Top 10 Best Places to Live in Arizona

Arizona is a state with diverse landscapes, from deserts to forests to canyons and more. It’s also home to major metropolitan cities as well as quaint small towns. With mild winters and beautiful scenery, Arizona is a popular destination to live for people across the country. 


Whether you’re considering relocating to Arizona or are just curious about the top places to live, this post will give you a broad overview of the places with the highest quality of life.

Downtown Gilbert, AZ

#10 Gilbert

Gilbert is the 10th best place to live in Arizona with a population of over 271,000 residents. This town is located in the southeast valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Gilbert boasts a median home price of around $574,000, making it a more expensive option compared to some other towns on this list.

Gilbert has experienced rapid growth over the past couple of decades as more people are attracted to its family-friendly neighborhoods, parks, schools, and amenities. The town has a highly-rated school district and a low crime rate that appeals to families. Outdoor recreation is popular with Gilbert having numerous parks, pools, sports fields and courts. Gilbert has a quaint historic downtown area with boutique shops and restaurants that help give the town its own unique charm and identity. 

With its central location in the Phoenix metro, Gilbert provides easy access to major highways, the airport and downtown areas of Phoenix and Scottsdale. Gilbert offers an excellent quality of life in the Phoenix area for those looking for a growing community.

#9 Oro Valley

Oro Valley is a town located just north of Tucson in Pima County, Arizona. With a population of around 48,000, Oro Valley has experienced rapid growth over the past couple of decades as more people are attracted to its natural beauty and excellent amenities. 

Oro Valley sits at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains with sweeping vistas of the mountain ranges surrounding Tucson. Outdoor recreation opportunities abound with miles of hiking and biking trails to explore right from town. The community also boasts championship golf courses, resorts, and spas for relaxation and rejuvenation.

While smaller than some of the major cities in Arizona, Oro Valley has a vibrant economy and quality of life. The median household income is $101,394, which is substantially higher than both the state and national averages. The town has low crime rates, high-ranking schools, and a diverse mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. 

With its natural setting, friendly community, and abundance of amenities, it’s no wonder Oro Valley continues to gain popularity as a highly desirable place to live in Arizona. The town offers residents a peaceful lifestyle with easy access to big city opportunities in nearby Tucson.

Town of Sahuarita sign

#8 Sahuarita

Are you looking for a safe and active community to raise your family? Then Sahuarita is the town for you.

Located 15 to 20 minutes south of Tucson is the Town of Sahuarita, one of the youngest towns in the State of Arizona. Founded in 1994, this suburb is in high demand and is one of the fastest-growing cities in Arizona.

With a population of around 35,000 people, locals describe Sahuarita as a small town. This ‘small town feel’ is great for families with kids since Sahuarita has a low crime rate and is one of the safest cities in Arizona. The median age demographic in Sahuarita is 37 years old. Sahuarita is generally an active community with many indoor and outdoor activities available for residents.

Some of the key things that make Sahuarita a top place to live in Arizona include its low cost of living compared to other areas of the state. Housing prices are quite affordable, with the median home value around $372,000. This makes it a great option for families looking for a nice single-family home.

Sahuarita Lake

Looking forward in 2024 and 2025, buyers can remain optimistic as one of the largest developers in Arizona, Rancho Sahuarita™, announced its next expansion will supply an additional 1,000 homes in the region. 

Sahuarita also has excellent air quality and outdoor recreation options. The Santa Rita Mountains provide scenic views and opportunities for hiking and biking. The weather is mild for most of the year, with sunny days and little humidity.

For those looking for a quieter lifestyle outside of the big city, Sahuarita checks many of the boxes. The community has good public schools and easy access to I-19 and Tucson. It is home to the award-winning master-planned community of Rancho Sahuarita, which was voted 2023 Reader’s Choice for Best Master-Planned Community in the state. Sahuarita offers residents a high quality of life in southern Arizona at a reasonable price point.

#7 Maricopa

Maricopa is a medium-sized city located in Pinal County, Arizona. With a population of around 63,000, Maricopa offers a quieter lifestyle compared to some of the larger cities in Arizona. Despite its smaller size, Maricopa still has a lot to offer residents:

  • Maricopa has experienced rapid population growth over the past decade as more people are attracted to its warm climate and affordable real estate. New housing developments continue to pop up around the city.
  • Maricopa is conveniently located along major transportation routes. It is about 30 miles south of Phoenix off Interstate 10, making it an easy commute for those who work in the state’s capital. The Amtrak also has a station in Maricopa.

Maricopa offers an excellent blend of small-town charm along with easy access to big city amenities thanks to its proximity to Phoenix. Affordable housing, good schools, and a growing population make Maricopa an appealing place to put down roots in Arizona.

#6 Surprise 

Surprise is the sixth-best place to live in Arizona with a population of around 150,000. It’s located northwest of Phoenix in Maricopa County. Surprise has a very low crime rate, with only about 2 violent crimes per 1,000 residents per year. 

Some reasons Surprise is one of the best places to live in Arizona:

  • Fast-growing population, nearly doubling since 2000
  • Part of the Phoenix metro area, close to big city amenities 
  • Low crime rate compared to other cities its size
  • New neighborhoods with modern houses and amenities
  • Excellent public schools and education opportunities
  • Warm, sunny winter weather year-round
  • Plenty of parks, recreation centers, golf courses
  • Retirement communities for active seniors
  • New businesses, malls, restaurants moving in

Surprise offers a great balance of city growth and small town community. For families or retirees looking for safety, amenities, and warm weather, Surprise is hard to beat. The expanding population and business growth provide jobs and amenities you’d expect in a much larger city.

#5 Goodyear

Goodyear is the 5th best place to live in Arizona. Located in Maricopa County, it has a population of around 101,000 people. 

Goodyear has a desert climate with very hot summers and mild winters. The summer high temperatures average between 100-110°F, while the winter lows are around 45-55°F. The area gets little rainfall, averaging about 8 inches per year.

Some of Goodyear’s appeal comes from its proximity to major attractions like downtown Phoenix, as well as natural landmarks like the Estrella Mountains and the White Tank Mountains Regional Park. The city has over 16 parks and numerous golf courses for outdoor recreation.

Goodyear offers both a suburban feel with planned communities, as well as more rural areas with horse properties. It has highly-rated schools, low crime rates, and a growing economy. The city has seen rapid growth and development over the past couple of decades. 

Goodyear provides an excellent quality of life with great weather year-round, recreational activities, and economic opportunities. The combination of amenities, cost of living, and location make it one of the best places to live in Arizona.

#4 Peoria

Peoria is the fourth-best place to live in Arizona thanks to its growing population, ideal location, and ample job opportunities. 

With a population of over 194,000 residents, Peoria is a mid-sized suburb located just northwest of Phoenix. It offers a comfortable small-town vibe while still providing easy access to big city amenities. 

Peoria has seen rapid population growth in recent years as more people move to the area for affordable housing and plentiful jobs. The population has increased by over 50% since 2000. New housing developments and apartment complexes continue to be built to accommodate all the newcomers.

In terms of location, Peoria provides the perfect balance of city and suburb life. It’s far enough from Phoenix to avoid big city congestion but close enough to easily commute for work or entertainment. The city has quick access to Loop 101 and is only 15 miles from downtown Phoenix. Outdoor lovers can enjoy Peoria’s proximity to Lake Pleasant for boating and other water activities.

Peoria also shines when it comes to job growth and economic opportunity. Major employers like Walmart, Peoria Unified School District, and Banner Health are among the top employers in the city. Recent years have seen expanding healthcare and technology sectors providing new high-paying jobs. With so much economic development, Peoria’s unemployment rate is lower than both the national and state averages.

With its ideal northwest location, growing population, and wealth of jobs, Peoria earns the #4 spot on our list of best places to live in Arizona. It offers the perfect mix of small-town community with easy access to big city perks. Peoria is a great choice for anyone looking to relocate to the Phoenix metro area.

#3 Scottsdale

Scottsdale is the 7th largest city in Arizona and one of the best places to live if you love the outdoors. With a population of over 244,000 people, Scottsdale is a diverse and thriving city in Maricopa County. 

Located just east of Phoenix, Scottsdale enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year. The city has a unique combination of sophisticated urban amenities and access to wide open spaces. Scottsdale is surrounded by mountains and the Sonoran Desert, providing plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring. 

Some of the top attractions and activities in Scottsdale include:

  • Old Town Scottsdale: This vibrant downtown area is home to art galleries, shops, restaurants, bars, and events. Old Town has a wonderful arts scene and hosts regular ArtWalks. 
  • Scottsdale Fashion Square: One of the top shopping malls in Arizona with luxury retailers, restaurants, and more.
  • McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park: Historic park with train rides and exhibits for railroad enthusiasts of all ages. 
  • Hot Air Ballooning: See the Sonoran Desert from above by booking a sunrise hot air balloon ride.
  • Golf: Scottsdale has over 200 golf courses is known as “The World’s Finest Golf Destination.”
  • Hiking: There are numerous hiking trails to explore in and around Scottsdale, including Camelback Mountain, Pinnacle Peak Park, and McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
  • Spas: With a number of world-class spas, Scottsdale is a premier destination for relaxation and pampering. 

With its combination of urban sophistication and access to outdoor recreation, it’s easy to see why Scottsdale ranks as one of the best places to live in Arizona. The city offers an exceptional quality of life in a beautiful desert setting.

#2 Chandler

Chandler is the second best place to live in Arizona. Located in the Phoenix metro area, Chandler has experienced rapid growth over the past couple of decades. 

With a population of over 280,000, Chandler is one of the largest suburbs in the Phoenix area. New housing developments continue to sprout up around the edges of the city. Chandler offers a mix of housing options from starter homes to luxury properties. The median home price is around $535,000.

Chandler is known for its high-tech companies and excellent schools. Intel is the city’s largest employer. Chandler also has a lively downtown area with restaurants, shops, and entertainment. Local events like the Ostrich Festival draw big crowds every year. 

Chandler provides easy access to the rest of the Phoenix metropolitan area via the Loop 101 and Loop 202 freeways. The city maintains over 50 parks and recreation facilities for residents to enjoy. All of these factors make Chandler one of the most appealing places to live in Arizona.

phoenix skyline at sunset

#1 Phoenix

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city in Arizona with over 1.6 million residents. It’s located in the northeastern part of the state within Maricopa County. Thanks to its warm climate and natural beauty, Phoenix has become one of the fastest growing cities in the US. 

Population wise, Phoenix is the 5th most populous city in the country. It serves as the county seat for Maricopa County and anchors the Phoenix metropolitan area, which has over 4.7 million residents. This makes it the 11th largest metro area by population in the nation.

Phoenix has a diverse economy focused on technology, tourism, education, and healthcare. Many major corporations are headquartered in Phoenix, including waste management company Republic Services, mining giant Freeport-McMoRan, semiconductor manufacturer Microchip Technology, and Apollo Education Group which operates the University of Phoenix. The metro area contains over 80 colleges and universities, making education a major industry. 

Other key industries include aerospace, manufacturing, finance, and transportation. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is one of the 10 busiest airports in the world and provides a major economic engine. Tourism is also strong, with over 20 million visitors per year. People come for the golf courses, luxury resorts, museums, performing arts scene, and of course the beautiful desert landscape and sunny weather.

Overall, Phoenix offers an exceptional quality of life with a strong job market, affordable housing, great culture and entertainment options, and incredible natural surroundings. It’s no wonder so many people are flocking to the Valley of the Sun.

As we’ve explored the top places to live in Arizona, it’s clear that each location offers its unique charm and advantages. Thinking of making a move to the Grand Canyon State? Schedule a tour in Rancho Sahuarita and see for yourself why a better life begins in your backyard in our award-winning community.