Many of my clients and friends tell me just how much they enjoy getting away from the harsh Minnesota winters every year for 3 months or more, so this winter my husband and I traveled to Scottsdale for 2 weeks in February to determine why many Minnesotans choose Arizona as their winter destination. It didn’t take long to discover the answer – we found so much to like about Arizona in general and Scottsdale in particular!
First and foremost is the great climate – 317 sunny days a year and temperatures normally in the mid to high 60s during January and February. No weather drama here! Scottsdale is located in the Sonoran Desert and is bordered by Phoenix to the West and the McDowell Mountains to the East. It is also Arizona’s 6th largest city with a population of 217,965 people and a median age of 46.4. The population exploded in the 90s – it increased from 130,069 in 1990 to 202,705 in 2000! Much of that growth is due to the fact it is a very desirable place to work, live and visit with its 90 restaurants, 320 retail shops, 90 art galleries, casinos, and major medical facilities, including the Mayo Clinic.
We also discovered the joy of living in a walkable neighborhood. Our condo was just one block away from a shopping area that offered 4 restaurants (Chinese, Italian, Mexican and a deli), fast food restaurants, coffee shops, grocery store, liquor store, dry cleaners, a bank etc. Major medical facilities and a hospital were only 2 blocks away and the Mustang Library was also just a short walk away. The Indian Wash Greenbelt, a scenic 11 mile walking/biking path winding through the heart of Scottsdale, was also only 2 blocks away. It is entirely possible to get along without a car in this area.
If you tire of the urban lifestyle of Scottsdale, there are many day trips that could be taken to other areas as well. Sedona, Tucson, Tombstone and Lake Havasu are all within 2 to 4 hour drive from Scottsdale. We spent a day at Sedona, which is a city of beauty and tranquility. Many come to Sedona to explore the myths and facts behind the vortex concept as well as to enjoy the quaint downtown, including good restaurants and art galleries. We found so many friendly people and business owners in both Sedona and Scottsdale. They all want to help you and tell you how much they enjoy living in the area – we experienced great customer service everywhere and throughout our entire trip!
I think my favorite outing, however, was the day we spent at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, a museum of living plants, and currently featuring a glass blown sculpture exhibit entitled Chihuly in the Garden. Chihuly is an artist recognized both nationally and internationally for his use of color, form and light in glass blown sculptures. His work can also be viewed at the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His sculptures are breathtaking and I think one of the most unique exhibits I have ever seen. In addition to this exhibit, the Desert Botanical Garden offers several walking trails, dining options and a spring concert series, Music in the Garden.
Does this sound like a good place to relocate, invest or rent in the future? The Scottsdale area is one of the highest priced real estate markets in the Phoenix area and a 2 BR, 2 BA condo can run anywhere from $55,000 to over $500,000. Scottsdale did not experience a foreclosure crisis as extreme as many of the other surrounding communities so the market conditions have been relatively stable in this area. The spring market is the most competitive time of year in which to purchase a home. If you are looking for a quieter, less competitive time to initiate a property search, Regina Knapp, ABR, of HomeSmart International, recommends looking during the summer months when the temperature is at its hottest. Predictably, there are not as many buyers out at that time! Regina also works in the rental market and would be happy to assist you in finding a good rental if you think you would also like to explore the Scottsdale area next winter. I know we will come back again and stay even longer next time – there is still so much more to explore!