Taking in the communities of Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Sun Lakes, Ocotillo, and Queen Creek—the sprawling East Valley has experienced phenomenal growth in recent decades. While Arizona’s abundant sunshine and the natural beauty of the high desert continue to play a role in the area’s expansion, newcomers appreciate an array of advantages. Welcoming neighborhoods, broad streets, new residential and commercial construction, convenient access to regional freeways, progressive school districts, and first-rate municipal services are all part of East Valley living.

One of the most significant resources and economic boosts for the entire Valley of the Sun is located in this quadrant. Arizona State University in Tempe ranks first in size in Arizona and consistently vies for the position of the largest four-year public university in the entire nation. Outstanding libraries, museums, galleries, special events, and performing arts are all aspects of ASU enrichment. The combination of additional jobs for construction and staffing, as well as considerations of dollars poured into the economy by students, represents another staggering contribution.

Manufacturing concerns have taken a leading role in the East Valley, multiplying almost exponentially in the leading communities of Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert. The area has developed a reputation as a home for high-tech firms, from giants like Intel and Motorola to highly successful small companies. An expanding freeway system enhances accessibility throughout the East Valley and greatly reduces travel time to key destinations. Interstate 10, the Los Angeles freeway connection, winds it way through the East Valley on the path south to Tucson. The Superstition Freeway or Highway 60 crosses the East Valley to provide exits at every major crossroad in every community between Tempe and the outskirts of Apache Junction at the foothills of the Superstition Mountains. Loop 202 or the Red Mountain Freeway enhances Tempe’s accessibility to the central and western sections of the city of Phoenix. Loop 101 cuts a wide swath through bustling Tempe into Scottsdale and across the northeast Valley into Northwest Phoenix. Sky Harbor International Airport is conveniently located on the border of Tempe and Phoenix.

Keeping pace with a growing economy and record-setting residential development, the East Valley is home to many new schools and first-rate healthcare facilities. These communities share the benefit of excellent primary and secondary public education systems, high achievement test results, and close proximity to the resources of Arizona State University. The Mesa Unified School District has gained national recognition for excellence in curriculum and support services. The cities of Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert offer a local community college campus, ensuring convenient opportunities for continuing education and an affordable beginning to a four-year degree close to home. Other institutions of higher education in the East Valley include Arizona School of Health Sciences located in Mesa as well as Remington College, Collins College, the College of the Humanities & Sciences, the International Institute of the Americas, and Lamson College in Tempe. The cities of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe also provide extension services and classes for the University of Phoenix.

State-of-the-art healthcare is accessible throughout the East Valley, anchored by Mesa General Hospital and the Chandler Regional Hospital in Chandler; the Banner Desert Medical Center, the Banner Baywood Medical Center and the Banner Baywood Heart Hospital in Mesa; and Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital. Emergency care, walk-in treatment centers, medical centers, family practice clinics, and skilled professionals in every major specialty are available to meet every need from routine to advanced. Just a few miles from home are exceptional regional resources such as Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

The many East Valley communities provide something for every resident, embodying everything “bright and beautiful” about the Valley of the Sun. New construction of community and cultural centers, fine retail malls and outlets, housing developments, and recreational amenities are expanding. Residents of this region also enjoy close proximity to one of the most diverse and popular recreational areas in the Valley, the Superstition Mountains. Famous for the legend of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine, this rugged area is a natural playground for hiking, rock climbing, picnicking, visiting historic sites, horseback riding, and boating. Winding through the mountains is the historic and scenic Apache Trail, created in the early 1900s as a transport route into the Roosevelt Dam area. The 78-mile scenic byway parallels the ancient travel route of the Apache Indians through the Canyons of the Salt River, running along the mountain’s southern edges. The Roosevelt, Apache, and Canyon lakes offer water sports in scenic settings surrounded by towering cliffs and the hauntingly beautiful Sonoran desert.

The legacy and spirit of the “Old West” is alive in the East Valley, where ranches feature horseback riding adventures and cowboy-style cookouts, wagon and hay rides, petting zoos, mock gunfights, and other attractions. Gilbert draws visitors and residents to its annual rodeo extravaganza, one of the most impressive celebrations in the entire nation. Chandler’s outrageous Ostrich Festival is rated among the “Top Ten Unique Festivals in the United States,” while the award-winning Tempe Festival of the Arts stands in a class of its own as one of the largest arts and entertainment festivals in the entire Southwest. Just beyond the outskirts of Apache Junction, visitors flock to the annual Arizona Renaissance Fair.  Nearly 2,000 costumed characters create constant mayhem and merriment in this 16th-century European Country Faire, one of the nation’s largest.

Adding a degree of sophistication to the East Valley is the City of Tempe. Music fans will find an eclectic lineup of concerts at the Marquee Theatre, while Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University is a showcase of Broadway’s greatest hits. The Downtown Tempe Community is an active group that maintains a full calendar of special events from the Tempe Festival of the Arts to Arizona’s only outdoor ice-skating facility. World-class arts, important galleries, fascinating museums, shopping districts, the factory stores of Arizona Mills, and fine restaurants are all available in this friendly, progressive community. Mesa adds Fiesta Mall and a virtually endless variety of commercial centers and plazas to the East Valley scene, while Chandler boasts one of the Valley’s newest and most sought-after retail centers, Chandler Fashion Center.

The housing selection throughout the East Valley is abundant and attractive, from cozy bungalows in the well-established sections of Tempe and Mesa to elaborate, upscale residences in handsome new residential communities. Ahwatukee Foothills Village, whose residents boast one of the highest incomes per household in the entire Valley of the Sun, continues to draw new residents to exceptionally beautiful neighborhoods. Although the village actually falls under the jurisdiction of the City of Phoenix, it is aligned closely in geography and spirit with the East Valley cities—particularly with Tempe. Sun Lakes provides an active adult community with picturesque boulevards lined with stately palm trees and a wealth of recreational amenities. Considering the close cooperation between area residents, businessmen, and local governments, the East Valley seems ideally suited to manage the rapid growth that continues to transform this vibrant region. Expansion continues into the far reaches of once-sleepy rural areas like Queen Creek, spring to life with fine golf courses and residential neighborhoods.

East Valley Communities

City Hall

Chandler Chamber of Commerce

Distinguished as one of the fastest growing cities in the entire Southwest, Chandler joins Tempe and Mesa to form the Tri-City area located southeast of Phoenix and the Salt River. The regional economy has grown along with the boom in population, moving away from agriculture toward an economic base of high-tech industries and leading-edge electronics manufacturing. Widely recognized as a family community, Chandler offers its residents a small-town atmosphere as well as easy access to the complete array of cultural, educational, and employment opportunities throughout the metropolitan area. U.S. Highway 60 or the Superstition Freeway efficiently links the area with neighboring Mesa and Tempe, as well as greater Phoenix via the connection to Interstate 10. Arizona State University and Sky Harbor International Airport are both in close proximity.

In its own right, Chandler already boasts a full-service hospital, a fine performing arts center, the famous San Marcos Hotel and Resort, tennis courts, golf courses, a community college, and acres of lush parks. The recently refurbished downtown district reflects the new image of this progressive suburb that began as a sleepy farm town with a single tree-lined plaza. The naturally beautiful terrain and premier recreational opportunities abound in and near Chandler, from scenic Superstition Mountain vistas and miles of hiking trails to sparkling canyon lakes. Residents can explore art galleries and museums or enjoy annual events that include the acclaimed Doo Dah Festival—and Chandler’s delightfully unique spring Ostrich Festival.

Both residential real estate and multi-family developments remain attractively affordable in Chandler. Newcomers will discover a pleasing selection of newer construction in welcoming neighborhoods that are close to convenient commercial plazas and local parks. The abundance of reasonably priced single-family homes explains, in part, why this area leads the entire Valley in building permits. Most new developments tend to be sold out long before completion.

City Hall

Chamber of Commerce

While Scottsdale may appeal to the “urban cowboy,” Gilbert preserves the true essence of the grassroots farming and ranching communities of the past. Once a center for cattle, sheep, dairy, and other agri-business, Gilbert was known in the World War I cavalry days as the nation’s “hay shipping capital.” As one of the driving forces behind the East Valley’s population surge, Gilbert experienced phenomenal growth in the latter decades of the 20th century. Between 1980 and 1990, the municipality claimed Arizona’s growth record for that decade by quintupling its population. Within recent years, hundreds of employers have relocated their businesses to this booming community, adding thousands of jobs to the diverse economic base. Equestrians will appreciate the attractive horse properties or the mini-ranches that are available in a town that annually hosts one of the largest rodeos in the entire nation. The annual Gilbert Days celebration kicks off with a magnificent parade, followed by three days of nonstop rodeo thrills and spills. Ideally positioned to accommodate further residential and commercial growth, the Gilbert area has the advantage of civic leaders who recognize the value of preserving recreational and open space such as the prime 40-acre site for recreation, rodeo, and equestrian events. The cooperative effort between the city planners and members of the local business community guarantees Gilbert’s place as one of the outstanding business and living environments in the entire Southwest. This progressive attitude also encourages the continued development and expansion of quality educational, healthcare, retail, and recreational amenities.

Athletic fields, tennis courses, golf courses, and bridle trails are scattered throughout the area; while Freestone Park provides 65 acres of bicycle and jogging paths, playgrounds, picnic areas, and lighted softball fields. Area residents can attend horse shows, pursue adult education courses, or cast a fishing line in Freestone’s stocked lakes. They can also hike, bicycle, and horseback ride along miles of well-maintained local trails. With its reputation for outstanding services and efficient local government, Gilbert will be reinforcing its reputation as a “Community of Excellence” for decades as the new millennium continues to unfold.

City Hall

Chamber of Commerce


One of Arizona’s largest cities and one of the nation’s fastest growing communities, Mesa has been recognized as one of the top 100 cities in America. The city combines a pleasing mix of tranquil neighborhoods, attractive retirement communities, and a healthy economy that provides exceptional local employment opportunities. The many companies that call Mesa home include several of the Fortune 500 as well as smaller enterprises. Major medical centers, regional shopping malls, and a highly developed service sector combine with a bustling central district. The development of first-rate cultural and recreational centers and programs combine with excellent freeway access to enhance the quality of life. The city is constantly improving its services and amenities, including the spectacular new Mesa Arts Center with its multiple performance and event spaces—celebrated as the valley’s largest cultural complex.

Distinguished as the largest of Maricopa County’s 10 community college centers, the attractive campus for Mesa Community College complements the area’s exceptional public school system. The vast campus for Arizona State University is situated just a few miles from home in neighboring Tempe. Local recreational facilities and programs are highly developed and expertly managed throughout the city, offering quality leisure activities for all ages and interests. Mesa is also the chosen winter home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and the site of winter training for the San Diego Padres and the Anaheim Angels baseball teams. Available within an hour’s drive from the city, scenic canyon lakes in the Superstition Mountains are available for boating, sailing, swimming, and water sports.

Housing options in Mesa are abundant, diverse, and affordable—advantages that often attract newcomers as well as those who live in other parts of the Valley of the Sun. Modest but well-kept single-family homes nestled in well-established family neighborhoods contrast with handsome new construction in upscale residential villages that offer luxurious recreational amenities. With its highly developed resources and reputation for serenity and quality of life, Mesa has long attracted seasonal visitors and retirees in addition to families, young professionals, and executives.

Chandler City Hall

Chamber of Commerce

One of the most popular new master-planned communities located in the Chandler area, Ocotillo is situated just a 10-minute drive from Interstate 10 at Chandler Boulevard. Residents enjoy a good location that provides easy access to Arizona State University, Sky Harbor International Airport, and the cultural and shopping amenities scattered throughout the East Valley. Unlike many planned communities that are designed to be strictly residential, Ocotillo encompasses land that has been preserved to support a significant employment base and provide a convenient mix of retail and commercial space. Ocotillo is also ideally located near a number of the major manufacturing plants and high-tech businesses in Chandler for more close-in employment opportunities.

Designed to offer the highest quality lifestyle, the community harmonizes fine residential neighborhoods with the natural beauty of nearly 140 acres of lakes. The centerpiece of this beautiful community is the spectacular 27-hole golf course. In fact, the Ocotillo Golf Club has been rated by Golf Digest among Arizona’s finest public golf courses. Miles of canals meander through the golf course and wind through the residential neighborhoods, distinguishing Ocotillo as one of Arizona’s most acclaimed water/golf communities. This water-rich, panoramic environment sets the community apart as an oasis in the high desert. Newcomers will find beautiful homes nestled in the interior neighborhoods or magnificent residences that command breathtaking waterfront or fairway views.

Queen Creek
Town Hall

Chamber of Commerce


While Queen Creek takes great pride in its friendly, rural atmosphere and rich history, the town is welcoming a surge of residential growth. Civic planners in the Queen Creek area are determined to meet this expansion with a balance of amenities and services that preserve open spaces and the rural character of the landscape. Local amenities that add to the high quality of life include a community center and youth center, a branch library, and an 18-hole golf course. The nearby San Tan Mountain Regional Park encourages outdoor adventure and exploration. Queen Creek attracts thousands of visitors each year to its u-pick fruit and vegetable crops and seasonal celebrations. The annual Country Thunder music festival draws crowds to camp sites with live musical entertainment.

Many newcomers are drawn to this outlying East Valley community for exceptional home values, breathtaking mountain views, and the blend of residential neighborhoods with panoramic ranches and recreational activities. Unique opportunities within the Queen Creek area include one-acre home sites that appeal to aviators and equestrians. Local residents can enjoy the freedom and enjoyment of airpark living that includes horse privileges and easy access to nearby bridle trails in a setting of natural beauty.

Sun Lakes
County Offices

Chamber of Commerce

The active adult community of Sun Lakes falls under the jurisdiction of Maricopa County, in spite of its close proximity to the City of Chandler. Covering 3,500 acres just seven miles south of Chandler, Sun Lakes has introduced the legendary active-adult lifestyle of the West Valley’s “Sun City” to the East Valley. Creating a small-town atmosphere with resort amenities and an atmosphere conducive to relaxation, Sun Lakes has enjoyed rapid growth since it was originally established in 1972. In fact, the community has been listed among the “Top 20 Retirement Communities in America.”

Sun Lakes’ convenient location just west of Interstate 10 along Riggs Road ensures residents of easy access to shopping and cultural amenities in Mesa, Tempe, and downtown Phoenix. Throughout Sun Lakes, newcomers will discover many picturesque boulevards lined with stately palm trees that surround outstanding golf courses, country clubs, lighted tennis courts, sparkling swimming pools, handsome clubhouses, fine restaurants, and state-of-the-art fitness centers. Sun Lakes provides local shopping, medical facilities, houses of worship, a fire department, and many services associated with a municipality. Residents even enjoy the convenience of a public library.

City Hall

Chamber of Commerce

Progressive and dynamic, Tempe is well known as an “All American City.” Over the decades, the city has moved far beyond its genesis as a small college town and Phoenix bedroom community into a vital urban center with a strong and diversified local economy. The powerful influence of Arizona State University, the state’s largest institution of higher education, contributes heavily to the first-rate amenities, youthful attitude, and stimulating environment that characterizes this attractive suburb.

To meet the retail and entertainment needs of more than 44,000 students, the city has developed quality services and commercial centers. Surrounding the university is a village atmosphere filled with restaurants, entertainment centers, and retail shops. Tempe has matured into an entertainment center for the entire Valley, showcasing the architectural wonder of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Gammage Center and the inverted-pyramid styling of the City Hall. Highlights include world-class cultural events, ASU Sun Devil collegiate sports, an award-winning recreation program, the annual Fiesta Bowl Football Classic, and the biannual Tempe Festival of the Arts along Mill Avenue. Tempe attracts 150,000 revelers to the largest New Year’s Eve party in the Southwest.

While ASU accounts for nearly 40,000 jobs statewide, the university joins other leading employers in Tempe. Literally hundreds of firms have settled into attractive industrial parks that are scattered throughout the city. Efficient transportation facilities serve the area, including the Superstition Freeway and the more recent addition of Loops 101 and 202—the latter forming connections to Interstate 10, Interstate 17, and State Route 51. Just beyond the city limits lies the vast Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport complex with state-of-the-art passenger and cargo services.

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