The largest city in Arizona is Phoenix. The city is Arizona’s capital city and is a booming economic center with a population of over 1.6 million people. Phoenix boasts a low cost of living (compared to California), great job opportunities, and several state and national parks within driving distance. Phoenix is home to more than 180 parks and 41,000 acres of desert mountain preserve, plus more than 200 miles of trails. Phoenix also has more than 300 days of sunshine per year.
Tuscon is the second-largest city in Arizona by population. Tucson is one of Arizona’s oldest cities and has a current population of 542,629. Once a part of the Spanish Empire, Tucson is rich in history and was an important stop along the Southern Pacific Railroad in the late 19th century. Today, Tucson hosts a growing population and is home to many companies in tech, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. Tucson is home to the University of Arizona and the 91,327-acre Saguaro National Park.
Another one of the biggest cities in Arizona is Mesa. This suburb of Phoenix has a population of 504,258. Mesa is home to several universities, including Arizona College, DeVry University, and Carrington College. There is no shortage of recreational activities in Mesa, with the city having over 2,280 acres of parkland in the city limits and numerous golf courses and country clubs. Numerous properties within Mesa and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with locations like the 1884 Mesa Jail being favorite tourist spots.
Another one of the major cities in Arizona is Chandler, which has the fourth largest population in the state. Chandler is a city in Maricopa and Pinal counties and has a population of 279,458. Being bordered by Tempe, Mesa, and Phoenix, Chandler benefits from a great location. The city offers great parks like Desert Breeze Park, which offers a carousel and vintage train rides. The Chandler Fashion Center is the second-largest mall in the state and is home to concerts, boutiques, and several restaurants. Other popular sites in Chandler include the Arizona Railways Museum and the Koli Equestrian Center.
Gilbert is a rapidly growing city with a population of 273,136, making it one of the largest cities in Arizona by population. Once known as the “Hay Capital of the World,” Gilbert’s economy has been rapidly shifting in recent years. Gilbert has consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the United States and as one of the best places to raise a family. It's also one of the safest cities in Arizona. Popular sights in Gilbert include the Riparian Preserve, the Hale Center Theatre, and Gilbert Historical Museum. Gilbert Regional Park and Desert Sky Park are also favorite recreation spots among residents.
Glendale is a city in Maricopa County with a population of 248,325. Home of the NFL Arizona Cardinals, Glendale is a great entertainment city. Favorite sites include The Westgate Entertainment District, Adobe Mount Desert Park, Manistee Ranch, and Gila River Arena. The Arrowhead Towne Center Mall offers some of the best stores and restaurants in the area. Due to the presence of several sports arenas, Glendale is also the location of many concerts.
With a population of 241,361, Scottsdale is also one of the largest cities in Arizona by population. Known for its expansive golf course and country clubs, Scottsdale is a great place to retire. One of Arizona’s wealthiest communities, Scottsdale is home to many celebrities and famous personalities. Scottsdale has been a tech hub since the 1950s and is home to one of Motorola’s first offices. Residents enjoy the city’s numerous recreational activities, such as Butterly Wonderland, an indoor interactive rainforest. Scottsdale is also home to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a 225-mile network of trails that is the largest urban park of its kind. Scottsdale is one of the most expensive cities in Arizona, having a median home price of $776,383.
Peoria is a major suburb of Phoenix and has a population of 190,985. Peoria is the location of Lake Pleasant, a desert oasis-like lake nearby that offers fantastic watersports, fishing, and camping opportunities. Peoria offers much in the ways of arts as well, being the home of the Arizona Broadway Theatre. The Peoria Sports Complex also draws large crowds and hosts MLB spring training for the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners. Peoria is home to higher education such as Trine University and Huntington University.
Home to Arizona State University, Temple is the tenth largest city in Arizona, with a population of 180,587. Tempe is located in the East Valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area and is bordered by Scottsdale to the north. Temple is the headquarters of several Fortune 500 companies, such as DriveTime, Carvana, and First Solar. Tempe is somewhat of a desert oasis city; the Hayden Ferry Lake, located along the adjacent business park, offers great boating adventures.
Surprise is located just northwest of Phoenix that has a population of 143,148. Surprise has been a major destination for retirees who moved to gated communities like Sun City Grand. Much of the city’s economy is based around senior care and retirement living. Sports play a major role in the city’s culture, with Surprise being the location of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers spring training. Surprise has highly-rated schools and is home to part of the Rio Salado College campus.