Nicknamed the “Valley of the Sun,” the Greater Phoenix area sees more sunshine than any other metro area in the country. That in and of itself is enough to entice people to lay down roots, but Arizona’s capital also features a desirable combination of a thriving job market, a relatively low cost of living and plenty of ways to enjoy the nice weather.

Phoenix is the best place to get a sampling of all the state has to offer. Its downtown area may be characterized by sleek, ultramodern office buildings, but the city center is not all about work. Phoenix also contains ample opportunities to play. Recently built sports stadiums, along with updated arts and shopping districts fringe downtown, as do some of the area’s finest eateries. Phoenix is surrounded by 22 other cities where western style homes and sprawling shopping malls abound. The neighboring city of Scottsdale to the North, is home to numerous golf resorts, health spas and dude ranches. The greater Phoenix area, including Mesa and Tempe, has become a haven for retirees seeking an active lifestyle in beautiful surroundings. This booming city is the perfect base for all kinds of outdoor adventures. Journey into the Sonoran Desert to see the brilliantly colored sandstone formations and towering Saguaro Cacti.

Within the Valley of the Sun, you can trace Arizona’s history from its earliest Hohokam residents at the Pueblo Grande Museum & Archaeological Park to the latest technological developments showcased at the Arizona Science Center. Plus, Greater Phoenix’s 2,000-plus square miles sprawl to the bottom of striking desert mountains crisscrossed by hiking and biking trails.

Residents enjoy living in Phoenix for the same reason nearly 20 million visitors flock to the metro area yearly: the weather. In the winter, daytime highs reach into the 50s and 60s, and springtime hits as early as late January, with cactus blossoms and wildflowers blooming.

While Arizona is one of the go-to spots for retirees, Phoenix’s median age is only 36, due in part to the fact that 30 percent of households are family households with children younger than 18. Greater Phoenix is also home to Arizona State University, which draws a lot of younger people to the area.

Cheering on Phoenix’s professional sports teams, including the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, the NBA’s Suns, WNBA’s Mercury and the NHL’s Coyotes, is another favorite pastime. And each January, more than half a million golf enthusiasts descend on the area to watch the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Meanwhile, downtown Phoenix offers a collection of concert venues and nightclubs, as do the nearby cities of Scottsdale and Tempe.

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