Diana Elizabeth Phoenix blogger in black romper and hat with tassel earrings - talking about if she likes phoenix

Do I like living in Phoenix – as a California girl

Diana Elizabeth Phoenix blogger in black romper and hat with tassel earrings - talking about if she likes phoenix

The past two days I’ve been in a whole other world, one I wasn’t used to. I’ve met with over two dozen amazing brands, people, a networking conference that I’ve been going to for the past few years. It’s pretty much speed dating for bloggers and brands and I talked from 9:30 am to about 6 pm straight. Maybe I had a 15 minute break to rest my voice.

A few times I was asked, How do you like Phoenix? And I’m often asked that when I’m traveling internationally – when people ask where I’m from, and usually I’m traveling with a girlfriend from my home state of California and it’s so odd to be the one who is from Phoenix, when to me I want to say, but I’m FROM California, I just LIVE in Phoenix. I’m not sure when I’m considered a local but I’m pretty sure it’s about to happen if not already and maybe I haven’t accepted it yet, weird?

I find myself answering this question in the most awkward way – Do I like Phoenix? I legitimately am sure I make the other person wonder if what I say is truth with the way I slowly ease into my answer.

I thought I’d answer it for those of you who wonder what it’s like living here, and anyone considering.

Yes, I do.

  • We have the best food – I would say we’re just as amazing as Vegas with our restaurant choices. We are huge foodies. Thank you FOX concepts and a ton of other restaurants for being amazing – even my California friends go crazy when they come out and we just go out to eat for every meal. I miss Phoenix food when I travel.
  • Our coffee is numero uno. Forget the typical coffee shops, you gotta try our local coffee, we know how to brew cold brews and lattes like you’ve never tasted.
  • It has an entrepreneurial spirit. If you want to run a small business here, you can, and probably quite well with lots of support. Many of us are entrepreneurs and we are all motivated to return emails, get business going and connect. I feel like I thrive here because Phoenix is the place to do it! There are so many opportunity and a great support system here.
  • It’s easy to make friends. We considered moving back to Nor Cal a few years ago. We were 50% there. I know though that I would have died missing my friends, there is no one in the world like the ones I have here that have become my family.
  • It’s affordable. It’s not dirt cheap but it’s not California prices. Sure it’s the desert – but like I said, there are so many pluses that I can travel everywhere with all the money I save. I left LA to get ahead – to be able to buy a home, car, earn a living and get ahead. I feel like Phoenix allows us to live comfortably. Plus, there’s a LOT of California people here, just FYI.
  • The weather is good, like 8 months of the year. October to May. My husband would go far to stretch it to June but sorry, brutal summers are 5 months long to me, not 3. At least for this girl who feels hot with anything over 80 degrees. I know, it sounds like I live in the wrong place, and climate wise, probably LA is the best weather but it’s OK, like I said, the pluses outweighs the minuses.
  • I actually like being close to Vegas. I’m not saying Vegas is anything like my favorite place at all nor am I wanting to go – but I love that it is close by, there are big conferences I can attend, and also entertainment. Like Mariah Carey or John Mayer. It’s also a great girlfriend getaway. And you can do Vegas clean.
  • Lots of amazing spas. We are spa central offering beautiful resorts who take relaxation and TLC very seriously.
  • It’s easy to get around. Traffic isn’t that bad. Phoenix is very spread out, to me it’s like a giant suburbia spread out. Downtown is small and pretty clean, the freeways make it easy.
  • We have as Last Chance. That’s fun – it’s one of two in the country belonging to Nordstrom where the returns and clearance items go to die, the bargain basement. I only go when my friends are in town and that’s about it but they like it and bring an empty suitcase so it’s got to be kind of a draw right?
  • Dry cleaning is cheap. $2.25 each item cheap. I had curtains dry cleaned for $3. When you dry clean a lot for your professional attire (or in my case hate to iron) this all adds up and the cheaper the better!
  • There aren’t a lot of bugs. I mean yes scorpions in the desert if you live like Scottsdale and more toward the mountain base – I don’t have them around where I live. And maybe the cockroach that’s super large it’s crazy. But other than that, there aren’t a lot of flies because the humidity is low. I hear the lack of bugs a lot from people who are from humid places like the midwest.
  • The sunsets are amazing. The only other place I’ve seen a wicked good sunset is in Thailand with the way the sun glows as it sets. The sunsets here in the desert are fiery red, then cotton candy, seen with a gorgeous wide open sky that will blow you away. A sunset over the ocean is nice, it always is, but for sky color, boy do we have something in the air that makes it light up.
  • Lots of hiking. If that’s your thing. It’s not my thing, but it is something to do and I’ve done it a few times, and the views are good. I really should do it more often.

But there’s always a BUT.

  • The heat. But it’s just the summer, really it’s not hot here all the time even though everyone annoyingly asks about the heat when I say I live in Phoenix. It’s no different than a frigid winter in Michigan that also lasts for months. Our hibernation time is just the summer. I do want to pretty much die when it’s the middle of summer. We’re all cranky, no one wants to leave their house. It’s brutal and you get tired of it. It is what it is.
  • There’s nothing that awesome around us. Sure San Diego is 6 hours away, so is Vegas. No one wants go to any other way – I mean Mexico, meh. No thanks. East to New Mexico? Nope (no offense, I’ve lived in ABQ for a few months).
  • It’s not as entertaining as California. When you are born and raised in California, there’s no place like California because you can go in any direction to find an adventure. No other state can compare, period. It doesn’t. But what California also has is insane taxes (let’s be honest) and super high cost of living. But it’s still next door to CA so I can go back anytime – and I often do.
  • Sometimes I get bored. Even though there are cabins up north to get away, it’s not my thing. It’s more of Arizona born and raised folks, it’s just what they do to survive in the summer if they are living in this state for their whole life and for their families and future generations. While that’s not our lifestyle, I wish weekend getaways were easier like in California, so I have to adjust.

When I first moved back to Arizona from LA, my first weekend I panicked. I usually head to the beach, Zuma, or drive up to Malibu for the weekend, or walk the Santa Monica promenade, or shop in Century City. What was there to do in Phoenix, what did I do to myself? It was a hard adjustment the first few months. I had to realize I went to college in Tucson (two hours south) for four years and had a great time. What did I do? I hung out with friends, did more social stuff without scenery and created fun with company – it didn’t matter what we did or where we went, it was quality with friends. I had to adjust to what this city provided, thankfully we have great coffee and food so deep wonderful conversations over food can happen. And instead of being upset about it, it’s been over 10 years later, I have adjusted and I feel like I can thrive here.

So those are my thoughts on if I like living here. I do – most of the time, and really because of the people and my community which is what makes a city feel like a home, right? Who you do life with. And when I don’t love the weather, I travel the world :) 

If you live in Phoenix do you love it? If you’ve visited did you like it? 

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


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