Phoenix City Guide: Neighborhoods & Things to Do
Phoenix is a desert paradise. The mountains, blue sky and colorful wildflowers are breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Due to its warm climate year-round, Phoenix hosts over 16 million visitors each year. And with plenty of outdoor hiking and over 200 golf courses, visitors and residents alike are sure to get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Sports lovers appreciate the area, too, as it is one of the few cities to have a major sports franchise in every professional sports league: hockey, baseball, football and basketball. Phoenix is also a temporary home for 15 Major League Baseball teams each February for their Spring Training program. If you think Phoenix sounds like an enchanting, fun place to live, be sure to use our Phoenix city guide to find an apartment, condo, townhouse or home to rent in the greater Phoenix area.
Phoenix city highlights
Phoenix is a city full of natural beauty, exciting events and inspiring attractions. It is these features – as well as the warm weather – that induces people to move to the city. Following are a few of the most popular places to visit – places you’ll be able to see as often as you want once you make the move to Phoenix.
- Phoenix Sonoran Preserve: Located in North Phoenix, this Preserve is made up of 9600 acres with three trailhead locations. The desert park is ideal for hiking and mountain biking with over 36 miles of trails through the beautiful, undeveloped desert terrain. The views atop the multiple summits are breathtaking and totally worth the effort to hike up them.
- South Mountain Park and Preserve: Another popular preserve is located on the other end of the city in South Phoenix. It is the largest municipal park in the country and one of the largest urban parks in the world. It covers over 16,000 acres and has nearly 60 miles of trails for hiking, biking and walking. Nearby Mystery Castle is a fun diversion. Boyce Luther Gully built the castle for his “little princess,” though his daughter wasn’t able to move into it until she was an adult. She shared her home with the public by providing guided tours which you can access to this day.
- Taliesin West: Frank Lloyd Wright built his winter home on a mesa in Phoenix. It is now the headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, as well as an architecture school. This structure is a sight to behold with low, tilting planes. He also used materials that could co-exist with the natural elements around the home, such as desert sand and rocks. Tours of the home are available and provide you with some insight into the mind of the famed architect.
- Phoenix Art Museum: The museum has been around since 1959 and showcases the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, Henri Rousseau, Picasso and more. There are collections from around the world. The Latin American art collection has works by Frida Kahlo, for examples. Temporary exhibits dazzle visitors. You won’t want to miss them!
- Orpheum Theater: Originally built for vaudeville acts in 1929, the beautiful Spanish Baroque-style theater is a beautiful location for Broadway shows, comedy acts, live music, ballet and more. One of the unique aspects of this theater is the mural which looks like the sky is shifting as if you’re watching the play or concert in an outdoor courtyard.
Phoenix city guide to the best neighborhoods for renters
Whether you’re moving for a chance of scenery, love or a career opportunity, Phoenix has a lot to offer – including some amazing neighborhoods. Use our Phoenix city guide to help you find an apartment in a neighborhood that feels like home.
If you want to be in the center of it all (and who can blame you?), you should check our Phoenix city guide for apartments in Downtown Phoenix. While it’s mainly a business and entertainment district, there are some beautiful apartment, condo and townhouse complexes in the area. When you find your dream apartment, you’ll be close to bars, pubs, cafes, pizzerias and other restaurants that are clustered around the campus of Arizona State University. And if you’re a baseball fan, you’ll feel like you’re in heaven because Downtown is the home of Chase Field where the Arizona Diamondbacks host their games.
Residents of West Phoenix love that it’s a quiet, well-kept neighborhood that’s family- and pet-friendly. It’s one of the more convenient neighborhoods, within close proximity to freeways and less than a 15-minute commute to Downtown Phoenix. There are also plenty of amenities that add to the convenience of the neighborhood like great restaurants, clothing and grocery stores and pet care services. Residents in the area love to read, too, as is seen by the fact that two bookstores in the area made the best local businesses list.
This neighborhood is one of the top neighborhoods in Phoenix. With nearly 160,000 residents, it provides an urban-suburban feel. And yet, there’s plenty of natural beauty all around since this area of Phoenix stretches from the Salt River to the Phoenix Mountains, while being nestled between Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak. There is an abundance of scenic trails for hiking, jogging and walking. In the central part of this neighborhood are office towers, upscale residential areas and high-scale shopping plazas. Most residents rent their homes since there are several sophisticated apartment complexes throughout the neighborhood.
Located near Camelback is Arcadia, a vibrant community with a growing shopping and dining district. There are several businesses such as antique shops, upscale boutiques, grills, brewpubs and more. Like Camelback, Arcadia has some amazing scenic surroundings that are perfect for lovers of the great outdoors and those who love to get their workouts in outside. Take your significant other or friends to Camelback Mountain summit or the Arizona Canal Trail. Both are great for hiking, biking, walking and jogging workouts or just a great way to clear your head and de-stress after a long day at work.
Deer Valley is another beautiful residential community that’s well-kept and is ideal for people who love being outdoors. There are plenty of opportunities for mountain biking and hiking. Plus, there’s even a waterpark, which is fun for the entire family. That’s saying a lot for how densely populated this area is – nearly 200,000 people call it home. It’s a safe neighborhood with great schools and plenty of shopping and dining experiences. Most residents are families and young professionals.
If you’re ready to plant your roots and watch your family grow, you’ll enjoy this lovely residential suburb that’s approximately 25 minutes away from Downtown Phoenix. In addition to the high-quality schools, the area has an abundance of adult-friendly diversions as well. These include several golf courses and indoor shopping plazas, as well as sports bars and pubs. Restaurants run the gamut from Southwestern fare and pizza to contemporary American cuisine. Of course, like many neighborhoods in Phoenix, there are plenty of things to do outdoors as well, including riding your bike through the Scottsdale Greenbelt trail.
Though this neighborhood is made up of nearly 150,000 residents, Alhambra doesn’t feel like a dense urban neighborhood. It has a suburban, residential neighborhood feel with ranch-style homes and upmarket housing. However, there are plenty of urban amenities like big-box retailers, movie theaters, fast-food restaurants and coffee shops. You can take your dog to the Washington Park dog park or head there to play a game of tennis with your partner or best friend. Grand Canyon University also calls Alhambra home and there are several sporting events and concerts there that residents and visitors alike enjoy.
This neighborhood has so much to offer. It’s safe and quiet with above-average schools. There are fun activities for everyone in the family – from the mini-golf and go-karts at Castles ‘n Coaster’s amusement park for kids (and those who are young at heart) to an upscale golf club for the parents. You’ll find casual restaurants, pubs and sports bars throughout the neighborhood. And let’s not forget the outdoor activities. It wouldn’t truly be Phoenix without them! Head over to Lookout Mountain Preserve, North Mountain Park or Phoenix Mountain Preserve, all of which have stunning views and amazing hiking trails.