Known for its warm climate and beautiful desert landscape, Arizona has long been considered a great place for vacation. But it’s also a great place to live. These cities, taking into account factors like median income, safety, graduation rates, weather, and cultural offerings, are some of the best places in the state to live, raise a family, and enjoy your days.
Whether you’re looking to move or already live here, these are the ten best cities in Arizona to call home. Agree? Disagree? Think we missed a city or want to add your own? Comment below to let us know.
Gilbert barely edged out #2 Litchfield Park, but its high median income, 94% diploma attainment rate, and safe, walkable streets for a larger city put it at the top spot. Gilbert’s close proximity to Phoenix means you’re close enough to catch a Suns or a Cardinals game, while still enjoying the quieter lifestyle. No stranger to accolades, Gilbert was also named one of the best cities in the country back in 2010, and is only a stone’s’ throw from two national parks.
#2. Litchfield Park
Known for its top-notch education system, high median income, and low crime rate, tiny Litchfield Park more than deserves a high ranking on this list. These factors make it not only an ideal place to live, but also start and raise a family. The moderate temperatures and ample greenspace are an added bonus as well.
#3. Oro Valley
Scenic Oro Valley just might be the most beautiful city on this list, but it also ranks high due to its bright future: the tech boom shows no signs of slowing down and Oro Valley is right at the forefront. This should keep their already-impressive median income climbing. Also boasting an impressive graduation rate (96%), Oro Valley’s school system is another reason the city ranks so highly. Not only that, but strong library and after-school programs help give children a bright future as well.
#4. Paradise Valley
The highest graduation rate (98%) on the list puts Paradise Valley in the top five. With a name like “Paradise” you can imagine that the landscape isn’t too shabby either. It’s indeed a beautiful place to live, with mountain views, thriving greenspace, and pleasant year-round temperatures, so even after the kids graduate you really won’t want to leave. Paradise Valley also has the highest median income on the list, boosted by the many national celebrities that have called it home.
#5. Fountain Hills
Yes, there is a beautiful fountain in the city center from which Fountain Hills gets its name. But that is only one of the perks of living here. The high median income is a major factor, as well as the excellent school system. It’s also one of the very best cities on the list in which to enjoy Arizona’s scenic beauty. Defined more by the natural landscape, Fountain Hills is also just a short jaunt from Tonto National Forest. It’s a peaceful city where you can really enjoy the warm climate and scenic beauty.
Why are the residents of Carefree so carefree? Well, probably because it is the safest city on this list for starters. It might have something to do with the high median income and high graduation rate as well. A great place to raise a family (though that will surely add a bit of care to your life), Carefree is known as that perfect mix of old world and new – a place where you’ll find classic Southwest style and high end living side by side.
All the jokes have been made about this city’s unique name. It’s no “surprise” that Surprise landed in Arizona’s Top 10 cities to live, and it’s no “surprise” to residents that this city is one of the fastest growing in the state. Featuring fantastic cultural amenities, including the shiny new Surprise Aquatic Center, it strikes the perfect balance between big city and small town.
Money Magazine has already called Peoria one of the top places to live in the country, and with its beautiful weather, high median income and high graduation rate, we would have to agree. It’s also not too far from the Grand Canyon, and even closer is the incredible Desert Botanical Garden and other important cultural attractions that are great trips for the whole family.
Chandler, the largest city on this list with a population of 249,146. The homes are slightly more affordable, and the median income and graduation rates are among the highest in the state. Another added bonus is the city’s close proximity to one of the most interesting and oft-visited parts of the state, The Petrified Forest.
Just a few thousand people behind Chandler in terms of population, Scottsdale also ranks high in high school graduation rate and home value. Perhaps Scottsdale’s greatest feature is its central location around some of Arizona’s great cultural offerings. You’re not only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Butterfly Wonderland, a rainforest kept lush and green indoors and is as beautiful as it sounds, but Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is also nearby.