As you venture into the vibrant community of Sedona, AZ, known for its majestic red rock formations and serene desert landscapes, it’s important to consider the distinctive aspects that come with calling this place home. The town’s allure lies in its unparalleled natural beauty, thriving arts and culture scene, and a sense of spiritual tranquility that permeates the air.
However, as with any destination, there are both advantages and challenges to living in Sedona. Whether you’re considering renting an apartment in Sedona, AZ or buying a home in the city, you can find plenty to love in Sedona. This Redfin article we spoke with locals to explore both the pros and cons of living in Sedona, providing a comprehensive overview of what it’s like to call this city home. So, is Sedona a good place to live for you? Read on to find out.
Pros of living in Sedona, AZ
1. Comfortable climate
Sedona, AZ, boasts a comfortable climate characterized by mild winters and warm summers. Winters typically feature daytime temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to low 60s Fahrenheit, providing a pleasant environment for outdoor activities without the harshness of colder climates. Summers bring daytime temperatures in the mid-80s to low 90s Fahrenheit, creating a warm but not excessively hot atmosphere.
2. The culture
“I love the new age culture in Sedona,” states model, photographer, and actress Cassie Hepler, also known for her lifestyle and travel blog Explore with Cassie. “While some may describe it as ‘woo-woo,’ I do believe in the energy vortexes that exist in Sedona. It’s a very magical place and if you’re not in the right mindset, it will energetically kick you out. Stay open-minded, and you’ll find that the unique blend of spirituality and natural beauty in Sedona creates an enchanting experience unlike any other.”
“The moment I set foot in Sedona, I was captivated not just by its breathtaking landscape, but by the profound sense of spiritual well-being that permeates the culture,” states Gina Corley, local travel blogger of Gina on a Plane. “There’s an immediate soul-cleansing feeling, whether you’re exploring the vortexes on hiking trails or embracing the endless yoga offerings – it’s a place where you effortlessly nurture both body and spirit.”
“As a resident of Sedona for over two decades and a destination elopement photographer, I find myself truly immersed in the heart of romance,” says Bon Miller. “With more than 300 miles of red rock trails weaving through the sandstone, the landscape unfolds in a captivating display of moody ambers, pinks, and golds—an artist’s palette, inviting creation and appreciation.”
3. Local events and festivals
Miller goes on to share, “Whether it’s hiking, biking, horseback riding, jeep excursions, or enjoying cocktail hour with a view of Sedona’s ever-changing colors, the lifestyle becomes an integral part of your being. Longtime residents have dedicated their time to curating events that ensure this way of life is not only embraced by locals but also shared with visitors. Among my favorites are the Mountain Bike Festival and the Plein Air Festival, both contributing to the vibrant tapestry of Sedona.”
“The Sedona Mountain Bike Festival is the event of the year,” states Thunder Mountain Bikes, a one-stop bike shop located in Sedona. “It’s a highlight for cyclists nationwide and a local favorite, spans three days, showcasing the latest gear, offering guided rides for all skill levels, hosting bike demos, and featuring live music, food, and beer. Beyond biking, it embraces Sedona’s beauty and culture with yoga classes, local food, and unique events like drum circles, aura readings, and crystal shopping. Connecting enthusiasts and providing insights from industry experts, this festival is a must-attend for both seasoned bikers and beginners, offering an immersive experience in Sedona’s vibrant atmosphere.”
Other notable events include the Sedona International Film Festival, Sedona Arts Festival, Sedona Winefest, Pumpkin Splash, The Festival of Lights, and more.
4. Iconic landmarks and popular eateries
“Popular scenic attractions in Sedona include iconic landmarks such as Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock, as well as the picturesque Oak Creek Canyon,” explains Marlo Johnson, event coordinator of Oak Creek Arts and Craft Shows. “For culinary delights, I highly recommend exploring the creations of Chef Lisa Dahl, a renowned and somewhat of a celebrity chef in Sedona. Her culinary prowess shines through in several exceptional restaurants, including the upscale Mariposa and the delightful Butterfly Burger.”
“One of the aspects I cherish about Sedona is its rich diversity, ranging from the mystical allure of crystals and vortexes to the adrenaline-pumping experiences of mountain biking and Jeep tours,” continues Johnson. “Whether you seek moments of introspection or exhilarating outdoor adventures, Sedona offers a tapestry of experiences that cater to a variety of interests and tastes.”
Spirit and Spice, located in Sedona, stands out as a unique store offering a range of in-store experiences, including Whiskey Tastings and Tequila Tastings, inviting customers to try before they buy in the Tlaquepaque Center store. Spirit and Spice is a purveyor of custom-made oils, vinegars, spices, and spirits. The diverse flavors of their products cater to various preferences, and for those aged 21 and over, it promises a delightfully boozy and enjoyable shopping experience.
5. A place to call home
“My family has lived in Sedona for twelve years, and as a naturalist, a traveler, and a lover of planet Earth, I find returning home to Sedona’s natural ‘welcome’ mat is never difficult to do,” shares local photographer Greg Lawson of Greg Lawson Galleries. “With a taste of four seasons and a pleasant social vibe, we appreciate that the community and the region is richly endowed with beauty and diversity – and that famously magnetic spirit of the great Southwest.”
6. Hiking, biking, jeep tours and yes, hot air balloon rides
Local photographer Zach Rohe Photography highlights, “Sedona’s allure lies in its extensive hiking and biking trails, providing access to breathtaking red rock formations. Many trails lead to the cool waters of Oak Creek and West Fork, offering some of Arizona’s best fly fishing. After immersing myself in nature, I enjoy dining at local gems like Dellepiane or The Hudson for a fantastic steak. Wrapping up the day, the laid-back Lacuna Cava bar or the classic PJ’s Pub adds entertainment to the experience.”
“Sedona’s charm lies in its diverse activities catering to all residents and visitors and is one of the many aspects that make Sedona a good place to live,” explains Daniel Britton Photography (@dbrittonphoto). “From beginner to advanced hikes, the red rock trails offer an adventure for every hiker, with guided tours leading to the potent energy vortex at Bell Rock. Crescent Moon Ranch, at the base of Cathedral Rock, provides a serene escape with Oak Creek’s cooling waters, ideal for meditation and soaking in Sedona’s healing energy. Thrill-seekers enjoy Sedona’s renowned mountain biking trails, including the awe-inspiring Llama Trail starting at Bell Rock. For a guided experience, Jeep tours offer both mild off-roading and breathtaking views, ensuring an unforgettable Sedona experience.”
“We love to spend our time in Sedona on two wheels,” shares Thunder Mountain Bikes. “The mountain biking in Sedona is world-class, with over 250 miles of single track and growing. Over the years, Sedona has become a riding mecca for mountain bikers all over the world and a sought-after riding destination. The epic views, technical terrain, and nearly perfect year-round riding weather are a draw for many and a big reason why locals love to call it home. The best part? The mountain bike community in Sedona is among the best, with weekly group rides and mountain bike events to help this small community of riders feel connected in a big tourist town.”
“We had an extraordinary adventure with a local hot air balloon company, and were treated to a bird’s-eye view of Sedona’s unparalleled beauty,” shares Peter Dulis of Photography Adventures. “Drifting gracefully over treetops, the mesmerizing landscapes of Sedona’s natural wonders unfolded beneath us, unveiling majestic vistas and surprising wildlife sightings.”
Sedona boasts an array of beautiful stores, ranging from grocery stores and bookshops to restaurants and boutiques, offering a wide variety of shopping and dining options for residents.
“Nestled beneath the shade of the sycamores on the banks of beautiful Oak Creek in Sedona, Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village has been a Sedona landmark since the 1970s, and one of our favorites,” explains Dulis. “Tlaquepaque, means the ‘best of everything,’ and that was so true with its cobble-stoned walkways, collection of galleries, shops and dining establishments, and magnificent arched entryways that give you the feeling that Tlaquepaque has been here for centuries.”
8. The beautiful landscape
“The Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park with the Buddha statue is one of my favorite places on earth,” states Cassie Hepler. “It’s a sitting and walking meditation space that brings me peace and serenity whenever I’m there. It’s free and open to the public, nestled right into the beautiful red rocks. Hiking trails are conveniently located behind it, providing an opportunity to truly get lost in nature.”
“Sedona’s globally acclaimed landscape, featuring awe-inspiring red sandstone rocks, beckons visitors worldwide, says Daniel Britton Photography. “To truly experience Sedona is to immerse yourself in these formations, whether through hikes or exploring the extensive dirt roads. Plan your visit to allow ample time for the city’s unique and stunning landscapes. Key highlights include Schnebly Hill Rd, providing incredible views if your vehicle can handle the bumps, and the Soldiers Pass trail, delving deep into Sedona’s red rocks. Along the trail, the Seven Sacred Pools offer a captivating display, forming a picturesque waterfall as water cascades through these intricately carved sandstone pools.”
Dulis of Photography Adventures recommends exploring Sedona’s enchanting Verde Valley region for anyone seeking breathtaking beauty. “With towering mountains, striking red-rock formations, steep canyons, and expansive grasslands, this area presents a remarkable variety of picturesque and ecologically significant landscapes that are truly captivating.”
9. Perfect location for weekend getaways
Sedona’s location makes it convenient for quick trips and weekend getaways when you’re in the mood for a change of scenery. “Sedona’s not far from Clarkdale, AZ and Jerome, AZ, making it a perfect weekend trip combo,” suggests Jayde Pigati of JP Photography. “Cruise over to these towns for some history and small-town charm. The drive is scenic, and you get a mix of nature and old mining town sites. It’s a laid-back, well-rounded weekend getaway with a bit of everything—nature, history, and great views.”
You can also explore the Grand Canyon, just a scenic drive away—approximately 115 miles to the north. If you want to experience an outdoor adventure, head 29 miles north to Flagstaff, AZ, surrounded by tall pines. And if you’re into wineries and history, the Verde Valley is a short drive away. Lastly, Prescott, with its old-western feel, is about 80 miles southwest.
Cons of living in Sedona, AZ
1. Popular destination among tourists
On the positive side, tourism contributes significantly to the local economy, supporting businesses, creating job opportunities, and enhancing the overall vibrancy of the community. However, the popularity of Sedona as a tourist destination can also present challenges for residents, including increased traffic, longer waits and crowds at restaurants, limited parking, and crowded hiking paths.
2. Relatively high cost of living
Sedona is known for its high cost of living, a challenge that’s becoming increasingly common for many residents. One of the biggest contributors to this high cost of living is housing. In fact, the median sale price in Sedona in October was $1,112,000, compared to a median sale price of about $414,000 nationwide.
Sedona’s high living costs stem from increased housing demand driven by its popularity as a tourist destination, while limited land for development also creates a shortage of affordable housing options. Preservation efforts for natural beauty and cultural heritage bring about stringent building regulations, impacting construction costs. Additionally, the town’s attractiveness for retirees additionally boosts service demand, contributing to overall living expenses in Sedona.
Despite the high living expenses, Sedona’s stunning scenery and rich culture continues to attract residents. For those ready to invest in this unique experience, living in Sedona proves immensely rewarding. However, it’s important to be prepared for the high cost of living and to plan accordingly. This may involve finding a roommate to split expenses or adjusting one’s budget to accommodate higher costs.
3. Limited amenities
Sedona, AZ, offers limited amenities compared to larger cities. Limited shopping options and fewer dining choices may require adjustment for those accustomed to urban living. Residents might find fewer recreational facilities and a more relaxed pace of life.
Is Sedona, AZ, a good place to live? Final thoughts
Sedona, AZ, offers a unique blend of natural wonders, cultural richness, and a slower pace of life. While the city boasts major draws that make Sedona a great place to live, its cons like high cost of living, traffic congestion during peak tourism, and limited amenities are also important factors to consider. Ultimately, whether Sedona is the right place to call home really depends on your individual preferences and priorities.