After you’ve lived in paradise, what’s your next move? You might be surprised to know that Arizona makes many people’s lists as the 10th most popular state destination for former Hawaii residents.
What draws people to Arizona, and, more specifically, its capital city, Phoenix? We’ll take you on a brief tour of all that Arizona’s Urban Heart has to offer, including where to live and what to do on your days off.
And, if you’re currently living in Phoenix, we’ll talk about the differences between the two places. That way, you can get a sense of whether or not you might want to do the reverse and make the move to Hawaii. (Hint: Your first task will be figuring out which is the best Hawaiian island to live on!)
Let’s start with understanding what makes Phoenix an attractive destination for those who have decided to leave Hawaii behind.
Why Make the Move to Phoenix?
1. Plenty of Major Employers to Choose From
Hawaii’s economy is powered by tourism. If you want to work in one of the industries that supports travel—including hospitality, retail, food and beverage—then you’ll find plenty of opportunity in the Aloha State. However, if your expertise and your interests lie elsewhere, Phoenix could be a fantastic destination for you. Banner Health, Wells Fargo, Honeywell, JP Morgan Chase, American Express, Raytheon, Home Depot and many other well-known companies in a number of diverse industries have locations in Phoenix. The area is also getting a reputation as the “Silicon Desert,” as a number of start-ups test out the area. If you’re looking to reinvent yourself or explore an economy that’s more diversified, Phoenix is a great place for you to land.
2. Get More Seasonality in Your Life
If you’re living in Hawaii, you already know how diverse the islands’ microclimates can be. For example, on the Big Island, it might be hot and sunny in Kona and cool and breezy in Waimea. Where you decide to live in Arizona will determine your weather—and how much seasonality you’ll be exposed to. In Phoenix, you might see daytime temperatures swing between 100 in the summer months and the 60s in the winter months, with nighttime temperatures dipping into the 40s from December through March. In other words, you’ll enjoy more of a seasonal swing than Hawaii, but you’ll still experience a relatively mild winter. However, if you head for a place like Flagstaff, you’ll enjoy 100+ inches of snow just about every year. So as you choose your home in Arizona, make sure to check out the climate to make sure it lines up with your expectations.
3. Get More House for Your Money
You’ll find Phoenix much more affordable than a mainland destination like Los Angeles. In fact, Payscale estimates that living in Phoenix is 5% cheaper than the national average. This also translates to real estate prices. For $250,000, you can get around 1,500 square feet in Phoenix or $166.67 per square foot. In contrast, consider the median list price in Hawaii—$625,000—and the average price per square foot: $498.00. Simply put, your dollar will go farther when applied to Phoenix real estate.
4. Forget Daylight Savings
Every year, it feels like more and more people are up in arms about Daylight Savings Time and calling for its abolishment. If you’ve been living in Hawaii, you’ve been lucky enough to skip the effects of springing forward and falling back each year. If you move to Phoenix, you’ll get to enjoy the same relief from the DST shift. (Your pets who rely on their morning and evening meal times will thank you!) One note: The Navajo Nation does observe Daylight Savings Time, so if you’re headed to a destination on the reservation, time your engagements accordingly.
If this list has helped seal the deal for you on Phoenix, let’s talk about where to live in the Valley of the Sun.
What’s the Best Place to Live in Phoenix?
Once you’ve decided that Phoenix is the place for you—rather than Arizona’s other popular destinations such as Flagstaff, Tucson, Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale or Tempe—you’ll have to figure out exactly which neighborhood to call “home.”
Named one of the hottest 25 urban neighborhoods in the U.S. by the real estate firm Hot Spot Rentals, Roosevelt Row might be worth a look. It’s one of the oldest arts districts in Phoenix, and it’s recently experienced a fresh revitalization that’s left it populated by restaurants, art galleries, coffee shops and charming local boutiques. Roosevelt Row’s growth has also been fueled by the opening of Arizona State University’s Downtown Phoenix campus, which hosts the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Roosevelt Row also offers its residents easy access to the city’s Valley Metro Light Rail, which can be a game-changer for your commute. (Whereas some Phoenix residents complain about the traffic in the area, it’s worth noting that many of them have likely never driven to or from Honolulu during rush hour!)
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a pedestrian-friendly area of Phoenix with an urban feel and plenty of amenities, Roosevelt Row might be the place for you. (And don’t miss the neighborhood’s monthly First Friday art walks, which attract visitors from all over the city!)
Once you find your perfect landing spot in Phoenix, you’ll be ready to explore all that the city has to offer.
5 Activities You Can Enjoy from Your Home Base in Phoenix
1. Get to Know the Local Flora and Fauna
If Hawaii’s extraordinary plants and trees fascinated you during your time in the Aloha State, make a trip to the Desert Botanical Garden. There, you’ll find a gorgeous array of plans that have adapted to the harsh conditions of the Arizona desert. The 50,000+ plant displays and 4,482 species in their collection might also give you some ideas for how to landscape your outdoor space in a way that’s both evocative of Phoenix’s desert setting and environmentally sustainable, to boot.
2. Tube the Salt River
If you’ve been lucky enough to float your way through Kauai’s backcountry, you know how much fun it can be to go tubing. If you’re looking for a relaxing way to enjoy the area’s scenery—including cactus, nesting birds, herds of wild horses and more—take a tubing trip down the Salt River. It can get busy on the weekends, so if you’re looking for a quiet trip, rather than a jovial and festive atmosphere, take a day off and hit the river on a weekday.
3. Get Festive
Living in Phoenix will offer you plenty of cultural opportunities to interact with the arts, especially music. If that’s your thing, don’t miss the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, also known as M3F. Celebrating a deep love of music, the arts and the community, the festival offers its attendees a weekend of fun and food, with all the profits going to charity. (The festival has donated more than $2.6 million since its start!) If you’ve lamented the lack of visits by national acts in Hawaii, this is your chance to catch performers like Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Father John Misty, Grouplove, the Avett Brothers, the Roots, the Shins and Slightly Stoopid, all of whom have headlined in the past.
4. Catch an Up-and-Coming Film
Maybe a music festival isn’t your thing, and you’d prefer a plush seat, an air-conditioned environment and a film that will leave you with something to think about. If that’s the case, grab your ticket for the annual Phoenix Film Festival. The event hosts nearly 300 films every year, in what’s been called the “most filmmaker-friendly festival out there.” The best part? Everything happens at one theater—the Harkins Scottsdale 101—so if you’re serious about your films, you can set up camp and binge watch for days.
5. Two Words: Road. Trip.
One of the joys of being back on the mainland is the ability to hop in a car and see the sights—no muss, no fuss. From Phoenix, you can pop over to Las Vegas for an unforgettable weekend (that you might want to forget!), visit both sides of the Grand Canyon (including the lesser-visited but just-as-gorgeous North Rim), or hop on over to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico to explore an unforgettable underground landscape. The contiguous 48 are your oyster. Plus, on those days when you miss living in Hawaii, a road trip can be a great way to remind yourself of all the mainland has to offer.
It’s never easy to leave paradise behind, but with all that’s waiting for you in Phoenix, you might never even miss Hawaii. (And we didn’t even cover all the pro sports teams you can watch live in Arizona!) Now that you’ve gotten a good sense of why people move to Phoenix and what they like to do on their days off, you’ll be that much closer to knowing whether Phoenix is the right destination for you, one that you can comfortably call “home.”
Headed to Phoenix from Hawaii? (Or the reverse?) We’ve helped thousands of individuals and families, and we’d love to help you make a safe, easy and affordable move. It all starts with a free quote from one of our experts. Just get in touch with us to schedule yours today.