Going to college in metro Phoenix? Here are 8 tips to make this city home

Welcome to metro Phoenix. Here are ways new residents and college students can make Arizona their home including where to eat and things to do.  David WallaceThe Republic

Hey, good job! You decided to live in Phoenix. Welcome. 

A faux-Phoenix native born in New York but I ve lived in Arizona for years minus the four questionable ones in the Midwest is here to tell you it s a great place to live. 

I also know a few tips and tricks and someone gave me a platform, so here you go. I ve put together a list of essential pieces of advice for new Phoenix residents. 

.Don’t complain about the weather, it’s annoying. Yes, it s practically the hottest place on Earth for three months. But it s absolute heaven for nine, so stop whining. And unless you’re overambitious and have a summer internship after year one of your college experience, you won’t even be here for the nightmarish part this time next year.

If you are in Phoenix in the summer, though, there s plenty to do. Don t worry. 

. Phoenix is a big city without the big-city feel, so take advantage of it. For the fifth largest city in the country, Phoenix seems to be practically empty a lot of the time. This. Is. Not. A. Bad. Thing. We get all the praise! We’re on plenty of top lists, included in lots of national things, have a top-ranked food scene — and we don’t have to bump into people on the street.

It s the best of both worlds. Remember this when you’re waiting for your Starbucks and feeling down about not being surrounded by skyscrapers.

. The light rail is fun. Public transportation is great. It saves you money on a car and connects you to other campuses and parts of the Valley. But go the other way, too. The light rail can get you to areas you otherwise might not see, like uptown Phoenix and the th Avenue area home to some the best Mexican food in the city. Target is also on the light-rail route and that s important because sometimes in college you just need an hour or two to wander Target and look at things you want but don’t need Spoiler alert: you’ll buy them anyway. It makes you feel better, I promise.

. Happy hour is your best friend. Even if you aren’t old enough to drink, this city has great happy hour deals on food. It’s like some of these restaurants want to lose money, I don’t know. But seriously, find some local favorites and become a regular. It’s nice to think you won’t eat out because you have a meal plan and whatever, but you’ll get sick of dining hall food quickly. And you probably deserve a treat, right? 

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. Hiking’s a cliché Arizona thing, but it s a cliché for a reason. Do it. When in Rome, do as the Romans, right? For Arizonans, that means embrace the nature. We re lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful mountains that double as a free means of exercise. Even if you re not into fitness or sweating, there are plenty of paved paths that let you experience and the unreal desert landscapes of Arizona.

Not sure where to start? Here are some our favorites hikes around metro Phoenix. Trust me, even if you don t at the beginning, you ll like hiking eventually. 

. If you re not into Mexican food, you should probably go home. The only place with better Mexican food than Arizona is, well, probably Mexico. We are home to an insane amount of authentic, delicious Mexican restaurants. Seriously, even George Lopez has a Mexican restaurant here. And our fast-food Mexican cuisine I m looking at you, Filibertos is better than any Mexican food I had during my time in the Midwest.

Pro tip: Even restaurants that don t serve strictly Mexican food often find a way to incorporate Mexican elements into their menus. Order the chilaquiles or Hatch chile-infused meal when you can. You can thank me later. 

. Our landscapes were made for social media. If you just met a bunch of new friends, and some of their grids are full of sunsets, mountains or red rocks, chances are good they ve been here a little bit. Phoenix is home to breathtaking cotton candy skies, unbelievable dust storms that consume the city and cool rock formations like Camelback Mountain. Even our food has been deemed -worthy. Just wait until your friends back East see the photos from your day trip to Sedona or Flagstaff. 

. If you re proud to be here, you ll fit right in. Hardly anyone in Phoenix is a native, but after four years you re sure to feel like a local. And every local is extremely proud of this state. Arizona tends to attract people from all over the country for many reasons, including the seven above. So embrace being new. You only get to learn somewhere top to bottom once, so take all the chances you can, eat at local restaurants until your bank account is drained, and take in the various cultures that call Phoenix home. Before you know it, you ll be sharing the tips with a newbie to our great city, so make sure you re ready.

Reach the reporter at maureen.bohannonarizonarepublicm and follow her on Twitter, molboha. 

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