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Phoenix or Tempe
  • $600   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $925   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1403   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southwest US)

49% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
heatstroke, your air conditioning bill, haboobs, snakes, spiders, mountain lions, stabby Saguaros
Saguaros, golf courses, professional sports 6
ptown world, impatient drivers and driving, roosevelt row arts district, pretty much mexico, slums, sketchy, buy here while you can, wealthy historic, civic center, go suns, good luck, disgusting sewer called a "lake," overpriced nightclubs, suburbia, and good hiking are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Phoenix roommate rundown:

Phoenix is extremely popular with college students, tourists, and retirees, and their economy revolves around all three. They undulate in waves just like the heat.

But unlike many similarly popular cities, summer is no one's favorite?

Because it's too hot. Even for natives who love living here. They love staying inside all summer long, "hibernating" in air conditioning well into fall . . . at least as much as possible.

It gets HOT. Like the highest average temperature of any major metro in the country, up to 120 degrees F hot. Like the most sunshine of any major metro in the world, with an average of about 110 days over 100 degrees F hot. Like very little rain except for monsoons hot.

Like monsoon rains with flooding, with lightning and dust storms also happening hot. Like haboob hot.

What's haboob hot? A haboob is a dust storm carried along on a weather front. No one likes sand blowing in from the desert, especially when it cuts off power. However, this is a feature of monsoon season in hot desert climates like Phoenix.

The extreme dry heat of summer also means high UV and a risk of sunburn almost whenever the sun is out. All your roommates should wear sunscreen to avoid becoming crispy critters. If they think they're the special exception? They're extra especially not. Water and a hat are clever too.

Phoenix's arid ecology is also habitable to different flora and fauna than anyone not from a desert has likely experienced . . . and we need to warn you about some of them too. Not as much inside the city limits, but definitely suburbs surrounding!

The following are possibly dangerous to humans, often lethally dangerous for outdoor pets:

Coyote, javelina, bobcat, mountain lion, Western diamondback rattlesnake, Sonoran sidewinder, Sonoran coral snake, Gila monster, Arizona bark scorpion, black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, giant desert hairy scorpion, Arizona blond tarantula, and tarantula hawk wasp!

All Phoenicians have to slightly beware the cactus spines, particularly the giant saguaros'. It's not like they're going to reach out and grab you, but folks get stabbed anyway. Yes, many are large enough to hug! But definitely don't.

(There are a lot of other sharp-spined succulents. And some less spiny succulents as well, along with many lovely native trees.)

So why so popular, what with all that sizzling danger?

It's all about winter in the Valley of the Sun!

In summer, everyone avoids outdoors as much as possible, but in winter, visitors live for it! Wealthy "snowbirds" from colder parts of the country often spend winters in Phoenix, attracted to the mild winters and lower cost of living.

And there are many outdoor attractions for them, all winter long, including over 200 golf courses.

And it's also all about the college students, year round. Downtown Tempe is a college town with that expected night life, and you can take light rail to and fro. Most of that's revolving around Arizona State University, the region's largest higher institution of higher education, but several other campuses are here too.

All that studying and traveling leads to snacking in the sunshine. Mexican cuisine is well represented, along with pizza for the perpetual college students. But also get ready for burritos the size of newborn babies, fry bread, steakhouses, street tacos, quesadillas, and . . . hot chilis on anything and everything.

No, it's not paradoxical to eat hot chilis in the hottest weather. Nope!

The rest of the Phoenix roommate lowdown:

  • capital of Arizona, located in Arizona's Salt River Valley, about 150 miles from the Mexican border
  • about 1.6 million residents, about 4.5 in the greater metropolitan area, which involves many suburbs
  • natural vegetation is sparse without a lot of green, as the terrain is mostly desert, but some tree and citrus growth
  • typical desert climate, including low annual rainfall, low humidity, very long intensely hot summers, and mild winters, surrounded by low mountain ranges
  • about 42% of the population is Hispanic
  • There are many major-league sports teams in or near Phoenix: Arizona Rattlers (IFL) Phoenix Suns (NBA), Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Arizona Coyotes (NHL), Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB), Phoenix Mercury (WNBA), and Phoenix Rising FC (USL). In addition, several additional baseball teams and a few popular college teams also have very enthusiastic fans.
  • home to American School of International Management, Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, Maricopa Community Colleges, Ottawa University, University of Arizona, and Western International University
  • Mesa has a Mormon Latter Day Saints Temple.
  • You can rent e-scooters to ride around downtown. There's also a bus system that connects to a light rail line. You can purchase day passes to go between downtown and various city buildings.

    Otherwise, you'll really want a car. Phoenix sprawls, urban area itself over 500 square miles, suburbs adding substantially to that.
  • City roads are easy to navigate, based on a grid and numbered from the city center. Numbered roads go north-south, avenues east-west. Everything is spread out (another reason you'll need a car, in the heat).



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Phoenix's:

  • Heard Museum: Native American culture and arts, especially from Arizona and New Mexico. From baskets to beadwork to textiles to pottery to their famous Hopi Katsina dolls. Also an exhibit on the 19th-century boarding schools to which some Native Americans were subjected. Open most days of the year, and there's a mobile app.
  • Phoenix Art Museum: Over 20,000 works in nine galleries, including art from around the world, modern, contemporary, fashion design, and photography.
  • Phoenix Symphony Hall: Home to the Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona, and the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra
  • South Mountain Park: Largest municipal park in the country, more than 16,000 (!) acres, over 50 miles of scenic trail for horseback riding, hiking, or biking. Features three mountain ranges and Dobbins Lookout, at 2330 feet.
  • Phoenix Zoo: One of the largest non-profit zoos in the country, over 400 species and over 3000 animals, including chevrotains, fennec foxes, komodo dragons, cactus ferruginous pygmy owls, masai giraffes, toco toucans, and Arizona walking sticks. You can also ride horses.
  • Desert Botanical Garden: 50 acres of desert plants, with an emphasis on how plants are used to survive in arid lands. You and your roommates could learn about desert landscaping with self-guided or daily docent tours. They're a global leader in cactus horticulture.
  • Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix: "A beautiful, serene, Japanese garden within the heart of downtown Phoenix." There's a stroll garden, a tea garden, and a dry garden. Also pottery and bonsai exhibits, and a koi pond. Your serenity is intended.
  • Musical Instrument Museum: "Instruments played by the heroes of folk, blues, and bluegrass music." Instruments from all over the world, including mechanical. Regular concert series plus hands-on exhibitions. There's an octobasse.
  • Roosevelt Historic District First Friday Art Walk: Since 1994, now the largest monthly artwalk in the US, celebrating hundreds of local independent artists and the local businesses showcasing them.


Here's the city of Phoenix's official .gov, including upcoming major events, some may interest you and your roommates.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.