When deciding on where to live in the Phoenix metro area–what’s known as the Valley–you have many neighborhoods to choose from. The area is home to 26 cities and towns, each with its own vibe, charm and, of course, its own average rent or real estate price range. So, whether you are planning to rent an apartment or purchase a home, you’ll want to do your research and pick a spot that fits both your lifestyle and your budget.
Regardless of which community you decide on, most places in the Valley are no more than a 45-minute drive away from anything you want to eat, see, or do. Here’s an overview of the seven most populated cities in the area.
Population data was taken from 2011 Census estimates. Average rent and house/condo values were taken from Zillow.com market trends, as of 5/15/13.
Pop.: 236,123 | Avg. Rent: $1,001 | Avg. Home Value: $246,400 Why you might like this city: Chandler has a lot to offer someone looking to live in a suburban setting. It’s approximately 24 miles southeast of downtown Phoenix. Chandler Fashion Center is the major mall in the city. Skaters and BMX riders have access to public skate and bike parks. The city caters to young families and there are plenty of great restaurants and lots of cultural museums to check out.
Pop.: 208,453 | Avg. Rent: $1,250 | Avg. Home Value: $239,600 Why you might like this town: Another suburban town, Gilbert is east of Chandler and has a historic downtown area with shops, restaurants and live theater. The Gilbert Days Celebration is an annual event with activities for the whole family, including a Pony Express ride, rodeos and a dance. Restaurants like Joe’s Farm Grill and Liberty Market are among the top rated and reviewed. If you work in downtown Phoenix, be prepared to drive 24 miles to get there.
Pop.: 226,721 | Avg. Rent: $950 | Avg. Home Value: $154,700 Why you might like this city: Are you a fan of football or hockey? Glendale could be the town for you! Home to the Phoenix Coyotes and the Arizona Cardinals, this city on the west side of Phoenix has a lot to offer the sports enthusiast. Glendale is also home to Arizona’s largest water park, Wet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix, and the world’s largest fighter-pilot training facility, Luke Air Force Base.
Pop.: 439,041 | Avg. Rent: $950 | Avg. Home Value: $160,600 Why you might like this city: Mesa is another great family area. Mesa has a spring training field for one MLB team, and attractions in the city range from a Wild West town to the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Mesa is also home to one end of the Valley Metro Light Rail. Residents who work downtown have the option to use the light rail to get to the city instead of making the 20-mile drive.
Pop.: 1,445,632 | Avg. Rent: $950 | Avg. Home Value: $165,700 Why you might like this city: As an urban center, Phoenix is home to hip restaurants, three professional sports teams, a convention center, symphony, ballet, theaters, museums and more. You’ll never run out of things to do. One of two ends of the light rail is located in central Phoenix and runs through the center of the city, making it very easy to get around if you don’t want to drive.
Pop.: 217,385 | Avg. Rent: $1,700 | Avg. Home Value: $364,600 Why you might like this city: Scottsdale is the place to be if you like the posh nightlife. Old Town Scottsdale is full of shops and is home to more than 80 nightlife venues, ranging from casual to club atmospheres. Famous chefs, including “Top Chef” finalist Brian Malarkey, Food Network star Beau MacMillan and Iron Chef Jose Garces, own restaurants here. The city also hosts the PGA Tour’s annual Phoenix Open.
Pop.: 161,719 | Avg. Rent: $930 | Avg. Home Value: $191,200 Why you might like this city: Three words describe a large part of Tempe: Arizona State University. Tempe is home to ASU’s main campus, which hosts more than 59,000 students. Of course, Tempe has more to offer than the university. Tempe Town Lake is a gorgeous waterfront park with boat rentals and year-round events. The city is a 10-mile drive to downtown Phoenix (or a few minutes on the light rail).