The Best Cities in the Southwest to Retire

Millions of Americans choose to retire in a place that experiences a warmer climate, with some of the most popular found in places throughout the Southwest region of the U.S., according to a TIME magazine analysis of four years of U.S. Census records. If you’re thinking about doing the same, these are some of the very best cities to move to.

Lake Havasu City, Arizona


TIME, as well as publications like Money Magazine, has ranked Lake Havasu City, located near the border of Nevada a little over 150 miles south of Las Vegas, among its “Best Places to Retire” lists. It offers a sunny, dry climate free of mosquitoes, smog and big-city traffic congestion while offering a wide range of recreational activities, from outstanding golf on multiple courses to great boating and fishing in crystal-clear Lake Havasu with its over 60 miles of navigable waterways. There are opportunities for active pursuits on land too, including hiking and off-roading. Residents also enjoy a friendly social community, top-notch healthcare options and affordable living.

Albuquerque, New Mexico


Search through the Albuquerque homes for sale and you’ll immediately notice that home prices are far more affordable than many other areas of the country, with the cost of living here 2.7% lower than the national average. It also offers a host of outdoor adventures and 280 days or so of sunshine each year. In this high-desert climate, you can enjoy everything from golfing, biking and hiking to skiing in the nearby Sandia ski area. The city itself boasts a fabulous Old Town with a variety of restaurants, shops, museums and historic sites to explore.

Tucson, Arizona


Tucson is another top pick, with a cost of living that’s 8 percent less than the U.S. average and plenty of warm weather and sunshine too. The landscape includes everything from rugged canyons and mesas to mountains and cactus-filled desert, with miles and miles of hiking and biking trails throughout. Though it is sprawling, this city of around a half-million people has more of a small-town feel, with an abundance of shops and eateries, including lots of authentic Mexican fare, and a thriving arts scene with multiple studios, galleries, opera companies, professional theater and ballet.

Marfa, Texas


The artsy little town of Marfa in the high plains of the Chihuahuan Desert, just 60 miles from the border of Mexico, is an ideal spot for creative types. It hosts an impressive array of artistic treasures and draws people from around the world who come to experience the Marfa Lights, mysterious lights that appear on the horizon on every clear night. It’s also home to all sorts of wildlife, some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, and an insanely delicious food scene considering the small population of under 2,000, including authentic Mexican cuisine. All that, and the cost of living is 17 percent lower than the national average.