona for the traveling active adult.

Recommended 55+ Communities in Sierra Vista

9. Chandler

View of a golf course and pond in the Springfield community of Chandler, Arizona
Nearby golf courses, parks, and outlet malls round out the entertainment and recreational amenities of Chandler.

As one of the largest cities in Arizona, Chandler keeps a low profile, focusing on local community events and cultural sites. These include the famous Ostrich Festival, the Great American Barbeque & Beer Festival, as well as attractions like the Chandler Museum and Arizona Railway Museum. Nearby golf courses, parks, and outlet malls round out the entertainment and recreational amenities of Chandler.

Not only is Chandler just a half-hour from Downtown Phoenix, but it is also right outside the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, perfect for retirees looking to easily travel throughout the U.S. and Canada without the hassle of a larger international airport.

Recommended 55+ Communities in Chandler

10. Oro Valley

Lighted tennis courts in Sun City Oro Valley with a mountain range in the background, located in Oro Valley, Arizona
Oro Valley is located in the western foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Retirees seeking an active lifestyle can find it in Oro Valley. The city offers six golf courses as well as multiple parks with dynamic hiking trails, including Honey Bee Canyon Park, Naranja Park, and the Big Wash Trail. With Tucson just six miles away, residents enjoy the major shopping and dining experiences of the major city while being able to retire in a peaceful, serene natural area.

One major draw for Oro Valley is its climate. Though it experiences the desert climate typical of the state, it is located in the western foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, giving it a higher elevation that helps moderate the intense summer heat. Active adults can enjoy the great outdoors while keeping a bit cooler.

Recommended 55+ Communities in Oro Valley

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