Surprise : Arizona


What It Is Like to Retire in Surprise

Surprise is a relatively new town northwest of Phoenix, Glendale, and even Sun City. Previous to 1938 the area was nothing here but desert or ranches, but now it is filled with active adult developments (principally Sun City Grand, the newest of the Sun City developments in the Phoenix area). The population grew 280% from 2000 to 2011 - to almost 118,000. The 2007-2008 real estate crunch took a big toll here and in Phoenix, although further out areas like this were hardest hit. Since 2013, Surprise has seen an upward trend in real estate prices.  Surprise is the spring training home of 2 major league baseball teams, the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers. The Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex hosts several professional events. Photo of The Surprise City Hall courtesy of Wikipedia and Venske, Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0/


Where to Retire in Surprise and Home Prices

You can choose from some large active adult communities (see link at left). For example Sun City Grand is here; the original Sun City and Sun City West are nearby.
After the real estate crash home prices in Surprise tumbled from the high $200's to the mid $100's. But home prices have steadily come back, and According to Zillow, the median home value was $312,402 in early 2021.


What Is Special about Surprise

Surprise is a new community and located in a formerly unspoiled area of Arizona.  The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers both have their spring training at Surprise Stadium. As part of the city's Recreation Campus, Surprise is also home to the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex. The town is about 24 miles from Phoenix,  where you can find any kind of big city cultural or sports event.


What Is Not Special about Surprise

Surprise was hit hard by the 2007-2008 housing crisis, but is coming back from that now.  It is a community where you generally need your car to go anywhere.


Who Will Like Retirement in Surprise

Average age in Surprise if about 46, a bit higher than national average. This reflects that a lot of retirees who have moved to the area.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Retirement and active adult communities, tourism


Climate and Physical Environment

Surprise is in the great Sonoran Desert, northwest of Phoenix in south central Arizona. It is dry and small mountains are prevalent.  Very hot summers, most rain comes in the spring, winter temperatures in the 40's-60's.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The city has a 10,562-square-foot Aquatics Center as well as Maricopa County's  $5.5 million, 20,000-square-foot northwest regional library. For culture one would do best to go to Phoenix - unless you live in one of the Sun Cities. Those communities have non-stop cultural events.



Crime in Surprise hovers lower than the national average.


Medical Facilities

Other than Phoenix and its suburbs, closest medical facilities are in Sun City


Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is about 30 miles and a major international airport

Valuable Links

Surprise, AZ

Arizona retirement guide

Wikipedia for Surprise


What people are saying about Surprise

Comment about aggressive policing
This comment came in from Chris: The city of surprise is a beautiful place. It would not be a good place to live however. They have a young eager police force. You are taking a BIG risk driving through the city of Surprise Arizona. You better watch out for the police. They are hiding around every corner, constantly pulling innocent victims over. Giving out tickets that cost huge bucks for any little thing they can find. I don't know if this is a big source of revenue for the city of Surprise, AZ or an economy booster. I know I am always highly paranoid with a death grip on the steering wheel while driving through the city of Surprise, AZ. I see the police always pulling people over, I wonder when they are going to get me. I was lucky for about a year, then suddenly, on Halloween night 2014, bam they got me. It was a darkly lit area coming out of a strip mall with my little daughter in her Halloween costume, just about to go trick or treat. I was making a left turn and wammo a big young eager police got me. I asked why I was pulled over and he said I made an illegal left turn coming out of the strip mall. Like I said it was very dark, there was no median and I did not see any signs posted. I let the young officer know and he pointed to a little tiny sign way high up on this light poll as he handed me a computer printed ticket from the mother ship. The ticket will cost me almost two hundred dollars. Wow, what a gut punch! Thanks City of Surprise. While I was pulled over I saw two other people pulled over in my vicinity at the same time. Can we say entrapment? The police have no remorse, they act like brainwashed robots. It seems like a military zone in Surprise, AZ but they are swarming the wrong folks. Just good people, trying to make it. It is a real shame, the city of Surprise is such a gorgeous city. My Advice is to stay away from the City of Surprise Arizona, there are nice little cities around it, unless you like getting BIG fines! Y
Posted by admin on November 03, 2014

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