Living in the ultimate retirement community of Sun City, Arizona is one of those serendipitous choices. We knew nothing about the area until we happened to land in it. But since moving here, we have learned and taken advantage of all it has to offer.
So join me as I share about all of the amenities and why we consider it to be the ultimate retirement community.
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Quote of the day: “Just because things hadn’t gone the way I had planned didn’t necessarily mean they had gone wrong.” Ann Patchett
Ultimate retirement community
What is a retirement community? – Rules for living in Sun City, AZ
4-Cost of living
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What is a Retirement Community
The fact of the matter is that Sun City, Arizona is the absolute first planned retirement community in this country. It all started right here in the desert in 1960 with a man named Del Webb.
His vision was to have a place where older adults could live and play together.
All retirement communities have a minimum age limit for those wanting to move to the area. Each community has different regulations, but for now, we will only concentrate on Sun City, Arizona.
55 is the magic number as the age for someone living in one of the properties. That means that one person could be under 55 too. For instance, when we first moved into our house, I was only 54, however, my husband was 59.
There are also limitations on how long kids under 19 can reside in the community.
The reason these restrictions are in place is due to how Sun City, AZ has been grandfathered in to be exempt from school taxes. And in order to keep these taxes low, these rules are very stringent.
What made Sun City, AZ the ultimate retirement community even when it first opened to the public was the fact that there was already a golf course, rec center, and shopping available. The whole idea was for it to be a place not only where older people lived, but where they could make friends and have a purpose.
Basically, Del Webb wanted it so that residents could meet all of their needs without leaving the area.
Insider tip: The Sun City, Arizona visitor center is located at 16824 N 99th Ave, Sun City, AZ 85351 inside of the Bell Rec Center. It is open for free tours for both people who already live in the community and for those interested in moving to the area.
BTW, Sun City became so popular that the community can now be found in many other states as well as expanded here in Arizona. There is also Sun City West, Sun City Festival, and Sun City Grand all within 50 miles of each other.
But you will see the name Sun City in Florida, California, and South Carolina as well as 3 other states.
Insider detail: There are about 40,000 people living in Sun City, Arizona at this time. Many are considered snowbirds who live here for the winter and in their hometowns for the summer.
One of my friends prefers the term “sun seekers” instead of snowbirds, LOL!
One thing that makes Sun City the ultimate in retirement communities is the number of amenities that are available. For instance, there are 8 recreation centers and 7 of them have pools, hot tubs, and workout areas.
Not every pool and workout area is the same. You can see below two of the pools and how they are set up. One of the Sun City centers has 2 indoor pools and one even has a specialized water purification that reduces the amount of chlorine in it.
Two of the rec centers have areas of the pool set aside for walking only. They are called water walking areas and it’s a wonderful low-impact movement for older people.
Related post: What to wear to water aerobics
The workout areas have free weights and a variety of machines available for use. There is even a free class to show how to use the machines if you aren’t familiar with them.
There is an indoor walking track at one of the rec centers and an outdoor track at another. On top of that, there is an outdoor hiking trail that leads around a man-made mountain that is a hidden gem of the area.
There are other kinds of workout classes available for those who prefer them. There is yoga, tai chi, pilates as well as Zumba, and strength training. All of these are considered clubs which I will talk about below.
Golfing is a huge draw to this ultimate retirement community and Sun City delivers in spades. There are 8 public golf courses. 5 are regulation courses and 3 are executive courses. That means you could play a different course every day of the week.
In addition to that, there are 3 semi-private courses that you can pay an extra fee to be part of. That means you should never run out of places to hit that golf ball.
The prices to golf at these courses can’t be beat. There are annual passes or you can pay for the day for 9 holes or 18 holes.
Insider tip: Even non-residents can golf at these courses. The fees are higher than for Sun City members but they are still very reasonable.
If you don’t golf for real, there are also 3 mini golf courses spread throughout the community.
There is more to this ultimate retirement community than just pools and golfing. There are a boatload of activities and “clubs” that make it more like a cruise ship.
We always say that if you’re bored in Sun City, then it’s your own fault.
Another big draw is the bowling. There are 2 bowling alleys in Sun City, AZ, and again non-members can take part.
One of the alleys has 24 lanes and the other has 16. Both are updated, clean, and maintained regularly. There are leagues you can join, but if you’re just looking for a fun activity the cost is about half of what you would normally pay.
There are also darts, shuffleboard, and a pool hall so you can play games to your heart’s content.
In fact, there is a restaurant connected with each bowling alley that has diner food and is very good.
The fun doesn’t stop there. The number of clubs in Sun City varies from time to time, and right now there are about 125. They meet at different times and at different places around the community.
It would be too long to name them all here, but I’ll share a couple including computers, camera club, Spanish, knitting (no I haven’t joined yet), woodworking, jewelry, and softball.
Membership in RCSC Chartered Clubs is restricted to Members/Cardholders only, which is why you definitely want to move here!
We always say that if you want to learn something, you can find it here. You don’t have to know anything about the club when you join. Most will teach you how to be proficient at it and everyone is so nice and helpful.
Insider detail: Dogs are also well loved in our Sun City area. There is a dog park where dogs can run off leash and have their own social time.
Cost of Living
Now let’s talk about the real reason that most people move to Sun City, AZ. When you retire, the cost of living is always a huge part of where to reside.
And Sun City has an extensive range of houses, condos, and apartments available to fit into any budget. There are also plenty of rentals so you can live here for a short time to see how you would like it.
Insider tip: The taxes in the original Sun City are much less due to being grandfathered in for an exemption to school taxes.
The other aspect of the original Sun City that has a lower cost of living is the recreation center fees. Or assessment fee as it is categorized. Yes, there is a separate fee every year to use all of the facilities, but under $500 per household, it is the deal of the century.
However, if you look into the other Sun Cities in Arizona, you will find that their rec. center membership is more expensive along with the fact that there isn’t the variety you can find in our ultimate retirement community.
Not only can you keep busy by joining clubs and taking advantage of the amenities, but there are also regular events scheduled for the residents of Sun City. Again, it’s just another reason that makes this the ultimate retirement community.
For example, in the spring and fall, there are outdoor concerts in the evening at the Sun Bowl. The Sun Bowl has been home to performers like Liberace back in the day. Now you hear tribute bands and let me just tell you, the dance floor is always full.
Then there are plays put on by the people in our own community. Every year around Christmas there is a boat light parade with games like a rubber ducky race down the waterfall and pie eating contests.
We are also able to watch fairly recent movies twice a week in an auditorium with closed captioning. For free!!
Another great event that happens every year is on July 4th they ring the bell and have a celebration for our nation.
Right after Thanksgiving, you don’t want to miss the largest craft fair put on by the clubs of Sun City, right in one of the rec centers’ large events rooms. You will find everything from ceramics, and jewelry to woodwork and stained glass.
And in the springtime, fall, and winter you will find a couple of Farmer’s Markets in the community and nearby.
Now it wouldn’t be an ultimate retirement community without easy access to healthcare since residents are all over the age of 55.
There is the Banner Boswell Medical Center in the middle of Sun City, AZ a hospital that has many services including cardiology, neurosciences, orthopedic, rehabilitation, and oncology services.
Considering the demand is ever present, you can find a myriad of doctors, dentists, eye and ear specialists, and many other types of health-related services.
Insider tip: One of the things that make Sun City, AZ special is that they take care of their residents. There are organizations within the community that help out those in need.
For example, if you are having hip replacement surgery, you can borrow a walker for the time you need it instead of purchasing it.
Our mental and physical health wouldn’t be complete without our spiritual health. And Del Webb made that possible by donating the land for any church that wanted to build in Sun City when it was being developed.
This means you can find over 30 different churches in its 15-mile radius.
Are you interested in visiting now?? Feel free to come for a trip and you’ll end up being a lifer! And make sure to reach out to me as I would love to be your tour guide.
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