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What to Know About Living in Phoenix

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From the golden sands of the desert to the soaring mountains to the impossible blue of the perpetually-sunny sky, outdoor adventurers will love living in Phoenix. And even if you don't want to spend your days hiking, bicycling, or rock-climbing, being surrounded by Saguaro Cactus, wildflowers, mountains, and canyons will provide a peaceful beauty that is uniquely Phoenix. It's where cowboys and artists collide; where students and thrill-seekers discover their passions; where families and vacationers discover the natural wonders of the Grand Canyon.

And while this Southwestern city is the nation's fifth-largest, you may be wondering -- what's it really like to live in Phoenix? Sure, it's the gateway to the Grand Canyon, and it's true, there are 16,000 acres to explore at South Mountain Park. Camelback Mountain is an impressive landmark to have in your backyard, and Papago Park's unique rock formation is stunning. On hot days, you'll be able to cool off at Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix. For family outings, Lake Pleasant Regional Park provides boating, fishing, and camping. Those who love museums can explore the Pioneer Living History Museum, the Children's Museum of Phoenix, Heritage Square, Heard Museum, and the Arizona Science Center. Nature lovers can learn all about their surroundings at the Desert Botanical Garden. And all of that is even before mentioning all of the great shopping.

The setting is great, but there are some things to consider before moving to Phoenix. First, this is a desert climate and it's hot. And before you fall for "but it's a dry heat," remember this: summers begin around April and last into October. Summer temperatures can reach 120 degrees -- the average high in Phoenix is hotter than any other city in the nation. It will rain in July -- and sometimes it rains too much, as this is monsoon season. Winters are short and mild, with the average daytime high in December about 66 degrees.

Before you start packing the sunscreen and looking at apartments with pools, here's something else to consider about Phoenix: native wildlife is fantastic -- and a little scary. Snakes native to the region include the Western diamondback rattlesnake, the Sonoran coral snake, and the Sonoran sidewinder. Being in the desert, there are also a huge variety of lizards -- including the gila monster, the only venomous lizard in the country. You may also encounter tailless whip scorpions, giant hairy scorpions (the largest scorpion in the US), and camel spiders. Other native species include mountain lions, bobcats, coyote, and javelin.

While some of the species can be somewhat frightening, many are protected, so learn the laws before moving to Phoenix. Of course, not all of the native species will scare you -- there are also desert tortoise, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, roadrunners, and bald eagles. Phoenix is also home to a large population of rosy-faced lovebirds -- an adorable bird typically kept as a pet. If your rental has an outdoor space or a patio, set up a garden feeder to attract the lovebirds. These are not native -- they started showing up in the late 1980s, and today there are roughly 1,000 of them in Phoenix. Most believe they are descendants of escaped pets.

The economy in Phoenix is quite diverse. It ranges from military personnel thanks to the presence of Luke Air Force Base in next-door Glendale to Fortune 500 companies like Honeywell and Avnet. Intel has a site nearby, as does Apollo Group and Best Western. The city is home to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and the shopping malls Metrocenter and Paradise Valley Mall. Students will appreciate having Arizona State University West Campus, Grand Canyon University, and Glendale Community College located in the city.

Living in Phoenix means you can easily enjoy the Arizona State Fair, held at the fairgrounds. The fair began in 1884 when Arizona was still a territory. The fair has been held every year since 1946. You'll be able to enjoy more than 100 food booths, amusement rides, and the largest transportable Ferris Wheel in the world, the La Grande Wheel. If racing is your thing, the Phoenix International Raceway will satisfy your NASCAR needs. And if you enjoy playing the slots, head to Casino Arizona, located next door at the Salt River Reservation. If golfing is more your style, Phoenix offers several courses, including Raven Golf Club-Phoenix, Aguila Golf Course, and Stonecreek Golf Club.

Now that you know what to expect from this gem in the desert, start looking at apartments in Phoenix -- this city truly has something for everyone, from outdoor adventures to amazing shops and restaurants to art and culture to sports and beyond.

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