Surprise, Arizona

Boomtown

Arizona – I’ve only spent a few days there, but it’s inspired me the most. It’s so peaceful. -Benjamin Clementine

Best Part About Surprise?

Sun City Grand

There aren’t many cities with a large resort-like community that dominates the place like the Sun
City Grand. Restricted to residents aged 45 and up, this development makes up a good-sized percentage of the city’s population. This is a massive development of over 4,000 acres with 63 different neighborhoods, some tiny with just 50 homes, and some large with over 300 homes. Arizona has been a major older population and retirement destination for many years and Sun City Grand is a marquee example of what is possible here.

Here's a local on what living in Surprise is like:
Overall we like it. The downside is you're far from downtown/east valley and all the cultural stuff that way (museums, zoo, restaurants, concert venues, etc) but you are relatively close to Westgate for Cardinals/Coyotes games, concerts, and some nightlife options. On the plus side it's relatively cheap, convenient to a lot of stores, and there's a surprisingly decent variety of restaurants. As far as outdoor stuff, Surprise aquatic center has a lot, and the community park is pretty nice, plus you're pretty close to the White Tanks and Lake Pleasant.

For more reviews of what living in Surprise is like from locals check out: The Buzz

Worst Part About Surprise

A Certain Sameness

As Surprise has grown it has built nearly identical subdivisions with seemingly identical homes. This blandness permeates the landscape and combined with a lack of culture, unique restaurants, or boutique shopping makes it a tough place to feel energy or vitality. Generally, you find lots of snowbirds who come down for a few months and chill, who don’t care about variety or local energy. They just want to be warm and golf and hang with friends. If that sounds good then this sameness may be just fine for you.

Here's a comment from a local about Surprise if you aren't a family:
If you guys are DINKS I don't see why you would move to a total bedroom community like Surprise. Save yourself a long commute and move to Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, etc. Maybe Glendale at the most west. Surprise is a good 10-15 years behind all those other cities I just mentioned.

Lifestyle In Surprise

Surprise has a beautiful Spring Training stadium called, you guessed it, “Surprise Stadium”. The Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals play here and so whether you’re a local or anywhere in the Phoenix area you get to see the big-leaguers play at an intimate ballpark. The other big attraction here is Surprise Community Park. A massive space with BBQ pits, fishing ponds and a major waterpark, it’s a big draw for families year round, in particular during the hot summer months. Given the lack of social scene locally, you’re generally heading into Phoenix/Scottsdale for going out. If you’re staying local it tends to be chains, the aforementioned Parks, or tons of golf courses.

If you want to check out what happens in Surprise here is a calendar of events: https://www.eventbrite.com/d/az--surprise/events/

Workstyle of Surprise

As with many heavily older-aged population cities, healthcare drives a lot of the local workforce. Banner Health and CVS are the two largest employers and given the need for elder care and a growing population you can expect these organizations to only grow. Other than the health space the jobs are either in the school district or in the chain service economy. Most don’t come here to work or they’re commuting to Phoenix/Scottsdale.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

Dedicated, Affordable Communities

If you’re retiring, empty-nesting, or want to live near Phoenix/Scottsdale but at lower costs then Surprise is a good option. While it isn’t jumping socially it truly caters to the older populations that love the well-attended dedicated communities, low-crime rates, and extremely friendly tax rates.