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10 Best Cities to Live and Retire in Arizona as of 2018

September 19, 2017

6 min read

Arizona has increasingly become a popular destination for retirees of all stripes, and it’s not hard to see why. The American Southwest has a lot of allure.

Each city has a flavor of its own, ensuring that there’s something fun for everyone.

There are other benefits besides the beauty and entertainment. Arizona offers no taxation on Social Security income. That perk alone makes it a great place for many older adults to consider as a place to relax and take it easy.

Read on to see the top cities for retirement in the Granite State. 

The cost of living (COL) is about equal to the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

1. Scottsdale

Scottsdale was Livability’s 10th best place to retire in 2015 and for good reason. A suburb of Phoenix, Scottsdale is close enough to the city to visit on weekends, but still secluded enough for a quieter life. As a result, the retirement community here is substantial; over 28% of the city’s residents are aged 60 or older. Amenities, such as golf courses, spas, hiking trails, and even nightclubs, provide ample entertainment to enjoy a new or an old hobby. The highly rated health care will keep you feeling well enough to enjoy them.

The cost of living is 39% higher than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

2. Mesa

Mesa is another city that’s frequently rated one of the best places in the US to retire. Like Scottsdale, Mesa is close enough to Phoenix to visit, but far enough that retirees can avoid the high costs of retiring in the metro area. Because of the reasonably temperate winters, the area is very popular with “snowbirds” who come from chillier places to enjoy a warmer climate. As a result, there’s a mobile community of RVs and parks for seniors who prefer to spend their time traveling, rather than staying put.

The cost of living is 2% higher than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

3. Tucson

Tucson is about an hour north of the Mexican border, which gives it a unique culture all its own that is a mix of Native American, Mexican, and American. It’s also one of the fastest growing retirement communities and is currently being renovated and developed. Tucson takes the arts seriously, with a wide variety of performances and events all year around. Those planning to retire soon might want to consider moving before the cost of living – which is currently around the same as the national average – increases drastically.

The cost of living is 2% higher than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

4. White Hills

White Hills may be tiny, but that doesn’t mean that it’s boring. At about 45 minutes from Las Vegas, it is a perfect place for those who want to live somewhere quiet and go nearby to play. Land is still quite cheap at an average of $1,000-2,000 per acre, making it perfect for those looking to invest

The cost of living is about 12% lower than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

5. Nogales

Like Tucson, Nogales features an eclectic blend of cultures, arts, and history, but without the crowds and the hustle and bustle of the metro. Nogales is small with a reasonable cost of living and moderate (at least for Arizona) temperatures in both summer and winter. Nogales borders Mexico and it is Arizona’s largest international border community.

The cost of living is about 12% lower than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

6. Yuma

Located almost halfway between San Diego and Phoenix, Yuma is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. Like several other cities on this list, Yuma is popular among “snowbirds” and has a much higher population in winter than in summer. It also has a low cost of living and a lot of senior-centered activities. Yuma is popular for its many trails in the middle of the desert.

The cost of living is about 5% lower than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

7. Sun City

Sun City is one of the most famous active adult communities in the world, and it is also one of first. With seven recreation centers, eight golf courses, three country clubs, two bowling centers, the Sun Bowl, and Viewpoint Lake, there is almost always something to do. This, combined with Sun City’s proximity to Phoenix – which is about 15 miles – makes it an excellent choice for the active senior.

The cost of living is 2% lower than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

8. Prescott

Prescott consistently places in the top ten on’s list of the best places to retire. Like Sun City, it is an active adult community. It’s best known for its array of local and national attractions, including Courthouse Plaza, Whiskey Row, World’s Oldest Rodeo, Prescott Center for the Arts, Sharlot Hall Museum, and the Phippen Museum, as well as several colleges, ideal for those looking to further their education.

The cost of living is 3% higher than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

9. Rio Verde

Imagine a hybrid between a town and a country club, and you’d have Rio Verde. It is not a town or a city, but an independently owned community that is large enough to be counted in the census. As a result, the area is both owned and governed by the retirement community, and more specifically the golfing community. Rio Verde is decidedly upscale and it has the array of entertainment and amenities one would expect in a high-scale retirement community.

The cost of living is 46% higher than the U.S. average, according to Sperling’s Best Places.

10. Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix Arizona

A great choice for people who want to enjoy the Arizona weather while still living the urban life. Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona and it’s the 6th most populous city in the U.S. Phoenix is popular for having major luxury resorts and close to 200 golf courses in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. There are endless festivals, museums, restaurants and places to explore. Nature lovers can check out Camelback Mountain, the Desert Botanical Garden and South Mountain Park.

Arizona has something for everyone, from arts to hiking, and from secluded retreats to bustling cities. A great place to visit or retire — depending on how you want relax and spend your time.  

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By Juan David Rodriguez

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