Where to Stay in Phoenix: 8 Best Areas

The best areas to stay in Phoenix, Arizona are the neighborhoods of Downtown,Tempe,Scottsdale,Biltmore District, Camelback Mountain, Paradise Valley, Encanto Village. In this guide, I will help you pick out where to stay in Phoenix for tourists and safe neighborhoods.

First-timers who prioritize taking in all the sights and attractions will want to stay in the downtown area. Budget travelers would do best to look at Tempe for the best choices of low-cost accommodation just a short way away from the city center. 

If lively nightlife is your priority then you will want to look at the Downtown and Scottsdale areas first. Both areas are known for their high density of fashionable bars and pubs. Meanwhile, families will appreciate the laidback suburbs around Paradise Valley and Camelback Mountain. 

Don’t forget to take the climate into account when planning your trip. Phoenix stays relatively warm year-round, with the summer months between May to September particularly blistering. 

If you plan to visit Phoenix to take advantage of its plentiful mountains and hiking trails, you may want to consider the cooler spring and autumn months. It’s still warm, but much more suited to strenuous outdoor exercise.

The state capital of Arizona, Phoenix has tons to offer. Spread over several mountains, the Valley of the Sun boasts a particularly unique urban landscape, combining natural wonders with modern developments. 

By day you can browse the numerous museums and attractions, or explore the endless hiking trails through and around the city. By night you can revel in world-class entertainment and hospitality venues, indulging in Phoenix’s flourishing arts scene and taking advantage of its electric nightlife.

Where to Stay in Phoenix: 8 Best Areas to Stay in Phoenix

1. Downtown, where to stay in Phoenix for first-time tourists

First-time visitors to Phoenix will likely be drawn to the Downtown area. The most central district in the city, Downtown is packed with things to do, from major attractions to entertainment and hospitality. 

If you are on a shorter trip and want to get a good feel for the city in a limited space of time, Downtown delivers. 

As the city’s business district, the area is a hub of chic bars and restaurants catering to the businesspeople who work in the gleaming skyscrapers. You will find plenty to keep you entertained here, no matter the time of day.

Art lovers will definitely want to head to Roosevelt Row. The center of the city’s arts culture, Roosevelt Row is packed with galleries and artists’ studios. 

The streets here are also a popular canvas for Phoenix’s street artists, with vibrant murals covering many of the buildings.

If you are in town for the first Friday of the month then you can take advantage of the First Friday Art Walk. 

Each month there are tours leading around Roosevelt Row, taking visitors past the various galleries and street works. The galleries and studios in the area stay open later than usual to give people more time to appreciate their works. 

As you would expect from a big city like Phoenix, the city center is chock full of fascinating museums. 

The Arizona State Capitol Museum allows you to take a look around the old Town Hall. Its various rooms have been restored, so you can experience how they would have looked when they were in use back in the 1800s.

The capitol museum is surrounded by current government offices, many of which overlook the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza. The pretty urban park is home to various statues, monuments, and memorials to notable people and events. 

On the opposite side of the downtown district is the Arizona Science Centre. With four levels of fun exhibits and activities, the Science Centre offers enriching entertainment for all ages. 

With a theatre, planetarium, a range of exhibits, and a packed calendar of events, there is always something worth checking out. 

The science centre is right across from the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, making the perfect combo for a full family day out. 

Designed to provide educational fun via a range of interactive exhibits, the Children’s Museum provides some relief for younger children who may not have appreciated the formalities of the science museum.

Although it is right at the centre of the city, there are still plenty of opportunities to get out in the fresh air and away from the urban crush. The Japanese Friendship Garden is a particularly lovely place to spend an afternoon.

A collaborative project between Phoenix and its Japanese sister city of Himeji, the Friendship Garden is a celebration of Japanese landscaping and design spread over 3.5 acres. 

There are ponds and waterfalls, various gardens, and courtyards decorated with sculptures and traditional Japanese ornaments. There is even a teahouse to relax in when you get tired of wandering the park. 

As far as places to stay, you will have a brilliant range of hotels to choose from in Downtown Phoenix. There are tons of chic, contemporary options designed to cater to both the tourists and professionals that flock to the bustling city center. 

It is far from the cheapest area of the city to stay though. There are a few more affordable options to choose from if you have a smaller budget but are set on staying in Downtown. However, it is more suited to those who can afford a higher price bracket. 

Stay In Downtown If you are visiting Phoenix for the first time; you want to stay somewhere super central; you love the art – both in galleries and the street; you have a more generous budget for accommodation;

FIND BEST HOTELS IN DOWNTOWN

See more: Where to Stay in Tucson, Arizona

2. Tempe, where to stay in Phoenix on budget

Tempe is a large and lively suburb to the east of Phoenix. Once a separate city in its own right, Tempe has been integrated into the larger Phoenix Metropolitan Area, yet stills retains its own distinct atmosphere and vibrancy.

A little ways outside of Phoenix city centre, Tempe is typically a much more affordable place to stay. You can find a great selection of midrange and lower priced accommodation, whilst staying just a couple of miles from Downtown. 

Whilst the sights and attractions of Phoenix city centre are just a short journey away, there is also plenty to see and do in Tempe itself. In fact, one of Phoenix’s top attractions is just to the north of Tempe. 

The Desert Botanical Garden is a stunning collection of thousands of exotic plant species. The gardens cover over 140 acres, with hiking trails winding through the themed sections, stunning art installations to admire, and an ever changing array of seasonal exhibits and events. 

If the gardens themselves weren’t worth the visit, the area is also home to Phoenix Zoo. With over a thousand animals, in addition to a petting zoo, it is a charming attraction for the whole family. 

Further south in Tempe you can find the Sea Life Arizona Aquarium. With its shark tunnel, interactive exhibits, and an array of aquatic animal and plant species, it is well worth a visit for any animal lover. 

Tempe also boasts its fair share of interesting museums. The Arizona State University campus is located in the centre of town and boasts several museums and galleries on its grounds. 

The Gallery Of Scientific Exploration has a particular focus on the methods and progress of space exploration and its discoveries. Meanwhile, the ASU Art Museum exhibits a wide range of art pieces across various mediums, as well as demonstrations of artistic techniques and skills. 

The Tempe History Museum provides insights into the history and development of the local area. The museum hosts frequent talks and events, so it is well worth checking out if you want to learn more about Tempe’s culture and heritage. 

One museum that is definitely worth a visit is the Hall of Flame. The Hall of Flame museum displays firefighting equipment from across the last three centuries, including various old fire engines. The museum also commemorates all of the city’s firefighters who have died in action over the years. 

With Phoenix experiencing blisteringly high temperatures throughout most of the year, you may well want somewhere where you can cool off. There are several waterparks in and around Tempe that provide the perfect opportunity to escape the heat and have some fun. 

Alternatively, Tempe Town Lake offers a more natural option. Spend some time relaxing on the beach or rent a kayak or paddleboard and head out onto the water. 

Tempe Marketplace sits along the south bank of the lake. The open air shopping mall allows you to indulge in some retail therapy with stunning waterside views. 

Frequent live music events and plentiful bars and restaurants make this a hugely popular place for both locals and visitors to spend their evenings and weekends. 

Stay In Tempe If you are trying to stick to a tighter budget; you don’t mind not being right in the city centre; you want to stay in a more laidback suburban neighborhood;

FIND BEST HOTELS IN TEMPE

3. Scottsdale, where to stay in Phoenix for nightlife

Scottsdale is another small city that has been amalgamated into Phoenix. 

A few miles to the east of Downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale is not ideal if sightseeing in the city centre is your priority. Returning visitors, who have exhausted the sights and attractions of the main town, will find plenty more to keep them entertained in Scottsdale though. 

A lot of the activity centers are in the south of the district, around Scottsdale Old Town. The historic district is home to some of the best bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels in the neighborhood.

 If staying surrounded by a lively nightlife scene is a priority, then you may well enjoy Old Town Scottsdale.

As the historic heart of the neighborhood, the Old Town boasts numerous period buildings amongst its more modern structures. Many of the streets here have retained the atmosphere of years past, so it is a wonderful place to visit if you want to experience the city’s heritage. 

If you really want to take a trip back into the past though, you might want to consider taking a daytrip out to Goldfields Ghost Town. About ten miles east of Scottsdale, Goldfield is well worth the effort of venturing out into the foothills.

There is more than enough to keep you occupied for a whole day. Horse riding, museums, gift shops, and even a zipline all justify the journey out of the city limits. 

Visitors can tour the old gold mines, try their luck panning for gold themselves, or test their aim at the shooting range. The old buildings have been restored, so you can enjoy a drink at the historic saloon when you get tired of exploring the town. 

Aside from its history and hospitality, Scottsdale is also known as a centre of the arts. There are numerous galleries and studios to enjoy in the area, along with the annual Scottsdale Arts Festival.

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in particular is well worth a visit for any appreciator of modern art and sculpture. Meanwhile, the nearby Western Spirit art museum has a particular focus on works which celebrate western America. 

Scottsdale is also home to a different form of creative heritage in Taliesin West. The former home of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright now acts as the campus for an architecture school, but visitors are welcome to look around via guided tours. 

Like most areas of Phoenix, the landscape of Scottsdale offers plenty of trails and mountains to trek. Scottsdale extends out into the surrounding desert, providing an easy escape from the city. 

Toms Thumb is a particularly notable rock formation that draws hikers to explore the mountains overlooking Scottsdale. 

Despite being further out from the main Phoenix city centre, Scottsdale is a fancy enough area that rates for accommodation are still pretty high. You can find some lovely hotels and apartments in the neighbourhood but they come with high-end price tags. 

Stay In Scottsdale If You do not mind being further out from the city centre; It is not your first time visiting Phoenix ; You want to get to grips with the area’s history; You have a love of art; You have a more generous budget;

FIND BEST HOTELS IN SCOTTSDALE

4. Biltmore District, where to stay in Phoenix in an upmarket area

The little neighborhood of Biltmore is an upmarket suburb a couple of miles northwest of Phoenix city center. A hub of fashionable shopping, dining, and partying, Biltmore is where the rich and famous spend their time in Phoenix. 

The neighborhood maintains an air of sophistication unlike anywhere else in Phoenix.

The area is known for hosting well-known faces. The Arizona Biltmore Hotel, in particular, has welcomed the likes of Marilyn Monroe, amongst various other Hollywood superstars. Even if you don’t plan to stay at the hotel, it is still a legendary location well worth paying a visit. 

The Arizona Biltmore Hotel was once owned by William Wrigley Junior, the same Wrigley who founded the chewing gum empire. In fact, the mansion that was once his home is also nearby. 

Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the Wrigley Mansion. Alternatively, book a table to dine in the onsite restaurant for a truly memorable occasion. 

Aside from being packed with chic bars, restaurants, and exclusive clubs, Biltmore is also the place to go for a luxury shopping experience. 

If you love splashing out on designer brands and high-end labels, you will want to head to Biltmore Fashion Park. 

Biltmore Plaza shopping centre offers a bit more of a casual experience. 

Just down the road from Biltmore Fashion park, you can still indulge in some retail therapy, without completely breaking the bank. 

Being so upmarket, Biltmore is not the place to look for budget accommodation. Whilst it is far enough from the city centre that prices here are not typically as extortionate as you might expect, you will still be looking at the higher end of midrange to start.

That said, if you do have the budget for it, there are some lovely options to choose from here. Whether you are looking for classic, Hollywood glamour or a chicer, boutique feel, Biltmore always delivers on style. 

Stay In The Biltmore District If You want to stay in one of the coolest, most fashionable neighborhoods in Phoenix; You enjoy staying and playing in places favored by celebrities; You enjoy designer shopping sprees; You have a more generous budget;

FIND BEST HOTELS IN BILTMORE

5. Camelback Mountain, where to stay in Phoenix for family

Camelback Mountain is a prominent mountain range just to the west of Scottsdale. The Camelback area is a large district that encompasses everything around the mountain’s southern foothills. 

Sandwiched between Downtown Phoenix and popular districts like Tempe and Biltmore, Camelback provides a fantastic central location. 

Whilst being surrounded by popular tourist districts and their respective attractions is a definite benefit to staying in the Camelback Mountain area, there are also plenty of great attractions within the neighborhood itself. 

The Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park allows you to wander amongst the remains of buildings from a settlement that predates the founding of modern-day Phoenix. 

You can view various artefacts that have been unearthed from the site. A little gift shop also offers cultural souvenirs for you to take home. 

Arizona Falls is an interesting feature. An old hydroelectric plant has been renovated and converted into an outdoor art installation of waterfalls and sculptures formed from old machinery. Gleaming walkways wind over the canals, connecting the various levels and sections of the Falls. 

The Arizona Military Museum is a bit more of your typical attraction. The museum displays a wide variety of military equipment and paraphernalia. 

From uniforms and protective gear to military vehicles and artillery, anyone with even a slight fascination with the military will love the Arizona Military Museum. 

The mountain itself is a popular draw for hikers and adventurers. Various trails lead up, around, and over the mountain. 

The central location of this particular mountain means that you can enjoy some particularly stunning views from the summit. Early birds should try heading up the mountain before dawn, to enjoy the view of the sunrise from the peak.

With the open space of the mountain combined with the convenient central location, Camelback Mountain is the perfect area for families. There is tons for visitors of all ages to do within the district itself, and you will have no trouble getting around all the major attractions throughout the city. 

There is a broad range of cuisines available from the many restaurants around the Camelback area. No matter what everyone is craving on any given day of your trip, you are sure to be able to find somewhere to satisfy even fussy eaters. 

The southern end of the Camelback district stretches down to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. If staying close to the airport is a priority, then this is the best place to look. 

There is even an art gallery within the airport itself, so you will still have something to see, even if you don’t have time to head into the city. 

The airport is conveniently located close to downtown and major attractions in the surrounding neighbourhoods. You won’t have to sacrifice an opportunity to see the sights in order to keep close to transport links. 

Stay In Camelback Mountain If you want an area that is right in the middle of all the popular locations and attractions; you are traveling with family; you want to stay close to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport;

FIND BEST HOTELS IN CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN

6. Paradise Valley, where to stay in Phoenix for relaxation

Paradise Valley is a large suburb directly north of Camelback Mountain. The mountain provides an additional degree of separation from the city center that allows Paradise Valley to maintain a much more laidback, relaxed atmosphere. 

The area certainly leans into its title of Paradise, being one of the most luxurious neighborhoods in Phoenix. Home to the wealthiest residents in the city, Paradise Valley boasts only the best shopping and hospitality you could ask for. 

If you love fine dining, the restaurants and cafes in Paradise Valley will not disappoint. The nightlife here is the epitome of chic. 

If you want to stay somewhere where you can experience life like the celebrities do, then Paradise Valley is perfect for you. 

Paradise Valley leads into similarly affluent Biltmore to the west. Between the two you will have no shortage of high end shopping opportunities. 

Whether you prefer well known, designer brands or more exclusive boutiques, the luxury shopping spree of your dreams awaits you here. 

Alternatively, Paradise Valley is well known for its plethora of golf courses. If golfing is your preferred form of recreation, then you will have plenty of venues to choose from. 

Nestled between the Phoenix Mountains Preserve and Camelback Mountain, Paradise Valley is also hugely convenient for hikers

Along with the smaller mountains within the neighbourhood, there are seemingly endless trails to explore around here. 

Heading out on a challenging hike is even more enjoyable when you know you can retreat to a luxurious spa at the end of the day. 

You won’t be surprised to know that such a fancy area carries a high price tag as far as accommodation. Paradise Valley is for those with the budget to indulge in luxury resorts and exclusive hotels. 

Stay in Paradise Valley If you want to stay in one of the fanciest neighborhoods in Phoenix; you want a quieter, more laidback suburb; you are planning a luxury vacation; you have a very generous budget;

FIND BEST HOTELS IN PARADISE VALLEY

7. Encanto Village, central location, LGBTQ friendly nightlife

Immediately north of the Downtown area is the district of Encanto Village. Super central but not quite as pricey as Downtown Phoenix, Encanto Village is ideal for those who want to stay right at the heart of the city, without breaking the bank. 

Staying in Encanto Village not only keeps you within walking distance of the city centre, but also of Biltmore to the north and the Camelback Mountain district to the east. 

You will have no trouble taking advantage of all the attractions each of these districts has to offer, in addition to those of Encanto Village itself.

Its convenient location along with the numerous, leafy urban parks scattered across the district make Encanto Village another popular choice for families. Noticeably less crowded than the true centre of the city, you won’t have to struggle so much shepherding kids through throngs of tourists. 

There are also plenty of family friendly attractions within easy reach. The Enchanted Island Amusement Park in particular offers a fantastic reprieve for kids who are tired of being dragged around museums and galleries. 

That’s not to say that those museums and galleries aren’t interesting. The Heard Museum is dedicated to America’s native civilisations. 

The numerous artefacts on display provide fascinating insights into the varied cultures and peoples, particularly those from the local area. 

Alternatively, the Phoenix Art Museum houses a varied collection of artworks across a broad range of mediums and styles. Meanwhile, the Lisa Sette Gallery exhibits more avant-garde pieces, ideal for those who adore cutting edge, contemporary works.

Encanto Village is another one of the top choices in Phoenix for nightlife. There are tons of bars and clubs for you to choose from to keep yourself entertained throughout the evenings. 

This is also where you will find most of the city’s LGBTQ venues

Stay In Encanto Village If Staying as central as possible is a priority; It is your first time visiting Phoenix; You are visiting with family; You want to stay close to downtown but with more reasonable prices for accommodation; LGBTQ friendly nightlife is important to you;

FIND BEST HOTELS IN ENCANTO VILLAGE

8. North Mountain, where to stay in Phoenix for outdoor and adventurous activities

Several miles to the north of downtown Phoenix, the North Mountain area is a lively yet laidback suburban neighborhood. With its large lake and eponymous mountain, North Mountain is particularly well known for its sporting events and adventurous activities. 

Being more of a residential suburb, North Mountain boasts more of a community atmosphere. Many of the local bars host frequent live music performances by local and visiting artists. It’s a great opportunity to get to know the locals and also indulge in the local arts scene. 

If you are visiting Phoenix for the first time and want to spend your stay taking in all the major sights and attractions, North Mountain is not ideal. It’s a little too far out to make heading into the city centre every day convenient.

However, if you are more interested in hitting the hiking trails than browsing museums, then North Mountain is perfect. Of course, North Mountain itself offers plenty of trails to explore, but the Phoenix Mountains Preserve is also just to the east, providing even more routes to take on.

Families can take advantage of the quieter streets and more residential vibe. North Mountain is known to be one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, so it’s perfect if you are traveling with kids.

There are some great family-friendly attractions in the area. For example, the Castles N’ Coasters theme park provides fun and thrills for the whole family, although primarily aimed at younger kids. 

If you are trying to stick to a tight budget, you will love North Mountain. The area is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Phoenix. 

There are tons of fantastic accommodation options to choose from, at much more affordable rates than in the city center. 

Stay In North Mountain If You don’t mind being quite removed from the city centre; It is not your first time visiting phoenix; You enjoy outdoor sports and adventurous activities; You are trying to keep accommodation costs as low as possible;

FIND BEST HOTELS IN NORTH MOUNTAIN

Phoenix is a lovely city that is definitely worth taking any opportunity to visit. Perfect for both your typical city break, as well as ideal for those who prefer to spend their time adventuring outdoors, Phoenix is a destination that suits pretty much anyone. 

Now that we have gone over all the best neighborhoods in this colorful city, you should be feeling much more comfortable planning your upcoming trip and seeing all the best sights. 

Once you have decided on the perfect location to spend your time in Phoenix, you are just a few steps away from an unforgettable vacation.

Leave a Comment