Best Cities 2010: Scottsdale, AZ

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Best Cities 2010: Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale offers 14,000 acres of parkland to enjoy, including Camelback Mountain and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

City: Scottsdale

State: Arizona

Best Cities Overall Rank: 8

About Scottsdale:

Scottsdale residents enjoy one of the lowest crime rates of any city we surveyed, and the city has very few registered sex offenders. But safety’s not the only feature that draws families to Scottsdale, which is just a short drive from either Phoenix or Tempe. Scottsdale scored high in recreation, with spots like the 150-acre Pinnacle Peak Park, which also offers horseback riding. Free trolleys come by every 15 to 20 minutes, carrying travelers throughout the downtown and to assorted other destinations.

What moms say: The fabulous school system was a draw for mom Annette Annoreno. “The kids do such creative projects,” she says. Annoreno also appreciates the variety of summer camps available, with themes like skateboarding, science, or art. “There really is something for everyone in Scottsdale,” she adds.

What’s great for families: The McDowell Mountain Ranch Park and Aquatic Center is a 35-acre park that features a lap pool, a diving well with four diving boards, a 600-foot lazy river, and a beachlike play pool. “My boys love the lazy-river ride,” says Annoreno, “and the skate park that’s right next door.”

County: Maricopa

Population: 235,000

Official website for city visitors’ bureau/city:  Visitor’s bureau website

Newspaper with the largest circulation: The Arizona  Republic

Scottsdale blogs:

Scottsdale Moms

The Life (and Times) of Reilly

School Grounds

Scottsdale‘s Facebook page: Follow Scottsdale on Facebook


Education rank: 46

High School graduation rate 2008: 89%

Blue Ribbon Schools, 2003-2009: 0

Blue Ribbon Schools per 100,000 people: 0

NEAYC-accredited preschools: 2

NAEYC schools per 100,000 people: 0.85

NAEP State proficiency reading, grade 8: 258

Pupil/Teacher Ratio: 16.5

Total Expenditures Per Student: $12,907


Health rank: 82

Quality children’s hospitals: 0

Hospitals per 100,000 people: 0

Quality Pediatricians: 0

Quality Pediatricians per 100,000: 0

Average number of Unhealthy Air Quality days between 2006-2008, by county: 3.3


Safety rank: 1

Violent Crimes, 2008: 423

Violent Crime Rate per 100,000: 179.72

Sex Offenders: 40

Sex Offenders per 100,000: 16.99


Economy rank: 59

Travel time to work, 2006-2008, in minutes: 22.6        

Percent of labor force unemployed, January 2010: 9.2      

Best Performing Cities Job Index: 952.96

Median Home Sale Price: $328,300                   

5-Year Home Value Index: -3.74%                       

Percent of homes sold for a loss: 32.42%      


Recreation Rank:  3

Parkland acreage, 2008 (includes pools and playgrounds): 14, 000      

Parkland per 100,000: 5,948.05