Scottsdale, Arizona

Smaller, Cheaper, Warmer

The BUZZ

What's it like to live in Scottsdale

What is it like to live in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA?

I've lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA my entire life aside from college (Arizona State University, so Tempe, AZ).

Pros:

  • It is a great place to raise a family. Crime is low. Schools are the best in Arizona. Neighborhoods are plentiful.
  • For young adults starting out careers, it is a fun place to be. You have Old Town Scottsdale, Mill Avenue (in Tempe, but easily reachable for a night), a lot of hiking, great dining, and great shopping.
  • Speaking of hiking, this is Arizona. Check out Camelback Mountain as an example of a great hike.
  • Location. Do you like to ski or snowboard? Go to Flagstaff, 2 hours north. Want to go to the beach? Go to California, 5-6 hours away. Want to go to Mexico? 4 hours. Sky Harbor is also a great airport to fly out of.
  • Weather. Yes, it is hot during the summer. 110-115 degrees hot. There is no humidity. During the winter, it is 60 degrees during the day. If you hate snow, this is the place to be.
  • Shopping. Scottsdale Fashion Square, Kierland Commons, and Scottsdale Quarter are a few great examples.
  • Dining. Eat anything ranging from one of the best steaks in the country at Mastros to grabbing delicious cheap eats in Tempe and Phoenix. Your options are endless.
  • Homes. Take a drive near Camelback Mountain, in DC Ranch/Silverleaf, or near the Biltmore, you will find some gorgeous and amazing homes.
  • Scottsdale Airport. For you tech entrepreneurs out there with your private jets, this is a great and easy airport to fly in and out of. It is also very centrally located in North Scottsdale.
  • Beauty. The desert is not for everyone, but something about the mountains and desert landscape grows on you after a long time.
  • Hotels. You have legendary hotels here such as the Arizona Biltmore and The Phoenician. There is no shortage of hotels here and it is a tourist destination.
  • Golfing. It is consistently ranked as one of the best golfing locations in the world and you are able to golf year-round.

Cons:

  • Scottsdale is very materialistic. This is the home of the "30k millionaire." People live beyond their means here. Many also worry about things that should not matter.
  • You need a car. If you live off the light rail in Tempe or downtown Phoenix, a car might not be necessary, but it would still help a lot.
  • To get to other areas outside of Phoenix, you need a car. This is not the East Coast.
  • Sports teams/events are a drive from Scottsdale. For Jobing.com arena, it is 40 minutes. Downtown Phoenix (Suns/Diamondbacks) is 30-40 minutes. This is presuming no traffic.

What is it like to live in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA?

I don’t live in Scottsdale, but in another suburb of Phoenix. That being said, I can only comment about life in the general Phoenix metro area. Summers are hot, but I suspect that isn’t a surprise to anyone. But I can tell you that you make your “peace” with it (it takes about 2–5 years, depending where you come from and how old you are). You quickly learn to do things at nighttime or early in the day. Water activities in summertime nights can be quite pleasurable. Professional sports, the arts, outdoor life, entertainment are plenteous.

Politics are closer to center-right (perhaps libertarian), but friendly with other points of view. You can find more of a liberal-progressive strain in the Tempe area. Arizona is considered a “gun-friendly” state. So if you have a deep-seated antipathy to people owning firearms, you would best consider somewhere else to live. Wide open spaces are nearby. Forested areas (surprise!) are about two hours away. Income and property taxes are low. I have shared previously that public schools are substandard, so you need to check the schools where you will live if you have school age kids. Some of the school districts are good, but you have to do your research. That is about it.

What are the three best things about living in Scottsdale, Arizona? Feel free to list more.

  1. It has a low crime rate. I can’t call most parts of the Phoenix metro area crime ridden but generally Scottsdale is very safe, even South Scottsdale where I roam.

  2. The city staff usually get back to you very quick and try like heck to work with you. I’ve had a few issues with city codes and their staff are friendly and helpful.

  3. If you like some drinking, come here, the metro area isn’t NYC or LA but this is the city where people come to have fun. No one walks out here. If you want to walk by yourself and avoid people, walk out here and get your thinking done.

  4. Golf. Cheap courses out here, if you like golf, especially right now. It’s 119 degrees out there. Really cheap fees.

Thoughts on moving to Scottsdale?

Ha, very small world. My wife and I moved from Seattle to Scottsdale in late 2018. TL;DR: We couldn't be happier with our decision. It's been a significant quality of life boost. Here's some more info…

Housing costs, like the ability to buy a house, are MUCH cheaper than Seattle. But Arizona -- and Scottsdale -- are booming. It's the hottest housing market in the nation. So it's affordable if you're keeping your Seattle salary, but it's not affordable for anyone who is native to Arizona or the midwest. In terms of rent comparison, it's anecdotal but I was paying $2600 for a nice 2BR apartment in SEA in late 2018. We rented a much nicer 2BR apartment in North Scottsdale for about ~$1700 through May of last year. We then purchased a house in Scottsdale for about $430K. My all-in payment now for a 4BR house in Scottsdale with a pool is less than $2K per month. So in general, yes housing costs are cheaper. But they are rising very quickly. It's insanely competitive.

Yes, the summers can be tough, but we absolutely love Scottsdale and the weather the rest of the year 100% makes it worth it. So many fun restaurants, so many fun outdoor things to do. You'd have to drag my dead body to ever move back to Seattle.

Highly recommend you make the move and I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to reach out with any additional questions, happy to help. You'll love it here.

Pros and Cons of Living in Scottsdale Arizona