City Guide / Phoenix

A Guide to the 12 Best Neighborhoods in Phoenix, Arizona

By Jill Schildhouse | Jan 5, 2023
An aerial view of the many beautiful neighborhoods in Phoenix at sunset.

Sitting smack-dab in the middle of the Sonoran desert, Phoenix, Arizona, is known as a vibrant city that glistens with sunshine. Whether you’re a young professional, an outdoor enthusiast, or a retiree looking to relocate to Phoenix, this fifth-largest city in the country is a great spot to consider.

When planning your big move to Phoenix, Arizona, start by doing some research to understand the best neighborhoods in Phoenix from downtown to uptown, taking into account nearby attractions, public transportation, affordable housing, and the overall vibe of the area.

Here is your guide to the best areas to live in Phoenix so you can find the perfect neighborhood to call home, including:

  1. Downtown Phoenix
  2. Central Phoenix
  3. Arcadia
  4. Roosevelt Row Arts District
  5. Willo Historic District
  6. Paradise Valley
  7. Biltmore
  8. Desert Ridge
  9. Ahwatukee Foothills
  10. Encanto
  11. Old Town Scottsdale
  12. Central Scottsdale

Let’s get started!

1. Downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix, Arizona

If you want an Arizona neighborhood with an urban feeling and great nightlife, look no further than right downtown. With access to sports, concerts, bars, and restaurants right outside your doorstep, this is also a great area for young professionals and singles to let loose and have fun. The downtown area of Phoenix has a smaller footprint than most major cities, which means it’s easy for newcomers to navigate.

2. Central Phoenix

Known by the locals as CenPho, Central Phoenix is one of the trendiest parts of the Valley, thanks to its myriad restaurants on 7th Street (like Mora Italian, Otro Café, and The Yard), boutique shops, and easy access to the 51 and I-10 freeways. Another thing that makes Central Phoenix one of the best areas to live in Phoenix is the mix of residents—you’ll find young families living next door to retirees and plenty of community spirit. This is also a popular area among members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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3. Arcadia

Built on a former citrus grove, Arcadia (aka Camelback East) is one of the most highly coveted neighborhoods in Phoenix, AZ, because of its ranch homes with large, mature lots (and yes, there are still plenty of orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees in the area). You’ll have easy access to the airport and adjacent Scottsdale, several shopping malls, and bike lanes for the many cyclists who enjoy this corridor. Arcadia is also home to some of the Valley’s most popular restaurants, including The Vig, Postino, The Henry, Chelsea’s Kitchen, and La Grande Orange Grocery and Pizzeria. Because Arcadia is one of the most desirable areas in this part of Arizona, it also commands higher prices.

4. Roosevelt Row Arts District

For those on the artsy side looking for a scenic and walkable neighborhood, Roosevelt Row (or RoRo) is one of the ideal areas in Phoenix to consider. Located downtown, this area boasts a ton of murals and art galleries. This is the ideal place for young artists interested in sharing culture and cocktails. Plus, you’ll have front-row seats to cute cafes, small businesses, and the popular First Friday Art Walk each month.

5. Willo Historic District

Want more of a well-preserved historic suburban feel? Look no further than the Willo Historic District, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Phoenix, AZ. Located in the Central Phoenix area, this neighborhood offers a tremendous amount of culture and a tight-knit community. Many homes were built in the early 1920s and feature historic architectural styles from Tudors and Bungalows to Spanish Colonials and ranch-style homes—you’ll often find a guest home, or casita, in the backyard, too.

6. Paradise Valley

Aerial view from above a scenic golf course in Paradise Valley, Arizona looking to the northeast at Mummy Mountain and the McDowell Mountains in the distance

As the wealthiest municipality in Arizona, Paradise Valley is an aptly named Phoenix neighborhood—this paradise of luxury real estate is filled with pristine golf courses, high-end shopping, five-star resorts, and an impressive restaurant scene. It’s known as the “Jewel of the Desert” and is one of the best areas to live in Phoenix to raise a family because of its highly rated public school district. If you choose to live in Paradise Valley, you’ll enjoy being nestled in an oasis surrounded by three mountains: Camelback Mountain to the south, the Phoenix Mountain Preserve to the west, and McDowell Mountains to the east.

7. Biltmore

When deciding which Phoenix neighborhood is right for you, the Biltmore is always an enticing option, especially for retirees looking to live the good life with their dogs. At residences here, you’ll find mature shade trees and plenty of green grass alongside beautiful gardens and rows of citrus trees.

For entertainment, play a round of golf at one of two championship courses, meet friends for happy hour at the Arizona Biltmore, shop ’til you drop at the Biltmore Fashion Park, and dine at this luxury shopping center’s many great restaurants, including Pomo Pizza, True Food Kitchen, Zinburger, and Breakfast Club.

8. Desert Ridge

Located in North Phoenix, Desert Ridge is an upscale master-planned neighborhood that’s the perfect place to raise a family. It’s close to several nearby freeways, making it a convenient place to live even if you have to work in a different part of the Valley. As with many neighborhoods in Phoenix, AZ, Desert Ridge features plenty of shopping, great nightlife and dining options, and top-notch golf courses. There’s even a dine-in movie theatre, a sports complex, and a resort with a lazy river.

9. Ahwatukee Foothills

At the southernmost portion of Phoenix is an urban village called Ahwatukee Foothills that’s definitely worth serious consideration. It was rated No. 1 in the best neighborhoods to live in Phoenix and the No. 1 best place to raise a family in the Phoenix area by Niche.

Located at the base of South Mountain Park (the largest municipal park in the United States), this is an ideal community for anyone who loves hiking or maintaining an active lifestyle. As one of the best areas to live in Phoenix, family-friendly Ahwatukee is a great place to walk your dog, go on bike rides, and enjoy the mountain views.

10. Encanto

Encanto is another urban neighborhood in midtown that’s worth checking out. Located just north of downtown Phoenix, this neighborhood is a great place for young professionals who want to be close to the action. Within Encanto lies Steele Indian School Park, Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and a major hospital and medical center, which means everything you need is within a few-block radius. The nightlife in this area is also very LGBTQ+-friendly.

11. Old Town Scottsdale

Daytime scene of canal running through waterfront district of Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona USA with condo housing, retail and restaurants

While not technically in Phoenix, Old Town Scottsdale is a suburb right next door to Arcadia that offers its residents tons of amenities. As the vibrant heart of downtown Scottsdale, Arizona, Old Town has everything you need—including more than 100 restaurants, bars, and nightclubs and 45 permanent public art installations. There’s no better shopping in the Valley than at Scottsdale Fashion Square (with over 200 stores!), and if you’re looking for outdoor activities, you’ll love riding your bicycle along the canal and hiking nearby Camelback Mountain.

12. Central Scottsdale

Just north of Old Town Scottsdale is Central Scottsdale, which borders Paradise Valley as part of the Phoenix metro area. Along the popular Cactus and Shea Corridors, residents of this suburb have plenty of living options, from larger single-family homes to gated communities and luxury condominiums. This neighborhood in the greater Phoenix area is full of convenient amenities and numerous shopping centers filled with both chain and boutique shops and restaurants, nightlife, and family-friendly entertainment, such as the upscale Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons.

Looking to live in Phoenix, Arizona?

If you’re thinking about moving to this part of Arizona, Landing offers fully furnished apartments in Phoenix, all with flexible lease terms that make moving easy. Whether you’re looking to live in the heart of the action or in a suburb, Landing makes it easy to book an apartment in the right Phoenix neighborhood for you. Browse our available apartments in Phoenix, or contact us to learn more about what a Landing membership can do for you!

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Jill Schildhouse

Jill Schildhouse is an award-winning writer and editor who's been covering travel, health and wellness, and beauty, for more than 20 years. She regularly contributes to Travel + Leisure, Brides, TripSavvy, Insider, Reader's Digest and more. Jill is based in Phoenix, has traveled to 36 countries, and has 17k followers on Instagram.