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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. That’s why we’ve researched the best neighborhoods in Phoenix for you, so you don’t have to.
You’ve no doubt seen our Phoenix City Guide, which includes a short section on a few of Phoenix’s most popular neighborhoods.
This list is a more in-depth neighborhood guide 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 Bellhop—movers in Phoenix and beyond).
A Little About Phoenix and its Neighborhoods
Phoenix attracts new residents from around the country with its beautiful sunny weather, affordable housing, fantastic local grub, and tasty craft brews. This sizzling desert metropolis boasts of a long list of outdoor activities that lure locals out of their slippers and into their Skechers.
You might already know Phoenix as Arizona’s capital and 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. Although it picks up on the arid climate passed on by the neighboring Sonoran Desert, Phoenix became popular as an agricultural community in 1867.
In this desert environment of the Salt and Gila River Valleys, there was not enough rainfall to grow crops. But thanks to the area’s canal system, agriculture thrived. These irrigation canals were crafted by the Hohokam people who lived in the area for over 2,000 years and were the only culture in North America to rely on irrigation canals to supply water to their crops.
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 places to live so that you can pick a Phoenix home that’s perfect for you. If you’re extending your search a bit, you can also check out our guide to the best places to live in Arizona..
Paradise Valley is located just north of Scottsdale. The area is known for its luxury homes, golf courses, and resorts, and it offers a vibrant shopping and restaurant scene. As one of the wealthiest and safest areas in the Valley and surrounded by gorgeous rocky scenery, Paradise Valley feels like a little piece of heaven in Arizona, making it our first choice for the best neighborhood in Phoenix.
What’s Happening in Paradise Valley
While many locals enjoy swinging clubs in the neighborhood’s luxury golf courses, Paradise Valley also offers a number of recreational activities, museums, restaurants, and bars. Treck out to Camelback Mountain and visit its iconic peak. Take the family to McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park with its train rides, model trains, and playgrounds. Or visit the grassy, cactus-speckled Barry Goldwater, Memorial Park.
During your visit, spend an evening perusing the Cosanti Originals outdoor art studio and gallery of wind-chime designer and sculptor Paolo Soleri. As you know, of course, nothing works up an appetite like wind chimes. Good thing Paradise Valley has its fair share of wonderful dining experiences. El Chorro is an exceptionally beautiful spot and a local favorite. Also check out Elements, Lon’s, and Prado.
Schools in Paradise Valley
Schools in the area include Cherokee Elementary School, Christ Church School, and Kiva Elementary School among others.
Homes in Paradise Valley
This area of Arizona has homes that look like they were designed for a Grecian goddess, with marble floors, stone-cut fountains, indoor pools and spas, and exquisite ornate details. While some homes’ prices soar too high to see, Paradise Valley actually offers plenty of homes for far below $300K. You can also find a decent amount of homes for rent in the area as well if you’re looking for a temporary spot.
One of the most well-known areas of the city, and located 10 miles northeast of downtown, Arcadia is a charming and vibrant neighborhood. The district is full of energy and new shopping and dining experiences, which make it a popular destination for people living in the area. The neighborhood in Phoenix beautifully blends the rocky desert outskirts of Phoenix with its well-irrigated agriculture history, and many residential lots are dotted with orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees.
What’s Happening in Arcadia
Arcadis is known to house some of the best dining and shopping options in the whole Valley. With plenty of unique shops like locally-owned boutiques, brewpubs and cocktail bars, restaurants, clubs, and lounges, Arcadia is full of happy residents and visitors.
For a taste of Arcadia’s best grub, check out Chelsea’s Kitchen. This local favorite serves farm-fresh American comfort food. Also, don’t miss Beckett’s Table, The Stand, and Postino.
Settled close to the notable Camelback Mountain and the Arizona Canal Trail, this area also offers some of the best hiking and unbeatable views in the city. This outdoorsy perk draws walkers, runners, bikers, and explorers looking for a home in the area.
Schools in Arcadia
Schools in the area include Hopi Elementary School, Arcadia High School, and The Hills School among others.
Homes in Arcadia
Arcadia features cleanly kept homes on large lots. The area has slightly higher property values, but prices vary drastically. Condos sell for as low as $150K. You can find townhomes for as low as $360K and flawless 10,000 square-footers for $4-million.
Another highly sought-after lively hub is Downtown itself. At the center of all the hustle, Downtown offers a constant stream of local events and entertainment, as well as a thriving restaurant and bar scene.
Phoenix’s downtown has hundreds of beautiful apartments, awesome arts and culture functions, very walkable streets, prominent theaters and popular lounges and clubs. If you’re interested in being right where it’s happening, then this is definitely the best neighborhood in Phoenix, for you.
What’s Happening in Downtown Phoenix
This central business and entertainment district is home to the city’s most popular shops, brewpubs, cocktail bars, cafes, pizzerias, and brunch spots. The area’s vibrant art and culture scene clusters around the Arizona State University campus.
Families live in and visit the area, loving the Arizona Science Center and Children’s Museum of Phoenix with its hands-on exhibits. And the Chase Field baseball stadium offers regular sporting events, being home to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Strap on your desert sandals and hit the streets for Artlink’s First Friday Art Walk featuring over 70 galleries and venues. Or check out the Phoenix Public Market and buy from local farmers. The yearly Real Wild and Woody Beer Festival brings Phoenicians from afar eager to sip on local brews. And the Crescent Ballroom venue hosts local and nationally-known bands.
Hungry? Check out these amazing, close-by restaurants: Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, The Dressing Room, and The Breadfruit & Rum Bar.
The schools in Downtown Phoenix include Kenilworth Elementary School, Arizona School for the Arts, and Bioscience High School among others.
Homes in Downtown Phoenix
With plenty of various housing options, Downtown Phoenix draws a diverse crowd and has something to offer them all. You can find fixer-uppers for under $200K all the way to modern structures that sell for millions.
Scottsdale is right outside of Phoenix and is a popular mini-city of its own. The well-laid streets allow for many of its residents to ditch the car and travel via bike or on foot. And with much more affordable houses than one might expect, seeing that Scottsdale is full of some of the area’s best local hubs, this little city is quite a popular spot, and naturally one of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix.
What’s Happening in Scottsdale
Scottsdale has quickly become one of the top places to live in the Phoenix area. The city features hundreds of independently owned restaurants and shops. Here, you’ll find miles of walkable sidewalks and beautiful parks. Many of the city’s bars, restaurants, and shops are within walking distance of Scottsdale’s homes.
Some residents know the area for its higher-end spa resorts and golf courses, but most residents hit the trails of McDowell Sonoran Preserve if they’re looking for close-by outdoor activities. Tourists and new locals are bound to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s former home and studio, Taliesin West.
There are so many great restaurants in Scottsdale to choose from. But to get a taste of some local favorites, check out Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, Citizen Public House, Sel, Virtu Honest Craft, and FnB.
Schools in Scottsdale
The schools in this area include North Ranch, Anasazi Elementary School, and Laguna Elementary School among others.
Homes in Scottsdale
Houses weave between historic 1920s buildings and ancient olive trees. These pretty homes range drastically in style, size, and price across this larger neighborhood-city, so you’ll find plenty of options when you start shopping around.
There you have it: the best places to live in Phoenix!
We hope this guide to the best neighborhoods in Phoenix was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhop. As we said, we coordinate long-distance moves in Phoenix and offer local moving services in Phoenix and we would love to help.
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