Communities in the Valley of the Sun

    Communities in the Valley of the Sun

    Click on a city/area below for more information. Websites will open in a new window.

    West Valley
    Avondale, Buckeye, Estrella, Goodyear, Laveen, Litchfield Park, Luke Airforce Base, Palo Verde, Tolleson

    Avondale is a bustling residential community in the West Valley region of the Valley, 15 miles west of Phoenix. It is undergoing a transition from an agricultural economy to one based on light industry and commercial enterprises.

    Avondale, founded around 1900 and incorporated in 1946, is named after a nearby ranch. The town sits along the Aqua Fria River just north of its junction with the Gila River. Avondale has an active Economic Development Department that searches for new industrial and commercial enterprises that fit the city planning program. When the 101 Loop Freeway is completed, it will connect the North Valley to the Southwest Valley at 99th Avenue and I-10, in Avondale.

    Avondale is home to the Phoenix International Raceway, which hosts many important auto races each year, including the Copper World Classic in February, and the NASCAR Winston Cup Dura-Lube 550 in October. The raceway is located on the southern edge of Avondale away from residential areas.

    White Tanks Mountain Regional Park lies to the northwest and is named for its natural rock water tanks. Many unusual petroglyphs are found in the 26,000-acre park, which features hiking trails, a waterfall and scenic desert vistas.
    Avondale Demographics

    Sierra Estrella Wilderness; the 14,400-acre wilderness, 15 miles southwest of Phoenix, contains one of the most rugged mountain ranges in Arizona.

    The knife-edged ridgelines, steep slopes and rough rocky canyons are a challenge for hikers, backpackers, climbers and hunters. The vegetation in lower areas includes saguaro and cholla, ocotillo, palo verde, and elephant bush. A remnant herd of desert bighorn sheep roam the mountains and Gila monster, desert tortoise, mountain lion, mule deer, coyote, javelina, giant spotted whiptail lizard, golden eagle, prairie falcon and Cooper’s hawk also inhabit the wilderness.

    The country club living at Estrella Mountain Ranch in Phoenix, neighboring Sierra Mountains, the master-planned community offers residents the desert living with the convenience of a major metropolitan area. Residents can stay active with 72 acres of lakes, 40 acres of parks, tennis courts, gardens and facilities for boating, biking and hiking. Plans for the future include added schools, shopping, medical facilities and more. Homes range from the $129,000s to $435,000. And the new homes priced at $135,990 to $525,000.

    Luke Air Force Base

    Luke Air Force Base (Luke AFB) is an active military base that covers approximately 4,000 acres of land, west of Phoenix.

    The Air Force Base is named for the first aviator to receive the Medal of Honor posthumously, Lt. Frank Luke, Jr. Born in Phoenix in 1897, the “Arizona Balloon Buster” scored 18 aerial victories during World War I – 14 German observation balloons and 4 enemy planes – in the skies over France before being killed in battle on Sept. 29, 1918. He was 21 years old.

    The operations started in 1941 providing advanced flight training to fighter pilots. Deactivated in 1946 and subsequently reopened in 1951 with the onset of the Korean War, the air force base has been in operation since then. The function of the base: to provide combat training to aircrews.
    Litchfield Demographics


    Arrowhead Ranch, El Mirage, Glendale, Peoria, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise


    Glendale is the state’s fourth largest city, is located in the northwest portion of Phoenix. It was founded in 1892 and is known for its wealth of antique shopping.

    Glendale, was founded northwest of Phoenix by conservative, community-minded farmers in 1892. Like other Valley cities, the face of Glendale has been changed by steady population growth and a shift from farming to manufacturing. Glendale has attracted numerous electronics plants, and its proximity to Luke Air Force Base has been even more beneficial to its economy.

    Glendale Trivia: The City of Glendale trivia at their Web site: “Ostrich feathers were a huge business in Glendale from the late 1800s until around 1914 when World War I began. It was said that their diet of Glendale-grown alfalfa provided the feathers with a unique luster not found anywhere else in the world.”

    As a result of a 52% growth rate between 1980 and 1990, Glendale was listed as the 14th fastest growing city in the U.S. for that period. Most of that growth has been in the northern part, home to the beautiful masterplanned communities of Arrowhead Ranch, Arrowhead Lakes, and new subdivisions popping all over going ever north.

    Home of National Football Championships – Glendale is home to three football classics. In 2007, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will relocate to Glendale, bringing along the National Band Championship in tow. Also in 2007, the Bowl Championship Series, BCS, will begin featuring a BCS Championship Game that will rotate cities, stopping in Glendale every four years. In 2008, the granddaddy of all sporting events, the Super Bowl will crown the 2007-08 NFL champion in Glendale.
    Glendale Demographics

    Sun City, Sun City West, Sun City Grand, Sun City Festival
    These Sun City communities are not just any retirement communities. They are very active and thriving communities for the young at heart and abounds with life, entertainment, and community involvement.

    Sun City is the quintessential retirement community in the nation. Located 12 miles northwest of Phoenix, Sun City is known for the active lifestyle of its senior citizens. There are more than 350 clubs and civic organizations and seven recreation centers. Sun City is not incorporated and taxes are one-half to two-thirds lower than in most other area communities.

    Sun City, also a product of early 1960s growth, is the world’s largest adult community. All of its residents are over the age of 50. Careful planning and uniform construction give Sun City its own look, one that clearly pleases its current population and continues to attract more; the town has grown to more than 69,000 in its brief history.

    Sun City encompasses 8,900 acres of which 1,200 acres are golf courses. It has been called a “golfers’ paradise.” Golf links wind throughout the community creating large green open spaces. The electric golf cart, a non-polluting vehicle, is a favorite form of transportation.

    Sun City West began in 1978 when all available land in Sun City, which is two miles east, was built upon.

    The community, together with Sun City, has been rated the third best location out of 100 top-rated retirement communities in the nation. Nearly 24,000 residents call Sun City West home and when the community is fully completed there will be a population of 32,000. Sun City West is not incorporated.

    Sun City Grand is the largest development in Del Webb’s senior community on 3,700 acres between Bell Road and Grand Avenue. The community will have 11,200 homes when it’s completed in 14 years.

    Residents of the Sun City communities are often said to be too busy to retire.
    Sun City Demographics 
    Sun City West Demographics

    Peoria is a rapidly growing suburban community in the northwest portion of the Valley of the Sun.
    Formerly an agricultural town, Peoria is today a business and medical hub for the Northwest Valley area.
    Peoria is bordered on the west by Sun City, on the east by Phoenix and Glendale, and on the north by Lake Pleasant. Peoria was incorporated in 1954.

    Peoria started in the 1880s when several families from Peoria, Illinois, took up residence and began farming. The first post office in Peoria opened in 1888. Over the years, the number of farms increased and the town settled into a quiet rural lifestyle.

    Peoria began to change in the 1960s when the retirement community of Sun City opened. From 1980 to 1990, the city experienced phenomenal growth with population increasing 300%. When Peoria was incorporated, it had about one square mile of land. Today Peoria encompasses 117 square miles.

    A number of new commercial developments and major power centers have opened and more are under construction. Many of Peoria’s residents commute to nearby jobs in northwest Phoenix.
    Peoria Demographics


    The valley officials long anticipated the explosive valley growth: the town’s population nearly tripled since 2001. Per an updated population count, Surprise has more than 300,000 residents.

    The town’s history: Surprise was little more than a gas station and few small houses in 1938 when founder, Homer Charles Ludden, a Glendale real estate developer and state legislator, subdivided the rural square mile parcel into low-cost home sites for the area agricultural workers.

    The small town friendliness has brought in Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, the Cactus League Spring Training facility and stadium opened in 2003.

    The Surprise real estate market has stayed strong.  Major businesses recognize the possibilities in this town.

    Commercial development is booming, as well, boosting sales tax revenues to an estimated $23.3 million in 2003-04, and plans are progressing for a 2007 auto mall, power center and lakefront home development along Loop 303.

    Surprise Demographics



    Phoenix is the hub of the rapidly growing Southwest and the heart of a metro area of 3.9 million. The city is the  sixth largest in the nation, and the capital of Arizona plus the Maricopa County seat. You’ll find everything from world-class resorts and fine dining to exhilarating adventure, wonderful golf courses, trendy shopping, modern nightlife and enriching culture here.

    History tells this: In 1867, Phoenix founder Jack Swilling formed a canal company diverting irrigation water from the Salt River. In 1911, Roosevelt Dam was completed and water supplies were stabilized. Incorporated on February 25, 1881 and the city was called Hoozdo, or “the place is hot”, in the Navajo language and Fiinigis in the Western Apache language.

    Phoenix’ explosive growth began during World War II when military airfields were built in Maricopa County for the near-perfect flying weather. Many defense industries followed. Luke Air Force Base, west of Phoenix, is still a major training center for fighter pilots.

    A major factor in the economic development is naturally the climate. The area experiences sunshine nearly every day of the year. The name Phoenix, legendary Egyptian symbol of rebirth, was chosen because the city was built on the ruins of the Hohokam Indian civilization whose farmers dug irrigation canals still in use today.

    The Biltmore grounds are exquisite; the Biltmore area restaurants are upscale, as well are the shops. In Phoenix, there are the amenities of the big city, but the suburbs and the desert is no less than a half hour away. The Biltmore area at 24th and Camelback is one of the most popular and ritziest areas in the state. The City of Phoenix develops and manages the city within the neighborhood community theory. When asking a Phoenician where they live, the answer will most likely be: Arcadia, Anthem, Biltmore, Camelback Corridor, North Central area, Moon Valley or Paradise Valley. The home prices in Biltmore range $900,000 to $5,750,000. The Arcadia homes range $360,500 to $2,650,000.

    Historic District bounded by Seventh Avenue, McDowell Road, 15th Avenue, and Thomas Road. Landscaping is mature, homes picturesque homes, composed of two subdivisions built beginning in the 1920s, the neighborhood has ornamental streetlights, mature palm trees and curving streets. The core of Encanto Village is the Park Central Shopping Center and surrounding mid-density area. The core also contains a portion of the Central Avenue Corridor where commercial, sports complexes, high-rise office and high-rise residential development co-exist. An Art Walk links the Heard Museum, Phoenix Arts Museum and Phoenix Theater, Central Library. Public Golf Course Encanto Nine, for year around golf.

    Historic Districts in Phoenix

    There are 36 coveted historic residential districts in Phoenix: Alvarado,Ashland Place, Brentwood, Campus Vista, Cheery Lynn, Coronado, Country Club Place,Dennis Addition, Diamond Street, Earll Place, East Alvarado, East Evergreen, Encanto-Palmcroft, Encanto Vista, Fairview Place, F.Q.Story, Garfield Place, Idylwilde Park, La Hacienda, Margarita Place, Moreland Street, North Encanto, Oakland, Phoenix Homesteads, Roosevelt, Roosevelt Park, Victoria Place, Villa Verde, Willo, Windsor Square, Woodland, Woodlea, and Yaple Park.

    • The Victorian Era (1885 – 1905)
    • The Bungalow Era (1905 – 1925)
    • The Period Revival Era (1915 – 1940)
    • The Ranch Era (1935 – 1960)


    North Phoenix
    Anthem, Deer Valley, Desert Hills


    A Del Webb development on a large parcel of land adjacent to New River. The town of Anthem is a prestigious planned suburb within the New River area. Anthem has grown substantially since its founding and now has an estimated population of about 40,000 people. The Country Club has a 34,000 square-foot clubhouse, health and fitness center. Other amenities are the Anthem Community Center, the Anthem Water Park, lighted walking paths, baseball, soccer and softball fields and hiking and biking trails.

    Whether you are a winter visitor or a year round resident, you will love to call Anthem home. The Anthem golf community has two championship 18-hole, par 72 private courses with limited outside play. These Phoenix golf courses feature four sets of tees, with a 74.5 rating from the back tees that are sure to challenge the play of all golfers. The greens are spacious with many protected and multi tiered, and every hole looks like a desert oasis providing great views of the unique Sonoran desert and beautiful mountainous horizon of Phoenix.

    Featuring sweeping mountain vistas, golf, and other recreational opportunities, Anthem has been described as one of the best places to live in Arizona by Phoenix Magazine. Also, Del Webb describes Anthem Country Club’s world-class golf community “a hidden gem.”


    Northeast Valley
    Cave Creek, Carefree, Fountain Hills, Paradise Valley
    Pinnacle Peak, Rio Verde, Scottsdale

    Cave Creek and Carefree

    Cave Creek, located just to the north of Phoenix, and Carefree, north of Scottsdale, comprise another newly developing area with sprawling ranches and beautiful adobe homes. Well known for its rolling hills covered with boulders, which inspired the enchanting resort, “The Boulders.” El Pedregal found just below The Boulders is an inspired outdoor shopping experience reminiscent of an artist colony.

    Next door neighbors, Carefree and Cave Creek, share the same piece of the beautiful Sonoran Desert, but each has its own personality. The pioneer community of Cave Creek and its upstart neighbor Carefree represent a slower, laid-back lifestyle where the old west exists side-by-side with urban sophistication. These two communities have a combined population of more than 6,000; the economic sector consists mainly of either tourism-related businesses or of services for those who live there as well as the many visitors.

    Carefree is more exclusive, boasting expensive homes. The town is home to several resorts and all the accompanying amenities – fine restaurants, clubs, and shops. Cave Creek was settled in the late 1870’s, and became a booming mining camp during that time and was incorporated in 1986.  It is more diverse, containing everything from mansions to rustic cabins. It’s the land, though, that keeps people here, and keeps them coming.

    Carefree and Cave Creek are communities so embroidered into the surrounding landscape that it is difficult to determine where one begins and the other ends. Much of the natural scenery is spectacular, with massive piles of granite boulders, sharp mountains and an abundance of desert growth that thrives at this 2,200 to 2,700-foot altitude.
    Cave Creek / Carefree Demographics

    Fountain Hills
    Fountain Hills , located to the northeast of the Valley in the McDowell Mountains, is just minutes away from Scottsdale and is known for it’s large craft festivals and beautiful park complete with a gushing fountain in its center.

    Fountain Hills, a lovely planned community located in the foothills between Scottsdale and Mesa, is home of the world’s highest fountain. Every hour on the hour, from 10am to 9pm daily, the fountain propels a geyser of water 560 feet into the air. Founded in 1970 and developed as a family-oriented community, the existence of more than 500 businesses indicates the healthy rate at which the town has grown.

    Before 1970, the area was a cattle ranch and was part of one of the largest land and cattle holdings in Arizona. It was purchased by Robert McCulloch in the late 1960s and designed by Charles Wood, Jr., designer of Disneyland in southern California.

    Incorporated in 1989, located on 11,340 acres of land, and bordering northeast Scottsdale, Fountain Hills is surrounded by the 3,500-foot McDowell Mountains on the west, the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation on the east, the Salt River Indian Reservation on the south and by the McDowell Mountain Regional Park on the north. Elevation is 1,520 feet at the fountain, 3,000 feet on Golden Eagle, 500 feet above Phoenix.

    These elevations give the resident wonderful views in all directions of the McDowells, the Tonto National Monument and its Four Peaks, and one can even see to the Superstition Mountains in Mesa.

    Two golf-course masterplanned communities, SunRidge Canyon and Eagle Mountain changed Fountain Hills from a sleepy, little town into a fast-growing, vibrant community. Other luxurious communities are Firerock, and Crestview.

    Fountain Hills Demographics


    Paradise Valley is a true “Garden of Eden” nestled in the surrounding landscape of the beautiful Camelback Mountain and Praying Monk.

    Paradise Valley, incorporated in 1961 and aptly named, is a town where fine homes on spacious lots are the norm, and the only businesses are resorts. The 16-square-mile community northwest of Scottsdale includes such attractions as the slopes of Camelback Mountain and was home to one of the Valley’s most famous residents, Barry Goldwater.

    The town has the highest median income and the largest percentage of college graduates in the area. Zoning has restricted commercial development to posh resort hotels and single-family homes to a minimum of one-acre lots.

    Paradise Valley has experienced rapid growth in recent years. Today it is a generally known for its magnificent residences and prosperity. There are many luxurious subdivisions in the community, including Judson, Finisterre,  Montelucia Resort, Desert View, Camelback Lands, Tilyou Ranchitos, Hidden Paradise, Franciscan Terrace, Whispering Hills and more.
    Paradise Valley Demographics

    Scottsdale has been designated the Most Livable City, one of America’s resort destinations of choice for fun in the sun, fine shopping, and even finer dining. Scottsdale brims with class and taste. As The New York Times said: “Scottsdale is the Beverly Hills of Arizona, with palm trees, wide, pristine boulevards and estates with neatly manicured lawns watered by automatic sprinklers. The best hotels, nightclubs, stores and restaurants are situated there.”

    Scottsdale was founded in 1888 by Winfield Scott, a temperance-preaching Army chaplain from New York. Scottsdale, unlike many of its urban neighbors, did not find its path to growth and prosperity through the courting and conquest of industrial investors. Rather, Scottsdale became a resort, an exclusive residential community, a fashionable shopping area, and a city that fosters the arts. Campus-like business parks provide a strong economic base.

    Scottsdale has grown from a tiny farming cluster of 2,000 persons occupying just one square mile in 1951, to a vibrant community of more than 226,982 people spread over an area of 185 square miles. Long known as the “West’s Most Western Town,” Scottsdale has matured to a premier “New West,” urbane, sophisticated and cultured.

    Scottsdale’s quality lifestyle includes emphasis on mountain preservation and protection of its rich desert areas. Scottsdale is also known for its architectural and landscape design excellence and rich cultural, business and recreational environments, one of which will soon become world-renowned, The Waterfront Project and Canal Shopping District. Bridges will connect and cross the Arizona Canal at Scottsdale Road and Camelback Road, from Fashion Square to the Old Scottsdale quaint shops. Boats will traverse the canal, and shops and entertainment will line its banks.
    Scottsdale Demographics


    Ahwatukee, Apache Junction, ASU, Chandler, Chandler Heights, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, Tempe

    Tempe is a vibrant college town and home to the largest university in the United States, Arizona State University (ASU).

    “Tempe’s cultural attractions, vibrant downtown, festivals, sporting events, shopping opportunities, Arizona State University, Tempe Town Lake, Papago Park and an array of accommodations add up to a great vacation. Tempe’s central location provides easy access to the best of Arizona tourist attractions located throughout the state. Indeed Tempe, Arizona is in the middle of it all!”

    Tempe was the earliest of Phoenix’s urban neighbors, founded in 1871. As the home of ASU, it possesses the cultural exuberance of a campus town – host to dozens of concert artists and lecturers each year. It is also home to manufacturers and electronics industries.

    It is an urban community of 165,000 residents. The city is the state’s seventh largest town neighboring Mesa, Scottsdale, and Phoenix, Arizona.

    Arizona State University, with a main campus of over 51,612 students located in Tempe. The count for all valley campus students is 61,000. ASU is a research institution, well-known for its engineering and business colleges. The professors, staff, and researchers have played an important role in contributing to Tempe’s considerable educational and cultural resources. Online ASU campus location maps.

    An exciting development is the Tempe Town Lake on Rio Salado with a dam holding back 220 acres of water on a normally dry river bed, providing boating and entertainment. Rio Salado is Spanish for Salt River.

    New interactive City maps are now available. You can find distances between locations and popular attractions.

    Tempe Demographics



    Mesa, the state’s third largest city sits on a plateau southeast of Phoenix, Because it sits atop a plateau, it was named Mesa, a Spanish word that means “tabletop.”

    Mesa, east of Tempe, was incorporated in 1889. The town was stamped with the cultural character of its Mormon founders and their family-oriented values. In 1928 the Mormon Temple, still one of the Valley’s most impressive structures, was completed, underlining Mesa’s role as “the Mormon capital of Arizona.”  Mesa is one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities. Low costs of doing business, tax structure, skilled and well-educated workforce, low crime rate, superior schools, affordable housing and the quality of life has attracted 450,000 total people to Mesa.

    Its economy is one based on manufacturing as the city attracted and kept such industrial giants as Boeing and Motorola. Throughout its dramatic growth, Mesa has maintained the traditional values of its founders, priding itself on fine schools, churches, and an atmosphere of economic opportunity, preserving the community image generations of Mesans have of “a fine place to raise a family.”

    Williams Gateway Airport in southeast Mesa is a designated location for aerospace, education and industrial development. Williams Gateway and Falcon Field offer complete aviation facilities to industrial and commercial development locally.
    Mesa Demographics   


    Chandler is another of the expanding cities in Arizona. Now the seventh largest in the state, and perfect for young families due to its draw of high-tech firms like Intel.

    Chandler, south of Mesa, grew out of the agricultural holdings of Detroit veterinarian Alexander Chandler, who came to the Valley in 1887. Chandler has attracted high-tech industry, particularly electronics plants. The transformation from farmland to booming city continues. Streets are widened – only to be widened again – and residential subdivisions seem to spring up from the earth, flourishing like the cotton grown in the old days.

    The Price Road area is being referred to “The High Tech Bio Tech Financial Services Corridor” which boasts 23,000 employees from companies such as Motorola Inc., Avnet, Freescale Semiconductors Inc., Microchip Technology and others. Conveniently, the freeway Loop 202 connects I-10 and Loop 101. The Santan Freeway-Loop 202 connects U.S. 60 from the south and is scheduled to complete the north connection from the U.S. 60 to Red Mountain Freeway-Loop 202 in 2007.(Source:  Gibbons,The Business Journal)

    Chandler Airpark shows the city’s “pro-business with appropriate growth” strategy.

    The Area Plan is designed as a mix of land uses compatible with the operations of the Chandler Municipal Airport . The Airpark is located within the Chandler Enterprise Zone  offering tax incentives to qualifying employers.

    Chandler celebrates the best it has to offer through unique festivals. In March, the annual Chandler Ostrich Festival attracts over 200,000 people with a parade, carnival, and live entertainment and ostrich races.
    Chandler Demographics

    Gilbert, southeast of metropolitan Phoenix, is 5th-fastest-growing city in the country. Overflowing with “Old West Charm,” Gilbert holds country auctions and barbecues as part of its everyday social life.

    A superior school system, quality housing in a variety of price ranges, recreational amenities and employment opportunities are some of the reasons that Gilbert has attracted new residents and businesses.

    Named for Robert Gilbert, who donated land for the railroad station, the town maintains a proud sense of its Old Western flavor and charm.

    Gilbert has a progressive town government with a pro-business attitude and an emphasis on quality development. Doubling its population every five years since 1980, the Town has met the many challenges of preserving the small town atmosphere of the community, while promoting high tech industry and progressive planning for the future.

    Gilbert offers many amenities enhancing the lifestyle. The village concept of planned communities includes parks, equestrian trails, fishing, boating, and local business services all within walking distance. Gated communities, as well as equestrian properties are available in Gilbert. According to the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, however you define your lifestyle, Gilbert has something for you!

    Agriculture still plays an important role in the area with cotton, grains, alfalfa, vegetables, citrus and livestock dominating agricultural production.

    Gilbert Demographics

    Urban professionals and their families as well as retirees are the primary dwellers of the rapidly growing community in the southeast corner of Phoenix city limits, largely separated from the majority of the city by South Mountain.

    Ahwatukee (Ah-wah-too-key) borders the 16,500 acre South Mountain Park and offers everything from apartment, townhome, and patio-home living to Master Planned Communities and custom territorial estates. Retail stores and schools have been built to accommodate growth, and recreation and community activities are in ample supply.

    Mountains, Lakes, Majestic Sunsets, Breathtaking Golf and Pristine Desert. These are the words that describe the warmth and charm of a small town blessed by the amenities of a big city just next door. Interstate 10 forms the eastern border and provides convenient access to all parts of the Valley. Many residents work in nearby Tempe, Mesa and Chandler. Most of Ahwatukee is built out. Only the Foothills Reserve and the South Mountain 620 remain for a new development

    With an excellent school district, open park spaces, shopping centers, golf courses, and lakes, and little hills, Ahwatukee has much to offer. Although not actually a separate town, Ahwatukee has a strong identity and a sense of community.





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