A young family is hiking through the Sonoran Desert near Scottsdale, Arizona, on a sunny day.

Sunshine, Opportunity, and Culture: Here’s What Else to Expect When Moving to Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale Arizona

by Matt Lyons Posted on December 19, 2023

Considering a move to the Phoenix Metro Area? Then you may have already heard of the city of Scottsdale, which offers a unique living experience among a picturesque desert landscape. But aside from its fabulous outdoor recreational amenities, Scottsdale’s job market, economic opportunities, strong education system, and vibrant culture make the city the perfect place to fulfill life’s next chapter — no matter what walk of life you come from. Want to find out if moving to Scottsdale, AZ, is the right move for you? Read on!

Ready to make the move to Scottsdale? See how PODS can help you get there.

About Scottsdale

Located in Maricopa County, the “West’s Most Western Town” is situated in the Sonoran Desert at the foot of the beautiful McDowell Mountains, which lie to the city’s east. You’ll have easy access to major destinations, with Phoenix to the west, the Tonto National Forest to the north, and the Salt River to the south. 

Old Town Scottsdale is one of the finest urban centers in Arizona. It’s home to over 50 art galleries, along with a variety of restaurants and retail shops. Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve is also the largest urban wilderness area in the United States. 

With a current population of around 243,000, Scottsdale takes up roughly 184 square miles in size. And with a median age of 47.7, the average age in Scottsdale is almost 10 years older than the U.S. median age of 32. 

Q: Is Scottsdale a good place to move?
: Moving to Scottsdale, AZ, is a good choice for those who love spending time outdoors while enjoying high-quality living and lots of fun attractions. You should, of course, consider your personal preferences when answering this question (although we give Scottsdale two thumbs up!).

Five people are riding horses through the desert near Scottsdale, Arizona. The trail is lined with rough scrub brush and tall cacti.

(Source: Experience Scottsdale via Facebook)

Moving to Scottsdale, Arizona – Pros and Cons 

Whether it’s for the warmer weather, the plethora of job opportunities, the entertainment options, or another reason, deciding to move to Scottsdale is easy. Because of its top business performance, job growth, and sense of community, the city is a very attractive location for companies to expand their roots. However, before contemplating a move to a new environment, it’s essential to weigh both the pros and cons. 

Pro: Hotspot for the Outdoor Enthusiasts

The city of Scottsdale has a climate that's ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, with close to 300 days of sunshine each year. Take advantage of its warm weather by participating in exhilarating activities, like exploring the magnificent Sonoran Desert or hiking in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Retired residents, in particular, enjoy a variety of other leisure activities, such as bike rides and golfing.

Con: Summer Heat/Desert Climate 

Although many people move to Scottsdale for warmer weather, the high temperatures can easily reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer season. This can make outdoor activities uncomfortable and even hazardous. 

Pro: Diverse Job Opportunities 

The job market in Scottsdale is strong in various industries, such as finance, healthcare, real estate, and tourism. The city's thriving economy provides numerous employment opportunities, which draws in talented individuals from diverse disciplines. Some of the biggest companies to work for in the city include HonorHealth, Realty Executives, and Troon Golf Club

Con: Tourist Season

Because the city of Scottsdale is so popular for its warm weather and various attractions, winter is typically the peak of the tourist season, which can result in more congestion, difficulty finding parking, and increased wait times at restaurants.

Pro: Excellent Education Available 

Home to some of the best schools within the entire state, there are a variety of highly ranked private and public schools in Scottsdale. Both BASIS Scottsdale and Rancho Solano Preparatory School are local to Scottsdale and are ranked on Niche’s lists for “Best Public High Schools in Arizona,” and “Best Private High Schools in Arizona,” respectively.

Con: Potential of Drought 

Scottsdale’s location in the desert means there is not much rainfall throughout the city each year. In fact, there is less than 11 inches annually, which is much lower than the national average of closer to 30 inches per year. 

Q: Are people still moving to Scottsdale?
The population has increased slightly in Scottsdale over the past few years, as it is up by 1.02 percent since the most recent census.

Three young women pose for a photo during an afternoon out in Scottsdale, Arizona.

(Source: Experience Scottsdale via Facebook)

Scottsdale Cost of Living 

The cost of living in Scottsdale may seem a bit off-putting at first, since the cost of living index of 113 is 13 percent more than the national cost of living index of 100. It’s also more expensive to live in Scottsdale than it is in other areas of the state, as Arizona has a lower cost of living index of 106.4. 

Q: Is Scottsdale expensive to live in?
While the cost of living in Scottsdale is higher than the state and national average, it’s still lower than in other areas with warm climates year round, like California, which sits at 149.9.

Compared to other cost of living factors, like healthcare, utilities, and transportation, the housing market in Scottsdale is one of the main reasons why the overall cost of living is so high in the city. With a high average home price of $789,800, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is a little more attainable at a price of approximately $2,050 per month

As far as taxes goes, the combined sales tax rate in Scottsdale is 8.05 percent. The majority of this number comes from the 5.6 percent state sales tax rate, while the city itself has a sales tax rate of 1.75 percent. The rest comes from the 0.7 percent county sales tax rate. 

Q: How much do you need to make to live in Scottsdale?
Families with two children and one working adult should bring in at least $72,900 a year after taxes for a comfortable lifestyle, according to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator. Singles should bring in closer to $32,800 a year after taxes to live comfortably.

Scottsdale Climate and Weather

With nearly 300 days of sunshine every year accompanied by warm weather, you’ll surely be in positive spirits all year, as your mood is proven to improve in warm and sunny weather. The hottest time of the year falls from May to September, with an average daily high of above 97 degrees fahrenheit. 

And although you won’t get to experience the changing of the four seasons while living in Scottsdale, you can cool off a little bit between the cooler months of November to February. The average daily high is 73 degrees fahrenheit, while the average low doesn’t reach below 45 degrees fahrenheit. 

Getting Around Scottsdale 

Scottsdale is home to an efficient public trolley system that provides rides to areas for shopping, dining, school, and so much more. It has three distinct routes that connect to the Tempe Orbit and Valley Metro Transit, and many residents living in the city actually don’t need a car. When does traffic get really bad in the city, though? When tourists come and visit during the colder months.

Fun Fact: Residents of Scottsdale can take advantage of services like the RideChoice program of Valley Metro, which allows people with mobility impairments to call for a ride at any time from taxis, Uber, or Lyft. And those who use the service for their regular transportation to work or school are eligible for additional trips per month, as well. How cool is that?

A Southwestern adobe-style home located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The house features native desert landscaping in the sandy yard.

Best Places To Live in Scottsdale 

Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale is one of the most prominent areas of the city of Scottsdale, which is full of restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Various fun events are held throughout the year in the area, including festivals celebrating Native American culture and wine walks. The local farmers market is also a fabulous place to purchase from local growers and explore a variety of seasonal specialities. It is considered to be a popular spot for young professionals, in particular, due to the variety of entertainment options that it has to offer.

Old Town's neighborhoods come with varying characteristics; however, the housing in this area is similar to what you would find in most other neighborhoods in the city, like South Scottsdale.

South Scottsdale 

South Scottsdale is one of the oldest sections of the city, which comes with the perfect touch of mid-century charm. Many of the homes in this area were built in the 1960s and 1970s and can come with more of a dated look.

South Scottsdale is an excellent place to live because it is close to everything that residents could want. Its central location makes it easy to get around, and it also allows residents to easily reach places to explore with families, such as Tempe Town Lake, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and places to eat around the Arizona State University (ASU) campus. 

Central Scottsdale 

Central Scottsdale is a great area to live in because it’s close to everything and it’s full of fun things to do. There are a variety of entertainment options in this area, whether you want to shop, eat out, or even go golfing. Places like Starfire Golf Club and Camelback Golf Club give you easy accessibility to it all. Old Town is also just a short walk away if you’re looking for some more amenities. 

The central part of Scottsdale is known for its numerous small neighborhoods that have their own distinct vibe. This area is very walkable, and you can meet up with friends for an evening meal or grab breakfast at a hotspot like Butterfield’s Pancake House

Various master-planned communities, such as McCormick Ranch and Scottsdale Ranch, can be found in the area. These communities provide residents with great amenities and are close to drug stores and grocery stores.

A family of five is taking a hike through the Sonoran Desert outside Scottsdale, Arizona. The parents are walking in the back as the three young kids run ahead.

(Source: Experience Scottsdale via Facebook)

Things To Do in Scottsdale 

In addition to being a great place to live and work, the city of Scottsdale also offers a variety of fun things to do. There are plenty of activities for everyone, including outdoor fun among the city’s areas of natural beauty. From the mountains and the forests to the bodies of water, there is plenty of outdoor recreation available at your fingertips when living in Scottsdale. Like to hike, bike, or fish? Then Scottsdale has you covered.   

Residents of Scottsdale can easily explore a local rich arts and culture scene, as well, with various museums, galleries, and performing centers making up some of the best attractions. And some of the shopping experiences in Scottsdale are among the best in the state. 

The city is also known for its high-end cuisine, so in Scottsdale, you'll find plenty of great restaurants that are perfect for anyone.

Visitors walk through an atrium in Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. The space features modern architecture and a floating staircase to an upper level. Beneath the stairs is a preserved bison, poised in a lifelike stance.

Museum of the West
(Source: Western Spirit Scottsdale's Museum of the West via Facebook)

Fun Things To Do in Scottsdale Include Visiting: 

  • McDowell Sonoran Preserve: The magnificent desert landscape of the Southwest is accessible to both locals and visitors through the protected habitat of this preserve. There are various hiking trails that are ideal for all abilities, and the Gateway Loop is a great choice for experienced hikers.
  • Scottsdale’s Museum of the West: The Museum of the West in Old Town Scottsdale is a must-visit for anyone who is interested in learning more about the history of the West. This gallery was voted the #1 western museum in the U.S. and features paintings and artifacts that showcase the region's cultural and historical significance.
  • Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts: If you're interested in the performing arts scene, then the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is a great place to visit. This facility, which features traditional and contemporary arts, is regarded as one of the best in the Western region.
  • Scottsdale Fashion Square: One of the most popular pastimes for luxury shoppers is to visit the Fashion Square in Scottsdale. This shopping area has a variety of stores that are renowned for their high-quality products. Some of the brands that you can choose from include Louis Vuitton, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus. The mall, which is the largest in Arizona, has a total area of 2 million square feet.

A brunch board from Arcadia Farms Cafe includes a variety of cheeses, olives, hard-boiled eggs, bread, prosciutto, smashed avocado, and more.

(Source: Arcadia Farms Cafe)

Great Places To Eat in Scottsdale Include:

  • Arcadia Farms Cafe: A must-visit for brunch is the Arcadia Farms Cafe, which is owned and operated by a local family. Originally a carryout bakery, it has since evolved into a full-service establishment that serves up a variety of delicious dishes.
  • The Greene House: One of the best ways to eat in the area during the spring season is by dining al fresco. If you're looking for the best open-air establishment in town, then The Greene House is the place for you. Their menu features a wide variety of options, including burgers and wraps.
  • Cowboy Ciao: For two decades, Cowboy Ciao has been a staple in the local dining scene. Its original location closed in 2018, but you can find the new spot in the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The restaurant's menu features a variety of American dishes that are made with a blend of Mexican, Italian, and Southwestern flavors.

Moving to Scottsdale 

Whether you’re moving to Scottsdale from nearby or from far away, it’s important to plan a move that is efficient, timely, and, of course, within your budget. Thankfully, you have a variety of options when it comes to making the perfect move. Instead of hiring full-service movers and calling it a day, you can also consider renting a rental truck and/or taking advantage of portable moving containers. 

DIY With a Rental Truck

Getting the job done by a professional mover makes the moving process much easier overall; however, your bank account may suffer a bit after the fact. If you are willing to go through the process yourself, you can save some money and pack your own items in your car.

For cross-country moves, renting a truck may be cheaper than using a full-scale moving company, but it can also be a lot more time-consuming. If you're willing to give up some of your time to get the lower prices, DIY may just be the best option for you.

Full-Service Movers

If you have the funds and want someone else to take care of the work for you, choosing one of the local Scottsdale moving services that offers full-service moving is your easiest and most convenient option, even though it’s the priciest. However, you won’t be able to manage the process entirely on your own, as you’ll have to work with moving companies in Scottsdale on their schedules, and there’s a possibility that your items could get grouped with another household’s. 

PODS Portable Moving Containers

With portable moving containers from PODS, you have more control of some of the costs and timing that goes into the moving process. You only pay for what you need, and you pack and load your belongings on your own schedule. Want to get help loading the heavy items? Sure! Want to store your container at a secure facility until you find the perfect place in Scottsdale? No problem! With PODS, flexibility is the name of the game. 
Pro Tip: The cost of moving to Scottsdale will ultimately depend on how far you’re moving, how much you’re moving, and the moving option (or mixture of options) you end up going with. If you're considering a move to Scottsdale and trying to weigh some of your options, get a free local moving quote at PODS.com or call 877-350-7637 if you need a long-distance quote.

A family of four celebrates loading up their PODS portable moving container. It’s in their driveway and is neatly packed with furniture and moving boxes.

Make Your Move to Scottsdale With PODS

When it comes to Scottsdale movers, you can’t go wrong with PODS. Your moving container (or containers) will be delivered right to your doorstep. And the PODS professionals will pick it up and deliver it to your new residence when you’re ready. Need more time? One month of storage is included in every move! Easy as that!

(Source for image featured at top: Experience Scottsdale via Facebook)

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