Set in the heart of the beautiful Sonoran desert, Phoenix offers an extensive collection of neighborhoods and areas for travelers of every personality. Neighborhoods like Scottsdale are great for hitting up top local nightlight spots, while areas like Camelback Mountain offer plenty of great family-friendly attractions.
Here you’ll find a collection of fun areas to stay in Phoenix, no matter what type of vacation you’re planning. We’ll let you give you a breakdown of some of the top attractions in each area and point you in the direction of the best accommodation options for different budgets.
Our Top Recommendations for Where to Stay in Phoenix
If you’re on the hunt for the best accommodations in Phoenix, we’ll help you cut right to the chase! Here’s a quick list of some of our favorite places to stay from a variety of different areas across Phoenix.
Places to Choose from Within the Phoenix Area
Phoenix is home to an eclectic mix of different districts, each with a personality of its own. It also neighbors some of Arizona’s other famous cities, such as Scottsdale and Glendale. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the areas we’ll explore today and what types of travelers tend to attract.
- Best area in Phoenix for first-timers/tourists – Downtown Phoenix
- Best area in Phoenix for luxury travelers – Paradise Valley
- Best area in Phoenix for safety – North Mountain
- Best area in Phoenix for families – Camelback Mountain
- Best area in Phoenix for food and fashion – The Biltmore area
- Best area in Phoenix for art and culture – Encanto
- Best area near Phoenix for nightlife – Scottsdale
- Best area near Phoenix for history– Old Town Scottsdale
- Best area near Phoenix for budget travelers – Tempe
- Best area near Phoenix for boutique shoppers and sports lovers – Glendale
Where to Stay in Phoenix, Arizona
1. Downtown Phoenix – Best for First-Timers
If you’re a first-time visitor, then Downtown Phoenix is a great place to experience everything the city offers. Both the cultural and business center of the city, the downtown area offers a great blend of history, sports, culture, and entertainment.
Adorned with over 100 colorful murals, Downtown Phoenix is brimming with creativity and culture. The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest art museum in the southwest United States and features a huge range of exhibits featuring over 20,000 objects.
Art lovers will also feel right at home on Roosevelt Row, home to an eclectic mixture of galleries, boutique shops, cafes, and bars. Roosevelt Row is also where you’ll find some of the best street art in the city, as well as the monthly First Friday Art Walk event.
Head down to Heritage Square to explore a striking collection of historical buildings, including the Rosson House Museum. Nearby, in the Heritage & Science Park, you’ll find the Arizona Science Center, which features fascinating hands-on exhibits and events.
Make sure you also check out what’s going on at the Talking Stick Resort Arena, home to some of the city’s greatest sports teams, including the Phoenix Suns. Then, of course, there’s CityScape, an epic entertainment complex located right in the city center, that features shopping, entertainment, dining, and more.
With a convenient location near the Sky Harbor International Airport and a great blend of attractions, Downtown Phoenix is a solid bet for any type of traveler.
Highlights of the Downtown Phoenix area include:
- Phoenix Art Museum
- Roosevelt Row Arts District
- Rosson House Museum
- Arizona Science Center
- Phoenix Convention Center
- Talking Stick Resort Arena and Chase Field
It should come as no surprise that Downtown Phoenix is pretty much the heart of the action. Consequently, there is a fine range of accommodations in all shapes, sizes, tastes, and budget ranges for you to choose from.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Chandler, Arizona
2. Paradise Valley – Best for Luxury Travelers
Wondering where to stay in Phoenix if you’re looking to treat yourself to a luxurious Phoenix getaway? You can’t go wrong with Paradise Valley, an upscale neighborhood tucked between Camelback Mountain and the McDowell Mountains.
You’ll be able to take your pick of high-end resorts, such as Sanctuary Camelback mountain, which has been named the #1 resort in all of Arizona. Relax in the award-winning spa, enjoy a dip in the swimming pool, or even play a game of fetch with the family dog at this luxurious pet-friendly hotel.
The resort is also home to Jade Bar, a local hot spot that’s got you covered when it comes to upscale cuisine and creative cocktails. If you’re more in the mood for craft beer and burgers, then look no further than O.H.S.O. Brewery and Distillery, where you can hang out with your favorite brew on the dog-friendly patio.
If you’re looking for more great spa experiences, then check out the Joya Spa at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. With designs inspired by the Moroccan desert and Spanish Andalusia, Joya is as breathtaking as it is relaxing.
Golfers will be the first to acknowledge that the neighborhood lives up to its name, as Paradise Valley is packed with incredible golf courses. Courses like Mountain Shadows offer guests a perfect venue for a scenic day on the greens.
You’ll find some of the most beautiful views of Paradise Valley along the Mohave Trail, a favorite spot of local hikers and biking enthusiasts. Mummy Mountain is another great spot and offers over 300 miles of breathtaking scenery and hiking trails. And if walking isn’t your style, you can always take in these marvelous vistas from the air in a hot air balloon tour!
If you’re on the hunt for a spot to stay in Phoenix that offers luxury resorts, plenty of great hiking trails, golf, and scenery, then Paradise Valley is the area for you. It also offers plenty of pet-friendly fun for your furriest family members.
Some of the highlights of the Paradise Valley area include:
- Amazing golf courses
- Jade Bar
- Joya Spa
- O.H.S.O. Brewery and Distillery
- Mohave Spa
- Mummy Mountain
- Hot air balloon tours
Keep in mind that Paradise Valley is a very wealthy area, so terms like “budget” and “mid-range” may be a little more subjective here when it comes to finding a place to stay. That said, here are some great lodging choices worth looking into.
3. North Mountain – Best for Safety
If you’re worried about staying safe in Phoenix, you might choose an area like North Mountain, a nice suburban neighborhood that’s a favorite among young professionals and families. With easy access to Phoenix Mountains Preserve, North Mountain is also a great choice for nature lovers.
Head to the North Mountain Visitor Center for information on the many biking, horseback riding, and hiking trails in the area. The center also offers information on the fascinating history of the park, which features not only a unique desert ecosystem, but also old mines, campgrounds, and even ancient Hohokam petroglyphs.
Popular North Mountain park trails include the Shaw Butte Trailhead and Maricopa Trailhead. Unwind after a long day in the mountains with a great dinner and drinks selection at local favorite North Mountain Brewing.
Family-friendly attractions in the area include Castles N’ Coasters, a fun little local theme park. There you’ll find rides, attractions, mini golf courses, arcade games, and plenty of great food.
If you’re into antiques, then be sure to visit the Brass Armadillo Antique Mall, a huge collection of over 600 antique dealers. From Depression-era glass and porcelain to Revolutionary War memorabilia, this place has plenty of treasures to explore.
Rest assured that North Mountain is not without its luxuries. Spend a relaxing day at Tocaloma Spa & Salon or hit the golf course at the world-class Lookout Mountain Golf Club.
Some of the best highlights of the North Mountain area include:
- Phoenix Mountain Preserve
- North Mountain Park Trails
- North Mountain Brewery
- Castles N’ Coasters
- Brass Armadillo Antique Mall
- Tocaloma Spa & Salon
- Lookout Mountain Golf Club
When it comes to where to say in North Mountain, you’ll find a nice array of affordable options. Even our luxury option is reasonably priced, considering the number of amenities it offers.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Mesa, Arizona
4. Camelback Mountain – Best for Family-Friendly Attractions
Camelback Mountain is not necessarily a separate city or suburb but more of an area that’s sprung up around one of the city’s most popular hiking destinations. Standing at 2,704 feet, the peak is situated near Scottsdale and Paradise Valley in the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area.
The two main hiking trails, Echo Canyon and Cholla can be challenging, but also offer killer views of the Phoenix valley. While in the area, be sure to stop by Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s retired summer home which is now a UNESCO World Heritage.
The area is also located close to plenty of other great museums and art galleries, including the Shemar Art Center, which is at the corner of Camelback Road and 48th street. While it may not be as huge as the Phoenix Art Museum, the mission-style center features wonderful art exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and more.
Other popular area attractions include the OdySea Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the state of Arizona. Holding over 2 million total gallons of water, the 200,000-square feet aquarium features remarkably designed exhibits and interactive experiences.
Kids and adults alike will also find plenty of love at the Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park. Built around an actual archaeological site, the park offers visitors the chance to learn about the history of the Hohokam people and view the ruins of an authentic ancestral village.
The Camelback Mountain area is also conveniently located near the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, which offers over 300 unique experiences for kids 10 and under. If you’re up for a bit of a drive, head north to the Musical Instrument Museum, the largest museum of its kind and home to over 15,000 musical instruments.
Some of the highlights of the Camelback Mountain area include:
- Camelback Mountain Park
- Echo Canyon and Cholla Trails
- Taliesin West
- Shemer Art Center
- OdySea Aquarium
- Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park
- Children’s Museum of Phoenix
- Musical Instrument Museum
The Camelback area has some very nice choices in terms of accommodations too. In addition to hotels, it’s worth checking out Vrbo Vacation Rentals, which offers everything from cabins to full-family homes for every budget.
5. Biltmore Area – Where to Stay in Phoenix for Great Food and Fashion
The Biltmore Area is one of the most upscale residential neighborhoods in Phoenix. It’s also home to renowned luxury hotels like the Arizona Biltmore, which first opened its doors in 1929.
If you’re looking for an upscale hotel with spacious rooms and plenty of amenities, then the Arizona Biltmore is a great place to stay in Phoenix. Choose from a selection of guest rooms, cottages, or villas and enjoy everything from free wifi and fitness center access to seven outdoor swimming pool options.
No matter where you choose to stay in Phoenix, it’s worth checking out Biltmore’s historical tours and epic golf courses. Another of the area’s crowning jewels is the Biltmore Fashion Park, a large open-air luxury shopping center with lush gardens and plenty of high-end retailers.
Other notable area attractions include the Carnival of Illusion, a vaudeville-style parlor magic show. Then there’s the Wrigley Mansion, a stunning mansion built by chewing gum tycoon William Wrigley Jr. in 1929.
Not only does the mansion now offer tours, but it’s also home to a number of high-end dining venues such as Geordie’s Restaurant and Lounge and Jamie’s Wine Bar. One of the area’s other most popular restaurants is the Parlor Pizzeria, Arizona’s #1 pizza restaurant and home to outstanding gourmet Italian cuisine.
From the Aftermath Bar & Kitchen to The Gladly, the Biltmore area is a foodie’s paradise. As you can see, the Biltmore area is where to stay in Phoenix if you’re looking for the perfect place to treat yourself to a luxurious vacation.
Top Biltmore area highlights include:
- Arizona Biltmore Hotel
- Biltmore historical tour
- Biltmore golf courses
- Biltmore fashion park
- Carnival of Illusion
- Wrigley Mansion
- Parlor Pizzaria
- High-end restaurants like Aftermath and The Gladly
While the Arizona Biltmore Hotel is a great high-end option, there are plenty of others in the area for more affordable rates. Here are some of our top picks:
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Jerome, Arizona
6. Encanto – Best for Art and Culture
The Encanto neighborhood is a section of Downtown Phoenix that’s composed of the midtown and uptown districts. Part of what makes Encanto a great place to stay in Phoenix is that it’s possible to book a hotel that’s within walking distance of several great attractions.
Encanto is home to the Heard Museum, which strives to be the world’s preeminent organization for Native American art. The museum offers a series of incredible art galleries, as well as a shop where visitors can purchase authentic native art and jewelry.
Families will enjoy easy access to the Enchanted Island Amusement Park, where you’ll find rides, games, and attractions for both kids and adults. You can also rent paddle boats to explore the waters of the adjacent Encanto Park.
When it comes to regional culture, be sure to check out the live performances at Encanto’s Phoenix Theatre. If it’s music you’re after, then head over to the Rhythm Room, a blues club that offers live music every night.
Encanto is also located near the Japanese Friendship Garden, a sprawling oasis that’s right in the middle of the city. Explore a gorgeous landscape of exotic plants, waterfalls, and lakes, or take in a special event like the garden’s Art & Sake workshop. It is also home to art galleries like the Lisa Sette Gallery and top-rated spa and wellness centers like Prana Manana.
This is also a great area to stay in Phoenix to enjoy easy light rail service to the international airport or other Phoenix neighborhoods. Located near the Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix Convention Center, and other major attractions, Encanto is a great place to stay in Phoenix if you want to be centrally located.
Encanto’s top attractions include:
- Heard Museum
- Enchanted Island Amusement Park
- Phoenix Theater
- Rhythm Room
- Japanese Friendship Garden
- Art galleries
- Spa and wellness centers
You might be surprised by how many hotels you’ll find in the area that offer affordable prices, along with amenities like a business center, free wifi, and a swimming pool. Here are several to check out for a variety of budgets:
Where to Stay Near Phoenix
While the following areas are separate towns in their own right, they are all considered part of the greater Phoenix metro area, which sprawls across over 500 square miles of the beautiful Sonoran Desert. If your heart isn’t necessarily set on staying in the Phoenix downtown area, you’ll find plenty of great options in these nearby cities.
7. Scottsdale – Best for Nightlife
Located about 10 miles east of the Phoenix city center, Scottsdale is a separate city but is largely considered a Phoenix suburb – mostly by people who live in Phoenix! With a population of around 200,000, Scottsdale’s walkable neighborhoods are home to plenty of great restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
You’ll find several great nightlife venues at the W Hotel Scottsdale, home to Shade Lounge, Cottontail Cafe & Lounge, and The Living Room. While the W is somewhere between mid-range and pricey, its spacious and comfortable rooms, free wifi, modern amenities, and on-site restaurant and bars make it a great place to say while visiting Phoenix.
Another top area nightlife destination is Mavrix, a massive entertainment complex featuring craft beers, custom cocktails, and a chef-curated dining menu. But the real draws are Mavrix’s bowling lanes, arcade games, laser tag arena, pool tables, and dozens of TVs where you can watch the latest sporting events.
If you’re in the mood for shopping, look no further than Scottsdale Fashion Square. There you’ll find a collection of top stores, including top high-end and designer fashion brands. Scottsdale is also a great place to find some quality eats. Spend some time exploring the city’s restaurants, or sign yourself up for a local food tour, like this one on the Waterfront.
Scottsdale is also home to plenty of great cultural attractions, like the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), which is dedicated to contemporary art and architectural design. Butterfly Wonderland is also a cool experience that features an artificial rainforest and the largest butterfly conservatory in the country.
Meet an array of beautiful wildlife at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, a rescue and rehabilitation center for bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and more. Or enjoy a game of golf at the Continental Golf Club, which features an 18-hole course with beautiful scenery.
Some of the highlights of the Scottsdale area include:
- Multiple Nightlife Venues at the W Hotel
- Mavrix Entertainment Complex
- Scottsdale Fashion Square
- Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
- Butterfly Wonderland
- Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center
- Continental Golf Club
Located about 10 miles from Downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale offers a nice collection of Phoenix hotels not far from the city center. Here are some of our top choices for Scottsdale accommodations:
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Cave Creek, Arizona
8. Old Town Scottsdale – Best for History
As you may have guessed from the tell-tale name, Old Town Scottsdale is the historic downtown section of Scottsdale. While technically a part of the same town, it’s a fascinating place to explore, and a cool enough area to deserve a shout-out of its own.
The best hotels in Old Town Scottsdale are within walking distance of the many shops, restaurants, and bars that line the downtown area. Old Town also has a great self-guided public art walk tour, which will introduce you to the many amazing, Insta-worthy sculptures throughout the neighborhood. Walking isn’t for everyone, and if you are one such person, try a Segway tour instead!
There’s also a separate official self-guided tour that focuses on some of the highlights of the area, including Old Town pubs like the historic Rusty Spur Saloon. The cowboy-style saloon set up shop over 70 years ago in an old 1920s bank and still uses the historic vault to store liquor.
It’s also definitely worth stopping into the Old Town Tavern, a bar that hosts live music every night of the week. Other top dining spots include trendy gastropubs like Culinary Dropout and Citizen Public House, both of which have excellent dining menus.
Old Town is also home to the Museum of the West, a Smithsonian affiliate that’s dedicated to preserving the art and history of the western United States. Throughout Old Town, you’ll also find plenty of local shops and art galleries like Sewell’s Indian Arts, which offers a huge selection of gorgeous Native American art and jewelry.
Feel free to get out and explore the rest of Scottsdale on a guided tour or aboard the city’s trolley system. The trolleys provide free shuttle service to all the best shops, restaurants, and attractions in the area.
Old Town is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a Phoenix downtown alternative. You’ll enjoy a convenient central location with plenty of great attractions.
Oldtown Scottsdale highlights include:
- Self-guided public art walk
- Self-guided Old Town historical tour
- Rusty Spur Saloon
- Old Town Tavern
- Gastropubs like Culinary Dropout and Citizen Public House
- Museum of the West
- Shops like Sewell’s Indian Arts
- Free Trolley System!
When it comes to accommodations, Old Town Scottsdale features a collection of almost 20 hotels of its own – so obviously we had to include it! Here are some of our top choices if you want to stay in the heart of the area:
9. Tempe – Best for Budget Travelers
If you’re looking for a place to stay in the Phoenix area that won’t break the bank, then look into the Tempe area. Home to Arizona State University, Tempe has a fun college-town feel and plenty of affordable hotels.
While you’re in the neighborhood, you might even check out a college football game at Sun Devil Football Stadium or the impressive collection of contemporary art at the ASU art museum. There are also plenty of other great attractions in the area, like the Sea Life Arizona Aquarium in the Arizona Mills Mall.
Nature lovers will find plenty to do at Tempe Town Lake, which holds the impressive title of Arizona’s second most visited attraction. Enjoy a nice jog, bike ride, or day out on the lake with your choice of boat rentals.
More outdoor fun awaits at Papago Park, where you’ll find a collection of scenic hiking trails, including local favorite, Hole-in-the-Rock Trail. The trail leads up to a gorgeous rock chamber which is believed to have been used by the ancient Hohokam civilization to track the movements of the sun.
Papago Park is also home to a golf course, baseball fields, and attractions like the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden. The Phoenix Zoo & Arizona Center for Nature Conservation is one of the largest non-profit zoos in the U.S. and currently has over 3,000 animals in their care, including a variety of threatened or endangered species.
Papago Park’s Desert Botanical garden is a sprawling garden that will shatter any preconceptions about desert gardening possibilities. Featuring trees, flowers, and cactus species from all over the world, this unique botanical garden is quite possibly one of the most beautiful places in Phoenix.
Highlights of the Tempe area include:
- Arizona State University
- Sun Devil Football Stadium
- Sea Life Arizona Aquarium
- Tempe Town Lake
- Papago park
- Hole-in-the-Rock Trail
- Papago Golf Course
- The Phoenix Zoo
- Desert Botanical Garden
Looking for a great place to stay in Tempe? As mentioned, you won’t find many luxury resorts in this neighborhood, but Tempe does offer plenty of great accommodation options for reasonable prices, including:
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Prescott, Arizona
10. Glendale – Best for Antique Shoppers and Sports Fans
If you’re down for an antiquing adventure while visiting Phoenix, then consider staying in neighboring Glendale. Located about 20 minutes from the city center, this west valley neighborhood has a great little region called Historic Downtown Glendale.
Downtown Glendale is actually a combination of two different neighborhoods, Caitlin Court and Old Towne, where you’ll find charming gaslit brick sidewalks and plenty of historic bungalows converted into boutique shops. If you are into antiquing, just be aware that this area may prove to be addicting, as it’s stocked full of antiques and collectibles stores.
The greater Glendale area is also home to plenty of cool little museums, including the Arizona Historical Society, the Arizona Doll & Toy Museum, and the Glendale Police Museum. But Glendale also has plenty to offer in the way of modern shopping destinations, such as the Arrowhead Towne Center and the Tanger Outlets.
Another huge area draw is the Westgate Entertainment District, a massive complex that offers everything from shopping and restaurants to concerts and sporting events. It’s also where you’ll find the Desert Diamond Arena, home of the Arizona Cardinals and a popular concert venue.
Head to Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium & Safari Park where you can meet over 600 species of exotic animals such as white tigers, monkeys, penguins, and more. Sports fans should be sure to check out the local TopGolf (we freaking love TopGolf), a huge combination sports bar and entertainment complex.
TopGolf offers high-tech golf games and climate-controlled hitting bays for hours of fun. If you’re not necessarily set on staying in central Phoenix, then Glendale is a great area to consider for your next vacation.
Highlights of the Glendale area include:
- Historic Downtown Glendale
- Dozens of antique shops
- Lots of small, quirky museums
- Westgate Entertainment District
- Desert Diamond Arena
- Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium & Safari Park
- Top Golf Sports Entertainment Complex
If you’re looking for a great place to stay near Phoenix, then Glendale has plenty of comfortable rooms to choose from at a variety of affordable hotels. Here are some of our top choices for different budgets:
Is it worth it to travel to Phoenix?
Yes, it definitely is! Phoenix offers a great blend of cultural attractions, outdoor adventure, and entertainment options. No matter what your interests or budget, it’s possible to enjoy a Phoenix vacation that’s sure to offer fun for the entire family.
What are the top-rated Phoenix attractions?
If you’re pressed for time, then it may be necessary to pick from a few of Phoenix’s top attractions. While your choice will ultimately depend on your interests, some of the most highly rated options include the Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix Art Museum, and South Mountain Park and Preserve.
What are the best free things to do in Phoenix?
No matter where you stay in Phoenix, it’s possible to enjoy an incredibly reasonable vacation. Phoenix is home to plenty of great, free parks like South Mountain Park, the Echo Canyon Recreation Area, and Papago Park. Phoenix Art Museum offers free admission on Wednesdays, while the Arizona Capitol Museum in Phoenix is always free.
What is the best way to get around Phoenix?
If you plan to do much exploring, then you’re probably best off renting a car. There is also a metro bus system and a light rail that offers budget travel to certain locations around the city.
What’s the best time of year to book a stay in Phoenix?
Summer in Phoenix lasts from late May to Mid-September, which can be a great time for hanging out by the swimming pool, as average highs are around 98°F. But if you prefer milder weather, you may want to wait until November – February, when daily highs average around 74°F.
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