Phoenix is a huge city with plenty of neighborhoods to choose from. So, which one is the best? That depends on what you are looking for in a vacation destination.
Some people prefer areas with a lot of nightlife and activity, while others want a more suburban feel that’s ideal for a family-friendly getaway. No matter what you are looking for, we have the ideal vacation rentals in the areas of town you’re most interested in.
In this blog post, we will discuss the best neighborhoods in Greater Phoenix and tell you why each one is worth checking out.
Scottsdale is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Arizona and is located just east of Phoenix. This vibrant city is home to plenty of nightlife, restaurants, shopping, and more. Downtown Scottsdale is also a great place to stay if you are looking to play golf or visit one of the many spas in the area.
Check out Camelback Mountain for some great hiking, or explore one of the six trailheads that lead into over 30,000 acres of the Sonoran Desert from the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
Grab your partner or family and take a walk through Old Town Scottsdale to explore the many shops and restaurants. Train enthusiasts will enjoy a day at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park while families can bring children to the Butterfly Wonderland for a fun and educational experience.
This bustling Phoenix area neighborhood is perfect for those who want to be close to the action.
Mesa is a large city located east of Phoenix and has plenty of history for those who are interested. Mesa is home to the Mesa Grande Ruins, which are the remains of an ancient pueblo that was once inhabited by the Hohokam people.
This city also has a number of art galleries, museums, and theaters for those who appreciate the arts. The Arizona Museum of Natural History provides prehistoric artifacts that will impress visitors of all ages.
The Mesa Arts Center boasts three unique theaters, a comprehensive museum, as well as a store that sells one-of-a-kind Mesa-made gifts.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Usery Mountain Regional Park offers miles of hiking and biking trails with breathtaking views. Mesa is also home to the spring training facility for the Chicago Cubs, so baseball fans will want to check it out!
Tempe, a neighboring city of Phoenix, is a cultural hub with a lot to offer. This college town is home to Arizona State University, which has one of the largest campuses in the United States. This gives it a fresh, lively, and progressive feel.
There are plenty of things to do in Tempe, especially if you enjoy being outdoors. Tempe Town Lake is perfect for fishing, kayaking, or just taking a stroll around the water. This lake is also adjacent to Tempe Beach Park, which has a playground, splash pads, and picnic areas.
Salt River is another great place to enjoy the outdoors and provides opportunities for tubing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
For those who enjoy the nightlife, downtown Tempe has several bars and clubs that stay open all night. Mill Avenue is a popular strip with many restaurants, bars, and shops to explore.
For those who enjoy hiking, Papago Park provides easy access to the iconic Hole-in-the-Rock formation as well as stunning views of the city.
4. Fountain Hills
This town is located in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains and is best known for its man-made fountain, which is one of the tallest in the world. The fountain shoots water up to 560 feet in the air and is best seen at night when it is illuminated by colorful lights. Although watching the fountain at night is something you need to see, there’s plenty more things to do in Fountain Hills.
Fountain Hills also has several parks and hiking trails for those who want to be immersed in the unique natural beauty that Arizona has to offer. You can hike the Dixie Mine Trail or the McDowell Mountains.
Those who are looking for a more adventurous nature experience can rent 4x4s and take a tour with the Desert Dog Hummer Adventures. This two-decade-old operation will take you through the desert to see the best rugged trails that Fountain Hills has to offer.
For a more relaxed experience, visit the Fountain Hills Great Fair of Arts and Crafts, which is held once a year for a weekend each February. There are more than 500 vendors that sell a variety of handmade goods. You can enjoy music, delicious food trucks, as well as a beer garden at this event as well.
The Fountain Hills Botanical Garden is a great stop for those who want to learn about over 30 types of southwest plants that can be found in the metro area.
Gilbert is another town located in the southern Phoenix metropolitan area. With plenty of small-town things to do, Gilbert is best known for its heritage district, which offers a taste of the Old West. The district includes a number of historic buildings that have been converted into shops and restaurants.
Those who are looking for a piece of Gilbert’s art scene can grab tickets to a show at the Hal Centre Theater. This theater has 360-degree seating and offers a variety of shows throughout the year, ranging from comedies to musicals.
The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is a great place to explore Gilbert’s natural side. This preserve is home to several species of birds, turtles, and fish. You can also hike or bike along the many trails that wind through the preserve.
For a look into Gilbert’s agricultural past, visit the Heritage Historic District Farmers Market. This market is held every Saturday morning and sells a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other goods.
Finally, no trip to Gilbert would be complete without visiting the Gilbert Historical Museum. This museum is housed in an old church and chronicles the town’s history through a variety of exhibits. There are also periodically scheduled gallery openings, shows, and live music held at this space.
6. Cave Creek
Cave Creek is a town located in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert. This town is best known for its western theme and cowboy culture. You can explore the many shops and restaurants that line Cave Creek’s main street, or take a trail ride through the desert with one of the many horseback riding companies.
Cave Creek is also home to a number of art galleries. The best time to visit is during the First Friday Art Walk, when all of the galleries stay open late and offer refreshments.
Another great thing to do is experience Cave Creek’s natural side. There are several hiking trails in the area. One of the most popular is the Black Mountain Trail, which offers stunning views of the desert.
The Cave Creek Museum is a great stop for those who want to learn about the town’s history. The museum is housed in an old stagecoach station and includes exhibits on the area’s Native American heritage.
The Arizona Gold Mining Experience is a 90-minute guided tour of an operational Stamp Mill, Ore Tram, and blacksmith demo. You will also get to experience an exploding mine simulation and gold panning.
This attraction is open October through May and is a great experience for those interested in the area’s mining history and have kiddos joining in on the fun!
Arcadia is best known for its quaint shops and restaurants. You can find everything from vintage clothing to locally made ice cream in Arcadia.
AZ Ice is the perfect place for couples on a date or families looking to beat the heat. It’s a great skating rink that’s perfect even if you’re new to skating.
Camelback Mountain Trails are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and amateur photographers alike. Although the trails may prove to be challenging for some, they offer stunning views that make the hike worth it. Remember to bring your sense of adventure and camera to capture all the beauty these trails have to offer.
The Shemer Art Center and Museum is a hidden gem in Arcadia. The museum offers rotating art exhibits as well as classes and workshops for those who want to get creative.
The Arcadia Farmers Market is the perfect place to find locally grown produce and goods. The market is open every Saturday from October through May.
This beautiful city is just southeast of Downtown Phoenix and has many parks as well as cultural attractions for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.
Fans of horseback riding of all ages will adore the Koli Equestrian Center, located in the heart of the Gila River Indian Reservation. With miles of amazing scenery and great hiking trails, it’s perfect for a family day trip.
The Railway Museum not only offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into how people used to travel by rail but is also a great learning experience for children! The museum itself is dedicated to all the different railroads that operated in the South Western United States.
The Desert Breeze Park is an ideal day out for the entire family since it caters to a wide range of ages. The youngsters may well enjoy everything there is to offer, from a train ride around the park that is appropriate for all ages to a lake full of abundant fish and ducks to feed.
The splash pad is perfect for those seeking a thrill, and the shaded areas are ideal for picnickers. The baseball fields, tennis courts, and bike trails will entertain everyone in your group.
The Chandler Center for the Arts is a popular attraction for culture lovers since it allows you to witness unexpected performances, shows, ballet, comedy, and more without having to travel to Phoenix proper.
9. Encanto Park
This Phoenix neighborhood is best known for its gorgeous views of the city and its many outdoor activities.
The Heard Museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of Native Americans. The museum offers many different exhibitions and educational programs throughout the year.
The Phoenix Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country and is perfect for a day trip with the family. The zoo has over 200 different species of animals, as well as a botanical garden and a petting zoo.
The Enchanted Island Amusement Park is a great place for kids of all ages to enjoy some fun in the sun. The park has rides, games, and attractions that are perfect for a hot day.
Encanto Park also has a golf course, tennis courts, and a swimming pool for those looking to stay active.
The best time to visit Encanto Park is during the spring or fall, when the weather is perfect for enjoying all the outdoor activities the park has to offer.
Glendale is located about 9 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix. It’s best known for its many antique stores and its close proximity to the Arizona Cardinals stadium.
The Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve is the perfect place to learn about the area’s history. After a short half-mile hike, you’ll reach the preserve itself and see a display of petroglyphs with an informative explanation and video.
1500 fascinating Native American petroglyphs make this an excellent destination for kids and adults who want to explore the history of the Hohokam people. Although they vanished without a trace centuries ago, their story is told through these carvings.
The employees are pleasant and knowledgeable, and they’re ready to answer any queries you may have.
Ever wonder about the name of that pretty cactus you spotted on your last nature hike? Xeriscape Botanical Gardens, next to Glendale Library, is teeming with flora waiting to be identified.
The name of each plant is clearly printed on it, so it’s a fun excursion for everyone since you’ll learn as you go. There’s also an audio tour that goes over everything in detail. For the kids, there are plenty of intricately feathered peacocks, cheeky peahens, and various other flying residents to keep them enthralled and engaged!
11. Downtown Phoenix
Downtown Phoenix, also known as the valley of the sun, is one of the best places to spend time in Arizona. It is centrally located and close to many different types of businesses, stores, restaurants, and schools.
Downtown Phoenix has a lot to offer its residents and vacationers alike. Helicopter rides, museums, art galleries, and live music are just some of the things that you can do while spending time in this vibrant city.
There are also many different types of food and drink available in Downtown Phoenix. You can find anything from Mexican to Italian cuisine. There are also a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options available. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a visit to one of Phoenix’s favorite coffee shops or unique breweries!
If you want to learn more about the world around us, the Arizona Science Center houses a popular planetarium as well as a Lab that regularly features different interactive science exhibits. The Challenger Space Center is also located in Downtown Phoenix and offers a variety of different space-related programs.
Downtown Phoenix is also home to the popular Orpheum Theater. This theater has been around since 1927 and still regularly features a variety of stage shows, movies, and concerts.
Heritage Square provides visitors in the Phoenix Metro Area with a glimpse into the past. There are plenty of houses and buildings that date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can also find a variety of shops and restaurants in this area.
The Phoenix Art Museum is one of the best in the country and houses a variety of different paintings, sculptures, and photographs. You can also find a number of different art galleries in Downtown Phoenix.
Chase Field is where you can go to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks play if you’re in town during baseball season. This stadium also regularly hosts concerts and other events at other times of the year.
This small town in the greater Phoenix area is clean, safe, and beautiful. It’s a great place to head to if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
There are plenty of things to do in Ahwatukee. You can go hiking or biking on one of the many trails, play a round of golf, or go shopping at one of the many stores in the area.
The food in Ahwatukee is also excellent. You can find anything from Mexican to Italian cuisine. There are also a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options available.
13. Roosevelt Row
This hip neighborhood of Phoenix is walkable and full of public art. It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for some good food and interesting shops.
There are plenty of things to do in Roosevelt Row. You can go shopping, grab a bite to eat or explore the colorful inventive buildings.
Street art is everywhere in Roosevelt Row. You can find murals, sculptures, and paintings on just about every block. If you’re a fan of art, this is the place for you.
14. Paradise Valley
If you’re looking for a luxurious experience in the Phoenix area, look no further than Paradise Valley. This town is home to many different resorts, spas, and golf courses.
A headlining producer of golf equipment, Ping, has its headquarters located in Paradise Valley. As a result, there’s a large selection of local golf courses, and many of them will host PGA events and tours on a regular basis.
There are many different types of shops and restaurants located in Paradise Valley. You can find anything from upscale boutiques to fast food chains.
If you’re looking for something to do outdoors, the Mohave Trail will provide you with a breathtaking view of seasonal wildflowers as well as plenty of small colorful reptiles and snakes.
Cholla Trailhead is a great location to go trekking if you’re in the area. You’ll get some nice views of Paradise Valley as you walk, and there’s a chance that you’ll see animals on the route. If you want to run it, do so; however, bring lots of water regardless of whether you do or not.
Art lovers will appreciate the Cosanti Originals gallery that was created by the Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri. The gallery features a wide variety of different metal and bronze sculptures.
Beer lovers must make time to swing by the O.H.S.O. Brewery. O.H.S.O stands for the Outrageous Homebrewer’s Social Outpost, a local bar that has a great selection of drinks and food.
Don’t be concerned if you have dietary restrictions; there are gluten-free and vegetarian options on the menu. Their happy hour is a popular time to meet locals and other visitors in the area. However, the space is open from breakfast to supper all days of the week to accommodate your plans.
The Bottom Line
Phoenix is a large city with plenty to offer in terms of activities and attractions. However, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you’re looking for the best neighborhoods in Phoenix, these are definitely worth checking out. There’s something for everyone in these areas, so you’re sure to find something that interests you.
Thanks for reading and happy traveling!