It may be a desert, but between the mountains and the cacti, living in Arizona is pretty special. There are plenty of reasons to move to the Grand Canyon State, and even more opportunities to find the perfect city to call home. Whether you're looking into an active lifestyle of hiking, biking, mountain climbing and even white water rafting, or a more metropolitan experience, the best places to live in Arizona all have something to offer you.
Combining a vibrant downtown with family-friendly neighborhoods, it's no wonder the city of Chandler sits on so many lists as one of the best places to live in Arizona. Spend the week commuting to work and sending kids off to school, but when the weekend comes, venture into the city center. Here you'll find plenty of activity, from pub crawls to music festivals.
For something truly special, visit Desert Breeze Park and take a ride on a vintage train. If you're looking for something to do on a weekly basis, schedule in time to shop at the Downtown Farmer's Market or swing into Yoga in the Park. Both activities happen weekly on Saturdays.
A picture-perfect location for small-town living, Gilbert offers apartments that are close to all the amenities you could possibly need without feeling squished into a big, busy city. Peppered with shops, the downtown area has great places to eat, grab a coffee or absorb some culture. You'll find the Gilbert Historical Museum and the Hale Centre Theatre right in the thick of things, as well.
For nature-lovers, there's amazing bird watching at Riparian Preserve at the Water Ranch. Manmade lakes maintain a thriving ecosystem of Arizona's natural surroundings. To combine the outdoors with some serious fun, Freestone Park includes a recreation center, mini amusement park, skate park and a mini train ride. There's also the usual playground, sports fields and picnic spaces.
Known for its modern vibe and extensive entertainment options, Glendale is a great choice to call home.
For sports fans, living in Glendale is a top-notch choice. Here, you'll find the Arizona Cardinals during baseball season and the Phoenix Coyotes take to the ice for hockey. Even college sports are close by in State Farm Stadium. It's home to not only the Cardinals but also the Fiesta Bowl.
The city also serves as a major draw for military personnel thanks to Luke Air Force Base. This base is the largest fighter pilot training spot in the world.
While we're talking sports, another ideal way to get that baseball fix is to call Mesa home. This is where Spring Training happens. Both the Oakland A's and Chicago Cubs come here to prepare for their season each year.
During the off-season, Mesa offers plenty to do, all without making it feel like you're living in a huge city. It's actually just the right size to make it a safe, bike-friendly city. You'll also find a few perfect outdoor spots with recreational options that range from nature walks to horseback riding, kayaking and rafting. Even better, you'll never struggle for a solid picnic spot.
Having a home in Peoria offers up a good mix of the big city and the quiet suburbs. As with most of the best places to live in Arizona, it has an extensive list of outdoor activities and some beautiful scenery.
Among all this natural beauty, you can also get in a little baseball here, too. The city hosts the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners for Spring Training.
However, the central feature of Peoria is Lake Pleasant Regional Park. This pristine lake draws visitors who want to boat and fish, as well as hike and camp. You'll find water skiers and wakeboarders out enjoying themselves, too.
No list of the best places to live in Arizona could be complete without talking about living in Phoenix. It's not just the state capital, but a bustling hub of activity. Some of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix encompass the trifecta of perfection — beautiful neighborhoods, fun places to go out and excellent shopping.
Given its diverse population, anyone can find their ideal home in this city. Nightlife and the college scene are both booming for the younger crowd, but the city holds plenty of family-friendly amenities, as well. It's also a popular destination for retirees.
With its compact city center, Prescott makes it easy to enjoy live music, shop a little and sit down in the grass for a picnic without wandering far. Courthouse Plaza is really where it's at, but it's not all there is to do when you live in Prescott.
You'll also find two lakes, which enable residents to enjoy a variety of activities. Goldwater Lake creates the perfect outdoor atmosphere. The surrounding park has a playground, volleyball courts and more. Lynx Lake is big enough for boats but is also a great place to camp and fish.
Rated as one of the best cities to retire to in the U.S., living in Scottsdale isn't just for people who no longer have to work. It is, however, a hub of luxury for Arizona residents, with plenty of high-end hotels, golf courses and more.
Scottsdale has a vibe all its own, being a little wild west, thanks to Old Town, and a little forward-thinking, with modern accents and a focus on entrepreneurs.
If your perfect Arizona town has something old, something new and plenty of upscale fun, Scottsdale is right for you.
With humble beginnings as a single square mile of land, the city of Surprise has sure grown up. Today, it houses one of the best public art collections in the state. Featuring creations heavily influenced by the local landscape and culture, it's not all small town here. You're also only 45 minutes from downtown Phoenix.
Encased by natural beauty, those living in Surprise can see the White Tank Mountains to the west and the Sonoran Desert to the north. Hiking, fishing and camping are all less than 20 minutes away.
In the spring, the population blows up as Surprise welcomes the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers for Spring Training.
If you're looking to live in Tempe, home of Arizona State University, you'll find many amenities aimed at college students and recent graduates who may decide to stay close.
Sitting along the Salt River, Tempe offers plenty of waterfront activities. It's also considered a suburb of Phoenix, so the big city isn't far.
For those who really want to settle down, the city is home to a lot of tech companies and professional opportunities.
The University of Arizona looms large for anyone searching for an apartment in Tucson, but there's more to this city than the Wildcats.
Tucson has the unique distinction of seasons but they're not what you might think. There's Snowbird Season, when Tucson neighborhoods see a higher influx of visitors. Then, there's Monsoon Season, where crazy thunderstorms, high winds and dust storms can quickly, though temporarily, transform the landscape.
No matter the time of year, though, the city offers unique districts throughout downtown for art, shopping, businesses and entertainment. You'll also find easy access to Tucson's rich history, and plenty of options to get outside and hang out.
With beautiful weather, ample sunshine and plenty of choices that fall under the best places to live in Arizona, this may be your next home state. If so, it's time to start looking for apartments for rent in Arizona.
Which city will you start with?