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What it's like to live in Phoenix

March 30, 2014, 12:07 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 2512

By @mariocantin

Phoenix is the sixth most populous city in the United States. As many will know, it is located in the state of Arizona. Amongst a fairly consistent short list of pros and cons one can easily dredge up on the internet about it, "PHX" is certainly well-known for its scorching summer heat.

To tell us about this metropolis at a deeper level, we turn to Caitlin Harrington, an entertainment reporter in Phoenix who has kindly accepted to be interviewed for our story.

Caitlin was born, raised and has spent 26 of her 27 years in Tucson. She attended college at the University of Arizona and had her first reporting job for a show that covered local events and politics in Arizona. She loved growing up in Tucson "where everywhere you go you seem to know someone and 'traffic' means adding an additional 5 minutes to your commute", as she puts it.


She moved to Phoenix in the Summer of 2013, and unless you count the two-month period when she stayed in Orvieto, Italy, she's only lived in Phoenix outside of her hometown.

When asked what had brought her to make that particular choice, she explained, " My dream job is to become an entertainment reporter and eventually host my own show. I knew I needed to get my foot in the door somewhere and Tucson just isn't the market for that kind of reporting. I applied for jobs in California and Phoenix and landed a job with the national television show RightThisMinute. (And my parents were extremely happy that I accepted since I'd only be a short drive away!)"

Describing her initial impression of the sunny metropolis, this Tucson transplant said, "Although I had visited Phoenix on many a shopping trip, or to visit friends who moved here for college, most of the time spent in Phoenix was indoors at the mall, or dancing the night away on Mill or in Old Town Scottsdale. I knew there was good shopping, and plenty of places to go out at night, but not much else.


Since moving here I have realized that there is much, much more to Phoenix than just the shopping and bars. I love that I have so many options for everything I want to do. If I want to go out to eat, there are 50 great restaurants just miles from wherever I am. If I want to try out a new workout, I can pick a free class from one of the 15 pilates/yoga/cycling studios just down the street. If I decide to spend my weekends outdoors, I can pick from tons of hiking spots with multiple levels of intensity, ride my bike to just about anywhere I want, or spend my day sipping umbrella drinks at one of the many resorts that let you use the pool for free. Having options for these kinds of things are a big deal for me coming from the "suburbs" of Tucson."

I asked Caitlin what she had since discovered about Phoenix that she couldn’t have known at the onset. She replied, "You don't have to sacrifice an arm and a leg to find a nice place to live in Phoenix. That, and there is always a festival, show or concert to keep you busy".


I also inquired as to how life in the "Valley of the Sun", as it is often called, differs from living in other cities, American or otherwise. "With the exception of the 1-2 months of some pretty intense heat, you really can't beat the weather here. Where else can you lay out by the pool in the middle of January?", she expressed, and then added, "Also, the money you save on winter gear basically covers the electric bill later on in the year."

Being a foodie who loves to try new things and explore new places, Phoenix fits her lifestyle perfectly.

With regards to which aspects of the city she wishes were different, she said, "Moving to Phoenix, I finally got my first taste of what real rush hour traffic is (and I'm sure it's nothing compared to other cities). This is the one thing I don't think I'll ever get used to.

I asked what comments she could make about the importance of understanding Phoenix’s various neighborhoods, either before moving there or simply prior to a visit?

She offered, "Every neighborhood in Phoenix seems to have its 'nice' areas and its 'not so nice' areas. If you are looking for a place to live and you think you are in a bad part of town, chances are you can head two blocks in any direction and all of a sudden it's like you are in an entirely different city. It makes Phoenix really diverse, and you may find yourself wandering into these areas on purpose later on because of the delicious, ethnic cuisine and dirt cheap (but awesome) markets." She went on to say, "There is always more to explore. As with any other city, your best bet is to take a walk, and maybe even get lost, because you never know what you might find."

zin_bistro.jpg bike_rides.jpgTPC(in Jan!).jpg

I was asking whether Phoenix offered her a career advantage. She responded, " Although the job I have currently requires me to work from my desk, I know that when I am ready for my next job that I will have plenty to choose from.

If there were another city in the world that Caitlin would contemplate living in, it would possibly be in Europe. She explained, "After spending a summer in Italy, I would definitely be happy to live there, but I think I would like to get a little more traveling under my belt before really deciding on something like that. For right now, I am more than happy to call Phoenix my home.

Summarizing her experience thus far, she leaves us with this thought, "Living in Phoenix allows you to enjoy the 'Big City' life on a small town budget.


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