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10 Things to Know Before Moving to Prescott, AZ

10 Things to Know Before Moving to Prescott, AZ Written by Leigh Cooper

Prescott, Arizona is located in the heart of the Quad City area, which marks the geographic center of the state. The community is located north of Phoenix and its scorching deserts, but it nevertheless enjoys the same warm climate that draws so many tourists to Arizona. 

Also, despite having a population of over 40,000, you’ll get to enjoy the relaxed pace of life typical of a small town. Keep reading to find out 10 things to know before moving to Prescott, AZ!

1. The city is in a convenient location

Prescott is a popular place to settle since it is centrally located in Arizona, making it an easy launch point for exploring the rest of the state. The trip to Phoenix and Lake Pleasant takes less than an hour from the city. 

You can reach the Flagstaff area in around 90 minutes. It would take you only 2 hours to reach the Gila River at that point. Because of the city’s accessibility and the variety of its surrounding neighborhoods, anyone can quickly find a spot that’s convenient for them and ease into it. For this reason, it has become a popular place for American retirees to settle down.

2. Downtown Prescott is exciting

Downtown Prescott is rich in history and charm, and it is home to many independently-owned shops, cafes, and restaurants. Whiskey Row and the Courtyard Plaza are undoubtedly two of the most interesting features. There are many museums and galleries to check out, such as the Phippen Art Museum and the Sharlot Hall Museum.

In addition, Prescott has a number of fun celebrations and community gatherings all year long. Events like Territorial Days and Frontier Days rank high on this list, as does the World’s Oldest Rodeo. There is also a highly attended folk arts festival in the area.

3. You get to enjoy reasonable tax rates

If you opt to retire here, you won’t have to worry about a state estate tax, which means your children will get a larger share of your wealth when you inevitably pass away. In addition, your Social Security benefits are not subject to income tax at the state level. 

Additionally, the state’s sales tax and property tax are often lower than the national average, and the total tax rate within Prescott is only 9.10%.

4. The city has a high cost of living

Be prepared to spend extra money if you decide to make Prescott your new home. In this city, living expenses are 17% more than the U.S. average. The median home price is also a little over $700,000. Make sure you take a look at your financial status to see if you can handle all of your bills.

5. There’s a high risk of flood

There’s a high possibility of this city being flooded. Flash flooding has been a problem for Prescott residents ever since the first pioneers arrived in the late 19th century in pursuit of gold. The first mining camp along Lynx Creek was destroyed by flood waters less than a year after it was established. 

In 1891 and 1993, the Verde River saw its worst flooding on record, permanently disrupting the river’s drainage system as a result. Because most of the homes are in what FEMA calls a “high-risk flooding area,” getting homeowner’s insurance may be difficult.

6. It has a small-town feel

Prescott is hardly a huge city by any stretch of the imagination, with a population of under 41,000. But if you want to be part of a small town where everyone knows your name, where the barista remembers your coffee order when you walk in the door in the morning, where you know everyone in the neighborhood, and where you ride your bike around town with your friend who also happens to be the local doctor, then Prescott might be the place for you.

You won’t be completely shut off from the rest of the world even if you choose to make your home in this small town. High-speed internet service providers in the area are trustworthy, so you get to enjoy all the comforts of a quaint, traditional downtown area without losing touch with the wider, more global world. Therefore, Prescott is a good alternative for digital nomads and other remote professionals who are looking for a change of scenery.

7. A standard school system

The educational opportunities available in Prescott are a major selling point for families considering a relocation there. The area is home to a wide variety of excellent educational institutions. Zillow gave flawless scores to the surrounding Ash Fork Joint Unified School District, Skull Valley, and Congress Elementary District while giving an eight to the Owens-Whitney and Ash Fork schools.

Prescott also has universities and colleges attracting students from all around the world, such as Prescott College and Northern Arizona University. 

Colleges like Prescott College attract creative, self-motivated students who want to forge their own academic path, one that frequently blends a traditional liberal arts curriculum with an emphasis on environmental issues. The institution hosts community activities that are open to the public, allowing the people of Prescott to take advantage of the same high-quality cultural offerings as the students.

8. The great outdoors are waiting

There is a wide variety of outdoor pursuits available to both locals and tourists in Prescott. The neighboring mountains and deserts are perfect for those who prefer spending time outside cycling, golfing, and hiking. 

Visitors to the Prescott National Forest can get a taste of what it was like for early settlers in the area to search for gold in Lynx Creek. Meanwhile, people who visit the Sonoran desert may get the chance to see rare desert plants and animals. A word of caution though: stay away from the rattlesnakes!

9. You’ll experience some snow during winter

The state of Arizona attracts many families who are in search of a year-round pleasant climate. Prescott has that kind of weather in the summer, but it becomes rather chilly during the winter.

 When you move here, you’ll have to get used to not only the changing of the seasons but also the possibility of snowfall. The city gets about 13 inches of snow per year, so you might want to consider relocating further south if you dislike the sight of snow and ice wherever you look.

10. The air is thinner than usual

At an elevation of 5,400 feet above sea level, the air in Prescott may feel thinner than what you’re used to. You may find it difficult to walk long distances for the first several weeks due to increased fatigue and shortness of breath. You should give some thought to your exercise regimen before moving here, as the neighborhood is not particularly walkable outside of the downtown area.

Here’s some good news: the area’s air quality is reliably high. If you go up in elevation, you won’t be affected by the pollution and inversion that plague Phoenix at lower altitudes during certain times of the year.

To Sum it All Up

Prescott’s old architecture gives it a friendly, welcoming air, but residents must be willing to give up some conveniences in order to live here, such as the existence of diverse recreational opportunities. 

Thus, this town may not be the best fit if you prefer city life, where you have access to a wide variety of entertainment and leisure options. 

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