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13 Best Neighborhoods in Phoenix, AZ

August 28, 2019

Thinking of changing up your lifestyle for temperate weather and a robust job market? Moving to Phoenix comes with year-round sunshine, glorious mountain views, and desert adventures. Whether you’re a millennial or a retiree, moving to the Valley of the Sun brings a wealth of opportunities, from jobs to recreation. You also have an endless choice of neighborhoods when moving to Phoenix. This resort town turned thriving city is now the 5th largest city in the country, which means there are plenty of areas to choose from.

Find your new home with our round-up of some of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix for renters.

Jerry Ferguson

1. Downtown Phoenix

Live in the middle of the action in Downtown Phoenix where restaurants, pubs, art, and culture lie at your doorstep. Once known as a city defined by endless sprawl, Downtown Phoenix rose to the demand of a work-play lifestyle. Walking and biking is now a viable alternative to driving. 

As one of the most bustling neighborhoods in Phoenix, you’ll find plenty of luxury high rises and apartment buildings. Take a walk along the streets and you’ll see over 50 murals bringing vibrancy to Downtown Phoenix. The downtown area also encompasses several smaller neighborhoods with their own unique vibe, like the Arts District. If you want to ditch the car and live in the center of the action, Downtown is for you. 

Andy Blackledge

2. Roosevelt Row Arts District

The walkable area of Roosevelt Row Arts District attracts creatives at heart looking for Downtown Phoenix living. Gather your new neighbors and head out for drinks at Lacuna Kuva Bar, Rott n' Grapes or the Bicycle Nomad Cafe. Taking a walk through the area will show you why Roosevelt Row is regarded as one of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix. Tour new and emerging developments with modern apartment complexes and top-tier amenities. You’ll also find a lively bar and food scene in the area, along with the notable Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art.

Locals from other Phoenix neighborhoods looking for a Friday night out flock to Roosevelt Row Arts District for an art walk. From 6 pm until 11 pm, the neighborhood turns into a thriving cultural hub with gallery tours and art exhibits. Locals gather and make the rounds at pubs and galleries. This is an energetic neighborhood where there’s always something going on.

Max Pixel

3. Downtown Scottsdale

Situated in the Sonoran Desert, Downtown Scottsdale boasts 330 days of sun per year. With a median temperature in the low 70’s, the climate makes Scottsdale an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts. In Scottsdale, you’ll find 58 miles of public bike paths and 40 miles of hiking, biking, and horse trails. Known as "Old Town," the original downtown area offers boutique shopping, trendy restaurants, and an artistic vibe.

Residents gather at the mix-use Scottsdale Waterfront for the areas best shopping and restaurants. Although you can find reasonable housing in Scottsdale, it’s also known as a playground for the rich and famous. The New York Times dubbed Scottsdale as the “desert version of Miami’s South Beach.”


4. Central Phoenix

Central Phoenix technically encompasses downtown, midtown, and uptown. Meanwhile, North Central Phoenix stretches along an old bridle path running up Central Avenue North and past Glendale Avenue. The nicknamed “CenPho” area is expansive enough to find exactly what you want. Here you’ll find historic neighborhoods and adobe territorial style architecture.

Much of Central Phoenix skews towards upscale living with affluent professionals looking to settle in the scenic neighborhoods. As one of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix, CenPho offers modern amenities from shopping to restaurants. Home to the Phoenix Art Museum, the area is a haven for art and culture lovers. The neighborhood is also home to a weekly farmer's market for open-air shopping and gathering with the locals.

Sean Horan

5. Paradise Valley Village

The upscale Paradise Valley Village features vast open spaces and a comfortable, quiet way of life. Known as the "jewel in the desert," Paradise Valley is beautifully nestled between three mountain ranges. The Paradise Valley neighborhood offers a quiet reprieve for commuters.

This area also boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. with a strong hospitality and resort industry. Locals enjoy a spectacular backdrop of natural beauty. The nearby mountains provide ample outdoor recreation opportunities. It’s a paradise for hikers and mountain bikers. Golfers have it good in Paradise Valley Village as well. You’ll find scenic golf courses and country clubs in the area.

Paradise Valley’s government is also uniquely run by volunteers. The Mayor, Council, and Municipal Court Judges are appointed members of the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment and other unpaid committees. That’s a next-level community feeling. 

6. Ahwatukee

Ahwatukee Foothills Village, or just Ahwatukee to locals, creates a cozy triangular-shaped pocket of Phoenix. About 20 miles south of the city center, plenty of commuters call this neighborhood home. Despite its small size, locals have their choice of three golf courses and an annual world-famous chili cookoff. Like the rest of Phoenix neighborhoods, Ahwatukee offers outdoor fun and recreational opportunities for nature lovers.

Home to South Mountain Park, Ahwatukee residents hike the trails that stretch across the neighborhood. South Mountain Park is also one of the largest municipal parks in the United States, offering 16,000 acres of green space along with a 2,330 feet scenic lookout. 

Nick Bastian

7. Willo Historic District

As one of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix, Willo Historic District features homes from the 1920s to 40s, along with newer apartment complexes. The district is also part of the Central Phoenix area and features a popular home tour and tight-knit community with an urban backdrop. 

Palm trees line the streets leading to local favorites, like Oven & Vine, 5th Avenue Cafe, and Birdhaus Coffee Bar. There’s no shortage of places to imbibe or eat around the Willo Historic neighborhood, or places to soak up the culture. The neighborhood is located near the Arizona Science Center, Phoenix Symphony Hall, and Ballet Arizona for a mix of cultural and learning opportunities.

Tyler Bolken

8. Encanto

The Phoenix neighborhood of Encanto features a historic vibe with urban living. Home to the Park Central Mall, Encanto locals enjoy retail shops along with new urban apartment options. The neighborhood is also home to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. When the weather is nice out, locals kick back at the lovely Encanto Park.

Head to the southern corner of Encanto to find the Melrose District with LGBTQ+ friendly bars and nightlife. And with proximity to Central City and the rest of Phoenix, Encanto is an easy choice for urban professionals looking for convenience and proximity to work.

Tony the Marine

9. Biltmore

The Biltmore area is regarded as one of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix for upscale living. Home to the lavish Biltmore Fashion Park and the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, the area definitely feels luxurious. Despite the affluent lifestyle, there are still affordable apartments in the Biltmore neighborhood.

Biltmore is also a shopper's paradise with the Fashion Park, Camelback East Village Shops, Town and Country Shopping area and more. And if you can’t find what you need, the Biltmore neighborhood is a short drive to the airport, Old Town, and outdoor areas like Camelback Mountain.

Andy Blackledge

10. Desert View

In Desert View, you’ll find urban amenities that fade into rural land and an equestrian landscape. Sweeping mountain views attract locals looking for a small-town feel in the greater Phoenix metro area. Ideal for young families and professionals, the neighborhood offers quality schools and outdoor recreation for year-round fun. This neighborhood is a mix of both urban and rural areas, so you get the best of both worlds.

Head to the neighborhood's central area for upscale condos, office space, and restaurant options. Residents shop at the nearby Desert Ridge Marketplace for big-box retailers like H&M and Barnes & Noble. The marketplace also offers family-friendly events, a splash pad for kids, and outdoor dining. 

Andy Blackledge

11. Warehouse District

The Warehouse District is situated just south of Downtown Phoenix. The area was once home to horse-drawn wagons and historic buildings. Nowadays, the revitalized Warehouse District boasts bars, restaurants, electric galleries, and creative spaces. Imbibe at The Duce over cocktails and spiked milkshakes and challenge your neighbor to a ping-pong battle. Or step into the former Prohibition headquarters for Arizona at the Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.

The Warehouse District is also home to Arizona State University's School of Art. The school transformed a 42,000-square-foot machine shop into one of its studios and several exhibit spaces. The Grant Street Studios houses students work from sculpture to fiber and beyond. With its laid-back vibe and amenities, the Warehouse District is a must for creatives at heart.

12. Arcadia

Arcadia holds the distinction of residing in both Phoenix and nearby Scottsdale. Whichever side you live on, Arcadia boasts a history of rich citrus groves and farmers. Today, the area is filled with tree-lined streets, restaurants, boutiques, and shops. It's a foodie's dream, as well as walkable if you can take the summer heat.

As one of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix, the area offers a mix of culture and recreational wonders, including the nearby Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area. Ideal for families, millennials, and retirees alike, you get the best of city living with a slower pace in Arcadia.

13. Tempe

It’s true Tempe is it’s own city, but is still a sought-after part of the greater Phoenix metro area and worth a mention. The area is teeming with Arizona State University students and filled with campus sports, theater performances, and lively pubs, including the popular Four Peaks Brewery.

But Tempe isn't just for college students. Grab your swimsuit and head out for a day of kayaking, pedal boating, and paddle boarding at Tempe Beach Park. Outdoor festivals also entertain locals year-round and a robust job market with business services, manufacturing, healthcare, biotech, technology, and tourism.

Finding Your Phoenix Neighborhood

Ready to pack up and move to the Valley of the Sun? The best neighborhoods in Phoenix offer something for everyone. Learn about the average rent prices in Phoenix and the cost of living in Phoenix.

Then, take your pick from a vibrant downtown core to historic or modern neighborhoods. Get started on your Arizona apartment search with our quiz.

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Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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