The best places to live in Phoenix, Arizona

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There are myriad reasons to consider finding a home in Phoenix. Not only is it the largest city in Arizona, but it’s actually also the fifth-largest city in the nation, surpassing even other hot-weather meccas like Austin and Dallas. Plus, between 2010 and 2020, the US Census reported that Phoenix was the fastest growing large city in the nation. 

Why all the growth? Not only does its location make it amenable to immigrants looking for community, but the arrival of tech companies, large condo developments, and shifting political landscape has made the state an accessible, ready-made landing pad for middle class families, young tech workers, and millennials.

More than three out of four Phoenix residents come from elsewhere. While that might suggest lack of culture or permanency, the truth is that just speaks to the booming growth and attractiveness of the area.

Related: How to buy a house in Arizona

What exactly makes the capital of this scorching, landlocked state so attractive? Where to begin! Love the outdoors? Better upgrade your hiking gear and invest in some breathable layers, because Phoenix has hiking trails and mountainous, bikeable terrain for days. Don’t want to feel isolated from urban culture and city amenities? Phoenix is home to numerous cultural fairs, art museums, and tons of excellent restaurants. The list of perks goes on, and suddenly it’s pretty clear why Phoenix could be a great option for you to buy a home and put down roots. 

If you want to see what the fuss is all about and join the ranks of the many who are flocking to this literal hotspot, read on and learn about the best neighborhoods and best suburbs in Phoenix to buy a house.

Already ready to start looking? Go ahead and browse our Phoenix listings

map of the best places to live in phoenix arizona, including neighborhoods and suburbs

The best neighborhoods to live in Phoenix

The neighborhoods in Phoenix offer a mix of everything (provided you don’t mind skipping the winter season altogether…). Not only do city dwellers have easy access to nature, but they also get to be enmeshed in a lively arts culture, have access to affordable housing, and, it must be mentioned, parking is famously a cinch. 

If you’re a young professional or a single person looking to try out a new place, meet loads of people with similar interests, and explore everything from mountaintops to nightclubs, living in Phoenix could be perfect for you. Just don’t forget the sunblock! 

Now, here are some of the best neighborhoods to check out if you’re thinking of buying a home in Phoenix.

Camelback East

Camelback East offers an urban-suburban mix, with a majority of residents renting homes. That, coupled with the fact that only a quarter of families who live here have children, means the neighborhood is a prime spot for young, single people looking to get a sense of the city, meet other transplants, and get a taste of everything before making any big commitments.

That said, there’s so much here to love, it might just be hard to leave. Buying a condo in one of the many new developments would be a sure bet that you’ll have a pretty cushy lifestyle for however many years you choose to stay.

Camelback East is walkable, full of pets (I mean, fur babies…), and has easy access to both urban standards like cool boutiques and bars and southwestern advantages like mountainous wilderness. 

No matter what your preferences are, Camelback East provides. Consider buying a home here and you’ll always have a spot to feel right at home, even after a day of getting lost.

Encanto

For 9-5ers who would rather be fishing, boating, hiking, or exploring, Encanto is a great neighborhood to buy a home. Encanto is bordered by the freeway, making it a breeze to commute, whether that means getting to work or cruising out of town on a long weekend. Exploring the city–and the state–is just a couple lane changes away.

If you’re cutting out early on summer Fridays, Encanto Park’s 222 acres of trails, plus a boathouse and fishing lagoon, will be your second home. 

If the heat gets to you, cool off at any number of the museums, restaurants, and cafes in town. 

There’s so much to do in Encanto, but all of the activities feel catered to a balanced life, outdoor time, and leisure. Plus, the neighborhood is quite diverse.

If you’re a retiree who wants to catch-and-release til the cows come home, or a young person whose idea of a great weekend is one where you don’t even crack your laptop open, consider purchasing a home in Encanto’s beautiful borders.

Central City

Central City brings the downtown sprawl that many transplants (especially those from bigger cities) might be craving. If you buy a home here (probably a condo with a view), get ready to book your downtime to the brim, with bars, museums, arthouse cinemas, clubs, sports arenas, and more all at your fingertips.

If you find yourself traveling often for work, or just like jet setting for pleasure, you’ll love how easy it is to get to the airport.

While many Phoenix neighborhoods are proudly “a little bit of everything,” Central City is deeply urban and feels like a unique part of the city accordingly. Get ready to root for the Diamondbacks!

Paradise Valley Village

You’ve got to be pretty confident if you name your neighborhood “Paradise Valley.” Luckily, this neighborhood puts its money where its mouth is, and the town is a residential oasis, with great public schools, a high-earning population, quiet streets, and easy access to trails and mountains.

While several of the other neighborhoods on this list are perfect for young professionals and single people looking to mingle, Paradise Valley Village is ideal if you have young kids, want to buy a single-family home, and still crave the amenities, opportunities, and access of a city.

It has the feel, safety, and beauty of a suburb without feeling like you’re outside of where the action happens.

North Mountain

Do you have more pairs of hiking pullovers than button-downs? Are you always scrubbing dirt out of your nails and finding rocks in your boots? Is the best number of bikes n+1, where n=current number of bikes?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, feel free to ignore any of the other neighborhoods on this list and buy whatever house strikes your fancy in the North Mountain neighborhood of Phoenix.

While dense with quick freeway access, this hood is an incredible place to live if you’re an outdoorsy young person or retiree looking to spend your days sweating in the sun (with adequate sun protection, of course).

Enjoy the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, putt some rounds at the Lookout Mountain Golf Club, hike North Mountain Park, grab a beer at one of the many brewpubs, then do it all again. 

The best suburbs to live in Phoenix

Many who move to Arizona do so to escape the hustle and bustle of urban centers and take advantage of the 299 days of sunshine in a more scenic, spacious town. 

These suburbs, all just a few stones throws away from Phoenix itself, offer plenty to retired people looking to buy homes and enjoy a life of leisure, and for families who want yard space, excellent schools, and kid-centric communities. 

If you’re politically-minded, prepare to find more conservative neighbors in these suburbs, especially compared to who you might meet in the city proper. Arizona politics can swing from year-to-year, and hot-button issues like immigration are top-of-mind for many residents. 

No matter what your political affiliation, be warned: if you’re going to move to a Phoenix suburb, start working on your golf swing now!

Gilbert

Gilbert is home to a number of state-of-the-art and world renowned golf courses, but even if you don’t love the sport, there are plenty of ways to get outside. Try a long hike among the rock formations and cacti, invest in some binoculars and start birding, or dust off your fishing line for some catch-and-release. With such constant sunshine, there’s simply no off-season for outdoor activities.

Gilbert has a lot of regional pride, and there’s an emphasis here on the wonders of the west. Enjoy the historical museum, check out one of the many old-school dive bars or diners, or just wet your whistle at a hip brewery post-hike.

If you delight in being outside and like to start your days on the putting green, consider buying a home here in Gilbert.

Chandler

If you’ve got kids and want to spread out and stretch your legs a bit more (or at least have space for your little ones to run around and wear themselves out…), consider buying a home in Chandler.

Chandler is an excellent suburb for families, with highly ranked public schools, a wealth of interactive exhibits to delight and educated little ones (from the Solar System Walk to the Arizona Railway Museum).

Homes here are large, with mountain views, and with a high number of homeowners, it’s a great choice for families with young kids who want to raise their little ones around others who could become friends for life.

As far as jobs, many businesses are seeing the appeal of the wide open spaces in Chandler and are opening outposts here.

Litchfield Park

Craving that small town feel? You might love living in Litchfield Park, which has a population of just over 6,000. Litchfield Park proudly houses the largest air force base for training fighter pilots in the world (get ready for frequent air shows!), but otherwise it’s quiet and peaceful.

If your hobbies are more earthbound than those of the air force students, you’ll enjoy golfing, horseback riding, and hiking through the desert landscape. Retirees will love the pace here, where the small size means a tight community, the landscape is lovely, and the calendar is packed with activities to keep you as busy as you want to be.

Scottsdale

Scottsdale practically needs no introduction. The town is so well known it even attracts tourists.

There are incredible attractions here. From restaurants to bars to the baseball heaven known as Spring Training, it would be hard to run out of things to do. In fact, Scottsdale was ranked the the #1 best city in America for retiring. Suffice to say, if you’re retired and looking to buy a home, this is the place. 

Got a lot of time on your hands? Enjoy exploring the landscape of rock formations and olive trees, unwind at one of the many spa resorts, spend the day (or week, or month, or year…) golfing with friends, or just enjoy the beautiful weather. 

If you have an open schedule for years to come, it’s hard to beat Scottsdale.

Goodyear

The town of Goodyear, named for the tire company, offers residents a small town feel but is still only 30 miles from downtown Phoenix. 

From sleepy hobbies to more active pursuits, Goodyear has a lot to offer folks like retirees, who want to stay engaged but enjoy bright sun and warm weather. 

Baseball fans will love having easy access to the training camps at Goodyear Ballpark, and pickers will have a field day at the Brass Armadillo antique mall.

If you’ve still got some years left to grind and build your career, Goodyear has had a recent influx of job opportunities, with a new Microsoft campus and a Nike facility.

The takeaway

Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs have a lot to offer folks who aren’t afraid of sunshine. 

The city itself has seen a population boom, meaning young professionals looking to grow their careers will have no problem meeting folks at a similar stage in life, or finding a condo in one of the new developments. Families looking for more space, resources, and security will enjoy the coziness of Phoenix’s neighborhoods, not to mention the access to the great outdoors, and the recent injection of tech jobs. And while planned communities offer a lot of competition, the Phoenix suburbs seem like the ultimate place to buy a home and retire — and I’d be shocked if most communities weren’t modeling their villages and golf courses after the ones that already exist here (and have for decades!).

If you’re a single young professional, a family with kids, or newly retired and seeking community (and, I can’t stress enough, golf!) checking out this popular, beautiful, and growing part of the country could make searching for a new home easy work.

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