Top 5 Things to Love/hate About Living in Phoenix, Arizona

I'm not a native Arizonan but my wife and kids are. After growing up primarily in the great Pacific Northwest and living in all 4 corners of our country, I've lived in Arizona for 13 long years.
  1. 1.
    Love the winters
    How can you beat 80 degrees and sunny on Christmas Day? A nice ocean beach would do it but you can't have everything.
  2. 2.
    Love the terrific restaurants, bars, breweries
    Chef Binkley of Binkley's restaurant group has been a James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef of the Southwest for each of the past four years, and one night dining at his original restaurant (simply "Binkley's") and you quickly understand why. But Binkley's is merely the creme de la creme - there are so many great restaurants in The Phoenix area that you will never run out of great food to try.
  3. 3.
    Love the great city parks
    With 182 city parks, you're almost guaranteed to have at least one in your neighborhood.
  4. 4.
    Love the awesome urban hiking and mountain biking
    The City of Phoenix has more than 41,000 acres of mountain parks and desert preserves with 200 miles of trails. From infamous Camelback Mountain to popular South Mountain, and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, there's a trail for every age and ability.
  5. 5.
    Love the excellent farmers' markets
    Fresh seafood caught in the Pacific Northwest? Check. Gluten free pasta? Yes. Fresh locally grown produce? Absolutely. There are farmers' markets operating across the valley each and every weekend and they offer a surprising variety of foods, goods, and services. Buy local!
  6. 6.
    Hate the summers
    There have been, unofficially, 108 days of 100+ degree Fahrenheit days so far in 2015. On August 17, the temp officially reached a record 117 (the all-time record is 122). So not only does it get hot here, it's hot for a long, long summer. Just when you think you can't take another 100+ day, you get a few weeks more. But it cools down eventually.
  7. 7.
    Hate the drivers
    I know everyone hates the drivers everywhere. Here, they are particularly bad though. Long straight roads encourage high speeds and lots of red light runners. And EVERYONE speeds. If you aren't going at least 15 over the speed limits the cops won't even glance your direction (never mind that I've only seen 2 or 3 speed traps the entire time I've lived here).
  8. 8.
    Hate the lack of diversity
    Yes I know Phoenix is roughly 40% Hispanic/Latino according to the last census, but almost all the rest is white. People identifying as black or African American only made up 6.5% of the population in 2010, and only 3.2% as Asian.
  9. 9.
    Hate that the public schools are so terribly underfunded
    Without going into the boring details, all you need to know is that Arizona ranks 50th in public school funding. Dead last. Below Mississippi.
  10. 10.
    Hate the politics
    And that brings us to politics. How many times has the Daily Show had segments dedicated to something happening in Arizona politics? Four times by John Stewart according to but it seems like many more times than that. There are some really bad people elected to office here, but fortunately there are still lots of great people around trying to do good things even in such a difficult political environment.