Phoenix is the land of year-round pool parties, delicious Mexican food and plants that require very little watering – but true Phoenicians know there’s a lot more to the reliably sunny city than just that. We spoke with three Redfin real estate agents in Phoenix to find out what they love, and hate, about the Grand Canyon State capitol. Here are 28 things you should know before moving to Phoenix.
1. We sometimes drive with oven mitts on. It’s for our own safety.
Phoenix temperatures can easily rise into the hundreds in the summertime. If you leave your car in the sun for more than an hour you will darn near burn a hand off trying to grab the steering wheel. Hence the oven mitts.
2. We can be heard shouting ‘Fork em’!’ or ‘Bear Down!’ but never both.
“Sun Devils and Wildcat fans are some of the most passionate around,” said Phoenix Redfin agent Chris Cline. “They’re constantly finding new ways to prank each other, whether it’s Wildcats fans painting A Mountain red, or ASU fans telling the Wildcats that their University really belongs to Mexico due an error in the Gadsden Purchase.”
3. When traffic gets worse in the winter, we blame the snowbirds.
No, a snowbird is not an animal. “A snowbird is someone who moves from a cold climate to a warmer one in the winter,” explains Phoenix Redfin agent Kelly Money. “They tend to be retirees and flock to places like Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.”
4. Our streets are laid out on a grid system, and it keeps us from getting lost.
“Phoenix’s grid system makes it really easy to find your way around town,” said Cline. “If you’re used to a city that’s not on a grid, you’ll have Phoenix down in no time.”
5. We take full advantage of the beautiful mountains in and around Phoenix.
Phoenix offers some really great hikes, like Camelback and South Mountain, that you don’t have to leave the city for. Just make sure you go before July and always bring lots of water.
6. Mexican food isn’t the same anywhere else (except maybe Mexico)
“Burritos, tacos, tamales, sonoran hot dogs — you name it, we got it,” said Redfin Phoenix agent Brenda Bowlin. If Mexican food is your thing, you’ve chosen the right city.
7. We don’t fret when we get this iPhone warning.
iPhone overheating? No sweat off our backs (ok maybe a little because it’s hot). But seriously, if you take your phone to the pool with you during the summer, you will definitely encounter this overheating warning. We’re not kidding about the heat here.
8. We all have a stance on immigration.
“Arizona’s proximity to the Mexican border makes immigration policy a common topic of debate,” said Bowlin. S.B. 1070, which allows police officers to ask someone for proof of citizenship based on “reasonable suspicion” that they are not a citizen, is one of the most commonly disputed immigration laws in Arizona.
9. We like to ditch Phoenix for weekend trips to Flagstaff and Sedona.
“People who aren’t from Phoenix don’t realize it’s really not that hard to get away from the heat,” said Money. “Flagstaff is a two-hour drive north of Phoenix and the temperature is usually at least 20 degrees cooler. And yes, they get snow.”
10. We don’t have the best public transportation … yet.
If you move to Arizona, you’ll probably need to bring your car. The light rail is great if you live downtown or in Tempe, but not so much for commuters in Gilbert, Chandler, Peoria, Scottsdale and other parts of the valley. WalkScore.com gave Phoenix a 38/100, saying there is some public transportation and it is somewhat bikeable, but most errands require a car.
11. Our swimming pools becomes hot tubs in the summer.
“If you have a pool in your backyard, especially a shallow one, expect it to be a bathtub by August,” said Money. “It can be great for nighttime swimming, but not so much for days above 100 degrees.”
12. Our musical claims to fame are Alice Cooper and Jimmy Eat World.
Jimmy Eat World hails from Mesa, Arizona and the band plays lots of shows around the valley — including festivals like Summer Ends. Alice Cooper’s got a shock-rock-themed eatery and bar downtown called Alice Cooper’stown.
13. We can actually bake cookies on the dashboards of our cars in July.
This sounds like a joke, but someone tried it and it worked. Let this serve as a reminder to never, ever leave your kids or your pets in the car … even if just for a few minutes.
14. We have pretty strong feelings about Sheriff Joe Arpaio, one way or the other.
Joe Arpaio has been the sheriff of Maricopa County since 1993 and has stirred up some controversy during his time. He’s been accused of abuse of power, failure to investigate sex crimes, misuse of funds, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws and more. He’s also been found guilty of racial profiling and his jails have been ruled unconstitutional twice. Oh, and he mandated that all prisoner-issued underwear be pink. Despite that, he still has lots of advocates in Arizona.
15. Our wildlife is weird and sometimes downright terrifying.
Scorpions, javelinas, coyotes, rattlesnakes … they’re not unheard of in residential neighborhoods. If you live on the outskirts of the valley, especially, don’t be surprised if you see a javelina or coyote wandering through your neighborhood.
16. When we hear local beer, we always think Four Peaks or Papago Brewing.
If you’ve never had a Kilt Lifter or an Orange Blossom, can you really call yourself a Phoenix beer lover?
17. Our Instagrams are filled with Arizona sunsets. It’s kind of a requirement.
“Phoenix offers some of the most breathtaking scenery, especially the sunsets,” said Cline. “It’s hard not to stop and snap a photo every now and then.”
18. We have these apocalyptic-looking storms called haboobs.
They have a funny name, but these violent dust storms are no joke. “When you see the wall of dust heading your way, you get inside immediately,” said Bowlin.
19. Everyone knows the familiar smell of monsoon season.
We can sense when a big rainstorm is about to hit, because monsoons always have the same wonderful dusty smell.
20. We have to explain Mountain Standard Time to people in other states A LOT.
Arizona is the only state that uses MST all year. All that really means is that we don’t observe daylight savings time. So sometimes we’re an hour ahead of the west coast and two hours behind the east coast, and other times we’re on the same time as the west coast and three hours behind the east coast. If you get confused, just ask someone.
21. We love Larry Fitzgerald.
It doesn’t matter how the season is going, we’re rooting for the Cardinals. We won’t rest until Larry Fitzgerald has a Super Bowl ring (and even then we still probably won’t rest, because we straight up love Larry).
22. Salt River tubing is one of our favorite summertime activities.
We know the water isn’t the cleanest, but that’s not going to keep us from wrangling our pals for a summertime river float. The most important thing to bring (besides your tube)? SUNSCREEN.
23. Get used to casual dress. Shorts, sandals and tanks take up the most space in our dressers.
“You don’t see many people walking around in suits in Arizona,” said Cline. “We’re a more laid back city, with a dress code to match.”
24. But when temps dip below 70, you better bet we start pulling our scarves out.
Phoenicians are looking for any excuse to rock winter clothes. When the air gets chilly, the boots and sweaters come out.
25. Even plants get blankets in the winter.
“Southwest plants don’t do well with frost, so you’ll see lots of plants covered in blankets and sheets when the winter temps arrive,” said Bowlin.
26. People here love golf. If you don’t play, you might want to take a lesson.
Wonderful weather makes Arizona a hot spot for sports like golf. The city has many popular courses to choose from, and Top Golf for those who haven’t quite mastered their swings. There’s also the Phoenix Open, for those who enjoy a good day of sunshine, golf and libations.
27. We add “the” in front of our freeway names.
Yep, highway linguistics are a thing, and apparently Arizonans and southern Californians are the only ones who add “the” to the beginning of highway and freeway names. “Take the 60 to the 101 north and then merge onto the 17.” If you don’t do it, we might look at you funny.
28. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again – it’s a dry heat.
Yes, Phoenix is hot. Temps can easily rise into the hundreds during summer. But, we never get that gross sticky feeling that you would in a humid climate, because it really is bone dry. And we like it that way.
Are you thinking about moving to Phoenix? Be sure to get in touch with our local Redfin real estate agents.