Then the wind blew cool through the pinyons on the rim. There was a sweet tang of cedar and sage on the air and that indefinable fragrance peculiar to the canyon country of Arizona. – Zane Grey
The Good, the Bad and The Ugly
Scottsdale is still a snowbird haven for wealthy retirees who like to play golf but tons of young people are moving there (some even following their retiree parents). While the classic, country club conservatism persists, it’s a practical conservatism. People don't care what their neighbors do in their bedroom, they care about how they keep up their property and how it affects their own property values. Still, the young people think they’ve found a hidden gem. Many more people are moving into Scottsdale than moving out. The fact that It’s extremely family-friendly with good schools and becoming a hotbed for IT jobs isn’t hurting.
The Best Thing About Scottsdale?
Old Town (or South Scottsdale) is where the fun is with plenty of local spots. Best of all, it has kept the old-fashioned ambiance with narrow streets, small storefronts and quaint boutiques. It has plenty of entertainment and nightlife but the authenticity has been retained. They don’t cater to chain restaurants for example.
Here's a review from a recent transplant who lives in Old Town:
Ah I moved here 60 days ago and love it. Cost of living is significantly cheaper (one bedroom $1800 or less with all the bells and whistles in a great area). I can’t speak to summers yet. I’ve met more people here in 2 months than 8 years in Seattle. People are open and friendly. So are all the bars and restaurants.
For more reviews of what living in Scottsdale is like from locals check out: The Buzz
The Worst Thing About Scottsdale
Summer (it's more than 3 months)
The summer is scorching. Like unlivable hot. Like don’t go outside or you might die, hot. 120 degrees is not uncommon. AZ is the skin cancer capital of the world. The wealthy people (of which there are many) leave and the born-and-bred people are used to the survival workarounds (save up for summer A/C, pools, early morning/late night grocery shopping, windshield shades, carry sunscreen at all times and getaways to Flagstaff and Prescott.)
Note from a local who loves Scottsdale but recognizes the heat as issue:
Honestly I could not recommend it more. Moved here from Maryland, the heat takes about 3 years to adjust… so just keep in mind for about 3-4 months of those years you will not be having fun.
Lifestyle Of Scottsdale
North Scottsdale (newer construction) is more conservative than South Scottsdale (Old Town). South Scottsdale is more liberal, more LGBTQ friendly and more vibrant (and it’s closer to the airport) but even so, the demographics are 30+. The twenty-somethings are in Tempe (Mill Avenue.)
Many people believe Scottsdale is overpriced and Phoenix is a better way to go. Scottsdale has cultivated a certain pristine vibe that plays well with a snobbier mentality. Probably why the younger folks stick around Tempe, West Mesa or Gilbert (which are in Phoenix btw.) They think Scottsdale is a luxury shopping/golfing destination and that it is a predominately white, upper-middle-class exurb with lots of massive shopping centers that are only accessible by car. Not exactly the Gen Z way of life.
Aside from all of Arizona being a haven of mid century modern architecture, many of the upmarket homes in Scottsdale are contemporary (Spanish/Mediterranean/Pueblo/Ranch.) Some, smaller, older homes can be found closer to Old Town and the rental market is relatively reasonable.
Why You Should Move Here Now?
Home Prices (by comparison)
Home prices aren’t low (and they’re on the way up) but if you’re coming from a big city and you have a game plan for the summer heat, you might be able to snuggle in somewhere in a much bigger home, get your kids tucked into a good school, enjoy the winters and maybe even move in near your babysitting parents.