Surprise, a city in northern Maricopa County, is a “branch” of Phoenix and a part of the metropolitan area. In 1938, businesswoman Flora Mae Statler began developing the area now known as Surprise with a few houses and a gas station.
Statler is credited with giving the town its name, which is said to have sprung from her remark that “it would be a surprise if this town amounted to much.” Despite her skepticism, Surprise has flourished to become home to a major retirement community serving the Southwestern United States. Due to its proximity to Phoenix, Surprise is densely populated, offers attractions suitable for people of all ages, and provides its citizens with access to all necessary services.
Here are ten things to know before moving to Surprise, AZ!
1. Winters are pleasant in this city
If you’re coming from a place where winters become really cold, moving to Surprise will be like living in a dream. There are rarely any subfreezing days during the balmy, warm, and dry winters here. Low to mid-70s daytime temperatures are typical from November through March, and temperatures at night are perfect for sleeping, hovering around the mid to upper 40s. Not a single snowflake falls in Surprise. There are a number of ski resorts within a day’s drive if you’re pining for some white snow, though
2. The schools in this city are rated “Excellent”
It’s a no-brainer that we want to send our kids to good public schools to ensure that they get some good quality learning. 11 of Surprise’s 46 public schools are rated as excellent. Most of the other institutions are also at the B-level. Even better, nearly everywhere in Surprise is within easy driving distance of a top-notch educational facility.
Paradise Honors High School and Liberty High School are two of the best high schools in Arizona. When you settle down here, you’ll find it much easier to give your children a head start in life. In fact, it’s among the greatest advantages of settling down in Surprise.
3. The cost of living is 7% higher than the national average
Many households in the United States are currently trying to find strategies to manage their financial resources better. One of them is relocating to a place with lower living costs, and Surprise fits that bill nicely.
Truth be told, Surprise isn’t exactly the cheapest place to live in the USA. The city’s cost of living is 7% more than the U.S. average, but it’s still more affordable than many other places with exorbitant living expenses. The median home price, at $424,380, is slightly lower than the national average, while the median rent is $1,902.
The annual cost of living for a single person in Surprise is $37,592, including accommodation, food, child care, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and other miscellaneous expenses.
4. The city is lacking in nightlife options
Surprise is weak in nightlife options for its younger population. There are a few good bars and eateries here, but no hip hangouts. The local nightlife, including the bars, is generally considered average at best.
One of the best places to have some evening fun in Surprise is Player 1 Arcade where you can play vintage pinball machines and drink some beer, but don’t expect much more.
5. Summers in the city are sweltering
Winters in Surprise are pleasant. But the Summer… Summers in Surprise are so hot you can cook an egg on the pavement. Once winter passes, brace up for incredibly hot summers.
From June through September, you’ll be baking in the heat with a comfort index of 4 out of 10 when daytime highs are consistently above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. (Even if you enjoy warm weather, that’s a lot to take in.)
6. Most of the city’s growth is recent
Over the past fifteen years, Surprise has experienced tremendous growth, making this area’s recent changes all the more remarkable. If you enjoy living in brand-new homes with high-quality, energy-efficient appliances and a pristine “first owner” vibe, this is a terrific option.
New businesses and neighborhoods have sprung up all across Surprise in recent years. The northwest valley has attracted the attention of many firms, which bodes well for the region’s economy and has brought with it the creation of many new jobs. Whether you’re an employer or a job seeker, Surprise is brimming with opportunities.
7. Play golf or catch a match at Surprise Stadium
Surprisingly, despite its small size, Surprise is home to no less than nine different golf courses. The city is also home to some affordable golfing options. The town’s proximity to Phoenix means it’s only a short drive from dozens of excellent resorts and golf courses.
Sports activities take place throughout the year in the city. Surprise Stadium, with its 10,500 seats, is located in town with a view of White Tank Mountain. The Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals both train there in the spring. Many residents of Surprise root for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pete Sampras and Anna Kournikova play in the annual Surprise Tennis Championships, held in the fall.
8. The city is taking measures to conserve water
Because of its location in a desert, Surprise does not have the luxury of excess water, so the city has taken measures to reduce water use, increase recycling, and increase plant life.
Free landscaping training is available to city residents through the Sustainable Surprise initiative. Classes like these spread knowledge about how to protect your plants and the planet.
9. Attend the Food Truck Festival or the Fine Art & Wine Festival
Additionally, Surprise hosts a number of annual events. Some examples are the Food Truck Festival and the Fine Art & Wine Festival in Surprise, which both occur on the second Sunday of each month. The Surprise Party, one of the year’s largest celebrations, is celebrated the first weekend of December. There will be tons of dancing and eating as the city celebrates. At the festival, guests can also participate in camel rides, a traditional automobile display, a hot air balloon ride, a carnival, and a parade.
People in the area can see military planes and helicopters flying about for training because of how close they are to Luke Air Force Base. Spectators at Surprise Stadium events can also get a good look at the fighter planes during their flyovers.
10. Cool off at Surprise Aquatic Center or Hollyhock Community Pool
14 parks and several pools and recreation centers can be found in Surprise. The Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium, and Safari Park can be found in Litchfield Park. The park spans 80 acres and houses the largest collection of exotic animals in the state. Dreamcatcher Park is also nearby, providing a sporting venue for people with special needs.
During the warm summer months, locals go to the Surprise Aquatic Center to cool off. Waterfalling pools, a swirling vortex, and thrilling slides can all be found at this facility. There is also a spray pad and slide at the Hollyhock Community Pool. There are always locations to get some relief from the heat in Surprise.
Surprise, AZ, offers a decent cost of living, mild winters, top-rated schools, a great sports scene, and recreational opportunities. However, keep in mind that summers in this city are sweltering, and there are little or no nightlife options.