Easily one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city, Arcadia tops most lists of where to live in Phoenix. It is not only beautiful, there is much for residents to see and do without leaving the area.
- Historic Interest: The oldest luxury resort in the city is right in Arcadia. The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa is 39 acres filled with gardens, shops, a spa, tennis courts and three pools, including private misted cabanas and even a water slide.
- Nature/parks: Amazing views of Camelback Mountain, which looks like a kneeling camel, are possible from almost anywhere in Arcadia. The nearby recreation area is home to some excellent hiking available in the metropolitan area, including Bobby’s Rock Trail, especially for kids.
- Food: You don’t have to venture far to find excellent food. Start with Buck and Rider, Chelsea’s Kitchen (where kids eat free from 3 to 6 pm on weekdays), Postino Arcadia or O.H.S.O. Eatery and NanoBrewery, then go on from there. Or maybe try La Grande Orange, a hybrid much loved by locals that combines an organic market, a pizzeria, a coffee bar and a café complete with patio. You will also find LGO’s delicious entrees and pizza at the Arcadia Room indoor-outdoor restaurant.
- Shopping: High-end retail selections are found right on Arcadia’s border within the open-air Biltmore Fashion Park, anchored by Cartier and Saks. Value seekers will relish Town and Country outdoor mall with its chic secondhand retailers like My Sister’s Attic and My Sister’s Closet, while veteran antiquers will glory in the 18,000 square feet of Antique Gatherings.
- Family friendliness: For the last 17 years, Arcadia has been hosting its own Fourth of July parade. Kids take the lead on their trikes, bikes or little red wagons and the adults follow in classic cars or honored groups of the local American Legion Color Guard and Military Order of the Purple Heart chapters.
Glendale is the shining star of West Phoenix neighborhoods, and another crowd favorite for a place to live. That’s not at all surprising considering everything it has to offer, in addition to being convenient to downtown for work or play.
- Entertainment/sports/events: If you are looking for things to do around Phoenix, Glendale offers a wealth of choices. Sports fans in particular will rejoice, since notable sporting events abound. This locale has even hosted two Super Bowls. University of Phoenix Stadium houses the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, while the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes play next door at Jobing.com arena.
Two stadiums in the area also host spring training for professional baseball teams. The Milwaukee Brewers play at Maryvale Baseball Park. Both the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers train at Camelback Ranch.
Gila River Arena hosts the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, but also provides much more in the way of entertainment. One of the best concert venues in North America, Gila River Arena has welcomed many of the world’s top musicians, from the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen to Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. Other performances include Cirque du Soleil, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the Harlem Globetrotters and more.
The Westgate City Center, on Glendale’s western border, is a bustling mix of restaurants, shops and a movie theatre. Everyone should find something to please among the abundant restaurants, bars and clubs. The Shout House, for instance, is a piano bar offering shows each weekend.
- Nature/parks: Sahuaro Ranch Park presents 13 buildings on 17 acres, including a barnyard and a house that was built in the late 1800s. A tour of that Main House highlights the history of its pioneer residents. A variety of animals are housed on the property, including peacocks and chickens.
Thunderbird Conservation park is another attractive outdoors location for nature lovers. Within its 1,185 acres, there are 15 miles of trails created for multi-use purposes. Popular activities in the park are bird watching, picnicking, jogging, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
- Food: One of the oldest Mexican restaurants in Phoenix, La Perla is also one of the best. Don’t be fooled by the simple building, the food is fabulous. It’s worth noting, though, that weekends with the strolling mariachis can get a bit loud.
- Family friendliness: Shades of Willy Wonka! Kids of all ages will love the free guided tour of the Cerreta Candy Co., where the Cerreta family has been creating the most delicious confections for more than four decades. You get to see the candy actually being made.
Situated in the desert, Phoenix will obviously get a little warm at times. But that’s no problem for west Phoenix residents, with a Wet ‘N’ Wild. There are 30 water slides and other water attractions. And though many feature steep drops, families with smaller children can safely enjoy the milder offerings at Wet ‘N’ Wild Jr., such as the Tiny Typhoon.
- Shopping: You will find quaintly cobbled streets in Old Town Glendale, along with the dozens of antique stores, specialty shops, restaurants and cafes in the renovated historic homes of Caitlin Court Shopping District. In addition to the multitude of stalls selling unique merchandise, there is the huge Mad Hatter antique store with two floors full of vintage treasures. Whether you are looking for vintage cookware or handmade dolls, few things can beat a lovely day of browsing in Caitlin Court.
Hipsters call Central Phoenix “CenPho,” and they’ve turned the area into a thriving arts and culture district. If you’re looking for a fabulous new restaurant, or some other great place to spend an evening, this part of town is a great place to start.
- Arts and culture: The Phoenix Art Museum's massive collection includes examples of Spanish Colonial, Southwestern and European art, making it one of the city's premier cultural attractions. However, the fairly recent Modern Art wing is coming into its own as a well-respected collection of contemporary art.
- Food: The Mexican food sector in Phoenix is absolutely thriving, and two notable representatives are found in central Phoenix, creating masterpieces with the freshest of ingredients. La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop offers a refreshing new take on classic dishes, while the Gallo Blanco Café is providing the most authentic of dishes just off the lobby in the Clarendon Hotel. The Clarendon also has a tranquil rooftop bar with amazing skyline views, an excellent place to unwind.
As good as the Mexican food is, there are other cuisines to enjoy, as well. Postino Central serves modern Mediterranean dishes, while Aiello’s is a long-standing classic Italian favorite. Windsor has a much beloved patio and St. Francis specializes in shareable plates.
- Nightlife: The former Patriot’s Square Park is now covered by high-rise mixed-use development CityScape, two full blocks that include a comedy theater, a dance club and a bowling alley, as well as excellent venues such as Copper Blues and Stand Up Live. Both clubs feature live acts every week.
- Shopping: The big shopping story in central Phoenix is the lively farmer’s market found in a converted parking lot at 721 N. Central Ave. While not enormous, by any means, this open air market has been around for quite some time. In addition to organic fruit and veggies, you will find things like jars of handcrafted honey and fresh flowers.
Downtown Phoenix has really come into its own in recent years. Featuring art and culture, in addition to commerce, this area now has a great deal to offer even after the close of normal business hours.
- Arts and culture: This neighborhood is filled with cultural activities. Both the Orpheum Theater and Valley Youth Theater are downtown. Phoenix Symphony Hall is here, as is the Herberger Theater Center.
- Entertainment/Sports/Events: The WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the NBA's Phoenix Suns both play at Talking Stick Resort Arena, and the Arizona Diamondbacks are found at Chase Field.
- Historic Interest: For a glimpse of old Phoenix, drop in at the 80-year-old Hotel San Carlos. Though you need to be a guest in order to use the rooftop sundeck and pool, anyone can enjoy the two restaurants and Ghost lounge.
- Food: You won’t lack for memorable dining options downtown, particularly at the two shopping centers. But you can also get what the New York Times has called the best pizza in the country at Pizzeria Bianco. Another option is to jump on the light rail and just choose a stop along the way. You will see: Lux, Southern Rail, Durant’s, Seamus McCaffrey’s, Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour and much more.
- Wine: Cheuvront Restaurant and Wine Bar, as well as Portland’s Wine Bar, will be of special interest to wine aficionados.
- Nightlife: Dance at the Monarch Theater, check out the Film Bar or gallery/bar/music hybrid Lost Leaf and more. Live music is found at The Van Buren, Valley Bar and Crescent Ballroom. Downtown Phoenix has something for everyone.
- Shopping: Enjoy the sun and gardens while shopping or dining at the outdoor Arizona Center or Biltmore Fashion Park. Find unique merchandise at popular boutiques such as Bee’s Knees or West of Soho.
- Family Friendly: The Arizona Science Center is a blast for both adults and kids. With seven galleries holding more than 300 exhibits, plus an IMAX planetarium, the whole family will find enough to go back for again and again.
The Melrose District
is one mile of Seventh Avenue, from Camelback Road to Indian School Road, and is a favored gathering place for the LGBTQ community in Phoenix and it is inclusive in every way. Straight folks will find Stacy’s @ Melrose as comfortable a neighborhood bar as gays will. A variety of age ranges also happily co-exist, from millennials dancing at country-themed Charlie’s to Baby Boomers taking in a drag show at The Rock.
Affectionately referred to as “RoRo” by Phoenix locals, the Roosevelt district is an absolute hub of creativity. Indie films, art openings, craft beer, restaurants and bars featuring a multitude of patios all contribute to making this area one of the most happening areas of Phoenix. Convenient to downtown, Roosevelt Row is hopping with fun things to do in Phoenix day and night.
- Arts and culture: High-quality galleries and museums abound, and most of them stay open late on First Friday for one of the most impressive self-guided art walks in the country. Worth noting is the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art. Not only can you see folk art from all over the Southwest, but there are handmade treasures available in the gift shop.
- Food: The quality of food available in this neighborhood is equal to its artistic offerings, and the variety leaves nothing to be desired. Just a few worth mentioning are: Fez, Moira Sushi Bar and Kitchen, Pita Jungle, The Breadfruit, Bliss ReBAR and Jobot Coffee
- Shopping: If you’re looking for something different, RoRo’s quirky little boutiques will not disappoint.
is a nearby revitalized district where formerly dilapidated storefronts and warehouses have found new life with shops like Kooky Factory, art galleries such as Bragg’s Pie Factory, cool eateries like Mel’s Diner and places such as the Bikini Lounge that defy categorization.
If you’d like more information about what to do in Phoenix, Arizona, or just general information about living in Phoenix, the Heers Management website is an excellent resource.
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