Scottsdale, Arizona

Best Places to Retire in Arizona


Scottsdale has grown from a farming community of 2,000 with dirt streets in 1951, to a city with a population of over 200,000 today. It has earned a reputation as one of the Southwest’s premier vacation destinations, and one of the fastest growing areas in the country. Bordering on Phoenix to the west and Tempe to the south, it offers nearly unlimited access to amenities. Scottsdale alone boasts more than 125 galleries, excellent museums and fine performing arts venues.

It offers outstanding boutique shopping and dining, and visitors will enjoy the ArtWalk, a Thursday night tradition in which galleries stay open late and welcome the public to special exhibits, openings and artist receptions. It also has outstanding medical care, including one of the three Mayo Clinics.

There are dozens of good golf courses to choose from, there is trail riding, an abundance of tennis facilities, three municipal pools, and 13 parks. The surrounding countryside features beautiful desert scenery and rugged mountain landscapes. Avid sports fans can also enjoy the Phoenix Suns basketball games, the Phoenix Open (played at Scottsdale’s TPC Players Club), major league baseball’s spring training season with the San Francisco Giants, and big-time college sports at Arizona State University in nearby Tempe.

ASU also hosts one of the major college football bowl games — the Fiesta Bowl. Added to all these attributes, many will agree Scottsdale has nearly ideal weather. It enjoys sunny conditions 86% of the time and has annual rainfall of just seven inches. The humidity averages a very low 23%.

Arts & Culture

The Phoenix Symphony is a 75-member orchestra that presents its annual concert series from September through early June, featuring both classical and pops concerts. It performs at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix, in Scottsdale, Prescott and throughout central Arizona.

Ballet Arizona is the Southwest’s premier professional ballet company. Performances are at Symphony Hall and The Orpheum Theater in Phoenix, as well as at various places throughout the state.

Scottsdale Center for the Arts has a year-round performing arts season that includes both entertainment and extensive education and outreach programs, including special school matinee performances, camps, art instruction, workshops and master classes.

Kerr Cultural Center at Arizona State University (in Scottsdale) is noted for its intimate setting and excellent acoustics. Kerr, which was originally intended as a hall for chamber music, hosts musical and theatrical events as well as visual art exhibits and special events.

Phoenix Art Museum is one of the largest general visual arts institutions in the Southwest, with over 160,000 square feet. It hosts over a half million visitors annually.

Pueblo Grande Museum has an interpretive trail with an archaeological site and walk through a Hohokam Houses exhibit with reconstructed homes. Changing showcase exhibits feature archaeology, southwestern cultures and American Indian arts.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art explores and interprets contemporary culture. It also provides arts experiences for all ages, through workshops, tours and outreach programs. The museum manages the city’s fine art collection and public art program.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Tallesin West offers one to three-hour tours and desert walk.

Scottsdale Historical Museum is in a little red schoolhouse (1909) and chronicles the city’s history with photographs, artifacts and displays.  

The Heard Museum, located in Phoenix, was founded in 1929 by Dwight B. and Maie Bartlett Heard to house their personal collection of cultural and fine art. It is acclaimed today as “the nation’s most prestigious private Indian arts center.”

Art Galleries – The following Web site provides a list of nearly 120 Scottsdale art galleries with active Links to a great number of them.

The Scottsdale Signature & Special Events Calendar has a long list of special events. A sampling of them (four events) are listed below with Web sites. For a more detailed listing of special events, check out this site.  

Special Events: NARD (Native American Recognition Days) has been an annual event for over 20 years. It is an effort to nurture relationships between Native and non-Native peoples. It features a whole calendar of events, spanning about five weeks (October and early November), including a benefit golf tournament, Social Pow-Wow, Indian Market, a lecture series, an Indian Health Expo, parade, and much more.

The Annual Cowboy Artists of America Exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum is a major exhibition with some art works selling into six figures. The sale is a specially ticketed event and major fundraiser for the museum. It runs from mid-October through mid-November.

ARTFEST (a two-day event) is one of the highest rated fall festivals, according to the artist community. It is located on the lawns, walkways and bridges of the Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza. It features about 200 artists, and continuous live music.

The Scottsdale Art Association’s signature ArtWalks are a Thursday night tradition, held year-round from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.. It is a casual evening with special exhibitions, demonstrations, and entertainment — an opportunity to find that special piece or perfect gift. Scottsdale, with more than 125 galleries is a mecca for art collectors. 

Parada del Sol Festival is an annual month-long event (in February) that includes a full weekend of rodeo fun.


The city of Scottsdale operates 13 parks and offers a wide range of recreation programs for all age groups, including seniors. Activities include aquatics, basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball, adaptive recreation, seniors programs, hiking, desert survival, and more. 

There are many good golf courses to choose from — including the Tournament Players Championship course where the Phoenix Open is played annually. The following web site includes 25 Internet links to golf courses in the area. 

The Fiesta Bowl is one of the select college football bowl games that determine the national champions. The game is played on January 2nd each year in Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.

The Phoenix Open (now the FBR Open) golf tournament is played at the TPC of Scottsdale in late January. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks play their home schedule at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. It is an air-conditioned facility with a retractable roof. 

The Scottsdale Stadium, designed by the creators of Camden Yards in Baltimore, is in the heart of historic Old Town Scottsdale. It has become the spring training home of not only the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Fall League, but also hosts numerous special events, festivals, concerts and parties.


Scottsdale Community College is a two-year college located on a 160-acre campus at the eastern boundary of the city with an unobstructed view of the mountains. Founded in 1970, it has now reached student enrollment of 10,000 students each semester. A majority of students are enrolled in credit programs, including math, science, social and behavioral sciences, English and communications, speech, and studio and performing arts. 

Arizona State University, with its main campus in Tempe, is the state’s largest university. It enrolls over 57,000 students at three campuses (Tempe, with 47,000 students, ASU West in northwest Phoenix, and ASU East in Mesa.

Mesa Community College –

Phoenix College –

Senior Programs

A complete system of services, resources, recreation and activities are offered for seniors through the Civic Center Senior Center, Via Linda Senior Center, and the Granite Reef Senior Center, plus two satellite locations: (Paiute Neighborhood Center and Vista del Camino Community Center). Included are specialty classes in aerobics, yoga, line dancing, Latin dancing, drawing, painting, photography and bridge. Foreign language classes include Spanish, Italian and French.

The centers also offer computer programs, classes and educational workshops. Other programs include recreation and fitness, health and wellness, day trips, and much more. Many of the services and programs are free.


Scottsdale Healthcare is a nonprofit organization which had its beginnings as a city hospital in 1962. It serves the entire Northeast Valley area through three campuses, two hospitals, outpatient centers, and home health services. Its staff includes 1,350 active physicians, representing over 50 specialties.

Mayo Clinic, which opened in Scottsdale in 1987, is one of three branches of this famous clinic (others are in Minnesota and Florida). Its staff of more than 300 physicians and scientists delivers healthcare services in more than 66 medical and surgical disciplines. Facilities include its Samuel C. Johnson Medical Research Building and several primary-care outpatient centers.


Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport – Phoenix Deer Valley Airport is a general aviation reliever airport for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It is home to over 1,350 aircraft based there and is the second busiest airport in the state. It has two full-service corporate fixed base operators and two flight schools.

Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Goodyear, AZ, is also a general aviation reliever airport for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and home to over 275 aircraft. 


Scottsdale boasts 86% sunny days, just seven inches of annual rainfall, and an average humidity level of 23%. 


East Valley Tribune –

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce


Tempe – 8 miles Mesa – 10 miles Phoenix – 15.8 miles Glendale – 18 miles Peoria – 28 miles Tucson – 120 miles Santa Fe – 540 miles Dan Diego – 368 miles

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