This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is not supported by advertising, it's supported by the generosity of my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

When the Snowbirds return to Phoenix, Arizona


If you live in the Phoenix area, you know about Snowbirds. "Snowbird" is the slightly derogatory, slightly affectionate name for retired people who stay in Phoenix during the winter and then "fly away" before summer. My parents (pictured above) were snowbirds for many, many years. And they arrived in late September or early October, about the time of the year that I'm writing this right now.

So while you're enjoying the end of another horrific summer (I swear they get hotter and longer every year!) you will also notice that the valley gets a little bit more crowded, especially with large slow-moving vehicles (like my parents's Crown Vic, which was brand new when I took the photo).

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Snowbirds bring in an enormous amount of money to the local economy. Most of them, like my parents, are thrifty midwesterners, who have decided that it's time to live a little. But just a little. Snowbirds rarely have much interest in staying at expensive places, and they generally can be seen eating wherever there are specials. So don't expect Snowbirds to be spending money like drunken sailors, they don't. But there are so many of them that it really adds up. If you live in Phoenix, and care about the economy, you need to appreciate the importance of Snowbirds.

Of course, my description of Snowbirds is the typical stereotype: Elderly, driving large vehicles slowly, mostly from Minnesota. But like a lot of stereotypes, there's a lot of truth to it. So as you try to get through the traffic to work for the next few months, take a moment to see your Phoenix through the eyes of Snowbirds, and you'll see that it's amazing and beautiful. The weather is absolutely gorgeous, the skies are so blue, there are palm trees, and there's no snow and slush. You may find yourself slowing down a bit, too.


Image at the top of this post: Snowbirds in their natural habitat, a Mobile Home Community (you don't call it a Trailer Park!), Peoria, Arizona, in 2001.