- Wedding: May 2015 - Backyard
FutureKS: I have to completely disagree with your assessment of the downtown Phoenix scene. My FI lived downtown from 2010 -2014 and we LOVED it. Great people, great food, decent nightlife. We’re art people, so we loved the First Friday culture, and being close to the Phoenix Art Museum and the AZ Science Center.
Lily_of_the_valley: One thing about Arizonans, we LOVE our craft beer. Most of our breweries also have restaurants where the beers are used to make pasta sauces, breads, fried foods, and desserts. Four Peaks in Tempe is my personal favorite, with Arizona Wilderness Brewing, Co. in Chandler/Gilbert a close second.
I’ve lived in Chandler since I was five, but went to school in Tempe from 5th grade to college. Arizona is not known for its stellar educational system, but we do have excellent charter schools. Gilbert Public Schools has a pretty stellar reputation (if there are children in your present or future).
I never really got into the Mill Ave scene (which is Tempe’s downtown area), but if you’re looking for nightlife, Mill is the place to go.
As far as living and working go, I live in Chandler and work in Tempe. The drive is about 18 miles and I can usually make it in as many minutes. The infrastructure in Phoenix is pretty great, since all of the major cities/towns are connected by freeways (and highway patrol won’t pull you over if you’re going 75mph or under unless the cop’s in a really bad mood). When FI lived in downtown Phoenix (25 miles away), I could get there in 30 minutes in moderate traffic, 60 minutes at the peak of rush hour.
Prices: my house in the suburbs is 2500 sq feet, 4 bed, 2.5 bath, and worth about $250k. My FI paid $615/month for a 550 sq ft studio, including utilities and water. Apartments here can range from extremely reasonable prices to extremely unreasonable prices. It’s all about finding the right place. I have a rule of never paying more per month than the square footage of my apartment, and most of my friends are within that margin.
Side note, where are you planning to work? I hear Dallas/Tempe, and I immediately think of the US Airways/American merger.