5 Best Places To Live in Northern Arizona

Sunshine, mountains, snow, and breathtaking scenery – northern Arizona has four beautiful seasons. In addition to its natural beauty, Arizona also boasts many spas, restaurants, resorts, unique shops, and more. Moreover, you will find no shortage of festivals, concerts, and various events in Arizona.

That’s why many are choosing to relocate to northern Arizona. Whether moving for retirement or any stage of life, northern Arizona offers a high quality of life with lower property prices than other areas of the state.

But where are the best places to live in the northern area of the 48th state? Don’t spend hours poring over data about living in northern Arizona. We’ve researched for you, pinpointing the five best places to live in Northern Arizona.  

An image of the Arizona flag. A gold star with the bottom half of the flag blue and top half yellow and red stripes.

Where Is Northern Arizona? 

Because of the desert and mountainous areas of parts of Arizona, the northern part of the state is often considered to be anything north of Phoenix. Only about 1 million people live in the northern part of the state, compared to about 6 million who call Phoenix and the southern part of the state home.  

For our roundup, we’ve narrowed the definition of northern Arizona to Apache, Coconino, Mohave, and Navajo counties.

Why Live in Northern Arizona? 

The benefits of living in northern Arizona are many. The best reasons to live in northern Arizona include these: 

Natural Beauty 

Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy hiking on mountain trails and in the red rocks of the desert areas in and around Sedona. Some areas of northern Arizona have snowy skiing areas, and lakes for fishing abound in some cities. Grand Canyon National Park is in northern Arizona, too. 

Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall 

Arizona isn’t all desert. Because of its elevation, northern Arizona offers four seasons of weather and doesn’t have the high heat of the southern part of the state. Those who enjoy snow in the winter love the San Francisco Mountains near Flagstaff. Northern Arizona’s forests are among the most beautiful in America.

Less Expensive 

Living in northern Arizona can be more economical than living in areas such as Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Los Angeles. Homebuyers can choose between more houses for their money in northern Arizona than in the more expensive southern cities. Even cities with high median home prices can have bargains in their real estate listings.

Small Towns Near Big Cities 

Northern Arizona is perfect for those who enjoy small-town living. Metropolises such as Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles are only a few hours away at the most, giving northern Arizona residents the best of both worlds. Arizona’s airports are a gateway to other parts of the country and abroad.

Northern Arizona’s Best Places To Live 

Quality of life, location, housing prices, amenities, educational opportunities, and livability were considered as we created our list of the best places to enjoy the relaxed Arizona lifestyle and the state’s natural beauty.

5. Flagstaff 

A picture of a sign that says 1882 Flagstaff, Arizona. There's telephone poles, fields of grass and yellow flowers with trees and mountains in the distance.

Flagstaff is a beautiful city with 266 days of sunshine a year. With 55 urban trails, Flagstaff residents have plenty of opportunities to explore nature all year. With a population of about 75,000, Flagstaff is the largest northern Arizona city on our list. 

Flagstaff is centrally located in northern Arizona and is close to the Grand Canyon and Route 66. It’s also home to Northern Arizona University, bringing all the cultural and recreational advantages of a college to the city. Concerts, plays, art exhibitions, and sporting events are all part of Flagstaff’s college town scene. 

Restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and boutiques abound in Flagstaff, making the city a vibrant place to call home. If you want to travel, Flagstaff has an airport and is a short drive from local sights such as Monument Valley and Horseshoe Bend. Phoenix is about a two-hour drive away.

Excellent schools are a magnet for families with young children, while others move to Flagstaff for work or to enjoy the city’s culture in retirement.

4. Sedona 

Sedona is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, drawing thousands of visitors to its hiking trails and spas. Why not live there? 

Sedona only has about 10,000 residents, but amenities such as spas and resorts abound there. Restaurants and shops, festivals, and events make living in Sedona like being on vacation. Driving around Sedona and its breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert feels like traveling through a postcard. 

All these benefits make Sedona one of the best small towns in America and definitely among the best in northern Arizona. You might never want to leave Sedona, but Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is less than two hours away if you plan to travel.

Sedona’s beauty attracts those who want a resort-style home. This means that some of the home prices can be dizzying. However, half the homes aren’t as costly, so don’t get a case of sticker shock when seeing the most expensive options in Sedona.

3. Prescott 

Located close to the center of Arizona, Prescott is close to Arizona cities such as Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Because of its elevation, Prescott does not have the high desert temperatures the Phoenix metro area does. 

This makes Prescott living much more comfortable. Not only that, but Prescott has a quality of living that includes suburban neighborhoods, a historic downtown, and plenty of restaurants and bars along Whiskey Row. Live music and festivals abound in Prescott, so your calendar will be full.

Pronounced “Press-Kit” by the locals, Prescott is large enough to have plenty of amenities but small enough to have the charm many look for in a hometown. Lakes, parks, and trails abound in Prescott, as do recreational sports, festivals, and concerts. Prescott has a regional airport, making travel from there easy.

When people want to build their dream homes, they typically look for a place like Prescott. So if pricier options aren’t a deterrent, Prescott can be the ideal place for settling in.

2. Kingman 

Located in the northwest corner of Arizona, Kingman has about 30,000 residents and a charming small-town vibe. About a two-hour drive from Las Vegas and Flagstaff, Kingman is also the closest northern Arizona city to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Plenty of tourists stop at Kingman, and some are so enchanted by the city that they relocate there.  

The famed Route 66 passes through Kingman, and there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to make visitors and residents stop to relax or browse. The city is home to the Historic Route 66 Museum and Hackberry General Store.

The city of Kingman has lots of local activities, interest groups, and parks, so residents often get together for bingo nights, campouts, and drive-in movies hosted by the city. The friendly community provides the perfect setting for meeting neighbors.

Kingman is one of the most budget-friendly options when it comes to home prices compared to other locations. It is also attractive for families with children due to its many great K-12 schools.

1. Williams 

A picture of a sign over the road for Williams Arizona. The town of Williams is off in the distance.

Located along Route 66, Williams, Arizona, is billed as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon since it is just to the south of Grand Canyon National Park. A town of just 3,000 people, Williams is perfect for those who love small-town living and nature. 

Because of the location of Williams, the area has four seasons of weather, something that can’t be said of cities to the south. With seven area fishing lakes, Williams is a haven for anglers. The town also features hiking trails, an alpine ski area, and more outdoor activities for those who enjoy spending time in nature. 

Williams is home to the Planes of Fame Air Museum, the Grand Canyon Deer Farm, the historic Williams Train Depot, and the beautiful Sycamore Canyon. Thirsty residents of Williams enjoy the Grand Canyon Brewing Company and Grand Canyon Wine Company.

In terms of houses, Williams features cabin-inspired architecture that makes the most of the town’s natural beauty. Large windows and decks take advantage of the spectacular views.

Related: Best Places to Retire in Arizona

Conclusion 

The northern Arizona lifestyle offers something for everyone. History, breathtaking natural beauty, hiking, skiing, spas, boutiques, restaurants, and small-town charm are a few of the benefits of calling northern Arizona home.  

From the red rocks of Sedona to Flagstaff’s college-town vibe, our list of the best places to live in northern Arizona includes some of the unique cities in the state. These small towns are big on amenities, quality of life, character, and city services such as parks and recreation. Our list includes a mix of housing markets and amenities to fit different incomes and interests.

Any of the cities in our list of the five best places to live in northern Arizona would be a great place to visit or live. We recommend that you visit these spots first, taking in the sights and dining in local restaurants. Travel to these cities once, and you may find yourself house-hunting not before long. 

Related: Pros and Cons of Living in Arizona