Most Walkable Neighborhoods in Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona, is known for many things; sunshine filled days, cool desert evenings, and desert sunsets worthy of an artist’s canvas. But one thing it isn’t considered to be is walkable. Phoenix neighborhoods are spread out and sprawling, making it hard to live in this city without owning a car. But it’s not impossible! We’re sharing the most walkable neighborhoods in Phoenix, Arizona.
With a little planning before you move, you can live the pedestrian lifestyle, even in Phoenix. Believe it or not, there are some very walkable neighborhoods in The Valley of the Sun. Each is different from the others, and there is a walkable fit for just about everyone. Whether you are looking for a small and funky artist’s community, or a quiet and charming historic neighborhood, you can find a part of town that is fun to live in and kind to the planet!
Can Phoenix really be considered walkable?
The short answer is, yes. But don’t expect walkability in Phoenix to look the same as it might in other big cities across the country. New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston are all known for being extremely walkable cities. After all, most residents of The Big Apple don’t even own a car. While Phoenix has done a good job of trying to recreate public transit that can carry residents all over town, it’s just not quite up to par.
Phoenix is spread out, and aside from the downtown area, you aren’t usually close enough to any of the neighborhoods to walk all over town. Those coming from other big cities often find this to be a lifestyle change they aren’t too fond of. In New York City, you can walk just about anywhere if you really have the time and a comfortable pair of shoes. Want to walk from Brooklyn to Queens? Go for it. If you want to walk from the banks of Lake Michigan to a nice dinner on the Miracle Mile in Chicago, you can do that too.
You won’t find this kind of walkability in Phoenix unless you want to walk from neighborhood to neighborhood via long, hot, dusty stretches of highway, fearing for your life as vehicles barrel past at 80 miles an hour. But you can find neighborhoods specifically designed to be walking friendly. While you won’t be able to get all over town, in these areas you can get most of what you will need in your day to day life by walking, and even if you can’t get everything, it’s a start, right?
For those who are a one car family, or are just passionate about staying healthy and reducing their carbon footprint, these five neighborhoods can be an excellent fit, and might completely change your mind about Phoenix and its perceived lack of walkability.
Phoenix Arizona’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods
Like most cities, the downtown area of Phoenix is one of its most walkable neighborhoods. Also like most cities, it’s one of the seedier parts of town. But don’t let that deter you from calling Downtown Phoenix home if you want to live in a walkable part of the valley.
Most of the housing in the downtown area is apartment and condo living, but you can find some of the most high end, luxury apartments in all of Phoenix here. If you want to live a more fast paced, city-centric life (something Phoenix isn’t particularly known for) this spot is an excellent fit. Anywhere you choose to live downtown you will be within walking distance to food, beverage, and fun things to do.
While the prices might be a bit elevated, you get what you pay for, and you are paying for convenience. But you won’t have to run to CVS for all your needs. Downtown Phoenix has grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and everything else suburban, so it’s definitely residential. It just might not look like the typical subdivision kind of residential. The crime rates in Downtown are unfortunately a bit higher than the rest of the neighborhoods on our list, but the walkability factor is the highest as well. You win some, you lose some.
By nature of its “college town” vibe, Tempe, Arizona, is high on our list of most walkable neighborhoods in Phoenix. The area is replete with restaurants and bars, all of which can be fairly easily accessed by foot, especially the closer you get to Arizona State University. The Tempe Center for the Arts regularly hosts concerts, shows, dance performances and more, making it a great destination for dinner and a show.
If you are interested in living in a more upscale part of Tempe, Tempe Town Lake is the place to be. Luxury high rise apartments, stunning lake views, shopping galore and endless ways to get out and about in the sunshine are all daily amenities in Tempe Town Lake. The light rail runs right through Tempe, taking residents nearly anywhere else they may want to go within the city. Also in the works, is one of the nation’s first car free neighborhood projects. This part of Tempe will be designed to give residents access to everything they could need without even needing to own a car. It literally can’t get more walkable than a neighborhood designed specifically for it!
Learn More: What it’s like living in Tempe, Arizona
Have a question about Phoenix AZ’s real estate market?
Roosevelt Row/Evans Churchill:
This part of Phoenix has been voted one of the best neighborhoods in America, due to many enriching activities and local businesses, and its high walkability. This area of town is funky and green; everywhere you turn you will find street art and ways locals are reducing and reusing. In fact, Roosevelt Row is technically considered an Artist’s District.
Particularly unique to this neighborhood is an event called First Fridays. During these Fridays, local artists and small businesses are spotlighted, offering a further look into their place in the community and what they offer to its residents. Roosevelt Row and Evans Churchill also offer the unique “Vampire Hours” schedule, in which businesses are open after dark to allow shoppers the opportunity to get out during the coolest part of the day. This is especially important in a neighborhood that supports walkability. Nobody wants to take a fifteen minute walk in the 120 degree midday sun. The quirky feeling of this small but lively neighborhood keeps artists, musicians, and lovers of the like coming back year after year, making it one of the most visited parts of Phoenix.
Just a hop and a skip away from Downtown Phoenix lies the charming neighborhood of Coronado. One of the most historic parts of town, this area is dripping with the charm of days gone by. But don’t expect it to be old and run down. These historic neighborhoods within Coronado (like Brentwood and Country Club Park) are well maintained and pricey. Throughout town you will find gourmet delis and artisanal coffee shops, making it a flocking point for younger buyers.
As this demographic continues to change, the look and feel of Coronado is changing as well. More and more new infrastructure is gracing its streets, but its particular charm seems hard to run out of town. Along with this new infrastructure comes many bike friendly sidewalks and bike racks, encouraging residents to travel by foot whenever possible. The residents of Coronado insist this neighborhood maintains its historic infrastructure as it grows and changes, making it both charming and eco friendly.
Learn More: Best Phoenix Neighborhoods to Raise A Family
While Coronado is historic indeed, if you are looking for an area steeped in history, you can’t do better than Willo. Nestled right in the middle of town, this area has undergone many changes and growth spurts throughout the past century. During the 1920s the area was settled and bungalow style homes lined every street. This continued well into the 1930s. By the time the Second World War rolled around, things were changing, not only in Willo, but across the country. Influenced by the Federal Housing Administration’s formation, Willo exploded with ranch style homes, complete with all the bells and whistles of a “modern home,” just awaiting the return of our American heroes.
All of these particular housing eras have given Willo an extremely unique allure that you won’t see anywhere else in the Phoenix Metro Area. If you want to see some of these living pieces of history for yourself, Willo offers an annual home tour for visitors and locals alike to step into the past for a few hours. This neighborhood is lower on our list than others, but is still extremely bike and pedestrian friendly. Best of all, its close proximity to the light rail makes it possible for residents to potentially even commute to work or around town.
Looking to move to the Phoenix, Arizona metro area?
Now that you know Phoenix can be a walkable city, pack up the U-Haul and a good pair of walking shoes and make one of these neighborhoods your new home! If you are ready to start looking for the perfect place for you, reach out to me at AZLiveStyles, I would love to help you find your next home in the Phoenix Metro Area.