Moving to a new city is always challenging. And a large part of that challenge is looking for a place to live. There are so many things to consider when weighing your options-house styles, neighborhood safety, quality of schools, the convenience of location-it all can be quite overwhelming.
This list and our “Best Places to Live in Phoenix,” “Best Suburbs of Phoenix,” and our “Best Neighborhoods for Families in Phoenix” lists are more in-depth neighborhood guides meant to examine what it’s like living in each of these highlighted areas, with links to popular destinations, as well as available houses for sale and apartments for rent (and by the way of introduction, we’re Bellhops—movers in Phoenix and beyond).
Phoenix draws new residents from across the country with its beautiful sunny weather, affordable housing, fantastic local grub, tasty craft brews, and outdoor activities that will lure anyone out of their slippers and into their Skechers.
But if you’re new to the area, you might not know where to start. Here’s a basic overview:
You might already know that Phoenix is Arizona’s capital and that it’s famous for its year-round warm and sunny climate and desert landscapes. The city acts as the central anchor of a sprawling multicity metropolitan area aptly named the Valley of the Sun.
With over 1.6 million people, Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide and the largest city in the state. And though it picks up on the arid climate passed on by the neighboring Sonoran Desert, Phoenix became popular as an agricultural community in 1867, dependant upon and thriving because of the area’s canal system. These irrigation canals were crafted by the Hohokam people who lived in the area for over 2,000 years.
Other than the mountains in and around the city, Phoenix is generally flat, allowing the city’s main streets to run on a precise grid with wide, open-spaced roadways. The area is split generally between its south, central, and northern parts, with locals referring to these areas as simply “South Phoenix” for example. Neighboring towns like Scottsdale and Mesa to the east and Glendale directly to the west of the city often get lumped into the area.
So now that you have an overview, check out our list below. We’ve narrowed down Phoenix’s top up and coming neighborhoods so that you can pick your perfect new Phoenix home.
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This quirky, small-town spot is packed full of one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants, and home of underground events that reflect the unique arts and culture of the community. With over 100,000 new visitors each year, and more locals starting to peak in on what RoRo has to offer, this area is on track to be one of the best neighborhoods in the area.
RoRo’s biggest emphasis is in the arts (the neighborhood technically considered an Artists’ District), and it puts special effort in supporting artists right from its backyard. Events like First Friday A.R.T.S. Market and Third Friday Art Walk feature these local artists in some of the nation’s largest, self-guided art walks. And numerous arts venues and gallaries line RoRo’s mural decked streets.
Sitting just off-center of downtown, this district offers all the tasty treats of center Phoenix’s restaurants, brewpubs and bars. Check out these amazing, close-by restaurants for a sample of the area’s finest: Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, The Dressing Room, and The Breadfruit & Rum Bar.
Located just east of downtown, Garfield is a developing area. Built right into its historic agricultural tract, this scenic neighborhood is extremely walkable, and a myriad of restaurants and city destinations are easily accessible. And this little inbetween residential area is becoming more provoking by the moment, with shops, grocery stores, bars, restaurants, and outdoor activities a few steps from these houses’ doorsteps.
Phoenix has recently been gaining more attention with local entrepreneurs, and the city has opened numerous resources for startups, like many co-working spaces. One prominent business resource is just a few miles from Garfield – the small business job creation incubator, Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation.
Its excellent location makes Garfield easily walkable from downtown’s best restaurants and bars, and Roosevelt Row artsy events. But this little residential area has plenty of its own proud perks. Visit the local favorites, Welcome Diner, Gallo Blanco, Mariscos Playa Hermosa, be Coffee + Food + Stuff, and (our all-time favorite) Mother Bunch Brewing.
One of the popular hubs right outside of Phoenix is Tempe. This city offers a vast range of recreational activities, featuring the arts, culture, and history of the area, family events, sports, and outdoor activities. And if somehow this doesn’t satisfy your calendar, downtown Phoenix is just a short 10 miles away.
The striking Tempe Center for the Arts hosts regular concerts, dance and comedy shows. The closeby Tempe Town Lake is frequently visited by kayaks, pedal boats, and paddleboards. Hayden Butte is another outdoor marvel, with ancient rock art speckling the mountain. Residents and visitors gather for the Tempe Beach Park outdoor festivals. And locals love heading to the Wells Fargo Arena for sporting events and concerts.
This popular suburb-city sits about 30 minutes southeast of Phoenix. It’s gaining more attention due to its lower crime rates, plenteous parks, family-friendly events and destinations, and great schools. This city is already big (being the fourth largest in the state), but it’s growing fast. One reason for this growth spurt is that this area is in one of the fastest growing innovation and technology centers in the country.
Chandler offers a number of noteworthy parks, including Veterans Oasis Park, Tumbleweed Park, and Desert Breeze Park that features vintage train rides along the railroad. Of course, there are plenty of places to grab a delicious bite to eat in Chandler as well. Check out the unique Paletas Betty with handmade, Mexican-style popsicles. Other local eateries and drinkeries include Pokitrition, SanTan Brewing Company, and Roy’s.
Each March, the Ostrich Festival lights up the town with carnival rides, concerts, craft booths, and the infamous ostrich races. And the diverse cultures of the area are frequently celebrated throughout the city, like during Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, and the Celebration of Unity event.
Mesa sits slightly east of Phoenix. The area’s small-town feel, lower crime rates, good schools, affordable homes, and convenient proximity to the city has made this area a great place to live, relax, and work. And more people are picking up on this. If you’re looking for a quieter space to raise a family or settle into a long-term home, Mesa should be on your list.
Not only can locals easily access all the action of downtown Phoenix, but they can also explore the many parks, arts and culture venues, festivals, community events, and outdoor activities of their own neighborhood. And Mesa’s downtown is full of boutiques, locally-owned shops, studios, restaurants, and bars.
We hope this was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhops. As we said, we coordinate local and long distance moving services in Phoenix, and we would love to help.
It's no secret, Phoenix has a lot to offer. Picking the perfect spot is not an easy task, but we've got you covered. Check out our choices for the top neighborhoods in Phoenix for 2019.
Check out our choices for the best suburbs in Phoenix for 2019. Picking the right spot can be difficult. We're here to help.