Life in Peoria, Arizona
Peoria, Arizona, once a sleepy town on the road out of Phoenix, has emerged as a thriving family- and retiree-friendly suburb in the northwest corner of the metro area with lots of municipal recreation amenities.
Advantages of living in Peoria
Peoria has relative affordable housing for homebuyers and renters compared to elsewhere in Arizona, with good freeway access via Loop 303 and Loop 101.
The sunny desert climate has great winters (but hot summers).
Peoria not only is surrounded by natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert for hiking and exploring enthusiast but also has created many city parks and recreation for locals. It’s not far from White Tank Mountains and Lake Pleasant.
Those parks and amenities boost the city’s family-friendly reputation, as do the fact that it ranks high for safety and crime.
Disadvantages of living in Peoria
While industrial and warehouse growth along Loop 303 has added hundreds of jobs, Peoria – at the edge of the metro area – requires a commute to many workplaces and the Phoenix and Scottsdale social and cultural amenities.
It’s hot in the summer.
The city’s rapid growth also has added traffic and congestion during part of the day.
The history of Peoria
The Peoria area, like much of Arizona, was settled by ranchers and farmers in the late 1800s. The (disputed) legend holds that Flora Mae Statler, an early real estate developer and founder, said she “would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much.”
Not much happened for decades, with about 200 people called Peoria home. It incorporated into a town in 1960, with about 1,500 residents. For most Phoenix area residents of the time, it was a Circle K on the way to Wickenburg.
As Phoenix, and the cities between it and Peoria, grew during the next two decades, it was only a matter of time (and suburban housing demand) until the metro growth penetrated the Peoria boundary.
In the ‘90s, that growth boom exploded, and Peoria went from 7,000 to more than 30,000 by the end of the millennium. Peoria had open land, was right next door, and was more affordable.
Peoria became a city in 2004, which gave the locals more ability to govern the area. Municipal services and amenities expanded.
The growth hasn’t stopped, and the completion of Loop 303 drew more people and more industry, master-planned communities, retail, and local amenities. City leaders have tried to diversity the economy beyond growth and construction, garnering interest and new facilities from retailers, health care and more. That gave the city a more stable economy.
Major events in Peoria
The Peoria Fine Art & Wine Festival in January features art by local and area artists plus lived music and, of course, wine. https://thunderbirdartists.com/surprise-arizona-fine-art-wine-festival-january
Peoria is among the several Valley communities with a Cactus League Spring Training park, and two teams – the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers. Other teams have home parks in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Peoria, Tempe and Goodyear. https://cactusleague.com/index.php
The holidays bring a community event call the Peoria Party, with music, food, a tree-lighting, fireworks and, of course, Santa. Leading up to that are Peoria Party Nights, smaller events on some Saturdays that also offer food, music, and family fun.
The summer Sundown Series includes outdoor concerts, movies and more in city parks.
What would the Fourth of July be without fireworks and food, and Peoria’s Independence Day celebration has that and entertainment at Peoria Stadium.
Hotels in and around Peoria
Peoria hasn’t been large enough long enough to have grand historic hotels, but it has a growing list of modern ones for visitors. They include:
Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix-Peoria, near Peoria Stadium https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/phxsrhx-hampton-suites-phoenix-surprise/
Holiday Inn Express Peoria https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/surprise/phxbp/hoteldetail
Windmill Suites Peoria https://www.windmillsurprise.com/
Residence Inn Phoenix NW/Peoria https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/phxsz-residence-inn-phoenix-nw-surprise/overview/
Comfort Inn & Suites Peoria – Phoenix NW https://www.choicehotels.com/arizona/surprise/comfort-inn-hotels/az118
Hikes around Peoria
The White Tank Mountain Regional Park, is in the scenic mountain just west of Peoria and Loop 303. Popular trail include the seasonal Waterfall Trail, a fairly moderate 1.8 mile hike. More challenging ones include the Ford Canyon and Waddell trails. Link
Other regional parks in the area with trails and panoramic views include:
Skyline Regional Park to the southwest in Buckeye. Link
Lake Pleasant Regional Park to the north in Peoria: Link
Estrella Mountain Regional Park to the south in Goodyear: Link
Weather in Peoria
Weather in Peoria is like the rest of the Phoenix metro area: Hot in summer, fabulous the rest of the year. Here are the numbers:
Summers can get well over 100, particularly in June. Later in the summer, the monsoon arrives, (sometimes) bringing rain and wind, generally brief events in the afternoons.
Autumn is cooler, from high 70s to 90s with much cooler evenings. It’s a welcome time of year.
Winters usually are the best in the nation, although it also brings some rain. Daytime highs are 60s and 70s, with nights as low as 50s or even 40s. (This is when the rest of the nation wants to be in Arizona.)
Spring is warmer but still great weather – just ask the thousands of visitors who arrive for Spring Training. It ranges in the 70s and 80s, sometimes higher closer to summer. Healthy rains in the winter can bring a fantastic display of desert wildflowers to the region.
Neighborhoods in Peoria
Much of Peoria, because it’s such a new city, is made up of fairly recent master-planned communities, some of them quite nice. Here are some of them:
The gated Greer Ranch has views of the White Tank Mountains and fairly upscale homes, with parks, walking trails and playgrounds.
Peoria Farms in the west part of the city is a family area with green spaces and parks, and also trails. It’s close to retail, recreation and schools.
A small-town feeling permeates Marley Park, which is built to encourage neighborliness with porches, bumping front yards and green space. It’s full of trees and has a community center and parks, plus activities and events. It has townhouses and single family homes.
Rancho Gabriela boasts of family friend atmosphere with playgrounds, parks and trails, and more affordable price points.
The news Sierra Montana has modern homes and townhouses, also with parks, trails and schools.
The 55+ retirement community of Sun City Grand is among the more upscale of the region’s many age-restricted developments, with golf, pools, fitness centers, social clubs and activities and water features.
Cities and communities around Peoria
Peoria is in the region of the Phoenix metro known as the Northwest Valley, which have features and amenities close to Peoria families to enjoy.
To the east and north is Peoria, which has a wide range of housing, including upscale and large lot developments with scenic views. It has a growing entertainment area and retail, Spring Training, and the popular Lake Pleasant, mecca for boating and water sports.
Glendale, south of Peoria, is the largest and oldest city in the region. Its the home of the Arizona Cardinals, an antique-centric downtown, and the Westgate Entertainment District, with nightlife, restaurants, and many events.
Sun City and Sun City West are 55+ communities right next to Peoria. Sun City was the original active adult community, begun in 1960, and both have golf, community centers, activities, clubs, and retail.
The smallest city in the region is El Mirage, right on Peoria’s border, with the area’s most affordable housing.
A bit further south is the more upscale but smaller Litchfield Park, which has a small town feel, a historic but small downtown and the historic luxury Wigwam resort, with golf and an interesting history.
What drives the economy of Peoria?
The old economic development saw is that retail follows rooftops, and so do jobs. Peoria is such a new, and rapidly developed, community that it has yet to become an industrial or jobs hub. Many workers in town commute to work centers in other cities. But Peoria does have its employment areas.
Retail has followed housing development in Peoria, which adds jobs and sales tax. The service industry – hotels, entertainment and food establishments, also add to the local economy with jobs and taxes.
With the rapid housing development in Peoria, real estate and construction have provided jobs and income for the past two decades in town – plus all the support industries.
Peoria has its share of the health care industry, with nearby hospitals, many medical centers, and specialized health care facilities. They offer primary care, specialized treatments, and long-term care that provide jobs for medical professionals and others.
Peoria (and El Mirage) schools are in the Dysart Unified School District, https://www.dysart.org/mainsite which employs teachers, administrators, and support staff. It also has Ottawa University, with professors, staff, and students that add to the Peoria economy. https://www.ottawa.edu/ouaz/home
Manufacturing and warehousing have grown with the completion of Loop 303, including electronics and aerospace. Peoria works well for warehousing because of its freeway access and less trafficked access to the road to the West Coast.
With Spring Training and other attractions in the region, Peoria provides jobs in the hospitality, golf, sports, and outdoors areas.
Recreation and Tourism: Peoria attracts visitors through its recreational amenities, including golf courses, sports facilities, and outdoor spaces.
Colleges in or around Peoria
The private, non-profit Ottawa University calls Peoria home, offering undergrad and graduated degrees in multiple disciplines. https://www.ottawa.edu/ouaz/home
Arizona State University West is not far away in Glendale, also providing undergrad and graduate degrees with an emphasis on business, interdisciplinary studies, social sciences and education. https://campus.asu.edu/west
Also in Glendale, Midwestern University is a medical school with osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, dental medicine, optometry, and other medical programs. https://www.midwestern.edu/campus-life/glendale-az-campus
Arizona State University has campuses and offerings throughout the Phoenix metro area. https://www.asu.edu/
Grand Canyon University in Glendale is a growing university that’s becoming more of an educational and sports powerhouse: Link
Area community colleges with a wide range of associate programs and paths to four-year degrees include Glendale Community College, Estrella Mountain Community College, and Rio Salado College. https://www.maricopa.edu/
Famous people who have lived in Peoria
Again, because it’s newness limits its history, but some famous people have called it home, if only temporarily. They include:
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Brad Lidge has lived in Peoria. His stops include the Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, and Houston Astros, and he was a World Series champion and MLB All-Star.
Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett lived in Peoria when he was with the Arizona Cardinals, where he played his entire football career.
Violinist, dancer, and composer Lindsey Stirling, who has several albums under her belt, lived for a time in Peoria in her early years.
Things to do near Peoria
The Salt River Valley is one of the most sprawling metro areas in America, and cities blend into neighboring cities without break or clear delineation. So the venues and attractions surrounding your fair burg as just as available. Here’s are a few attractions around Peoria:
Peoria Sports Complex Spring Training park hosts the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, plus many other events off season. A burgeoning entertainment and restaurant district is growing around it. https://www.peoriasportscomplex.com/
Also in Peoria, Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a huge reservoir with water sports, hiking, fishing and camping. https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/lake-pleasant-regional-park/
Westgate Entertainment District in home not only to the NFL stadium but also a wide range of entertainment, restaurants, and nightlife. https://westgateaz.com/
White Tank Mountain Regional Park to the west has hiking, picnic areas and great views. https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/white-tank-mountain-regional-park/
Several major NASCAR races are held at the Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale. https://www.phoenixraceway.com/
Just south of Peoria off Loop 303 in Litchfield Park is the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park, with animals, aquarium, exhibits and educational opportunities. https://www.wildlifeworld.com/
The Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale has gambling, entertainment, dining, and special events. https://www.ddcaz.com/west-valley/
Cultural attractions in Peoria
Arts HQ offers galleries and exhibits with local and area artists’ work, plus rotating exhibits, workshops, performances, and classes. It’s the cultural hub of Peoria and home of the West Valley Arts Council. https://www.westvalleyarts.org/
Many community events and activities are at Peoria Community Park, including the Peoria Party and other events. It also has sports fields, a lake, picnic areas, and playgrounds. https://surpriseaz.gov/1244/Peoria-Community-Park-Upgrade
The nonprofit WHAM Art Association and Gallery offers local artists exhibit space and has workshops and a gallery. https://www.wham-art.org/
The city’s history is highlighted in the Peoria Heritage District, which showcase vintage signs, restored buildings and public art. It hosts free concerts via the Second Sundays in the Park series. https://surpriseaz.gov/263/Peoria-Heritage-District