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Cities in the Metro Area

Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona and it also happens to be the fifth-largest municipality in the United States with a population exceeding 1.7 million people. Sitting at an elevation of roughly 1,100 feet, the greater Phoenix area consists of Chandler, Glendale, Scottsdale and Tempe. Phoenix is located in the Sonoran Desert which is one of the wettest deserts in the world because it receives an average of 15 inches of rain every year. In the greater Phoenix area there are over 200 golf courses and the city experiences 330 sunny days in an average year.

Mesa is the third-largest city in the state of Arizona with a population exceeding 500,000 people. It also happens to be the largest suburban city in the entire country and the 35th largest city overall. Mesa is home to several unique attractions including the Mesa Arts Center and the Arizona Museum of Natural History. The Hohokam, an ancient Native American community, built the original canal system in the area which delivered water to nearly 110,000 acres of land. Settlers in the late 1800s used the canals for agricultural purposes and by the 1950s, several prominent aerospace and aviation companies were making their way to Mesa.

Chandler is the largest suburban city located 22 miles southwest of downtown Phoenix. Over 250,000 people reside in Chandler and the city is famous for its annual Ostrich Festival held at Tumbleweed Park. The community is very welcoming to travelers as the city experiences a lot of tourism throughout the year. Chandler has won the most “Playful City USA” award a record-breaking 11 times, and it’s home to over 60 public parks, including Veterans Oasis Park and Chuparosa Park. Chandler also has six aquatic centers, the city is home to several historic landmarks, and it is a hot spot for local cuisine.

Scottsdale is a suburban city in the Phoenix metro area that is similar in size to Chandler in terms of its population. Scottsdale is known as “The West’s Most Western Town” because of its numerous cattle ranching operations. The city also hosts Parada del Sol, which is a popular annual rodeo event that features horse-drawn parades, bull riding, and calf roping. Scottsdale receives an average of 320 days of sunshine in an average year and the official food for the city is chili. What a lot of people don’t know about Scottsdale is that it’s an artistic city. The area features over 70 galleries and museums displaying works from thousands of local artists.

With a population of 246,000 people, Glendale is the seventh-largest city in Arizona and it’s one of the larger suburbs in the region. There are several prominent antique stores located in Glendale and the city is home to the first-ever medical school in the Phoenix metro area (Midwestern University). Many people who live in Glendale commute to Phoenix and other nearby municipalities for work; the city even experiences a 17.9% daytime population change. Glendale encompasses nearly 56 square miles in land and it is home to the Luke Air Force Base.

Gilbert is a moderately-sized suburban city located approximately 22 miles southwest of downtown Phoenix with a population of 242,000 people. Over 30% of business owners in Gilbert are women and many famous people are from the area, including Ryan Fitzpatrick (NFL Quarterback) and Naomi Lang (5-Time U.S. ice dancing champion). Gilbert is also an award-winning city: it was recently declared the 2nd safest city in the United States and the 8th most thriving city. Perhaps one of the best-kept secrets about Gilbert is the cuisine; the city features many terrific dining options, including Urban Legends PizzaWorks and Rancho de Tia Rosa.

Tempe is located 10 minutes away from the Phoenix metro area and it boasts of a moderately-sized population of roughly 180,000. Perhaps what is most astounding about Tempe is that college students constitute nearly half of the population. This is because Tempe is home to Arizona State University, which is one of the largest public university campuses by enrollment in the U.S. Some of the best performing arts venues in Arizona also happen to be located in Tempe, which includes the Gammage Auditorium and the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Peoria is the eighth-largest city in Arizona with a population of around 170,000 people and the city encompasses 175 square miles of land. The city was recently listed in Money Magazine as among the “Top 100 Places to Live” and the area is home to many outdoor attractions. This includes the New River Trail which features several miles of multi-use trails for biking, walking, running, and horseback riding. Peoria is also home to five golf courses and the Peoria Sports Complex which is where the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres train during the Cactus League.

Surprise is a moderately-populated city situated along the northwestern edge of the Phoenix metro area. In the past two decades, the city experienced an incredible amount of growth with the size of its population quadrupling in that time. Many retirees end up moving to Surprise because the city is home to several outstanding senior living communities. Surprise also offers an affordable cost of living because groceries, utilities, and health care are a lot cheaper here than in the rest of the country. Surprise also experiences about 32% less crime than the national average, making it one of the safest places to live in Arizona.

The small suburban city of Avondale has a population of roughly 84,000 people and it is located 20 miles west of downtown Phoenix. Avondale is one of the fastest-growing communities in Arizona and the city provides its residents with plenty of recreational amenities. Today Avondale is a modern municipal area, but the city was originally an agricultural settlement. In recent years, the city has experienced a lot of economic growth and the population is 114% larger than what it was only a decade ago. The city’s motto is the “Jewel of the West Valley.”

Goodyear is a small rural town with a population of over 80,000 people. The city was recently the recipient of the All-American City Award which recognizes communities that address critical issues and establish strong relationships among its residents. Goodyear has a council-manager form of government, and the city in recent years has experienced a major economic boom. Experts and officials expect the population to explode to 358,000 people by 2035. Since the American housing bubble in 2000, home resale values in Goodyear have rebounded considerably.

Buckeye is a fun rural community located 22 minutes west of downtown Phoenix with more than 68,000 residents. Buckeye is also a rapidly-growing city that features plenty of unique amenities and attractions. The residents of Buckeye will tell you that the city has a lot of small-town charm but it’s also conveniently located near the city. Buckeye got its namesake from the nearby Buckeye Canal and the town was officially incorporated back in 1929. Buckeye currently features over 30 master-planned communities including Douglas Ranch which will eventually house over 300,000 inhabitants.

Over 55,000 people currently reside in the small rural town of Casa Grande. The city’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and farming, but most residents commute to Phoenix or Tuscon for work. The median household income has experienced a 38% increase over the past decade and the city’s largest employers are its school district and Banner Health. Over 73% of residents in Casa Grande are homeowners and the median home resale price sits at $146,000. Casa Grande is also home to several iconic landmarks, including the Hohokam Pima National Monument and Picacho Peak.

Maricopa is one of the oldest and most historic towns in the state of Arizona. It’s located about 35 miles south of the Phoenix metro area and the city has a population of over 48,000 people. It’s the only city in the country that’s bordered by two Native American communities and two decades ago there were only 1,000 people living in Maricopa. The city was formerly a major stagecoach and trade center during the most prosperous period in its history. Maricopa is also the closest stop to Phoenix along the Amtrak and Texas Eagle rail lines.

Apache Junction is a sporadically-populated city located on the far eastern edge of the Phoenix metro area. Over 40,000 people reside in Apache Junction and the city features several popular attractions that draw in visitors from all over the region. This includes the Lost Dutchman State Park and the Goldfield Ghost Town. Both offer you a glimpse into the unique and enthralling history of the region. Now the city mainly focuses on job opportunities and recreational amenities for its residents. Every winter the area experiences a large influx of visitors and vacationers.

Queen Creek is a small suburban city located 43 minutes south of downtown Phoenix. The city has over 39,000 residents and it’s also among some of the fastest-growing communities in the East Valley. More and more people are migrating to Queen Creek because it is one of the most family-friendly places to live in the region. The city is home to Schnepf Farms which offers many family-oriented activities throughout the year, including hayrides, petting zoos, a pumpkin patch, and a corn maze. Queen Creek also has a median household income of over $98,000, which greatly exceeds the national average, and over 85% percent of its residents are homeowners.

El Mirage is a suburb of the northwestern metro area in Phoenix and the city has a population of over 35,000 people. The city is home to several public parks and it’s not far away from a few professional sporting venues. El Mirage is a modern, business-oriented area that’s attracting new residents from all over the region. Strategic planning for the city’s future is also well underway. Several community initiatives are also taking place in El Mirage with a focus on improving infrastructure and providing more municipal services. There is also a major commercial development underway in El Mirage known as the Olive Avenue Corridor.

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