12 Best Places to Live in Arizona in 2024

by Flora
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Arizona is more than just a state; it’s a vibe all its own. From the Grand Canyon’s majesty to the artsy flair of Sedona and the hustle of Phoenix, Arizona offers a mix of lifestyles and settings. But it’s a big place, and picking the perfect spot to live can be tough. That’s why I’ve made this guide on the best places to live in Arizona.

I’ve roamed Arizona far and wide, and I can say it’s a stunner with lots to offer. From the red rocks of Sedona to the vast Sonoran Desert, and from Phoenix’s tech scene to Tucson’s history, Arizona has something for everyone. Whether you love the great outdoors, crave cultural spots, or want city life, you’ll find a place in Arizona that feels just right for you.

So, where to begin? The best spots in Arizona depend on what you’re after. Some folks want nature close by, others aim for great schools, and many look at the cost of living.

Join me as I list the top cities to live in Arizona, based on what matters to you. I’ve read up, checked the facts, and talked to locals to make a list that fits all lifestyles and budgets. Let’s get going!

The best places to live in Arizona right now

The Best Places to Live in Arizona        

Eager to explore the most enchanting places to call home in Arizona? Situated in the southwestern region of the United States, Arizona offers a variety of options for everyone. Continue reading to uncover the top places to live in this captivating state.

In search of your dream location in Arizona? No matter what you have in mind, Arizona has a place that will meet your requirements.

  • Best for Innovation: Chandler
  • Best for Outdoor Enthusiasts: Flagstaff
  • Best for Families: Gilbert
  • Best for Sports and Entertainment: Glendale
  • Best for Economic Growth: Mesa
  • Best for Safety and Community: Oro Valley
  • Best for Luxury Living: Paradise Valley
  • Best for Urban Living: Phoenix
  • Best for Upscale Shopping and Dining: Scottsdale
  • Best for Natural Beauty and Spirituality: Sedona
  • Best for College Life and Nightlife: Tempe
  • Best for Arts and Culture: Tucson

Here are the prime spots to consider for your new Arizona home:

1. Chandler

Ah, the allure of the desert meets suburban sophistication. Chandler is where tech-savvy professionals find their haven. With companies like Intel and Microchip Technology headquartered here, it’s no surprise that this city is one of the coolest places to live in Arizona.

The Downtown Chandler area is a hotspot for foodies and art enthusiasts. From gourmet food trucks to art walks, there’s never a dull moment. Families will appreciate the top-notch schools and numerous parks, like the Tumbleweed Park, which hosts the annual Ostrich Festival.

Chandler blends modern amenities with Southwestern charm, delivering an unbeatable and balanced lifestyle.
Chandler blends modern amenities with Southwestern charm, delivering an unbeatable and balanced lifestyle.

Outdoor lovers can explore the Veterans Oasis Park, a 113-acre wetland. Here, you can spot local wildlife or take a leisurely paddle board ride. The city also boasts a range of shopping experiences, from the luxurious Chandler Fashion Center to quaint boutiques.

Safety is another strong suit, with low crime rates compared to other metropolitan areas. The community vibe is welcoming, making it easy to feel at home. With a mix of modern amenities and a touch of Southwestern charm, Chandler offers a balanced lifestyle that’s hard to beat.

2. Flagstaff

Elevate your lifestyle—literally! Situated at 7,000 feet above sea level, Flagstaff offers a refreshing change from Arizona’s desert landscape. This mountain town is one of Arizona’s best places to live, especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast.

Skiing, hiking, and mountain biking are just a few activities you can enjoy here. The San Francisco Peaks serve as a stunning backdrop, offering trails that lead you through alpine forests. The Lowell Observatory, one of the oldest in the U.S., provides a unique stargazing experience.

Flagstaff provides a refreshing departure from Arizona's desert scenery.
Flagstaff provides a refreshing departure from Arizona’s desert scenery.

Flagstaff is also a hub for education, being home to Northern Arizona University. The cultural scene is vibrant, with music festivals and art shows happening throughout the year. Local breweries and farm-to-table restaurants add to the town’s laid-back vibe.

Safety and community are big here, with various neighborhood watch programs and community events. The cost of living is a bit higher compared to other Arizona towns, but the quality of life makes it worth every penny.

3. Gilbert

Picture this: tree-lined streets, modern amenities, and a community that thrives on local businesses. Welcome to Gilbert, a town that’s rapidly growing yet maintains its small-town charm. It’s one of the best areas to live in Arizona, especially for families and young professionals.

The local Farmers Market is a weekend staple, offering fresh produce and artisanal goods. For those who love the great outdoors, the Riparian Preserve provides a tranquil setting for bird-watching and hiking. Gilbert also hosts a variety of events year-round, from food truck festivals to outdoor movie nights.

Gilbert has it all—a nice city in Arizona, providing a high quality of life minus the big city hustle.
Gilbert has it all—a nice city in Arizona, providing a high quality of life minus the big city hustle.

Education is a strong suit here, with highly-rated schools and plenty of extracurricular activities for kids. The healthcare system is robust, featuring some of the state’s top hospitals.

When it comes to dining, you’re in for a treat. From upscale steakhouses to cozy cafes, Gilbert has it all. It’s a nice city to live in Arizona, offering a high quality of life without the hustle and bustle of a big city.

4. Glendale

Step into a world where entertainment takes center stage. Glendale is the go-to spot for sports enthusiasts and concert-goers alike. Home to the Arizona Cardinals and the Phoenix Coyotes, it’s one of the top cities in Arizona to live if you’re a sports fanatic.

The Westgate Entertainment District is a hub for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Think live music, trendy bars, and an array of international cuisines. For history buffs, the historic downtown offers a glimpse into Arizona’s past, featuring antique shops and classic car shows.

Glendale presents an irresistible and vibrant lifestyle, making it a top choice for residents.
Glendale presents an irresistible and vibrant lifestyle, making it a top choice for residents.

Outdoor activities? Glendale has you covered. The Thunderbird Conservation Park offers hiking trails and stunning desert views. Plus, the city is just a short drive away from one of the best lakes in Arizona, Lake Pleasant, where you can indulge in water sports or simply relax by the shore.

Safety is a priority here, with community policing efforts and neighborhood watch programs. The schools are decent, and there’s a sense of community that makes you feel instantly at home. Truly, Glendale is the best city to live in Arizona, offering a vibrant lifestyle that’s hard to resist.

5. Mesa

Imagine a city where the arts and nature coexist in perfect harmony. That’s Mesa for you, a city that’s not just another Phoenix suburb but a destination in its own right. It’s one of the best Arizona towns to live if you’re into culture and outdoor adventures.

The Mesa Arts Center is the cultural heartbeat of the city, offering everything from Broadway shows to art installations. For the outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby Usery Mountain Regional Park provides hiking, archery, and camping opportunities.

Mesa, not just a Phoenix suburb, is an Arizona town of cultural and outdoor allure
Mesa, not just a Phoenix suburb, is an Arizona town of cultural and outdoor allure

Education is top-notch, with several schools ranking high in both state and national levels. The city also offers various vocational and community colleges, making it a hub for lifelong learning.

Foodies will appreciate the diverse culinary scene, from authentic Mexican to farm-to-table American cuisine. The city’s public transport system is efficient, and it’s well-connected to other parts of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. All in all, Mesa is among the best towns to live in Arizona, combining the best of urban and natural worlds.

6. Oro Valley

Elevated living takes on new meaning in Oro Valley, a town that sits against the stunning backdrop of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Known for its high quality of life and outdoor amenities, it’s a good place to live in Arizona, particularly for those who love nature and a tight-knit community.

Golfers will find paradise here, with courses that offer panoramic mountain views. The town is also home to the Oro Valley Aquatic Center, a state-of-the-art facility perfect for both casual swimmers and competitive athletes.

Oro Valley sits against the stunning backdrop of the Santa Catalina Mountains, creating a picturesque setting for this town.
Oro Valley sits against the stunning backdrop of the Santa Catalina Mountains, creating a picturesque setting for this town.

Families will find the education system to their liking, with schools that consistently receive high marks. The Oro Valley Public Library serves as a community hub, offering various programs and events for all ages.

The culinary scene is diverse, featuring everything from upscale dining to cozy coffee shops. The town also hosts several annual events, including the Oro Valley Music Festival and the Oro Valley Festival of the Arts. In essence, Oro Valley is a place to move in Arizona that offers a well-rounded lifestyle, making it an ideal spot for families and retirees alike.

7. Paradise Valley

When you think of luxury in Arizona, Paradise Valley often comes to mind. This affluent town is a magnet for the well-heeled, offering a lifestyle that’s as grand as the surrounding landscape. It’s one of the best Arizona cities to consider if opulence is your style.

The real estate here is nothing short of spectacular, featuring sprawling estates with breathtaking mountain views. But it’s not just about the glitz; the town is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The Echo Canyon Recreation Area offers challenging hikes and rewarding vistas.

Paradise Valley, blending luxury and natural beauty, is a top place to live in AZ, offering the best of both worlds.
Paradise Valley, blending luxury and natural beauty, is a top place to live in AZ, offering the best of both worlds.

Education is top-tier, with schools that are among the best in the state. The town also boasts a low crime rate, adding an extra layer of comfort to this luxurious locale.

Dining options range from Michelin-starred restaurants to chic cafes, offering a culinary experience that’s as diverse as it is exquisite. With its blend of luxury and natural beauty, Paradise Valley is a where to live in AZ that offers the best of both worlds.

8. Phoenix

Step into the vibrant heart of Arizona. Phoenix is a bustling metropolis that offers a bit of everything, making it one of the most livable cities in Arizona. From a thriving arts scene to a plethora of outdoor activities, this city is a melting pot of experiences.

The Roosevelt Row Arts District is a must-visit for art lovers, featuring galleries, murals, and a monthly art walk. For those who prefer the great outdoors, the Phoenix Mountains Preserve offers hiking trails with city views that will take your breath away.

Phoenix, blending urban excitement and natural beauty, is the prime Arizona city for a dynamic lifestyle
Phoenix, blending urban excitement and natural beauty, is the prime Arizona city for a dynamic lifestyle

Education is diverse, with a range of public and private schools, as well as higher education options like Arizona State University. The job market is robust, particularly in sectors like healthcare and technology.

When it comes to dining, the options in Phoenix are endless. From food trucks serving up local favorites to fine dining establishments, there’s something for every palate. With Phoenix’s mix of urban excitement and natural beauty, it is the best Arizona city to consider for a dynamic lifestyle.

9. Scottsdale

Think of a place where the desert’s raw beauty meets the refined lifestyle of an urban setting. That’s Scottsdale for you, a city that effortlessly blends the natural and the cosmopolitan. It’s a nice part of Arizona to call home, especially if you appreciate the finer things in life.

The Old Town area is a cultural treasure, offering art galleries, boutique shops, and a range of dining options. For the outdoorsy types, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve provides miles of hiking trails and panoramic desert views.

Scottsdale is a paradise for food lovers when it comes to dining.
Scottsdale is a paradise for food lovers when it comes to dining.

Education is a strong point here, with schools that consistently rank high in the state. The city also offers a variety of community programs, from arts and crafts to sports leagues, ensuring there’s always something to do.

When it comes to dining, Scottsdale is a food lover’s paradise. From high-end steakhouses to casual taco joints, the culinary scene is as diverse as it is delicious. With its blend of natural beauty and urban amenities, Scottsdale is a place that is the best place to live in Arizona, offering a lifestyle that’s both luxurious and laid-back.

10. Sedona

Imagine waking up to the sight of towering red rock formations bathed in the golden light of the morning sun. Welcome to Sedona, a city that’s as much a spiritual retreat as it is a natural wonder. It’s one of the best towns to live in Arizona, particularly if you’re seeking a deeper connection with nature.

The city is renowned for its vortex sites, which are said to be centers of spiritual energy. These spots are popular for meditation, yoga, and other spiritual practices. For the more adventurous, the surrounding landscape offers endless opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. This makes it one of the most beautiful places in Arizona.

Sedona, among Arizona's best places to live, provides a lifestyle nurturing both body and soul
Sedona, among Arizona’s best places to live, provides a lifestyle nurturing both body and soul

Education here leans towards the holistic, with several institutions offering alternative learning experiences. The city also has a vibrant arts scene, featuring numerous galleries and an annual film festival.

When it comes to dining, expect a range of options that cater to health-conscious individuals. Think organic cafes and farm-to-table restaurants. With its unique blend of natural beauty and spiritual richness, Sedona is one of the answers to the question: what are the best places to live in Arizona, offering a lifestyle that nourishes both the body and the soul.

11. Tempe

Picture a lively college town that offers more than just frat parties and football games. Welcome to Tempe, a city that’s youthful at heart but mature in offerings. It’s one of the best places to move in Arizona if you’re looking for a vibrant yet well-rounded lifestyle.

Arizona State University’s main campus is here, infusing the city with a youthful energy. Yet, Tempe is not just for students; it’s a hub for tech companies and startups, offering ample career opportunities.

Tempe presents a diverse array of options, ranging from international cuisines to local Arizona fare
Tempe presents a diverse array of options, ranging from international cuisines to local Arizona fare

For outdoor enthusiasts, Tempe Town Lake is a popular spot for kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. The city also hosts various events throughout the year, from music festivals to art fairs, ensuring there’s never a dull moment.

Education is a strong suit, with several top-rated schools and a focus on STEM programs. The city’s public transport system is efficient, making it easy to explore the surrounding areas.

When it comes to food, Tempe offers a smorgasbord of options, from international cuisines to local Arizona fare. With its mix of educational opportunities and recreational activities, Tempe is among the best cities to live in Arizona, perfect for students, young professionals, and families alike.

12. Tucson

Discover a city where the spirit of the Old West meets modern sophistication. That’s Tucson for you, a place that captures the essence of the Southwest. It’s a great place to live in Arizona, especially if you’re drawn to a blend of cultural richness and natural beauty.

The city is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, which means you’re in for a culinary treat. From traditional Mexican fare to innovative farm-to-table dishes, the food scene is as diverse as it is delicious.

Tucson, a top Arizona city, suits those craving a dynamic yet tradition-rooted lifestyle
Tucson, a top Arizona city, suits those craving a dynamic yet tradition-rooted lifestyle

Outdoor activities? Tucson has you covered. The Saguaro National Park is a haven for hikers, while the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum offers an immersive experience into the region’s flora and fauna.

Education is top-notch, with the University of Arizona offering a wide range of programs. The city is also home to several museums, art galleries, and theaters, making it a hub for culture and arts.

When it comes to work, the city has a growing tech industry and is a major center for the defense sector. With its mix of cultural experiences and natural wonders, Tucson is one of the top cities in Arizona to live, suitable for those who crave a lifestyle that’s both dynamic and rooted in tradition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Arizona            

Interested in learning more about good places to live in Arizona? Here are frequently asked questions about the state’s best living areas.

Where is the nicest place to live in Arizona?

The “nicest” place to live in Arizona can vary depending on individual preferences, lifestyle, and needs. However, many consider Paradise Valley to be one of Arizona’s best cities to live. It’s an affluent area known for its luxury homes, excellent schools, and beautiful natural surroundings, including views of Camelback Mountain. The area also boasts low crime rates, high-quality dining options, and proximity to cultural attractions in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

What is the best area to move to in Arizona?

The “best” area to move to in Arizona depends on a variety of factors including your lifestyle, career goals, and personal preferences. However, many consider Scottsdale to be one of the best areas to move to. Known for its high quality of life, Scottsdale offers a mix of urban and natural amenities. It has a strong job market, particularly in tech, healthcare, and finance, and offers a range of housing options from upscale apartments to luxurious estates. The city is also known for its vibrant arts scene, outdoor recreational opportunities, and top-rated schools.

Arizona provides diverse living experiences for everyone, making it an ideal place to reside in.
Arizona provides diverse living experiences for everyone, making it an ideal place to reside in.

Where is the best and safest place to live in Arizona?

The best and safest place to live in Arizona often cited is Gilbert. This suburb of Phoenix is known for its low crime rates, excellent schools, and family-friendly environment. Gilbert has been consistently ranked as one of the safest cities in the United States. It offers a range of housing options, from affordable homes to upscale estates, and has a variety of parks, shopping centers, and dining options. The community is active and engaged, making it a popular choice for families, retirees, and young professionals alike.

What’s the nicest city in Arizona?

The term “nicest” can be subjective, but Paradise Valley is often cited as one of the nicest cities in Arizona. Known for its affluence, the city is a haven of luxury homes, upscale resorts, and exclusive golf courses. It’s nestled between Phoenix and Scottsdale, offering both seclusion and easy access to high-end dining, shopping, and cultural venues. The natural scenery is stunning, with views of Camelback Mountain and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Low crime rates and excellent schools add to its appeal, making it a highly desirable place to live for those who can afford it.

Which is the safest city in Arizona?

The safest city in Arizona is often considered to be Oro Valley, located just north of Tucson. This suburban community consistently ranks high for safety in various national surveys and reports. It’s known for its low crime rates, well-funded police department, and community engagement programs that promote safety and well-being. In addition to its safety credentials, Oro Valley offers excellent schools, beautiful natural scenery, and a range of recreational activities, making it a popular choice for families and retirees.

What is the prettiest area of Arizona?

The “prettiest” area in Arizona is often considered to be Sedona, known for its stunning red rock formations and vibrant arts scene. The natural beauty of the area is simply breathtaking, with numerous trails and viewpoints that offer panoramic vistas of the iconic red rocks. Sedona is also famous for its spiritual vortex sites, adding a unique mystical element to its allure. The town itself is charming, with art galleries, boutique shops, and cafes that capture the essence of Southwestern culture. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a spiritual seeker, or simply someone who appreciates natural beauty, Sedona is a feast for the eyes and the soul. If you are not sure where to live in Arizona, you can consider Sedona.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Arizona

From the spiritual allure of Sedona to the youthful vibrancy of Tempe, Arizona offers a diverse range of living experiences that cater to all walks of life. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a tech guru, or a family looking for a safe and nurturing community, the Grand Canyon State has something for everyone. It’s not just about the stunning landscapes; it’s about the lifestyle, the opportunities, and the unique characteristics that make each city a best place to live in Arizona.

So, why settle for ordinary when you can have extraordinary? Arizona invites you to explore its many treasures and decide for yourself where to live in AZ. Each city and town brings its own flavor, its own lifestyle, and its own opportunities for adventure and growth. Your perfect Arizona home is out there, waiting for you to discover it.

The best places to live in Arizona for all types of travelers
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