Where to Stay in Phoenix: 12 Best Places and Areas

by Flora
Here are 12 of the best places to stay in Phoenix, AZ.
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Curious about where to stay in Phoenix for a trip you’ll remember forever? Here are 12 of Phoenix’s best areas to spend the night.

Phoenix, the heart of Arizona, is a sun-drenched oasis that beckons travelers with its unique blend of urban sophistication and desert charm. As the fifth-largest city in the U.S., Phoenix offers a wide variety of areas to stay, from the pulsating energy of Downtown to the serene landscapes of Paradise Valley. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, the question remains: Where to stay in Phoenix?

Despite popular opinion, this sprawling metropolis is more than just a stopover. It’s a destination teeming with adventures waiting to be uncovered. Imagine waking up to the silhouette of Camelback Mountain, indulging in world-class cuisine in Scottsdale, or immersing yourself in the rich history of Mesa. And let’s not forget the vibrant nightlife, with world-class bars and nightclubs awaiting your arrival.

In this guide, we’ll delve deep into Phoenix’s best neighborhoods, offering insights into what makes each one unique. From luxury retreats to budget-friendly gems, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to your bags and let’s embark on a journey to find the coolest areas in Phoenix for an unforgettable desert escapade! Here are 12 of the best places to stay in Phoenix, AZ.

The best places to stay in Phoenix right now
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Where to Stay in Phoenix

Are you ready to discover where to stay in Phoenix? As mentioned above, there’s no shortage of incredible areas in Phoenix. From Downtown Phoenix’s vibrant streets to Paradise Valley’s serene landscapes, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to stay in Phoenix, AZ.

Are you looking for the youthful energy of Tempe? Or would you prefer the luxury and relaxation of Scottsdale? Whatever you’re planning, our guide is here to spotlight Phoenix’s most beautiful areas. Here are 12 of the best places to stay in Phoenix.

1. Downtown Phoenix

Ah, Downtown Phoenix! This lively hub is where the city’s energy truly comes alive. By day, it’s a hotspot for culture enthusiasts, with landmarks like the Phoenix Art Museum and the tranquil Japanese Friendship Garden offering a slice of the city’s diverse heritage. As the sun sets, Downtown Phoenix transforms into an entertainment mecca. Think rooftop bars with panoramic city views, eclectic eateries, and a plethora of events, from concerts to sporting showdowns at Chase Field. As such, it’s one of the best areas to stay in Phoenix for nightlife.

For those wondering where to go in Phoenix for a mix of arts, entertainment, and gastronomy, Downtown is the answer. Its central location makes it a strategic base, allowing easy access to other parts of the city. Plus, with a range of accommodation options, from chic boutique hotels to budget-friendly stays, there’s something for every traveler’s pocket.

At sunset, Downtown Phoenix metamorphoses into a vibrant entertainment hub.
At sunset, Downtown Phoenix metamorphoses into a vibrant entertainment hub.

One of the major advantages of staying in Downtown is its central location, which provides easy access to major attractions and a diverse range of dining options, from upscale restaurants to quirky cafes. The nightlife in Downtown is vibrant, with numerous bars, breweries, and live events to choose from. However, it’s worth noting that the area can get crowded, especially during major events, and might be a bit noisy for those seeking tranquility.

2. Scottsdale

Welcome to Scottsdale, where luxury meets the rugged beauty of the desert. Often dubbed as Phoenix’s more glamorous sibling, Scottsdale is the go-to destination for those seeking a touch of elegance in their travels. With its upscale restaurants, high-end boutiques, and vibrant nightlife, it’s no wonder many consider it one of the best areas in Phoenix to indulge and unwind.

Stroll through Old Town Scottsdale and you’ll be greeted with a delightful mix of the old and the new. Historic buildings house contemporary art galleries, while modern eateries offer a nod to the town’s rich past. If you’re looking for unique areas in Phoenix, AZ, Scottsdale strikes a perfect balance, offering both a luxurious urban experience and a gateway to nature’s wonders, like the nearby McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Frequently referred to as the more sophisticated counterpart of Phoenix, Scottsdale is the preferred destination.
Frequently referred to as the more sophisticated counterpart of Phoenix, Scottsdale is the preferred destination.

The allure of Scottsdale isn’t just in its chic urban centers. Venture a little further, and you’ll find serene desert landscapes, world-class golf courses, and spa resorts in Scottsdale that promise relaxation and rejuvenation. It’s this blend of luxury and nature that makes Scottsdale a top pick for both relaxation seekers and adventure enthusiasts.

3. Tempe

Tempe is a burst of youthful energy set against the backdrop of Arizona’s picturesque landscapes. Home to the ASU Sun Devils, this area is a lively hub that perfectly captures the college-town vibe. From the bustling streets of Mill Avenue filled with cafes, boutiques, and music venues to the sprawling Arizona State University campus, there’s always something happening here.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Phoenix for the first time, Tempe offers a unique experience. It’s a place where academia meets recreation. The shimmering waters of Tempe Town Lake provide a refreshing contrast to the urban setting, offering opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and picnics by the shore. It’s one of Phoenix’s best neighborhoods where you can attend a lecture in the morning, shop locally in the afternoon, and enjoy a lakeside concert by evening. What more can you want?

For first-time visitors wondering where to stay in Phoenix, Tempe offers a distinctive experience.
For first-time visitors wondering where to stay in Phoenix, Tempe offers a distinctive experience.

Aside from its vibrant streets and scenic lake, Tempe is also a gateway to some of Phoenix’s best outdoor adventures. Hiking trails, mountain biking paths, and scenic drives are just a stone’s throw away. With so much to do and see, it’s a favorite spot to stay in Phoenix for both scholars and nature enthusiasts.

4. Mesa

Step into Mesa and you’re stepping into a world rich in ancient history and vibrant modernity. This town, coined by many as one of the coolest places to stay in Phoenix, offers a captivating blend of past and present. The stories of the Hohokam people, who once called this place home, echo in the petroglyphs and ancient canals. Today, Mesa buzzes with arts, culture, and entertainment.

For history lovers and those curious about what to do in Phoenix, AZ, Mesa is a treasure waiting to be explored. The Arizona Museum of Natural History unveils the region’s fascinating past, from prehistoric dinosaurs to native cultures. Meanwhile, the Mesa Arts Center stands as a beacon of contemporary creativity, hosting performances, art exhibitions, and community events.

Mesa is a treasure trove of exploration for history enthusiasts and anyone seeking activities in Phoenix
Mesa is a treasure trove of exploration for history enthusiasts and anyone seeking activities in Phoenix

Moreover, Mesa offers plentiful opportunities for relaxation and recreation. The town’s proximity to the Superstition Mountains means hiking, horseback riding, and desert tours are easily accessible. For those who prefer a more laid-back experience, Mesa’s charming downtown offers boutique shopping, local dining, and seasonal festivals that celebrate the town’s unique heritage. Take it from me – it’s one of Phoenix’s coolest areas to stay!

5. Glendale

Glendale is a delightful surprise for those venturing into Phoenix’s surroundings. Often overshadowed by its bigger neighbors, this city is a hidden gem in Arizona that offers a diverse range of experiences. From thrilling sports events to antique shopping streets, Glendale showcases Phoenix’s multifaceted charm.

For sports enthusiasts wondering where to stay in Phoenix off the beaten path, Glendale is a top pick. The city is a hub for major sporting events, with State Farm Stadium hosting football games that draw crowds from all over the country. But it’s not just about touchdowns and goals; Glendale’s antique district is a paradise for collectors and those in search of unique finds.

Glendale highlights Phoenix's diverse charm, from exciting sports events to vintage shopping streets.
Glendale highlights Phoenix’s diverse charm, from exciting sports events to vintage shopping streets.

Adding to its appeal, Glendale’s location makes it a strategic base for exploring other attractions. It’s close to nature reserves, hiking trails, and offers a more relaxed vibe compared to the bustling city center. With this in mind, if you’re seeking the best neighborhood to stay in Phoenix that offers both excitement and tranquility, Glendale strikes a harmonious balance.

6. Paradise Valley

Located between Phoenix and Scottsdale lies Paradise Valley, an enclave of luxury and serenity. Known for its upscale resorts and stunning homes, this town is a favorite among celebrities and those seeking a secluded getaway. Despite popular opinion, there’s more to Paradise Valley than just its opulent reputation.

Wondering about the best places to stay in Phoenix for couples? Paradise Valley offers a romantic backdrop with its panoramic mountain views, especially the iconic Camelback Mountain. The town’s proximity to both Phoenix and Scottsdale means you’re never too far from urban attractions, yet distant enough to enjoy starry nights without the city’s light pollution.

Nestled between Phoenix and Scottsdale, Paradise Valley embodies luxury and tranquility.
Nestled between Phoenix and Scottsdale, Paradise Valley embodies luxury and tranquility.

As one of the coolest places in Phoenix to stay, Paradise Valley boasts some of the region’s top golf courses. And for those looking to connect with nature, the Echo Canyon Recreation Area provides hiking trails that promise breathtaking vistas at every turn.

While the town exudes luxury, there are hidden spots where you can enjoy a quiet picnic or a serene walk without the crowds. The Cosanti Originals, a gallery and studio space, offers a unique architectural experience, showcasing the innovative designs of Paolo Soleri.

However, while Paradise Valley is a haven of luxury, it might not be the best fit for budget travelers. Accommodations here lean towards the pricier side, and dining options, while exquisite, can be a tad expensive.

7. Chandler

Chandler is a delightful blend of suburban comfort and adventurous spirit. This city, located to the southeast of Phoenix, is one of the best places to stay for families and those seeking a more relaxed pace without straying too far from the action.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Phoenix on a budget, Chandler offers a range of accommodations that won’t break the bank. The city is dotted with parks, making it perfect for morning jogs, picnics, or letting the kids run wild. The Desert Breeze Park, for instance, not only offers vast green spaces but also a miniature train ride that’s a hit with the little ones.

Chandler harmoniously combines suburban comfort with an adventurous spirit.
Chandler harmoniously combines suburban comfort with an adventurous spirit.

Keen on exploring Phoenix’s best areas? Chandler’s location is strategic. It’s close to major highways, ensuring easy access to other parts of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The city itself boasts attractions like the Arizona Railway Museum and the Chandler Center for the Arts, catering to both history lovers and art enthusiasts.

Chandler isn’t just about relaxation and culture, though, For the more adventurous, the nearby San Tan Mountain Regional Park offers hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty, ensuring everyone from novices to seasoned hikers finds a path that challenges and delights.

Truly, there are plenty of attractions that every traveler will enjoy in Chandler. It’s no wonder that many locals and visitors mention Chandler as one of the best areas to stay in Phoenix, AZ.

8. Peoria

Peoria, positioned to the northwest of Phoenix, beckons with its tranquil lakes and vast desert landscapes. This city presents a harmonious blend of outdoor adventures and cultural experiences. This makes it a standout choice for varied interests.

Travelers keen on waterfront activities will find Peoria an excellent choice. Lake Pleasant Regional Park is a highlight here, offering opportunities for boating, fishing, and stargazing. The shimmering waters set against the desert backdrop create a picturesque setting for evening outings.

Travelers who enjoy waterfront activities will discover Peoria to be an excellent destination.
Travelers who enjoy waterfront activities will discover Peoria to be an excellent destination.

For those exploring where to stay in Phoenix, Peoria’s allure lies in its close proximity to nature reserves and parks. The Sunrise Mountain Preserve and Calderwood Butte promise hiking trails and wildlife encounters that captivate both young and old.

Diving into Peoria’s cultural scene, the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts showcases a range of performances, catering to diverse tastes. And when hunger strikes, the city’s dining options impress, with eateries serving everything from local delights to global favorites.

With its mix of nature and culture, Peoria stands as a compelling answer to the question of where to stay in Phoenix off the beaten path.

9. Goodyear

Goodyear, situated to the west of Phoenix, seamlessly blends scenic beauty with urban amenities. Expansive parks, mountain views, and modern conveniences define this city, making it appealing to nature lovers and urbanites alike.

Estrella Mountain Regional Park, a standout attraction in Goodyear, provides hiking trails, picnic spots, and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to explore and unwind in this natural setting.

Goodyear fosters a vibrant community ambiance through events, festivals, and markets, uniting both locals and visitors.
Goodyear fosters a vibrant community ambiance through events, festivals, and markets, uniting both locals and visitors.

Goodyear also boasts a vibrant community atmosphere with events, festivals, and markets that bring locals and visitors together. The Goodyear Ballpark, home to spring training games, becomes a hub of excitement during the baseball season.

With its strategic location, Goodyear ensures easy access to Phoenix’s main attractions. Meanwhile, local offerings, from golf courses to shopping centers, promise a diverse range of activities. If you’re exploring unique areas to stay in Phoenix, Goodyear offers a balanced and enriching experience.

10. Surprise

Surprise, located to the northwest of Phoenix, lives up to its name by offering a range of delightful experiences for visitors. From recreational activities to serene spots for relaxation, this city has something for everyone.

Best places to stay in Phoenix for couples often include destinations that offer both adventure and tranquility. Surprise fits the bill perfectly. The Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex attracts sports enthusiasts, while the city’s community parks, such as Surprise Community Park, provide serene settings for picnics and strolls.

Surprise lives up to its name by providing a variety of delightful experiences for its visitors.
Surprise lives up to its name by providing a variety of delightful experiences for its visitors.

If you’re keen on exploring Phoenix’s best hotels that offer a blend of local charm and modern amenities, Surprise has a range of accommodations to choose from. The city’s dining scene is equally impressive, with restaurants serving a mix of local and international cuisines.

Surprise also serves as a gateway to some of Arizona’s natural wonders. White Tank Mountain Regional Park, located nearby, promises hiking trails and camping spots, which makes it a favorite among nature lovers.

11. Gilbert

Wondering where to stay in Phoenix that offers both historical charm and contemporary conveniences? Look no further than Gilbert. Located to the southeast of Phoenix, Gilbert is a town that beautifully merges its agricultural roots with modern-day living. It’s one of the most beautiful spots to visit in Phoenix for travelers, hands down.

Once known as the “Hay Shipping Capital of the World,” Gilbert has transformed into a bustling urban center while preserving its heritage. The Gilbert Historical Museum offers a glimpse into the town’s past, showcasing artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of its evolution.

Gilbert has evolved into a thriving urban hub while honoring its heritage.
Gilbert has evolved into a thriving urban hub while honoring its heritage.

The town’s vibrant downtown, often referred to as the Heritage District, is a hub of activity. Here, you’ll find a range of dining options, from farm-to-table restaurants to trendy cafes. The Hale Centre Theatre, located in this district, hosts a variety of performances, making it a cultural hotspot in Gilbert.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch provides a refreshing escape. With its ponds, trails, and observatory, it’s a favorite spot for both locals and visitors.

Boasting a blend of relaxation and outdoor activities, Gilbert stands as one of the most underrated places to stay in Phoenix, AZ. Don’t miss out!

12. Avondale

Avondale sparkles as a gem in the Phoenix metropolitan area, offering a delightful mix of thrilling activities and serene spots. With its scenic landscapes and vibrant community, this city captures the essence of Arizona’s charm.

When it comes to the best areas to stay in Phoenix for families, Avondale is a strong contender. The city is home to the Phoenix International Raceway, where adrenaline junkies can catch exhilarating motorsport events. But if high-speed races aren’t your thing, fear not! Avondale’s Friendship Park is a peaceful oasis, perfect for picnics, playground fun, or simply soaking in the Arizona sun.

Avondale's Friendship Park is a serene oasis, ideal for picnics, playtime, or basking in the Arizona sunshine.
Avondale’s Friendship Park is a serene oasis, ideal for picnics, playtime, or basking in the Arizona sunshine

Dive into Avondale’s dining scene, and you’ll discover a world of flavors. From local Southwestern dishes to global cuisines, there are incredible restaurants waiting at every corner. And if you’re on the hunt for unique places to stay in Phoenix, Avondale’s range of accommodations, from cozy bed and breakfasts to modern hotels, ensures a comfortable stay.

Overall, Avondale offers a harmonious blend of excitement and relaxation. It’s a must-visit destination in the Phoenix area.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Where to Stay in Phoenix

Searching for more information to help you decide where to stay in Phoenix? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Phoenix’s most beautiful places.

Is it better to stay in Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Both Scottsdale and Phoenix have their unique charms. Phoenix is the bustling capital of Arizona, offering a mix of cultural attractions, dining options, and vibrant nightlife. It’s ideal for travelers seeking a lively urban experience. On the other hand, Scottsdale is often considered one of the best areas in Phoenix for luxury and relaxation. It boasts upscale resorts, art galleries, and a more laid-back vibe. Your choice depends on your travel preferences: if you’re looking for a dynamic city experience, Phoenix is the way to go; but if you’re after a more tranquil, luxurious stay, Scottsdale is a top pick.

What is the nicest part of Phoenix?

Phoenix is a city of diverse neighborhoods, each offering its unique charm. Here’s a quick listicle of some of the nicest parts in Phoenix to consider:

1.     Downtown Phoenix: A hub for arts, culture, and entertainment. Perfect for those wondering where to go in Phoenix for a mix of activities.

2.     Paradise Valley: Known for its luxury homes and resorts, it’s one of the best places to stay in Phoenix for couples seeking a romantic getaway.

3.     Tempe: A lively blend of college vibes and lakeside serenity. Great for first-time visitors pondering where to stay in Phoenix for the first time.

4.     Gilbert: A blend of heritage and modern living, offering a range of family-friendly attractions.

Is Phoenix a walkable city?

While Phoenix has several walkable neighborhoods, especially in areas like Downtown and the Roosevelt Row Arts District, it’s primarily a car-centric city. The vastness of Phoenix means that some attractions and neighborhoods might be spread out. However, the city is making efforts to improve walkability, and there are plenty of pedestrian-friendly spots to explore.

Discover these 12 prime neighborhoods to consider for your stay in Phoenix.
Discover these 12 prime neighborhoods to consider for your stay in Phoenix.

What is the best month to visit Phoenix?

The best months to visit Phoenix are between November and April when the weather is mild and pleasant. This period, often referred to as the city’s “snowbird season,” sees temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to low 80s, making it perfect for outdoor activities.

Is Phoenix a good travel destination?

Absolutely! Phoenix offers a rich blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and modern amenities. From hiking in the nearby mountain ranges to exploring the city’s museums, art galleries, and dining scene, there’s something for every traveler. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, Phoenix promises a memorable experience.

What do I need to know before going to Phoenix?

Before heading to Phoenix, it’s essential to be prepared for its desert climate. Summers can be scorching, with temperatures often exceeding 100°F, so stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. Winters are mild, but evenings can get chilly, so pack accordingly. Additionally, if you’re keen on exploring Phoenix’s best neighborhoods or attractions outside the city, consider renting a car for convenience.

What area is best to stay in Arizona?

The best area to stay in Arizona depends on your preferences, interests, and the purpose of your visit. Arizona offers a diverse range of environments. Here are some top areas to consider:

  1. Phoenix: As the state capital and largest city, Phoenix offers a mix of modern amenities, cultural attractions, shopping, dining, and sports venues. The city is also a good base for exploring other parts of the state.
  2. Scottsdale: Known for its upscale resorts, golf courses, and vibrant arts scene, Scottsdale is a popular destination for luxury travelers and those interested in art and culture.
  3. Sedona: Famous for its stunning red rock formations and spiritual vortexes, Sedona is a haven for nature lovers, hikers, and those seeking spiritual rejuvenation.
  4. Tucson: This city offers a blend of Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American cultures. It’s also home to the University of Arizona and is known for its desert landscapes, historic sites, and the annual Gem and Mineral Show.
  5. Flagstaff: Located near the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff is a gateway to the Grand Canyon and offers a cooler climate due to its elevation. It’s great for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to explore Northern Arizona.
  6. Prescott: This historic town offers a charming downtown area, Victorian homes, and is known for its events like the World’s Oldest Rodeo.
  7. Page: This is the base for visiting the famous Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. It’s ideal for photographers and nature enthusiasts.
  8. Jerome: Once a booming copper mining town, Jerome is now a bustling arts community that offers stunning views of the Verde Valley.
  9. Tempe: Home to Arizona State University, Tempe has a youthful vibe with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
  10. Mesa and Chandler: These are suburban cities in the Phoenix metropolitan area known for their family-friendly environments, shopping centers, and parks.

Where to Stay in Phoenix: Concluding Thoughts

As we’ve journeyed through the heart of Arizona, it’s evident that Phoenix is a city of contrasts and endless possibilities. From the bustling streets of Downtown Phoenix to the tranquil landscapes of Paradise Valley, there’s a corner of this desert metropolis to captivate every traveler.

Whether you’re drawn to the youthful energy of Tempe, the historical charm of Gilbert, or the adventurous spirit of Avondale, Phoenix promises an experience that’s as diverse as its landscape. And let’s not forget the luxury of Scottsdale, the family-friendly vibes of Chandler, or the serene beauty of Peoria. Each area, with its unique character, adds a distinct flavor to the Phoenix experience.

The beauty of Phoenix lies in its variety. There’s a place for the luxury traveler, the budget backpacker, the family on vacation, and the solo explorer. No matter your taste or budget, Phoenix has something to offer.

The best places to stay in Phoenix for all types of travelers
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