2015 Best Places to Retire
Retirement. Ten thousand baby boomers a day are reaching that point in their lives. Getting to retirement is the culmination of many decisions and, ideally, a long-standing series of life and financial plans. One of the key questions, of course, is where should you live when you retire? Livability's ranking of the Best Places to Retire is a list of 10 varied cities throughout the U.S. Sure, many will decide to retire in place and stay rooted in the communities they've invested in over the years. Some will have financial or health considerations to weigh. Many others will have their retirement decisions driven by their family needs – grandkids can be powerful lures and mighty anchors. For those with freedom to move, however, we've crunched the numbers on 10 great retirement destinations.
We analyzed data on characteristics of livability that our research has shown are especially important to seniors: access to affordable and quality health care, climate and air quality, crime rates, cost of living and access to activities and, well, golf. We also looked for areas with high concentrations of senior citizens, of course. Once the data were in, our editors narrowed down the shortlist to make sure we had a great mix of cities. Whether you're looking for a traditional warm-weather getaway or a city with a more seasonal climate, we can help you plan a great retirement relocation.
Though it’s a suburb of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Ariz., has its own vibe and a resort-like package of amenities that attracts many retirees. There are spas to relax in, golf courses to play, mountains to hike and nightclubs to dance until the morning light. Warm, dry weather and lots of sunshine allow those living in Scottsdale to enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year. Beyond the array of things to do in Scottsdale, what makes this city one of the best retirement destinations is its high concentration of older residents, low crime rates and excellent health-care facilities. Hospitals in Scottsdale receive excellent ratings from patients.
While home prices in Scottsdale and living expenses are higher than the national average, the city is still considered a great value, largely because of the quality of life residents enjoy. Arizona doesn’t tax Social Security checks and, in most cases, offers favorable financial conditions to retirees. Nearly 28 percent of the city’s population is age 60 and older, and there are more than 15 retirement communities and assisted living centers in Scottsdale, several of which offer luxury accommodations.
Among the more than 20 golf courses found in and around Scottsdale are country clubs that offer discounts to senior citizens. Several courses are located in or near active adult communities. Surrounding Scottsdale are breathtaking views of the high desert, which can be explored on foot, bike, horseback or four-wheel drive. Many trails wind through groupings of oddly-shaped cacti and beautiful wildflowers, leading to mountain tops and streams. A popular way of taking in the sites is by hot air balloon. Many newcomers are surprised by the number of water activities found near Scottsdale, like white-water rafting, tubing and fishing.
Culture, nightlife and festivals: Things to Do in Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale’s Culinary Festival, one of the longest-running food festivals in the U.S., draws more than 35,000 people each year. The six-day event showcases many of the restaurants, wineries, breweries and chefs in the city. You’ll find just about any cultural experience you’re looking for in Scottsdale, which has a collection of theaters, museums, art galleries and pubs. Downtown Scottsdale has been described by The New York Times as being “a desert version” of Miami’s South Beach, with hot nightclubs and a party scene that lasts until dawn.
Find out where Scottsdale landed on our menu of the Best Cities for Foodies