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Old 11-25-2008, 11:02 AM
2 posts, read 3,490 times
Reputation: 10


So we've been planning to move to AZ for the past 8 mos or so, and will be moving late March and visiting in February to check out a few towns. The problem is that we can't really settle on which ones to check and won't have time to go all over the state. I personally keep coming back to Surprise, AZ during my searches. What's it really like there? It "sounds" almost perfect (tho I could do with about 100k more people personally) as it's close enough to Phoenix to just trek up there for some culture once in awhile, lots of outdoor stuff nearby, growing fairly rapid which is perfect for my entrepreneurial goals, etc. Also really wondering about Glendale and Peoria. Any other suggestions are very welcome. About us/what we want: 31 and 32yrs old respectively Her: Artist Me: Salesman/entrepreneur Good restaurants are important Smaller than 500k population Outdoorsy stuff nearby. Trails, parks, etc No kids and no plans for kids so school systems don't matter Close enough to a theater to watch some plays Artistic groups A good Toastmasters group So where would you go if you had to do it again? Thanks for any input. Sorry for the wall of text. It's refusing to put paragraphs no matter what I do.

Last edited by Riggs; 11-25-2008 at 11:06 AM.. Reason: Horrible formats
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:21 AM
Location: Montana
2,203 posts, read 9,321,211 times
Reputation: 1130
It sounds like you're definitely looking to be close to a metro area such as Phoenix or Tucson. Keep in mind, though, that all the towns you mentioned (Surprise, Glendale, Peoria) are basically all suburbs of the greater Phoenix metro area (pop 4.5 million).
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:40 AM
Location: arizona on the border
687 posts, read 2,951,348 times
Reputation: 395
All you've mentioned are intertwining suburbs, no spaces inbetween. All of this is going to exceed your 500,000 limit, but spread out over miles of area.
I'd be "surprised" if Surprise interest you at all. Notice on your map the proximity of Sun City and Sun City West...if you've seen the movie "Savages"...well, that's Sun Cities.
The others are just more bedroom communities for the Phoenix area. I don't see the artistic type too happy out that way unless you go all the way to Wickenberg.
I suggest you look into Cave Creek, Carefree and north Scottsdale. Artist colonies, money, good restaurants, toastmasters would, I am certain, be loaded with good contacts. And btw....You'd be driving "down" or across town to Phoenix from Surprise, not up.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:34 PM
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
44,626 posts, read 61,603,272 times
Reputation: 125801
I would love to sell you on our town, but I may get hung at the nearest hanging tree. Remember this is still the 'old west'.
When I moved here, the Phoenix Metro area, there were less than 300,000 population, I would brag and promote the area to anyone who'd listen at the time, now that the area has around 4 million population I've learned to keep my mouth shut.
The area of Surprise you mention is expected, by government estimates, to grow to over one million population by 2025. So think about that in making up your mind about moving here. A big hint, the Phoenix Metro area is growing exactly like the Los Angeles area did a few years back.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:42 PM
2 posts, read 3,490 times
Reputation: 10
Well I knew Peoria and Glendale were just suburbs and those were more for the wife than for me. I'm the one trying to put a 500k population cap on. I thought Surprise was actually outside though, just a little bit. Thanks for the other towns to look into. I'll check them out over the next week.
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:10 PM
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
1,112 posts, read 3,998,264 times
Reputation: 1239
Surprise is just another suburb. They all run together.

If you want disconnected, look into Casa Grande, or Wickenburg, or Prescott, even. Though; That's pushing it a bit.
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:41 PM
3,632 posts, read 16,164,624 times
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Yeah, just about about every city/town is "just a suburb" here. All you do is cross the street and you're in another city (seriously!!). We don't separate our areas like other cities do. You don't "drive to the next city over" ever here. Look at other outlying areas- the ones that are "off" to it's own on the map, like the one's Cody said. You could even do Anthem, as you drive pretty far to get to.
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:33 PM
Location: Casa Grande, AZ (May 08)
1,707 posts, read 4,341,167 times
Reputation: 1449

Also, other factors would help us to help you. How much money are you looking to spend? Is commute an issue? Are you hoping to BUY or RENT? Those kind of things.

As was said by another poster, if you can deal with a commute if needed (I work from home so wasnt a factor in my decision) then Casa Grande may fit your needs.

CG is about 50K permanent population and maybe 65k in the winter (I notice the traffic differences now that the snowbirds are here!) and is quite a bit less expensive than the towns mentioned in your post which are "in the grid" of the phoenix metro area itself. One nice thing is that there is about 20 miles of the Gila River Indian Reservation between CG and Chandler (closest "big" city to us) and will likely always be sparsely developed. As it stands now its exactly a 30 minute drive to Chandler, and 45 mins to Sky Harbor airport from CG.

CG already has a mall, redeveloping historic downtown with a theatre group, all the big box places when you need them, but still alot of farms around the outskirts. Dont get me wrong, eventual population projections also show this area to boom again, but at this point who knows when that may happen?

The good news is that you can drive the OTHER direction 90 mins and be in Tucson. Tucson definitely has the artsy stuff you were mentioning. You can also jump on I 8 (CG is right at the intersections of I 8 and I 10) westbound and be in San Diego in 5.5 hours.

I can answer more questions if you show any further interest. Im liking it alot here after 6 months....
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:38 PM
Location: NE Phoenix
81 posts, read 230,571 times
Reputation: 51
All the cities and towns don't mean anything to me. It's concrete from one end of the valley all the way to the other end of the valley. No spaces in between.
To me everything is just Phoenix.
Although having the cities and towns help identify what area of the valley people live in. LOL
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:59 PM
Location: Denver, CO
1,627 posts, read 4,217,927 times
Reputation: 1783
Posters above call it about right regarding concrete from one end of the valley to the other. Where it's not concrete it's usually either farmland that hasn't been bought up yet for development or 50 - 100 acre dirt lots that are just waiting for development. Also, your population cap is relatively meaningless in the case of Valley cities. There's very little density, so all you're really measuring is sprawl, and that's likely to increase tremendously in the smaller suburbs over the next decade or so.

If you're looking for cultural amenities, you're not going to find much unless you live in either "downtown" Phoenix, Tempe or maybe Scottsdale. The lifestyle in any of the suburbs is...well, really suburban. It's very homogenous in the 'burbs...VERY. That's not to say that you won't find the occasionally theatre or great restaurant, etc...

But to paint the basic picture you have a lot of housing developments, big and small, with very little in variety (except for apparent differences in income level) with gas stations, strip malls (albeit very nice looking strip malls in the outer 'burbs), shopping centers, etc... about every mile or two. The shopping centers tend to be pretty similar to one another. You will do a lot of driving.

I'm not saying it's all bad, though it's not really the lifestyle for me. For raising families it seems very convenient. Just don't expect it to be anything like what it's not. You will drive a lot to get anywhere. There is not a lot of variety, particularly in the surrounding cities (and not a lot of variety between them most of the time) though there are some vaguely interesting pockets if you know where to look. I highly recommend scoping out the place before moving if you have the option to see what many here are saying. Be sure to rent a car. The Phoenix Metro area is very easy to navigate.

Oh, let me finish on an up note by saying if you like hiking, wildlife, desert flora and fauna, Native American and Mexican culture, there are a lot of great parks, restaurants and hidden bits of history all around the Valley (and in Arizona in general.) Also, the Phoenix area is very business friendly.
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