The Best Neighborhoods to Live in Phoenix, Arizona
If you’re considering moving to Phoenix, you’ll want to have a leg up when it comes to location. What are the best neighborhoods in Phoenix? Are there areas with really good schools, or that might be close to good shopping and entertainment options?
It’s difficult to consolidate any city as large as Phoenix into “good and bad” areas. Not only is Phoenix a huge metropolitan spread, but each person considers “nice” to be something different. Maybe to you; nice means large expansive yards and plenty of space between the houses, but to someone else; it could be just the opposite if they prefer close together neighborhoods where residents can easily interact. To make our comparisons more cohesive, we’re going to be using three factors in our definition of a nice part of town: location, pros and cons, and median housing cost. Perhaps an area you haven’t even heard of might be the perfect fit for you!
Phoenix’s Best Neighborhoods to live in!
Anthem is an unincorporated master-planned community in the northernmost stretch of Phoenix. This neighborhood is very family friendly, with plenty of parks and places to get out and about with the family. Because it’s a master-planned community, you can tell they’ve really thought of everything you could need to keep you happy and content right at home! Unfortunately, because Anthem is so far north from the rest of Phoenix, if you commute to the city for work or pleasure, you’re looking at a significant drive time.
Home prices average anywhere from $200k to $1M depending on the size and neighborhood, but regardless which home you call your own, all residents of Anthem can enjoy the amenities of this lovely, well planned community!
Desert Ridge, Arizona
Located right by the Loop 101 and State Route 51, is the Phoenix neighborhood of Desert Ridge. You’ll find plenty to love in Desert Ridge, including the easy access to the highway, and a plethora of entertainment options for shopping, dining, and family fun! Because of its accessibility and great entertainment options, you might find the traffic to be a little heavier in Desert Ridge, which could be a downside if congestion is a concern to you.
Homes in Desert Ridge range from about $400K to $1.5M, so it’s certainly pricier than some of the other Phoenix neighborhoods.
Learn More: 10 things to know about living in Phoenix
North Phoenix Mountain Preserve
Just as the name implies, this neighborhood is nestled right next to the North Phoenix Mountain Preserve, offering a gorgeous desert backdrop for its residents. Not only is there easy access to many of the most popular hikes and lookout destinations in the area, but even if you don’t want to get out and about in nature, just to be able to look at it is well worth living there!
This is also an area with little to no HOA’s, so if you are wanting to live in a place where a homeowners association won’t be telling you what to do with your home and yard, and charging you fees, this might be the area for you!
Some of the more affordable homes in North Phoenix Mountain Preserve are on the older side, and would probably need a decent amount of work to bring them up to date, but if you are looking for individuality or something you can make your own, this might be a great place for you. Like Desert Ridge, the home prices range from about $400K to $1.5M.
Another unambiguous neighborhood, North Central is central and north of the Phoenix area, getting closer to the heart of Phoenix, and spans a broad expanse of land. North Central is considered to be one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in all of Phoenix, if not even all of the entire state. You’ll find historic areas with unique and beautiful homes, and some of the most dense greenery available in Phoenix, due to the matured landscaping added to these upscale, historic homes long ago.
This might be one of the only neighborhoods in Phoenix in which you could have a huge, shady tree in your own backyard! Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think this is great, and it’s a pretty congested area with high traffic and population.
Median home prices are about $400K to $1.5+, but keep in mind what you can find on the lower end in this part of town will most likely need quite a bit of work, and your dollar could certainly buy something bigger, nicer, newer, etc, in a different part of town. Those mature trees are expensive!
Learn More: Cost of living in Phoenix, AZ
If historic areas are your vibe, look no further than the Biltmore neighborhood. The Arizona Biltmore Hotel, a landmark for over 90 years, can be found here, and its walls are saturated in history.
From its conception in 1928, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the expansive palace, and it would serve as a romping grounds for the social elite for decades to come. In the late 1920’s, during the time in which the hotel was owned by Wrigley’s chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, the historic pool was built (from which it is said Irving Berlin penned many of his famous tunes, including White Christmas.) The hotel is still operational for both hotel guests and event hosting.
One of the downsides of Biltmore (if you consider this a downside) is that many of these historic neighborhoods have hefty HOA fees, which help to keep things looking manicured and upkept.
When you look at housing costs in Biltmore, expect to find $400K to multimillion dollar homes, especially as you get closer to the Biltmore Estates.
Moving on to one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Arizona, Arcadia is just to the northeast of Phoenix, near Scottsdale. One of its greatest attributes, this community sits right at the base of Camelback Mountain, where you can find some of the most popular hikes in all of Phoenix. But it’s not just about the great outdoors.
Arcadia has wonderful entertainment options for shopping and dining. Along with what Arcadia itself has to offer, Old Town Scottsdale is just a hop and skip away, a well known Phoenix hotspot for dining and nightlife. Similar to Biltmore, you’ll find a significantly more mature green landscape in Arcadia, giving the whole neighborhood a cooler feeling as the mercury soars during those hot months.
Perhaps the only downside to Arcadia is how expensive it is to buy a home there. You’ll be hard pressed to find anything below $500K, and as homes get bigger, you’ll quickly climb into multimillion dollar dwellings.
Learn More: Living in Arizona versus California
Our list has finally made it into the heart of town, Downtown Phoenix. If you happen to live and work in downtown Phoenix, this might be one of the only places in Phoenix in which you could live and work without needing a car. Between walking, biking, or jumping on the lightrail, if you live and work downtown, you can absolutely get around easily with public transportation.
Whether this is a pro or con; you can decide, most of the housing in Downtown Phoenix is apartment and condo living, so you likely would be giving up a yard, pool, garage space, etc. The walkability of this area is excellent, and you’ll find yourself extremely close to the convention center, sporting events, shopping, dining, and more. And while you might be giving up a yard, just think of those beautiful cityscape views at night!
Want to be close to downtown, but not a condo dweller? Encanto might be for you! Close to the hustle and bustle of the city, Encanto offers residents a little bit more space and quiet. Encanto has a wonderful city park where you can get out for a walk or picnic, and bountiful entertainment opportunities, despite not being right in the middle of the action.
The homes in Encanto are unique, sometimes historic, and always full of character. Some might feel Encanto even has a Midwest feeling about it, a rarity in the southwest. Though it’s beautiful, historic, and well kept, Encanto is perhaps more affordable than some of its high end brethren like Arcadia and Biltmore.
Here you can expect to find homes ranging from $500K to $1M. Though the low range is high, the high range is low…(that makes sense, right?!)
Though it sounds like a summer camp buried deep in the Vermont woods, Ahwatukee is in fact one of the most recognizable areas in all of Arizona! South of the Phoenix hub, Ahwatukee and the Ahwatukee Foothills seemingly have their own little world, close enough to the city, but with room to roam!
Ahwatukee boasts wonderful schools, and easy access to anywhere within the valley, and the views can’t be beat! You can enjoy hiking, or the nearby zoo if you want to visit some animal friends! Home prices in Ahwatukee range around $300K to $1M, so you can find some more affordable housing in this area, while still enjoying beautiful scenery and a safe place to raise a family.
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