Gilbert, Arizona

With more than 270,000 residents, Gilbert is a far cry from the small agricultural town it was just three decades ago. Healthy employment growth is due in part to healthcare providers Banner Health and the Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, which have created thousands of jobs in the past 20 years.

Despite its rapid growth, Gilbert still boasts quiet residential streets and one of the lowest violent crime rates in the area. It’s also a short ride away from Tonto National Forest, one of the largest and most ecologically diverse protected sites in the country, where you can experience parts of the Sonoran Desert, a Ponderosa pine forest and the tall cliffs of the Mogollon Rim. Visitors can ride horses down the trails and waterski in one of the many lakes or even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle or a cougar.

Every spring and fall, the town of Gilbert hosts a concert series at Water Tower Plaza. The Heritage District, encompassing roughly six-blocks, features a blend of 19th century and mid-20th century architecture which gives it a unique vibe. — Mayra Paris

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