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Should you move to Phoenix? Here are 15 things to consider before saying “Yes!”

Maybe you’ve visited Phoenix and enjoyed the hot summer, poolside lounging, and breathtaking desert landscapes, and you’ve wondered, “Can’t I just be here forever?”

Be careful what you wish for! If you’re thinking about making Phoenix your new home, consider these 15 crucial factors that could significantly impact your experience in the Valley of the Sun. 

Let’s uncover things to consider before you answer that big question: should you move to Phoenix?

1. Phoenix lacks seasons.


If you crave the changing colors of fall foliage or the refreshing chill of winter, Phoenix might leave you feeling uninspired. The scenery stays relatively constant year-round, with limited visual cues to mark the passage of time. 

The scorching summer heat in Phoenix can significantly limit your outdoor activities for several months. People who thrive on an active, year-round outdoor lifestyle might find themselves indoors for a large part of the year.

For some people, the lack of variation in sunlight can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and while Phoenix doesn’t have a true winter, the constant sunshine might not be enough to prevent SAD in susceptible people.

2. Phoenix offers a desert landscape and only a little else.


Phoenix might be better if you crave a diverse landscape with rolling hills, lush forests, or access to a nearby coastline. Phoenix sits squarely in the Sonoran Desert, characterized by a vast expanse of cacti, scrub brush, and dry mountains. 

While the city has grown significantly, development has primarily followed a sprawling suburban pattern, with significant distances between points of interest. This can make it feel less like a walkable, urban environment and more like a car-centric sprawl.

In the valley, the landscaping features gravel and cacti, which are designed to be low-maintenance. If you’re used to deciduous forests that change with the seasons, you might miss the vibrant foliage, but the desert landscape has its unique beauty.

3. Phoenix has hot weather. 


Phoenix summers are notoriously hot, with average highs exceeding 100°F (38°C) for several months. Daily activities like walking, errands, or even spending time by the pool can become uncomfortable or even dangerous during peak heat hours.  

Phoenix residents rely heavily on air conditioning to stay cool during the scorching summers, which translates to high energy bills that impact monthly budgets. Even sidewalks and pavement get so hot that animals and people can’t walk on them. 

You can expect summer to extend well into the fall in Phoenix, so you’ll find yourself celebrating Halloween in shorts and preparing a Thanksgiving dinner in a still-hot kitchen. There’s no real “cold” time in Phoenix; it’s just summer and slightly less hot times.

4. Phoenix is a haven for crawling animals. 


Phoenix’s dry climate and desert landscape are attractive, but they also create a haven for creepy crawlies that might not be your cup of tea. For instance, scorpions are a common sight, especially during the hotter months when they seek shelter indoors. 

Phoenix is home to various insects and arthropods that some might find unsettling. These include desert centipedes, which can grow quite large and pack a venomous punch, and black widows, a venomous spider. 

Unlike some regions with seasonal insect activity, Phoenix’s warm climate allows these critters to remain active throughout the year. So, even if you seal your home, you might still encounter these creatures outdoors during your daily activities.

5. The pool lifestyle is huge in Phoenix.


The pool lifestyle is popular in Phoenix, even if you are not into swimming. Many families invest in pools and decks, especially for their kids. 

If you’re buying a home with a pool or considering adding one later, it’s essential to understand the financial implications. Pool maintenance can be a constant expense, including the cost of chemicals, testing, and regular upkeep.

Living in Phoenix means dealing with hot summers, and having a pool can be a popular choice for many. While having a pool in Phoenix is unnecessary, it’s worth considering your lifestyle and budget to decide if it aligns with your priorities.


Although recreational marijuana use is legal in Phoenix, public consumption remains illegal. You will see dispensaries and advertisements for marijuana delivery services or smell marijuana being smoked near you at a park or on the street. 

Phoenix is an at-will employment city, which means employers can fire you for marijuana use, even if it’s off-duty. If marijuana use plays a significant role in your life and discretion is a must for your job security, Phoenix might not be for you.

If you have concerns about being in an environment where marijuana use is prevalent. In that case, you may want to consider this aspect of the city before moving to Phoenix.

7. Phoenix is filled with a beige landscape and architecture.


Phoenix’s desert landscape boasts unique beauty, but there might be better fits if you crave a vibrant and colorful city palette. Natural tones of beige, brown, and dusty green dominate Phoenix’s desert environment.  

This natural color scheme extends to the architecture as well. Many buildings utilize desert-toned materials like adobe and concrete, amplifying the beige aesthetic.

Ultimately, what makes a city visually appealing is subjective. However, if you’re drawn to a more vibrant and colorful urban environment, Phoenix’s beige tones might feel monotonous.

8. Shopping centers and cinemas are cultural icons.


Phoenix’s landscape of malls and multiplexes might feel sterile if you’re looking for a city that pulsates with creative energy and a sense of community. The nightlife might seem quiet, especially when you head downtown at 11 PM and find everything empty. 

Many people attribute the influx of “snowbirds” – wealthy visitors from Canada and Michigan who come to Phoenix for two weeks during winter. 

These visitors tend to frequent malls such as Chandler Fashion Center, Desert Ridge Marketplace, Tempe Marketplace, and Scottsdale Fashion Square. These malls have the same chain stores and often attract the same type of visitors.

9. Phoenix has a high cost of living. 


The cost of living in Phoenix has been steadily rising in recent years. The housing market in Phoenix has seen significant price increases, and the cost of everyday essentials like groceries and utilities has also risen. 

Phoenix’s cost-of-living score is 113, which includes typical necessities like food, healthcare, taxes, and transportation. This is more expensive than the state average of 106.4 and the national index of 100.

The Phoenix Metro Area is known for its affordable housing and living costs. However, the Area has been getting increasingly populated every year, and when people come from all over, everything from homes to gas to grocery expenses goes up. 

10. Phoenix has an active tourist season. 


Phoenix thrives on tourism, especially during the winter months. If you prefer a quieter pace of life, this period might feel overwhelming.

Phoenix’s popularity with snowbirds escaping the cold brings an influx of visitors from December to April, increasing crowds at popular attractions, restaurants, and even on the roads.  

The surge in tourism can impact the cost of living beyond just accommodation.  Dining out, entertainment options, and even essential services might see price increases to cater to seasonal visitors, which can be a burden if you’re on a fixed budget.

11. The arid desert air in Phoenix can trigger allergies.  


Phoenix experiences high pollen levels and dry air, which is a double whammy for allergy sufferers. The warm, dry climate creates ideal conditions for various plants to pollinate year-round, including mulberry trees, ragweed, and grasses. 

The city experiences frequent dust storms known as “haboobs” during the spring and summer. These unpredictable storms can stretch for miles and significantly impact individuals sensitive to dust and pollen, creating issues for people with allergies.

While some allergy sufferers find their symptoms improve in drier climates, Phoenix might be an exception. The lack of rain allows pollen to linger in the air longer, minimizing natural cleansing and potentially leading to more frequent allergy flare-ups.

12. Phoenix lacks nightlife. 


Phoenix is a vibrant city with much to offer, but it’s only for some. You might find fewer late-night options or specific genres of music venues you enjoy.

Compared to major cities like New York or Los Angeles, Phoenix offers a more limited nightlife scene. While there are bars, clubs, and lounges, the variety and concentration are smaller. 

Many bars and clubs in Phoenix have last call times earlier than in other cities. This means the nightlife scene tends to wind down sooner, and finding late-night activities can be more challenging.

13. Phoenix heavily relies on cars. 


Phoenix is a sprawling city with far-flung neighborhoods and limited walkability.  Many errands and destinations require a car, making it easier to get around with one. 

Not all areas in Phoenix have well-maintained sidewalks, making walking or biking along busy roads unpleasant or unsafe. This can further discourage alternative modes of transportation and make car ownership a near-necessity.

While Phoenix offers many things to enjoy, its car-centric infrastructure is a significant factor to consider. If you prefer a more walkable city with robust public transportation options, Phoenix might not best suit your lifestyle.

14. Phoenix has a high crime rate. 


Unfortunately, Phoenix has a high crime rate, with approximately 37 crimes per 1,000 residents. This means your chances of being a victim of property or violent crime are one in 27, and 92 percent of other communities in Arizona are safer. 

The most common crimes in Phoenix include motor vehicle theft, burglary, larceny, and arson. It has a higher property crime rate than the national average. 

Phoenix also has violent crime rates that exceed the national average, which includes assaults, robberies, and homicides. Depending on your risk tolerance and lifestyle, this could be a significant drawback.

15. Phoenix is not a sustainable city.


Phoenix heavily relies on imports for food, gas, and water, which raises concerns about the city’s long-term sustainability. With temperatures frequently soaring above 120 degrees, the impact of heat waves is a growing concern. 

Additionally, the state faces a perpetual drought, leading to the depletion of water sources from the Colorado River, the Salt River reservoir system, and underground wells. If the situation persists, Phoenix could face a future resembling a ghost town. 

Phoenix is also known for its sprawling suburbs, with houses often far from workplaces and amenities. This car-dependent lifestyle contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

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