Living in Sedona, Arizona: Life Beyond the Vortex

Updated on April 16, 2020
mactavers profile image

I've lived in Arizona for 68 years (Tucson, Glendale, and Sedona). I love writing about Arizona history, antiques, books, and travel.

Beautiful red rocks of Sedona.
Beautiful red rocks of Sedona.

Living in Sedona

Sedona is in northern Arizona—at the southern end of Oak Creek Canyon—and has been voted by readers of USA Today and other magazines as one of America's most beautiful cities. Sedona's landscape is breathtaking. It has giant red rock and limestone formations with green junipers and cacti, Oak Creek (which flows all year through groves of massive cottonwood trees), and this is all set against an intense blue sky. The four seasons are present, with a dusting of snow in the winter, though most days are sunny.

Sedona is visited by about four million tourists each year. But "What is it like to live in Sedona?" is a question that I've been asked frequently.

Sedona transitioned itself from truck farming vegetables, apple and peach orchards, and cattle ranching into a destination for many western films such as Call of the Canyon and Angel and the Badman. As western films became less popular, Sedona began another life as an art colony, and then Sedona became a a well known tourist destination. That's not to suggest that growing vegetables and fruit has disappeared from the area, because during the summer, Sedona boasts two Farmer's Markets. Just south of Sedona, in the Verde Valley, there is still some cattle ranching. Also, smaller scale independent films continue to be filmed in Sedona and the surrounding Verde Valley, and often the red rock formations in Sedona can be spotted in auto and other commercials. However, Sedona's economy depends heavily upon tourists.

Tourists shop at a number of fine art galleries and unique shops in areas like Uptown, Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village and Hillside Shops; they hike a number of fine trails, they enjoy Jeep and Hummer tours, they enjoy our restaurants, and they drive to the nearby wineries in the Cornville and Page Springs area.

Garland's is a great place to check out Native American art.
Garland's is a great place to check out Native American art. | Source

Religion, Entertainment, and Healthcare

In the last 20 or so years, tourists have come seeking a spiritual retreat or awakening under the banner of the New Age Movement. A number of businesses in Sedona offer vortex or medicine wheel tours. It's possible to have an aura photo taken, buy healing crystals, have your tarot cards read, visit the Creative Life Center where a number of interesting New Age topics are discussed, or experience an energy balancing massage.

I have no quarrel with each person pursuing his own spiritual path, but I'd like to mention that spiritual unity also can be found in a variety of churches in Sedona, at the Jewish Community Worship Center, at the Buddhist shrine, and in a variety of other worship groups. Meditation can be done at any time and at any place when a person decides to look within themselves. Prayer can be done by anyone at any time anywhere too

We have a number of world-class resorts in Sedona, wonderful bed-and-breakfasts, first class spas, some very average motels (some of which have been in business for many years) and some of the same chain motels which are found in many other cities. It's humorous to note that McDonald's was not allowed to build a franchise in Sedona until they agreed to create a restaurant in a tan Southwestern style and use teal-colored arches rather than the standard "golden arches." Burger King, KFC and Taco Bell are here too. There are also a number of locally owned restaurants that offer almost every kind of ethnic cuisine and vegetarian and vegan restaurants too.

The Sedona Public Library is fairly unique in the fact that the land for the library was donated by two citizens of Sedona, and donations from 2,287 businesses, organizations, and individuals raised $2.4 million to the library's building fund. According to a recent article in the Sedona Red Rocks News by head librarian Virginia Volkman, it was Barry Goldwater who gave a moving dedication speech at the dedication ceremony on our main library in 1994. Another small branch library in the Village of Oak Creek has been added to the system, and the system is top drawer. The community rooms at the main branch remain in continuous use.

There are three main and very distinct sections of Sedona.

  • The oldest section is called Uptown which is considered our downtown. There are a variety of souvenir, jewelry, art and clothing stores and restaurants. Those who live here consider it to be mainly for tourists. The views from Uptown are amazing.
  • West Sedona is where the City of Sedona offices, medical, grocery, spas, several resorts and many of our retail stores are located.
  • The Village of Oak Creek area is home to three golf courses, the Hilton Resort and a number of smaller motels and restaurants.

We have lived in Sedona for seventeen years now and have made many interesting friends who have come from all over the world. We have a small airport that offers helicopter and other small airplane tours. We have the Sedona International Film Festival which takes place every February and attracts more attendees each year. We have a theater Harkins 6 for first run films and the Mary Fisher Theater, an independent theater for independent films, art films and documentaries. We have several challenging golf courses, a community center and a first class history museum at the Sedona Heritage Museum. A new state of the art performance facility was built at our Red Rocks High School and a variety of public, charter and private schools offer a wide range of educational styles.

The average age of our residents is 50. Property is expensive, and outside the service industry, educators, and small businesses, not a lot of jobs with benefits are available. We have received good medical and dental care in this area, as Sedona has an Urgent Car and an Emergency Center. For surgery, most residents can choose between Northern AZ Health Care hospitals in Cottonwood or Flagstaff. Crime exists as it does everywhere, but it's not been a major factor. I don't need vibes from a vortex or special crystals to tell me that I'm happy living in Sedona. I'd love to hear from others in Hub Land who would like to share their experiences visiting Sedona.

Sedona has Outstanding Art

Recycled art horses
Recycled art horses | Source

December 31, 2018 Snow Day in Sedona

Unusual amount of snow, but oh so beautiful
Unusual amount of snow, but oh so beautiful | Source

Bell Rock

Questions & Answers

  • I’m a third grade teacher in Chicago. I’m thinking of selling my house and moving to Sedona. I just need to get out of the city. What are teaching jobs like in Sedona and how are the housing prices?

    My answer is sad, because I was a teacher and my daughter is currently. AZ has one of the lowest pay scales in the US, which is what the Red for ED strike was about last Spring. Colorado has pretty good pay. The other "whammy" is that while some cities in AZ have less expensive housing than Chicago, Sedona is more of a retirement/tourist community and housing is expensive here.

  • are there any apartments in Sedona? Always start a sentence with a capitol letter. Are there

    Yes, there are, but housing is expensive. Close to Sedona is Cottonwood, or Camp Verde, and they are not expensive.

  • I’m thinking of moving to Sedona in the next few months. I am a custom cake designer, do you think there is business for someone like me over there? I sell from my home and I make vegan and healthy cakes as well. I also make designer cookies and much more.

    There is a Safeway Grocery in West Sedona that makes sheet cakes and special orders and a very expensive cake shop with wonderful designs. The name is Cake Couture and I'm pretty sure you can look at their website. A new chocolate shop has opened in Cottonwood, about 16 miles from Sedona that is looking to cater to occasions and events at several of the area wineries. Sorry I don't know their name, but I hear their chocolate is wonderful. I think if you could check with one of the area wedding planners here, they also could be a good resource for you.

  • Are there ballroom dance studios in Sedona?

    No, none that I know of.

© 2011 mactavers


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • mactavers profile imageAUTHOR


      9 months ago

      Thanks for your comment. We have been to B C many times and it is a beautiful place too!

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia Zirkwitz 

      9 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      I have not traveled to Sedona, but I have friends who have and know someone who was married there, with the beautiful red rocks as a backdrop. This was a useful, well-written article for anyone who is thinking of visiting or finding a job and housing in Sedona.

    • mactavers profile imageAUTHOR


      17 months ago

      Just let me know through this site when you arrive or go to our super Chamber of Commerce for more details then.

    • profile image

      DoDDS teacher 

      17 months ago


      I am a teacher who will be retiring in Sedona in four to five years. Nice to hear there is an active group of retired educators! Looking forward to joining you!

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      We have an active retired teacher's group in Sedona, I'd be happy to put you in touch with. You didn't tell me what educational level of teaching you would be interested in. The three state universities and the community colleges all offer on line classes. Yavapai Community College has a campus in Prescott and Cottonwood and Flagstaff has Coconino Community College. Sedona, Camp Verde and Cottonwood all have high schools. I hope this is a place for you to start looking.

    • profile image

      Rosana Howard. 

      2 years ago

      I’m a retired teacher and and considering relocating to Sedona.

      I’d like to teach online (remote teaching.) what do you know about possible online teaching, in Sedona?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Children are very welcome in Sedona, and most people wish we had more children here. The biggest reason that we don't have many children here is the cost of living and that many of the jobs are in the service tourist related industry which is hard for young people financially.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Hi Mactavers,

      I'm a young married mom with kids. I noticed that you mentioned that the average age is 50. Can you shed some light on whether or not people with small kids would fit into the community? I wouldn't want my kids to feel like they are the only ones in town.

    • mactavers profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Thanks for reading my Hub. There are three golf clubs in Sedona and two are located in the Village of Oak Creek which is just south of Sedona by Bell Rock. There is also a exec course in the Village of Oak Creek. There is another private club in the northwest area of West Sedona. Without knowing your price range, I don't know what area might suit you best, but I'd suggest looking on the Zillo site for an idea of what's available in your price range. Prepare for sticker shock, but sometimes there are a few bargains too. Best of luck.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      we are thinking of moving to Sedona we Looked at Prescott but not too impressed by available homes we have 5 dogs so I need a dog friendly area we are looking at houses with at least a half an acre we are retired

      where is the best area to live in Sedona with ,we are going to visit the area next year and link around to get a feel what are your thoughts and we are also golfers too thanks

    • mactavers profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Hi Marilynn, I'm from Tucson. We "tested the water" by buying a condo before we sold our home in Tucson. We live in the Village of Oak Creek, and love it. There are lots of homeowners here as well as in West Sedona. We found Sedona very friendly as most people have not been born in Verde Valley. Like any new move, I think the best way to know a community is to join groups and/or volunteer. Places that are good bets are the library, thrift stores, food bank, caregivers, car clubs, Urgent care center, community events like the film festival, church/or other spiritual, hiking group, or a book club. Our first years here I volunteered or checked out most of these groups, then decided on the best fit for me. The Sedona Chamber would also have a long list of other activities to become a part of the community.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)