With sunshine year-round and a booming economy, there’s a reason Gilbert is the fastest growing town in the United States.
South-east of Phoenix, Gilbert is often lumped in with the rest of the metro area but it’s more than just a suburb of a bigger city. In just a few decades it’s gone from being a small town of a few thousand people to a thriving city in its own right, with a population of more than 250,000 people. Gilbert sprawls, too, covering 76 square miles--not as large as Phoenix, but plenty of space and people to have its own distinct identity. Gilbert started as a Mormon farming community. Early in its history, it was known as the “Hay Shipping Capital of the World”. Today, it’s grown beyond this agricultural identity, quietly becoming one of the best places to live in the United States. It’s only recently gained widespread attention for its livability, thanks in part to being ranked the 2nd-safest city in the US.
Where to live in Gilbert
Most of Gilbert’s residents don’t live downtown. Instead, there are a variety of residential communities built around the main downtown area. Many of these are planned communities anchored around a community center or country club. This makes it easy to get to know your neighbors, and also gives you access to great amenities like swimming pools and golf courses. Living in an area with easy access to Loop 202 or Highway 101 can help you cut down on your daily commute if you work downtown, though none of the neighborhoods of Gilbert have a particularly long drive into the city.
Best Neighborhoods in Gilbert
You’re never far from a park or trail when you live in Gilbert. Two of the best neighborhoods, Val Vista Lakes and The Islands, offer waterfront living--something most people don’t expect to find in Arizona. Mountain climbers will want to consider the Seville neighborhood, the closest to the San Tan Mountain Regional Park. The cost of living in Gilbert is higher than in most of Arizona. While the price of utilities and transportation is fairly consistent, affluent neighborhoods like Seville tend a bit pricier overall and are where you’ll find luxury retail and high-end dining options.
Amazing Apartments, Coliving Spaces and More
We've been rounded up the best housing options in Gilbert. All are available on flexible terms, so you can stay one month or as long as you want
Quick Facts About GilbertNever heard of Gilbert? You’re not alone. As recently as the 1970s it had a population of just 5,000 people and wasn’t much known outside Arizona. While its reputation has been growing, it’s still one of the best-kept secrets in Arizona. Here are some facts about the town to help you get up to speed.
Gilbert takes pride in its waterSouthwestern cities are often concerned about water, especially those in desert states like Arizona. Gilbert’s unique, sustainable approach is the Riparian Preserve, which treats wastewater and provides a wetland habitat for more than 200 bird species.
It’s a great place for golfersGolf is a favorite pastime in Gilbert and there are tons of places to play. Some of the most popular include Westfield Skies and Greenfield Lakes. You can also play an abridged game at Trinity if you don’t have time for a full 18 holes.
It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the USFrom 2000 to 2010, the population of Gilbert increased by 90%. This speedy growth means many of the town’s structures were built since the year 2000, including both homes and businesses, giving it a very modern feel and architecture.
Bikers and hikers will love the trailsThe Central Trail System in Gilbert has more than 135 miles of trails, including 54 miles of dedicated bike trails. The waterfront trail system along the canal offers the best views.
Pay attention to speed limits (especially downtown)One thing that makes the quaint downtown area feel like a small town is its walkability--and part of this comes from slowing down cars driving through. The speed limit is only 25 downtown and is strictly enforced, so keep an eye on your speedometer to avoid a ticket.
Summers can get crazy hotThe average high in summer is around 107 degrees, and temperatures as high as 122 degrees have been recorded. It’s a dry heat but you’ll still probably want to stay inside in the AC during the day through July and August.
They have unique holiday celebrationsEvery holiday season, the town devotes 3 days to Gilbert Days, which celebrates the paving of the first road through downtown (and also includes a rodeo). There are family-friendly community festivals throughout the year, with the most popular falling on holidays like the Fourth of July and Halloween.
The violent crime rate is 75% lower than the national averageGilbert has consistently ranked among the safest areas in the United States, and it holds to that tradition even after its growth spurt. In 2005, it was the largest town in the US to record no murders
Work in Gilbert
Gilbert’s economy has kept pace with its population surge. Unemployment rates are low and jobs are plentiful, especially in industries like technology, health care, construction, and education. The Phoenix East Valley region is home to almost half of the state’s manufacturing, as well as about a third of the jobs in defense and aerospace, so you can find work in a diverse range of industries. Gilbert doesn’t have as many giant companies with thousands of employees as other large cities. The biggest corporate name in town is GoDaddy, which is headquartered in nearby Scottsdale and has a smaller location in Gilbert. Many of the city’s jobs are at small businesses and start-ups, and the consistent growth is appealing to entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries.
How good is Gilbert for Digital Nomads or Remote Work
Remote work is changing how the global workspace operates. In a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, remote work is rapidly on the increase all around the world—especially in a place like Gilbert. And about 25% of remote workers describe themselves as digital nomads—those who like to travel or stay in cities around the world while they work. So, how good is Gilbert for both of these growing movements?
Average Internet SpeedYou can get pretty fast internet living in Gilbert. The average download speed is around 98Mbps, and the coverage is consistent across neighborhoods. You can also find more than 150 public Wi-Fi hotspots, mostly in cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Work-friendly Coffee ShopsYou’ll find Wi-Fi at most cafes in Gilbert. Many also take advantage of the region’s frequent sunshine and include outdoor seating where you can work in the open air, as well as indoor tables with easy access to outlets. Some of our favorites are: Bergies Coffee Roast House: Right in downtown Gilbert, Bergies is built into a historic home. Interior seating is limited but there’s a large, shady patio ideal for getting work done. Coffee Rush: This local chain’s Gilbert location has both plentiful indoor seating and a spacious courtyard, so you’ll have no problem finding a table. The drinks are tasty and the atmosphere is welcoming Grove Coffee: The patio of this cafe looks out over the namesake grove of pistachio trees. Their coffee is locally-roasted and organic, and the friendly, laid-back vibe makes it easy to focus on your work.
Coworking SpacesThe availability of coworking spaces has grown in Gilbert along with the rest of the area. Many are locally founded and owned, though some national chains have also set up shop in town. Popular spots include: : The Works: You can get short-term passes or a monthly membership at this flexible coworking space. Members have 24/7 access to the building, along with free coffee and use of private phone boots and a conference room. Co-manity: This flexible coworking space encourages collaboration and community among its members. They host networking events as well as providing members a quiet space to work. The Forum: The Forum offers a variety of unique spaces for working and socializing. There are both indoor and outdoor workspaces as well as a game room and bar/cafe. Unique amenities include use of the podcats room and on-site massages. Some of Gilbert’s coworking locations are targeted at specific industries or demographics. Thrive CoWorking, for example, focuses on providing community and coworking space for women, while Palette Collective focuses on artists and creative freelancers, and also operates a work-friendly coffee shop.
Suitable Level for Digital NomadsLiving in Gilbert doesn’t cost as much as in large cities like New York, but it’s still about 10% pricier than the national average. Adding to the expense is the fact that you’ll need a car to get around, no matter where in the town you live. If this isn’t an issue, though, Gilbert is a great spot for digital nomads, especially those who like big city convenience but want a small-town feel. The consistently nice weather and easy access to hiking and natural beauty also make it ideal for nomads who like exploring the outdoors.
Visa RequirementsIf you’re not a citizen of the United States, you’ll need a temporary work visa to work in Gilbert. These are limited in number and can take a while to obtain, so it’s a good idea to start the process early. There are different types of visa depending on the type of work you do and your level of expertise. The H-1B is the most common. Residents of 39 countries are able to work in the United States for up to 90 days without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program. This is an easier way to go if you’re not planning a long stay. Most European countries are included in the program, as well as Australia, Chile, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan.
Food and Drink in Gilbert
Mexican and Latin food is popular throughout Arizona. Jalisience Mexican Food in Mirador Square is both authentic and affordable. Joyride Taco House is another local favorite for modern Mexican fare. The family-owned La Ristra is the local spot for great tequila, with over 150 varieties, as well as traditional dishes at a range of spice levels. There’s excellent barbecue to be had in Gilbert, too. Joe’s Real BBQ smokes its meat over pecan wood grown in Arizona, and pairs a charming, vintage vibe with its down-home menu. If you want authentic Texas-style barbecue, Caldwell County BBQ is where you should go. You can find diverse world cuisine in Gilbert, too. For Vietnamese food with an American twist, check out Simi’s Cafe, an unassuming spot in a strip mall on East Baseline Road. If you’re in the mood for Mediterranean, Romeo’s Euro Cafe on North Gilbert Road has excellent stuffed gyros, along with unique specialties like the Chicken Omega.
Top 6 Things To Do in Gilbert
Birders flock to the Riparian Preserve, and the Arizona Audubon Society hosts a free bird walk every third Saturday if you want to jump in on the action. Freestone Park is a favorite local fishing spot with loads of family-friendly entertainment, including a model railroad and mini Ferris wheel. Golfers have a lot of courses to choose from. One of the most innovative is TopGolf, whose digital driving range is a lot more comfortable on hot summer days. The Hale Centre Theater is the best spot in town to watch plays and musicals, with a unique round seating layout that gives everyone a good view. If you want to learn more about Gilbert’s history, check out the Gilbert Historical Museum in the HD South building, or check out the Gilbert Arizona Temple, a beautiful neoclassical structure built by the Mormons who helped to found the town.
526 E Main St, Mesa
4105 E Diamond Ave, Mesa
San Tan Mountain Regional Park
6533 W Phillips Rd, Queen Creek
John Allen Park
334 E Elliot Rd, Gilbert
700 N Higley Rd, Gilbert
Mesa Arts Center
1 E Main St, Mesa