Last Updated on January 13, 2023

Some people are drawn to the idea of living in the desert, for a variety of reasons. The stunning landscape, sunny climate, abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, and more isolated, peaceful lifestyle can all be appealing to people who want to experience a different way of life.

With four main deserts and numerous desert cities and towns, the United States offer a range of opportunities for those who are interested in moving to a desert environment.

Below, a list of desert cities and towns in the US that are known for having a high quality of life and the most attractive living conditions.

Palm Desert, California
An American desert oasis? Palm Desert, California.

Best Desert Cities to Live in the US

1. Phoenix, Arizona

Population: 1,700,000

Phoenix is the capital and largest city of Arizona, and the fifth most populous city in the USA. It is known for its sunny weather, diverse culture, and vibrant arts scene.

The city is the ideal destination for those who crave big city life and want to experience life in the Sonoran desert. Phoenix is home to a number of top-ranked universities and has a strong economy, with many job opportunities in a variety of industries, and has a relatively low cost of life compared to other cities of the same size in the US.

Life in Phoenix is diverse and dynamic, you will find both urban city events like bars, nightclubs, live music performances and sport events, as well as countless opportunities for enjoying the outdoors such as hiking in the desert, rock climbing, off-roading, and so on.

Hot Air Ballon over the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix, Arizona

2. Las Vegas, Nevada

Population: 647,000

Las Vegas is a popular destination for tourists, but it is also a great place to live and enjoy the Nevada desert. The city is known for its vibrant nightlife, world-class restaurants and entertainment, and mild year-round climate.

Life in Las Vegas is fast-paced and energetic, with a wide range of recreational opportunities, including many casinos ranging from large, luxurious resorts to smaller, more intimate venues. There are also many other things to do in the city besides gambling, such as desert hiking, rock climbing, museums, spas, concerts and live performances.


Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas, Nevada.

3. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Population: 560,000

Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico and is known for its diverse culture, rich history, and beautiful desert landscape.

The city has a rich cultural history with a strong Hispanic and Native American influence. Albuquerque also has a strong economy and a number of top-ranked universities, making it a popular place to live and work.

Overall, Albuquerque’s culture is a blend of Southwest and Mexican influences, with a strong focus on outdoor recreation, art, and music, and can be a good compromise for people who wish to move to the desert without losing the perks of urban city life.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

4. Tucson, Arizona

Population: 535,000

Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona and is known for its mild climate, beautiful landscape, and diverse culture. Not as oit is a diverse and vibrant city with a rich cultural history and a range of recreational and cultural amenities.

Tucson is a good choice for people who are interested in exploring the Southwest and experiencing a unique desert lifestyle with a strong Hispanic and Native American influence, with all the perks of a mid-sized city.

Tucson, Arizona

5. Bend, Oregon

Population: 90,000

Bend is not located in a true desert, as it receives more rainfall than a typical desert climate and has higher humidity levels. However, it is located in the high desert region of Oregon, which means that it has a dry, semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters.

Bend is also known for its strong sense of community and small-town feel, which can be attractive to people who are looking for a more laid-back lifestyle. The Oregon coast and its dunes are popular for sandboarding and easily accessible from Bend.

Bend, Oregon

6. Palm Springs, California

Population: 48,000

Palm Springs is a desert city located in in the Coachella Valley of southern California, known for its mid-century modern architecture, stunning mountain views, upscale resorts, and laid-back atmosphere. The city has pleasant weather, a strong economy and a diverse population, with many job opportunities in a variety of industries.

Despite being a smaller city with a somewhat relaxed, laid-back atmosphere, Palm Springs has a variety of amenities, a thriving arts and cultural scene, and a range of dining and shopping options.

Palm Springs, California

7. Moab, Utah

Population: 5,000

Moab is a small town located in the desert region of eastern Utah, known for its red rock landscape and abundance of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Te town itself has a sparse suburban feel, but it is the outdoors that make Moab worth moving to.

The scenery in Moab is like no other, the town is surrounded by a variety of hiking trails that offer stunning views of the red rock landscape. Some popular trails include the Delicate Arch Trail and the Mesa Arch Trail.

Moab, Utah

8. Sedona, Arizona

Population: 11,000

A small town located in the red rock country of northern Arizona, Sedona is known for its stunning natural beauty and rural feeling. It offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.

While scarcely populated, Sedona is a popular destination due to its proximity to outdoor recreational areas, such as the Coconino National Forest and the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness.


Read also: Stunning Desert Towns from Around the World

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