Gilbert was the fastest-growing places among all cities and towns in Arizona of any size between 1990 and 2000. In 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the town population at 203,656.
Culture Gilbert was incorporated in 1920. From 1911 through the 1920s, Gilbert was known as the "Hay Capital of the World." Unique to Gilbert is the Riparian Institute, a 110 acre preserve which provides a great opportunity for bird watching, and includes many programs that observe, study, and interact with nature. The annual Gilbert Days is a week-long celebration of Gilbert's rich western heritage, community spirit, and pageantry that has thrived in Gilbert for more than a half century. The celebration includes a parade, carnival, softball tournament, and the IPRA Sanctioned Gilbert Days Rodeo. Freestone District Park is a major recreation facility with 2 lakes, a skate park and amusement area. New since January 2008 is the Big League Dreams Sports Park that has 8 replica baseball stadiums and an indoor soccer field for adults and youth to enjoy.
Economy Major employers, not including the Town of Gilbert and the Gilbert Unified School District, are Dillard's, Fry's Food & Drug, and InteSys Technologies. Gilbert's San Tan Village opened in 2007, and is highlighted as the first super-regional shopping center in Arizona to combine department and specialty stores, a major cinema, indoor food court, office and residential offerings in an open-air streetscape environment.
Mesa is the third-largest city in Arizona, after Phoenix and Tucson. The 2006 Census Bureau estimates put the city's population at 460,155. Mesa is the most populous suburban city in the United States.
Culture HoHoKam Park is the Cactus League spring training home of the Chicago Cubs. In addition to baseball, Mesa has a new Mesa Arts Center completed in 2005. It is a 212,755-square-foot performing arts, visual arts, and arts education facility, and is the largest and most comprehensive arts center in the state of Arizona. The Mesa Amphitheatre is best known for its great location and tiered lawn - big enough for great acts, and intimate enough for everyone to have a great view of the stage!
Economy There are many shopping malls throughout the city. The Superstition Springs Mall features an outdoor amphitheatre and fountain which convert to a stage where they hold summer concerts. The Fiesta Mall is located in west Mesa, and an expansion and renovation of the mall has been planned, including a remodeling of the food court. Mesa Riverview is a new outdoor destination retail center in the northwestern corner of the city. The center will include 1,300,000 square feet of retail space including Arizona's first Bass Pro Shops.
Education Almost all of the city of Mesa is served by public schools operated by Mesa Public Schools; however, a small southern portion is served by the Gilbert Public Schools, and a small western portion is served by the Tempe Elementary School District and the Tempe Union High School District.
Mesa is also home to Mesa Community College, the largest of the Maricopa Community Colleges, which enrolls over 22,000 full and part time students. In addition, the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University lies in southeast Mesa. This satellite campus enrolls over 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students in scientific and engineering fields.
Tempe had a 2006 population of 169,712.
Culture ASU Gammage is among the largest university-based presenters of performing arts in the world. This historic hall was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Tempe is also the annual home to the Ford Ironman Arizona, the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, the Insight Bowl Tempe and all of the intercollegiate athletics at Arizona State University. Every March, Tempe is the center of attention, hosting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Major League Baseball Spring Training games at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Tempe has numerous parks, including Kiwanis Park, and a two-mile urban oasis called Tempe Town Lake. In addition, Tempe has more than 150 miles of dedicated bikeways and the League of American Bicyclists has designated Tempe a Silver-Level Bicycle-Friendly Community Award winner. Tempe also hosts a Spring and Fall Festival of the Arts, which draws tens of thousands to downtown Tempe. On New Year's Eve, the city hosts the Insight Fiesta Bowl Block Party, named by USA Today as one of the top ten places in America to ring in the new year.
Economy Tempe is known as the home of the "Tech Oasis", with over 200 high tech companies, including Motorolla. Tempe is also the headquarters and executive office of US Airways (formerly America West Airlines), Chase Bankcard Services, and Salt River Project. One of Arizona's largest (1.2 million square feet) shopping malls, Arizona Mills, features value-orientated stores. The city also serves as the first Arizona IKEA branch location, the largest one this side of the Mississippi. The Mill Avenue District, located just west of Hayden Butte, is a shopping and entertainment area in the city popular with pedestrians and students.
Education Tempe is served by multiple school districts. Most of Tempe is within the Tempe Elementary School District and the Tempe Union High School District; however, other portions are served by the Kyrene School District (K-8), Scottsdale Unified School District (K-12), and Mesa Public Schools (K-12).
Tempe also contains one of the state's three major universities, Arizona State University.
Queen Creek, according to the 2006 Census Bureau estimates, has a population of about 20,818. Queen Creek was once known as the Potato Capital of the World because of the number of potato farmers in the area and amount of acreage being farmed in potatoes.
Culture Schnepf Farms is a family operated farm that holds frequent festivals throughout the seasons. Horseshoe Park is a large, publicly owned and operated equestrian facility that will hold regional equestrian events. It is currently under construction, but scheduled to be completed fall 2008. The Queen Creek Performing Arts Center is one of the best kept performing arts secrets in Arizona. The Barney Family Sports Complex will be a a privately owned and operated indoor sports facility that is to be completed fall 2008. The Queen Creek Olive Mill is a family owned company that grows and presses olives for the production of some of the worlds finest high quality extra virgin olive oil.
Economy The Queen Creek Marketplace, in it's initial phase, adds 900,000 sq. ft. of new shopping, services and dining opportunities to Queen Creek. Major private employers include Alliance Electric, Basha's, Canyon State Academy, Home Depot, Magma Engineering, Kohl's, Queen Creek Water, Safeway, Target, and Wal Mart.
Scottsdale, according to the 2007 Census Bureau, estimates the population of the city at 240,410. The New York Times described downtown Scottsdale as "a desert version of Miami's South Beach". Scottsdale, in 1993 was named the "Most Livable City," in the United States by the United States Conference of Mayors.
Culture The city is loosely divided into four areas: South Scottsdale, Old Town (Downtown) Scottsdale, Central Scottsdale (also known as the, "Shea Corridor"), and North Scottsdale. The real estate market in Scottsdale is among the most expensive in the United States. In 2005, both Scottsdale and Paradise Valley were among the top ten markets in the nation for luxury home sales, and the only two cities outside of California.
South Scottsdale has been known for many years as more or less the working class region of Scottsdale, although today it is transforming into a dynamic urban area. It contains the major nightlife for the area and is a major art center of metro Phoenix. A portion of McDowell Road in South Scottsdale is known as '"Motor Mile,'" with 32 dealerships represented along the street, and is one of the most profitable auto-miles in the United States. South Scottsdale will also soon be home to a new research center for Arizona State University, known as Sky Song.
Old Town Scottsdale is an area with many streets, stores, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and western art galleries evoking the old cowboy era. Scottsdale's main cultural district is also in this area, which includes the high-end Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, one of the twenty largest malls in the United States. The district has currently seen a revival, with new condominiums and hotels under construction.
The Shea Corridor is so named because it is in close proximity to the east-west running Shea Boulevard. The homes in this region were generally built during the 1970s. Despite their older age, real estate in the Shea Corridor (Central Scottsdale) has increased during the 1990s, and overall, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale real estate market has seen the largest gain in home prices in the nation, with a 38.4% increase in value. There are a number of communities in this central region of Scottsdale that remain among the most highly-desired residential areas in the metropolitan area, including Gainey Ranch and McCormick Ranch. A large portion of Scottsdale Road in the Shea Corridor has been dubbed Resort Corridor for the high number of resorts locating on the street. The second Ritz Carlton in the Phoenix metropolitan area will be constructed along this corridor.
North Scottsdale is currently the most actively developed area of Scottsdale as it was historically the least built up. This portion of the city also claims many of the most expensive homes in the country, with many exceeding $5 million in value. Troon is a large-scale development in North Scottsdale. Much of the residential boom in North Scottsdale is driven by the fast growth of Scottsdale Airpark, the second largest employment center in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and estimated to become the largest by 2010. The Scottsdale Airpark, home to over 55,000 employees, 2,600 businesses and 23 million square feet of office space is expected to continue growing by over 3,000 employees per year. Many important companies are headquartered or have regional headquarters in the park, including AXA, GE Capital, DHL, Discount Tire Company, Fidelity Investments, JDA Software and The Vanguard Group.
Economy Scottsdale is continually ranked as one of the premier golf and resort destinations in the world, with a sizable portion of tax revenue being derived from tourism. It is also home to the FBR Open Golf Tournament held at the Tournament Players Club, which carries the distinction of the best-attended event on the PGA Tour.