Phoenix Relocation Guide

Everything you need before moving to Phoenix

Arizona may only be a little more than 100 years old, but its booming desert heart has transformed into a sprawling suburban oasis.

The Phoenix area captures more than just Arizona’s capital city and downtown area. From Glendale to Mesa, the Valley of the Sun is home to nearly 5 million residents, ranking it as one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. A low cost of living, strong career growth, and accessible housing market have made the Phoenix area a magnet for people from all over the country.

Moving to Arizona soon and looking for more information about living in Phoenix? Our ultimate Phoenix relocation guide lists 50 resources to help you navigate around everything from scorpions to finding a new job.

Table of Contents

What to Expect Before Moving to Phoenix, Arizona

Before taking the plunge into this desert oasis, there are a few things that may be helpful to know. While most Phoenix relocation guides have tons of info on jobs, laws, and where to live, you’ll have to dig deeper for insider knowledge. If you’re not from around here, be sure to read up on these surprising parts about living in Phoenix.

1. Phoenix doesn’t just mean Phoenix

Like most major cities across the United States, living in Phoenix can mean living in any number of the neighboring cities, like Tempe, Scottsdale, or Glendale. If you’re moving to Phoenix, don’t expect to actually have “Phoenix” in your new address! Phoenix as a city has a population of around 1.7 million but combined with the surrounding metro area, that number is over 4 million.

2. 120 degrees isn’t all that bad (without humidity)

The main question that people ask when thinking about things to know before moving to Arizona, in general, is about the weather. You may have heard that the Sonoran Desert has a “dry heat,” but 120 degrees Fahrenheit still sounds pretty darn hot. However, you’ll find that if you stick to the shade and cover up, the sun won’t feel nearly as bad as the sticky humidity you’ll find elsewhere. In fact, you may be surprised to find that most buildings crank up the A/C in the summer, making the indoors freezing by comparison.

3. No natural disasters here, but beware of haboobs and monsoons!

While Phoenix residents are fortunate to avoid hurricanes, earthquakes, and crippling floods, we still experience the joys of unusual weather. Haboobs are intense dust storms that roll through the Valley from time to time. While its name causes out-of-towners to chuckle, these sudden storms can be incredibly dangerous, causing motorists to lose visibility momentarily. Equally as awe-striking to see is the monsoon, which brings sudden torrential downpours and temporary parking lot floods.

4. Take your water seriously

You may not realize it, but the heat can dramatically dehydrate your body and put your health in danger. Relocating to Phoenix has tons of benefits, but don’t forget that there are occasional tourists who end up in the hospital every year from not drinking enough water. By the time May rolls around, you should have a water bottle to take everywhere–just don’t leave it in the car!

5. “Where are you from?” is a common question

It seems like no one who lives in Phoenix is actually from Phoenix. Good sign? We think so. You’ll be joining the company of other fellow Californians, East Coasters, and everything in between. Phoenix’s Maricopa County has been the nation’s fastest-growing county for three straight years with no signs of slowing down.

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50 Resources for Moving to Arizona – Phoenix Edition

Career Resources

Phoenix area cities, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, and Tempe, stand among the best cities for jobs in the country in 2021. Phoenix careers are popular in industries ranging from financial technology to healthcare.

Here are 10 Arizona career resources to help you find a stellar job:

  1. BestCompaniesAZ – BestCompaniesAZ has resources for job seekers to explore Arizona’s best companies, browse jobs, and get expert advice on all of your most important career questions.
  2. AZ Job Connection – AZ Job Connection provides job seekers, employers, and training providers with easy-to-use tools that support a wide range of activities, free of charge.
  3. ARIZONA@WORK – ARIZONA@WORK is the statewide workforce development network that helps job seekers throughout the state by providing services and resources to pursue employment opportunities.
  4. Phoenix Business Journal – The Phoenix Business Journal has a search function specific for Phoenix careers filterable by category.
  5. AZ Central Job Network – AZ Central’s Job Network matches candidates to their perfect job by helping to discover new job opportunities easily and sends relevant jobs via email.
  6. Greater Phoenix Chamber – The Chamber’s Networking & Development features events for professional development like mixers, regular meetings for different groups, and other opportunities around the Valley.
  7. MeetUp – MeetUp is an online community that facilitates local, user-created meetups in your area for interests ranging from professional women to data science.
  8. Networking Phoenix – Networking Phoenix provides a calendar of local networking events, groups, and mixers for you to explore Phoenix careers and meet other professionals.
  9. Career Connectors – Career Connectors is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting professionals in career transition to hiring companies and quality resources through quality events.
  10. LinkedIn – Of course, who can forget LinkedIn when it comes to making real connections and building a network? LinkedIn lets you engage in local professional groups and events.

Top Companies Hiring in Metro Phoenix

These companies represent some of the best employers in the Phoenix area in search of talent from across the country. Their explosive growth has generated a high demand for employees at all levels, meaning there’s plenty of opportunities for you to apply after relocating to Phoenix.

What makes these companies the best to consider when moving to Phoenix? For years, these Phoenix companies have been voted some of the best places to work and boast talented, diverse workforces. From unique work cultures to celebrated employee resource groups, there are plenty of reasons to put these companies on your list to check out.

  1. Charles Schwab – Financial Services – For more than 40 years, Charles Schwab has been building a business designed to help people take control of their financial futures. As a “Schwabbie” at one of two Phoenix locations, you’ll work in a culture of innovation, inclusion, collaboration, development, balance, and investment in your growth. Explore open opportunities in operations, customer service, and more.
  2. USAA – Insurance  – USAA offers home, life, and auto insurance as well as online banking and investment services for the men and women of the U.S. military, their associates, and their families. USAA’s North Phoenix location draws professionals interested in roles for compliance, customer service, IT, and more.
  3. Farmers Insurance – Insurance – Farmers Insurance Group is an American insurer group of automobiles, homes, and small businesses and also provides other insurance and financial services products. Farmers hopes to hire many talented individuals for inbound sales, customer service, claims, HR, and other positions.
  4. GoDaddy – Technology – GoDaddy helps millions of entrepreneurs reach their dreams through technology and service. All three of GoDaddy’s campuses in Gilbert, Scottsdale, and Tempe let you work in an inclusive, comfortable culture for a company growing every day around the world. GoDaddy is hiring professionals for roles, including sales, software, technical support, and more.
  5. Voya Financial – Financial Services – Voya Financial is a financial, retirement, investment, and insurance company located in Chandler, Arizona. In 2021, Voya Financial was recognized as one of the most sustainable companies, thanks to its employees’ efforts throughout 2020. Voya Financial is looking to hire for roles including IT, customer service, market research, and more.

Curious about more great companies in Phoenix?

Explore a full list of Arizona’s 100 Best Companies

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Where to Live in Phoenix

The Phoenix metropolitan area consists of distinct cities and neighborhoods, each with its own flavor and perks. So, it’s important to find one that’s perfect for you before relocating to Phoenix!

Here’s some more information about these best neighborhoods in Phoenix to help you find your new home:

  1. Best School Districts in Phoenix – Search for the top school districts in the Valley of the Sun with this easy-to-use directory tool to help you choose the best neighborhood for your kids.
  2. Top Ranked Arizona Schools – For college-bound kids, education matters. These rankings show the best high schools in Phoenix for your children.
  3. Buying a House – Zillow is a leading real estate marketplace that lets you search for listings in the Phoenix area of your choice.
  4. Renting a Home – Phoenix also has a strong home rental market with plenty of options to choose from across the Valley.
  5. Moving to Mesa – The City of Mesa has about half a million residents, but without the big city feel and instead of a suburban, family-friendly experience.
  6. Moving to Tempe – Due to its role as Arizona State University’s main home and central location, Tempe has some of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix for young people and those looking for a quick commute to other neighboring cities.
  7. Moving to Chandler – Chandler boasts some of the best award-winning schools in the Phoenix-area and a cosmopolitan feel.
  8. Moving to Glendale – Glendale offers affordable living and plenty of game opportunities for sports fanatics (It’s home to the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Coyotes).
  9. Moving to Scottsdale – Residents in Scottsdale enjoy a high quality of life, luxury resorts and top-notch restaurants, and a relaxed ambiance.
  10. Moving to Phoenix – While Downtown Phoenix has recently seen an explosion of renovation and a trend urban vibe, the outskirts of the center hub are still ripe for families and commuters.
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Driving, Laws, and Other Logistics

This section of our Arizona relocation guide covers important laws and logistics to know before moving to the Copper State. After all, moving to a new state can mean a change in laws and policies that you never gave a second thought about. In order to smooth the transition of moving to Arizona, it’s best to read up on some basic Arizona driving laws, tenant laws, and alcohol laws before it’s too late!

  1. Arizona Driving Laws – Several years ago, the state passed a “texting while driving” ban. From laws saying that motorcyclists don’t legally need to wear helmets to no tollways, what else should you know before hitting the AZ streets?
  2. Other Weird Laws –  Apart from official mine inspector elections and no health insurance program for low-income children, what are some other weird laws special to the Grand Canyon State?
  3. Firearm Possession – Some still know Arizona as the Wild West, but even cowboys have regulations on weapons and firearms in this desert.
  4. Minimum Wage in Arizona –  The state minimum wage has been steadily increasing over the past few years and is well above the federal level in 2019.
  5. Updated 2021 laws – Which updated laws should you be aware of in 2021?
  6. Understanding Arizona Taxes –  Are taxes higher or lower in Arizona compared to other states? The answer depends on your personal situation.
  7. Arizona Marijuana Laws –  The 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act made medical marijuana legal in Arizona, so what should you know?
  8. Arizona Alcohol Laws – The Arizona Department of Liquor shares some frequently asked questions for alcohol laws when it comes to age, place, licensing, and more.
  9. Legal Gambling in Arizona –  From dog and horse racing to casinos, learn more about what’s legal and what isn’t in Arizona’s gambling scene.
  10. Crime Stats Maps – This page from the City of Phoenix includes statistics and annual maps showing crime rates in Phoenix.

Arizona Department of Transportation

New to driving in AZ? Read the official ADOT Guide.


Things to Do Around Arizona

Relocating to Phoenix opens the doors to a list of completely new things to try out. Catch a glimpse of the iconic Saguaro cactus, which only calls the Sonoran Desert home, for example. Apart from the stunning landscapes, the Valley shows off its distinct personality through its uniquely “Phoenician” food, hikes, museums, and art.

Check out how to spend your weekends when living in Arizona!

  1. Find a hike around Phoenix – Sure, Phoenix may be one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, but stunning landscapes and exhilarating hikes are hiding around every turn.
  2. Where to Eat – Whether you have a taste for Mexican or Korean BBQ, Phoenix’s food scene has been exploding with delicious new options, world-class chefs, and homestyle mom and pop joints.
  3. Kid-Friendly – Even when the temperatures climb into the 100s, the Phoenix area offers families tons of kid-friendly activities, museums, and amusements to keep entertained.
  4. Museums – Phoenix’s collection of museums ranges from science to musical instruments to Native Cultures–a great way to learn about the local areas and the world!
  5. Exploring Beyond Phoenix – Your new life in Phoenix certainly will keep you busy, but the rest of the state boasts incredible sites and things to see, such as the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.
  6. Fairs and Festivals – Every season brings new festivals, craft shows, art fairs, and events across the state to explore.
  7. Art Scene – Each city around and including Phoenix has a thriving art scene with tons of free festivals and opportunities to enjoy the local and world-class symphonies, artwork, and performances.
  8. Farmers Markets – Farmers markets have also become a staple of every Valley town on the weekend, featuring fresh produce, artisan crafts, and delicious eats.
  9. Best Shopping – From vintage thrifting to upscale chic, Phoenix offers a wide buffet of every shopper’s need.
  10. Native American Culture – One of the best ways to experience American Indian culture is to attend events and activities that celebrate the many tribal communities throughout Arizona.

Life in the Desert

To round off this Phoenix relocation guide, here’s a taste of what life is like in the desert. Phoenix lies in the Sonoran Desert, a beautifully unique area unlike anywhere in the United States. From wildlife to cacti, here are a few things to know before making Phoenix your new home.

  1. Phoenix Weather – It’s not always 100+ in the desert! This guide takes you through what to expect of the weather in a typical Phoenix year.
  2. Surviving the Heat – These 7 tips will help you survive summer in Phoenix.
  3. Identifying Different Types of Cacti – Learn about the common cacti you can find mixed in among streets and buildings around the Valley.
  4. Scorpions, Bees, and Spiders – Phoenix is notorious for its scorpion residents and spiders. What should you know if you find one crawling in the tub?
  5. Venomous animals – Know how to identify the critters that have more than just a nasty bite.
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