Sierra Vista is a spectacular destination for visitors who want to get away from cold winter weather. Far enough south to elude winter chills and high enough to avoid sweltering days, Sierra Vista offers near-perfect year ‘round weather. The community has long been a darling for retirees. Permanent residents welcome new-comers, community programs are developed with retirees in mind, and housing prices—both temporary and permanent—are very affordable.
Download (or view online) the Sierra Vista Adventure Guide to discover the variety of attractions, activities, and events in and around Sierra Vista.
Sierra Vista offers much cooler days than destinations in the hot Sonoran Desert, where temperatures quickly rise to the 80s by early spring (27 Celsius). In contrast, Sierra Vista lets you extend your winter vacation! Temperatures, generally 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the Phoenix area, remain pleasant year ‘round, averaging 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius), thanks to Sierra Vista’s elevation at 4,623 feet. You might see a bit of snow on the nearby Huachuca Mountains in January, but the white stuff rarely drops in town. If it does, you can count on a melt-off by noon.
With more than 280 sunny days a year and low humidity, Sierra Vista is the ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. This city of just over 45,000 is nestled at the base of the Huachuca Mountains, offering easy access to hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, ranging from just one hundred feet in elevation change, to nearly 3,000.
Skirting along the eastern edge of Sierra Vista, the San Pedro River offers extraordinary hiking and wildlife watching in the lush riparian area. The river, a National Riparian Conservation area, serves as a primary migratory corridor for wildlife, including more than 300 species of birds, including several varieties of hummingbirds, giving Sierra Vista the nickname of “hummingbird capital of the United States.”
Each year, the Southwest Wings organization hosts two birding festivals, the Spring Fling in May and the Southwest Wings Bird & Nature Festival in late July. These events bring birds and birders together during different migration clusters, offering glimpses into behavioral patterns and life stages.
Committed to a healthy lifestyle, Sierra Vista has developed more than 30 miles of shared use paths that criss-cross the city, offering paved paths for walkers, runners, and bicyclists. Take the paths across town to enjoy the wide variety of recreational facilities including a community center, library, indoor aquatic center, museums, even disc golf. For those who like to hit the links, Sierra Vista is home to two courses, open to the public year ‘round.
There’s no reason why heading for a smaller community means sacrificing cultural entertainment! Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra offers world-class performances at the Buena Performing Arts Center, while the Arizona Folklore Preserve offers weekend performances by folk and western artists from across the U.S. You can also catch performance by the Fort Huachuca M.I. Corps Band. In the heart of the city, Veterans Memorial Park, with an impressive performing arts pavilion, hosts community events throughout the year, including a renowned arts and crafts showcase, car shows, movies under the stars, a summer concert series and a weekly farmers market.
Sierra Vista is home to the U.S. Army’s Fort Huachuca, and active military base and National Historic Site. Visitors are welcome to explore the Fort’s museums and historic buildings. Trailheads on Post give you access to some of Sierra Vista’s best bird and wildlife watching, hiking, and history. Learn more about accessing the Post. International visitors wishing to access Fort Huachuca should contact PIO@nullSierraVistaAZ.gov to arrange for an approved military escort in advance of your visit. Please allow 3-6 weeks for processing.
While you’re here, enjoy a class through the Cochise College Lifelong Learning Program. Voted as one of the top five community colleges in the nation, Cochise offers degree programs as well as half-day, weekend, or even longer classes. Now you can finally take that class about cooking, art, foreign language, music and so much more.
Shopping and Culinary
As the retail hub of Cochise County, Sierra Vista’s retail outlets serve a population greater than 110,000. Because of this large service area, you’ll find shopping and dining experiences that rival larger communities.
Vista is anchored with Dillard’s and Sears, and is home to a Cinemark 10 theater. You’ll also find Best Buy, Bath and Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, jewelers, athletic and footwear stores, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft, and more. Crafters can find other supplies Hobby Lobby, located in the commercial district just a few minutes from The Mall. Shop for deals at Marshalls, Payless Shoe Stores, Ross Dress for Less, and Big Lots, while Target, WalMart, PetSmart, Lowe’s Home Improvement, HomeDepot, and ACE Hardware round out the retail offerings. Chain grocery stores include Safeway, Fry’s, and Food City. Natural and bulk foods can be found at the Sierra Vista Food Co-op (no membership required).
Many small, independent businesses offer great deals and unique selections. While you’re here, be sure to explore the nooks and crannies in Sierra Vista’s retail districts, including the historic West End.
Sierra Vista has a well-deserved reputation for authentic ethnic dining. Savor a wide variety of cuisines from around the world, including German, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, and Mexican. Hankering for home-baked goodies? Be sure to stop into Philidelphia Baking Company and Bobke’s Bread Basket for a special treat!
You’ll also find your favorite chain restaurants like Olive Garden, Chili’s, Applebees, Buffalo Wild Wings and Texas Road House. Quick serve locations include Chipotle Mexican Grill, Schlotzsky’s, Jimmy John’s, and Panda Express along with many others.
Sierra Vista is smack-dab in the middle of Arizona’s wine region. Located between the Willcox and Sonoita AVAs, you’re near more than 25 tasting rooms to discover.
Keeping in good health ensures a great vacation and you’ll find top-quality medical care in Sierra Vista. Canyon Vista Medical Center is a newly constructed, 100-bed, level three trauma center that offers additional services and doctors. The community is also home to many medical office buildings, providing space to general practitioners and specialists alike, while two urgent care facilities offer care without the wait.
Retire in Sierra Vista
We hope that you love Sierra Vista enough to consider it for your permanent retirement home! Did you know that about 21 percent of the Sierra Vista’s population is 55 and older? Retirees love Sierra Vista’s mild weather, beautiful scenery, natural resources, and reasonable housing prices. Featured in Where to Retire (January/February 2015), Sierra Vista boasts the second-lowest overall tax rate in Arizona. Learn more about retiring in Sierra Vista.