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Surprise Real Estate

Life In Surprise, Arizona

Surprise,  Arizona, once a sleepy town on the road out of Phoenix, has emerged as a thriving family- and retiree-friendly suburb in the northwest corner of the metro area with lots of municipal recreation amenities.

Advantages Of Living In Surprise

Surprise has relative affordable housing for homebuyers and renters compared to elsewhere in Arizona, with good freeway access via Loop 303 and Loop 101.

The sunny desert climate has great winters (but hot summers).

Surprise not only is surrounded by natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert for hiking and exploring enthusiast but also has created many city parks and recreation for locals. It’s not far from White Tank Mountains and Lake Pleasant.

Those parks and amenities boost the city’s family-friendly reputation, as do the fact that it ranks high for safety and crime.

Disadvantages Of Living In Surprise

While industrial and warehouse growth along Loop 303 has added hundreds of jobs, Surprise – at the edge of the metro area – requires a commute to many workplaces and the Phoenix and Scottsdale social and cultural amenities.

It’s hot in the summer.

The city’s rapid growth also has added traffic and congestion during part of the day.

The History Of Surprise

The Surprise area, like much of Arizona, was settled by ranchers and farmers in the late 1800s. The (disputed) legend holds that Flora Mae Statler, an early real estate developer and founder, said she “would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much.”

Not much happened for decades, with about 200 people called Surprise home. It incorporated into a town in 1960, with about 1,500 residents. For most Phoenix area residents of the time, it was a Circle K on the way to Wickenburg.

As Phoenix, and the cities between it and Surprise, grew during the next two decades, it was only a matter of time (and suburban housing demand) until the metro growth penetrated the Surprise boundary.

In the ‘90s, that growth boom exploded, and Surprise went from 7,000 to more than 30,000 by the end of the millennium. Surprise had open land, was right next door, and was more affordable.

Surprise became a city in 2004, which gave the locals more ability to govern the area. Municipal services and amenities expanded.

The growth hasn’t stopped, and the completion of Loop 303 drew more people and more industry, master-planned communities, retail, and local amenities.  City leaders have tried to diversity the economy beyond growth and construction, garnering interest and new facilities from retailers, health care and more. That gave the city a more stable economy.

Major Events In Surprise

The Surprise Fine Art & Wine Festival in January features art by local and area artists plus lived music and, of course, wine. https://thunderbirdartists.com/surprise-arizona-fine-art-wine-festival-january

Surprise is among the several Valley communities with a Cactus League Spring Training park, and two teams – the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers. Other teams have home parks in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Peoria, Tempe and Goodyear.  https://cactusleague.com/index.php

The holidays bring a community event call the Surprise Party, with music, food, a tree-lighting, fireworks and, of course, Santa. Leading up to that are Surprise Party Nights, smaller events on some Saturdays that also offer food, music, and family fun.

The summer Sundown Series includes outdoor concerts, movies and more in city parks.

What would the Fourth of July be without fireworks and food, and Surprise’s Independence Day celebration has that and entertainment at Surprise Stadium.

Hotels In And Around Surprise

Surprise hasn’t been large enough long enough to have grand historic hotels, but it has a growing list of modern ones for visitors. They include:

Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix-Surprise, near Surprise Stadium https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/phxsrhx-hampton-suites-phoenix-surprise/

Holiday Inn Express Surprise https://www.ihg.com/holidayinnexpress/hotels/us/en/surprise/phxbp/hoteldetail

Windmill Suites Surprise https://www.windmillsurprise.com/

Residence Inn Phoenix NW/Surprise https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/phxsz-residence-inn-phoenix-nw-surprise/overview/

Comfort Inn & Suites Surprise – Phoenix NW https://www.choicehotels.com/arizona/surprise/comfort-inn-hotels/az118

Hikes Around Surprise

The White Tank Mountain Regional Park, is in the scenic mountain just west of Surprise and Loop 303. Popular trail include the seasonal Waterfall Trail, a fairly moderate 1.8 mile hike. More challenging ones include the Ford Canyon and Waddell trails. https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/white-tank-mountain-regional-park/

Other regional parks in the area with trails and panoramic views include:

Skyline Regional Park to the southwest in Buckeye. https://www.buckeyeaz.gov/community/skyline-regional-park

Lake Pleasant Regional Park to the north in Peoria https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/maps/lake-pleasant-regional-park/

Estrella Mountain Regional Park to the south in Goodyear https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/estrella-mountain-regional-park-em/

Weather In Surprise

Weather in Surprise is like the rest of the Phoenix metro area: Hot in summer, fabulous the rest of the year. Here are the numbers:

Summers can get well over 100, particularly in June. Later in the summer, the monsoon arrives, (sometimes) bringing rain and wind, generally brief events in the afternoons.

Autumn is cooler, from high 70s to 90s with much cooler evenings. It’s a welcome time of year.

Winters usually are the best in the nation, although it also brings some rain. Daytime highs are 60s and 70s, with nights as low as 50s or even 40s. (This is when the rest of the nation wants to be in Arizona.)

Spring is warmer but still great weather – just ask the thousands of visitors who arrive for Spring Training. It ranges in the 70s and 80s, sometimes higher closer to summer.  Healthy rains in the winter can bring a fantastic display of desert wildflowers to the region.

Neighborhoods In Surprise

Much of Surprise, because it’s such a new city, is made up of fairly recent master-planned communities, some of them quite nice. Here are some of them:

The gated Greer Ranch has views of the White Tank Mountains and fairly upscale homes, with parks, walking trails and playgrounds.

Surprise Farms in the west part of the city is a family area with green spaces and parks, and also trails. It’s close to retail, recreation and schools.

A small-town feeling permeates Marley Park, which is built to encourage neighborliness with porches, bumping front yards and green space. It’s full of trees and has a community center and parks, plus activities and events. It has townhouses and single family homes.

Rancho Gabriela boasts of family friend atmosphere with playgrounds, parks and trails, and more affordable price points.

The news Sierra Montana has modern homes and townhouses, also with parks, trails and schools.

The 55+ retirement community of Sun City Grand is among the more upscale of the region’s many age-restricted developments, with golf,  pools, fitness centers, social clubs and activities and water features.

Cities And Communities Around Surprise

Surprise is in the region of the Phoenix metro known as the Northwest Valley, which have features and amenities close to Surprise families to enjoy.

To the east and north is Peoria, which has a wide range of housing, including upscale and large lot developments with scenic views. It has a growing entertainment area and retail, Spring Training, and the popular Lake Pleasant, mecca for boating and water sports.

Glendale, south of Surprise, is the largest and oldest city in the region.  Its the home of the Arizona Cardinals, an antique-centric downtown, and the Westgate Entertainment District, with nightlife, restaurants, and many events.

Sun City and Sun City West are 55+ communities right next to Surprise. Sun City was the original active adult community, begun in 1960, and both have golf, community centers, activities, clubs, and retail.

The smallest city in the region is El Mirage, right on Surprise’s border, with the area’s most affordable housing.

A bit further south is the more upscale but smaller Litchfield Park, which has a small town feel, a historic but small downtown and the historic luxury Wigwam resort, with golf and an interesting history.

What Drives The Economy Of Surprise?

The old economic development saw is that retail follows rooftops, and so do jobs. Surprise is such a new, and rapidly developed, community that it has yet to become an industrial or jobs hub. Many workers in town commute to work centers in other cities. But Surprise does have its employment areas.

Retail has followed housing development in Surprise, which adds jobs and sales tax. The service industry – hotels, entertainment and food establishments, also add to the local economy with jobs and taxes.

With the rapid housing development in Surprise, real estate and construction have provided jobs and income for the past two decades in town – plus all the support industries.

Surprise has its share of the health care industry, with nearby hospitals, many medical centers,  and specialized health care facilities. They offer primary care, specialized treatments, and long-term care that provide jobs for medical professionals and others.

Surprise (and El Mirage) schools are in the Dysart Unified School District, https://www.dysart.org/mainsite which employs teachers, administrators, and support staff. It also has Ottawa University, with professors, staff, and students that add to the Surprise economy. https://www.ottawa.edu/ouaz/home

Manufacturing and warehousing have grown with the completion of Loop 303, including electronics and aerospace. Surprise works well for warehousing because of its freeway access and less trafficked access to the road to the West Coast.

With Spring Training and other attractions in the region, Surprise provides jobs in the hospitality, golf, sports, and outdoors areas.

Recreation and Tourism: Surprise attracts visitors through its recreational amenities, including golf courses, sports facilities, and outdoor spaces.

Colleges In Or Around Surprise

The private, non-profit Ottawa University calls Surprise home, offering undergrad and graduated degrees in multiple disciplines. https://www.ottawa.edu/ouaz/home

Arizona State University West is not far away in Glendale, also providing undergrad and graduate degrees with an emphasis on business, interdisciplinary studies, social sciences and education. https://campus.asu.edu/west

Also in Glendale, Midwestern University is a medical school with osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, dental medicine, optometry, and other medical programs. https://www.midwestern.edu/campus-life/glendale-az-campus

Arizona State University has campuses and offerings throughout the Phoenix metro area. https://www.asu.edu/

Grand Canyon University in Glendale is a growing university that’s becoming more of an educational and sports powerhouse.  https://explore.gcu.edu/general/?gcu=GS-BRAND|Google|CPC|School|grand%20canyon%20university&matchtype=e&device=c&adposition=&network=g&loc_interest=&loc_physical=9030089&extensionid=&adID=356023146184&adgroupid=200751244&tgid=kwd-55442121&model=&sitetarg=&url=https://explore.gcu.edu/general/&cq_cmp=4030324&gclid=CjwKCAjwvpCkBhB4EiwAujULMpiXeD5k0Us_ng18YD29ywFPZHBBZtAdxjoZH37acs-0p49AEHrqgxoCu-MQAvD_BwE

Area community colleges with a wide range of associate programs and paths to four-year degrees include Glendale Community College, Estrella Mountain Community College, and Rio Salado College. https://www.maricopa.edu/

Famous People Who Have Lived In Surprise

Again, because it’s newness limits its history, but some famous people have called it home, if only temporarily. They include:

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Brad Lidge has lived in Surprise. His stops include the Philadelphia Phillies,  Washington Nationals, and Houston Astros, and he was a World Series champion and MLB All-Star.

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett lived in Surprise when he was with the Arizona Cardinals, where he played his entire football career.

Violinist, dancer, and composer Lindsey Stirling, who has several albums under her belt, lived for a time in Surprise in her early years.

Things To Do Near Surprise

The Salt River Valley is one of the most sprawling metro areas in America, and cities blend into neighboring cities without break or clear delineation. So the venues and attractions surrounding your fair burg as just as available. Here’s are a few attractions around Surprise:

Peoria Sports Complex Spring Training park hosts the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, plus many other events off season. A burgeoning entertainment and restaurant district is growing around it. https://www.peoriasportscomplex.com/

Also in Peoria, Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a huge reservoir with water sports, hiking, fishing and camping. https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/lake-pleasant-regional-park/

Westgate Entertainment District in home not only to the NFL stadium but also a wide range of entertainment, restaurants, and nightlife. https://westgateaz.com/

White Tank Mountain Regional Park to the west has hiking, picnic areas and great views. https://www.maricopacountyparks.net/park-locator/white-tank-mountain-regional-park/

Several major NASCAR races are held at the Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale. https://www.phoenixraceway.com/

Just south of Surprise off Loop 303 in Litchfield Park is the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park, with animals, aquarium, exhibits and educational opportunities. https://www.wildlifeworld.com/

The Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale has gambling,  entertainment, dining, and special events. https://www.ddcaz.com/west-valley/

Cultural Attractions In Surprise

Arts HQ offers galleries and exhibits with local and area artists’ work, plus rotating exhibits, workshops, performances, and classes. It’s the cultural hub of Surprise and home of the West Valley Arts Council. https://www.westvalleyarts.org/

Many community events and activities are at Surprise Community Park, including the Surprise Party and other events. It also has sports fields, a lake, picnic areas, and playgrounds. https://surpriseaz.gov/1244/Surprise-Community-Park-Upgrade

The nonprofit WHAM Art Association and Gallery offers local artists exhibit space and has workshops and a gallery. https://www.wham-art.org/

The city’s history is highlighted in the Surprise Heritage District, which showcase vintage signs, restored buildings and public art. It hosts free concerts via the Second Sundays in the Park series. https://surpriseaz.gov/263/Surprise-Heritage-District

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  • Theresa “Tess” Harmon

    As your realtor, I turn renters into buyers, represent clients when buying a new home and sell homes for more by staging them. I'm not just a realtor  I am an investor and a real estate agent in Arizona. Living in the Valley since 2006 gives me an excellent perspective on today's market and how best to serve you as your realtor.

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