The Camelback Mountain at dusk against a starry sky, overlooking some of the author's best choices for where to stay in Phoenix

Where to Stay in Phoenix (Best Places & Areas in 2023)

👉 Jump to: Best Places to Stay in Phoenix | Neighborhoods & Areas | Tips | FAQ

Picking where to stay in Phoenix can be a challenge. Phoenix has so many exciting places to explore, and the city is just so large and spread out. 

Never worry though because, as an Arizona local, I’m here to help guide your Phoenix trip!

Whether you want to relax at a resort all weekend long or want to hit as many noteworthy Phoenix activities and attractions as possible, this article will help you find the best places to stay in Phoenix for you. We’ll cover all the best spots, areas, and neighborhoods in Phoenix

Let’s get you one step closer to a soak in the Arizona sun!

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Best Places to Stay in Phoenix

Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Phoenix? Here are my top picks: 

If you prefer apartments, you can also search the top rentals on VRBO.

Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in Phoenix: 

7 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Phoenix

Phoenix is a collection of neighborhoods easily accessed via I-10 and the Arizona State Routes 101 and 202. It’s super convenient to get from the airport to many popular destinations. Now let’s break down the 7 top neighborhoods to stay in Phoenix, starting with the most popular area:

Downtown Phoenix

Overlooking view of Downtown Phoenix in Arizona
Check out this bustling area for a variety of concerts, sporting events, restaurants and bars.

👉 Best Area For Entertainment | ✨ Best Downtown Phoenix Hotels: Hyatt RegencyFound Re PhoenixHampton Inn & Suites

If you’re wondering where to stay in Phoenix that’s close to major attractions, Downtown Phoenix is your best bet. The whole of Downtown Phoenix is just over 1.5 square miles, so it’s easy to get around without a car. 

Within those 1.5 miles are exciting concert venues, the Phoenix Convention Center, Japanese Friendship Garden, Phoenix Art Museum, Chase Field, and family friendly-attractions. It’s also a common business area if you’re visiting Phoenix for work.

See a show at The Van Buren, an intimate live music venue where you can hear up-and-coming performers along with well-known bands. Catch a Diamondbacks game at Chase Field or a Phoenix Suns game at the Talking Stick Resort Arena just across the street. Museum lover? Check out the Arizona Science Center or Phoenix Art Museum for some mind-blowing demonstrations, hands-on exhibits, and incredible creativity. There’s also the Children’s Museum where you can bring the whole family!

My favorite thing about Downtown Phoenix is the bar and brewery scene. Some of the best breweries in Arizona are located here, and there’s no shortage of swanky cocktail lounges alongside grungy dive bars. Check out AZ Wilderness for a beer in a laid-back environment, then head across the street to Sazerac for a handcrafted cocktail in a dimly lit piano lounge. You’ll find your scene within walking distance no matter where you stay in Downtown Phoenix.

Pros of Staying in Downtown Phoenix:

  • Easy to walk everywhere
  • Near some of the best Phoenix restaurants, bars, and breweries
  • Close to Sky Harbor International Airport
  • See a baseball or basketball game with ease

Cons of Staying in Downtown Phoenix:

  • Hotels can be pricey
  • Gets crowded easily
  • Some areas are not very safe

📚 Downtown Phoenix Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Entertainment
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsHyatt RegencyFound Re PhoenixHampton Inn & Suites

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Downtown Phoenix

🍽️ Where to Eat – Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles ($), CIBO ($$), The Arrogant Butcher ($$)

🍸 Where to Drink – Arizona Wilderness Brewing, Sazerac, GenuWine Arizona

🎟️ Top Attractions – Chase Field, Talking Stick Resort Arena/Footprint Center, Phoenix Art Museum, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Arizona Science Center


View of the Scottsdale canals in Arizona
A shot of the waterfront shops along the glamorous Scottsdale canals.

👉 Best Area For Shopping & NightLife | ✨ Best Scottsdale Hotels: Scottsdale Marriott Old TownBespoke InnRoyal Palms Resort & Spa

When I tell people I’m from Arizona, I frequently get the question, “Have you been to Scottsdale?” followed by a dreamy look and a twinkle in their eyes. There’s a reason for this. Scottsdale really is a glamorous place, but it doesn’t necessarily feel pretentious. It’s one of the most sought-after luxury destinations in the U.S. 

Scottsdale is where to stay in Phoenix if you want to treat yourself to an upscale retreat.

Old Town Scottsdale is brimming with 4 and 5-star restaurants and top-notch bars. It’s also got an old-timey feel to it, packed with interesting western history. You can get around easily by walking, and golf cart drivers will take you from bar to bar for a reasonable fee if your feet get tired. As you walk through the twinkle-lit streets of Old Town Scottsdale and sip on prickly pear martinis on a misted patio, I guarantee you’ll get that true on-vacation feel.

If your goal is relaxation, Scottsdale is your ideal destination. With so many renowned hotels and luxury resorts, you’ll discover a slice of heaven at Royal Palms Resort or the iconic Arizona Biltmore (a pet-friendly hotel). Designed with a sparkling swimming pool, fitness center, superb restaurants, and spa facilities, you’ll be in paradise. Summer sales won’t break the bank if you want to indulge in this grandeur on a budget.

Pros of Staying in Scottsdale Neighborhood:

  • Great bars and restaurants
  • Easy to walk everywhere
  • Close to popular attractions
  • Endless shopping

Cons of Staying in Scottsdale Neighborhood:

  • Hotels can be pricey
  • Some bars require a cover fee
  • Can be very crowded on weekends

📚 Scottsdale Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Shopping & NightLife
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsScottsdale Marriott Old TownBespoke InnRoyal Palms Resort & Spa

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Scottsdale

🍽️ Where to Eat – JoJo Coffee House ($$), Diego Pops ($$), Roaring Fork ($$$)

🍸 Where to Drink – Brat Haus, Giligins, El Hefe, Boondocks Patio & Grill

🎟️ Top Attractions – Camelback Mountain, OdySea Aquarium, Scottsdale Fashion Square


The Mill Avenue Bridge under the colorful sky during sunset
The Mill Avenue Bridge crosses Tempe Town Lake at sunset.

👉 Best Area For College Students | ✨ Best Tempe Hotels: Hampton Inn & SuitesTempe Mission PalmsCanopy by Hilton

Tempe is buzzing with energy. Home of the ASU Sun Devils (my alma mater’s greatest rivals), there are tons of entertaining scenes perfect for younger crowds. Mill Avenue is the go-to street for a full day of fun. Shopping, dining, drinking, partying, you name it. 

Whether you’re a college student or a 20-something, you’ll be sure to find a hopping bar on Mill Avenue. There are over 100 shops to explore, too. Check out Hippie Gypsy for funky local gifts, then grab a refreshing drink at Pedal Haus Brewery. 

During the day you can wander the beautifully landscaped Arizona State University campus. The Tempe campus is the largest of the five, almost 650 acres in size. After your college stroll, float around Tempe Town Lake on a rented kayak, paddleboard or pedal boat. 

This lake is a popular destination for locals to feel like they’re on a beach retreat. At dusk, the water glows orange as it reflects the setting sun, and it’s a beautiful view to enjoy with a quiet picnic on the sandy beach.

Get the biggest bang for your buck at the Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe. For less than $90 a night, you’ll sleep comfortably in this 3-star hotel. It’s conveniently located less than 10 minutes from family-friendly attractions like the Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden, and Papago Park. If you’re wondering where to stay in Phoenix that’s close to major attractions, this is your most affordable choice.

Pros of Staying in Tempe Neighborhood:

  • Close to many attractions
  • Easy to walk from campus to downtown
  • Lively environment year-round
  • Affordable, quality hotels

Cons of Staying in Tempe Neighborhood:

  • More chain restaurants and bars than original digs
  • College scene can be overwhelming

📚 Tempe Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for College Students
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsHampton Inn & SuitesTempe Mission PalmsCanopy by Hilton

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Tempe

🍽️ Where to Eat – Harlow’s Cafe ($$), Perfect Pear Bistro ($$), Casey Moore’s Oyster House ($$)

🍸 Where to Drink – Pedal Haus Brewery, Loco Patron, Low Key Piano Bar

🎟️ Top Attractions – Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden, Papago Park


The Superstition Mountains during sunset in Mesa
The scenic Superstition Mountains tower behind Mesa at sunset.

👉 Best Area For History Buffs | ✨ Best Mesa Hotels: Courtyard by MarriottThe Azure HotelHyatt Place

Mesa is a unique town located just east of Phoenix. If you have a passion for ancient history like me, it is the best place to stay in Phoenix. 

This area was home to the Hohokam people centuries ago. An ancient ceremonial mound lies in the Mesa Grande Cultural Park, which you can explore during the day. The strange disappearance of the Hohokam people is fascinating to learn about as you wander the ruins of their sophisticated community.

After spending time in historic Mesa, head downtown for refreshing drinks and a tasty dinner. Chupacabra Taproom features over 50 local and imported beers, and Cider Corp has a great selection of local ciders just across the street. You’ll find excellent Mexican cuisine on Main Street. If you’re looking for a lowkey stay in Phoenix, Mesa is the place to be.

Don’t miss out on a quick trip to the Superstition Mountains while you’re in Mesa. These scenic peaks are some of the most recognizable in Arizona, and you won’t be disappointed by any trail you choose. The drive there typically takes less than an hour. Visit during the fall to avoid the heat.

Pros of Staying in Mesa Neighborhood:

  • Quiet and less crowded
  • Learn about Native American history
  • Nearby hiking
  • Cheap hotels

Cons of Staying in Mesa Neighborhood:

  • Farther from major attractions
  • Less late-night opportunities

📚 Mesa Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for History Buffs 
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsCourtyard by MarriottThe Azure Hotel Hyatt Place

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Mesa

🍽️ Where to Eat – República Empanada ($$), The Original Blue Adobe Grille ($$), Green Corner ($)

🍸 Where to Drink – Chupacabra Taproom, Cider Corps, 12 West Brewing

🎟️ Top Attractions – Arizona Museum of Natural History, Mesa Grande Cultural Park, Mesa Arts Center


Overlooking view of Glendale during summer season
The sprawling city of Glendale from a desert viewpoint.

👉 Best Area For Sports Fans | ✨ Best Glendale Hotels: Tru by HiltonHoliday InnHome2 Suites

Glendale is the most diverse spot in the Valley on this list of where to stay in Phoenix. Catch a Cardinals football game, shop for antiques, hit the slots at the casino, and hike through the 1,000 acres of desert during your visit. Depending on where you stay, you’ll be within walking distance of many of these awesome attractions.

Catch the LA Dodgers and Chicago White Sox at Spring Training at Camelback Ranch Ballpark. When you get Cardinals tickets, State Farm Stadium is in the center of everything just off the 101. 

If football is your main reason for visiting Glendale, stay for less than $120 a night at the Holiday Inn located just across the freeway from the stadium. To the north you’ll be able to catch a hockey game or concert at the Gila River Arena. The possibilities are endless!

Named “Arizona’s Antique Capital,” Glendale is a great place to shop for eclectic goods you won’t find anywhere else. The charming Catlin Court Historic District offers all the antiquing, dining, and entertainment you can imagine in authentic mid-century bungalows and ranch-style buildings. You’ll easily fill a day just by wandering this historic collection of locally-owned shops.

Since Glendale is located north of the city, it’s a great starting point if you’re looking to take a day trip from Phoenix. You’ll be less than an hour from some of Arizona’s best hiking and boating. Visit during the fall or spring for the best outdoor conditions. My top recommendation would be to drive through Sedona and then continue north to Flagstaff via Oak Creek Canyon. It’s a picturesque drive that will take your breath away!

Pros of Staying in Glendale Neighborhood:

  • The finest sports and entertainment
  • Many attractions are located near each other
  • Fantastic antique shopping
  • Located closer to popular day trip destinations

Cons of Staying in Glendale Neighborhood:

  • Not as popular dining/bar options
  • Can be a long drive to the airport during heavy traffic
  • Crowded during major sporting events

📚 Glendale Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Sports Fans
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsTru by HiltonHoliday InnHome2 Suites

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Glendale

🍽️ Where to Eat – Fajardo’s Cafe ($), Haus Murphy’s ($$), Arrowhead Grill ($$$)

🍸 Where to Drink – Cuff, Neighbors, Throne Brewing

🎟️ Top Attractions – Catlin Court Historic District, Xeriscape Garden, Desert Diamond Casino

Paradise Valley

Aerial view of a golf course in Paradise Valley
An aerial view of one of the many pristine golf courses in Paradise Valley.

👉 Best Area For Golfing & Hiking | ✨ Best Paradise Valley Hotels: Omni Resort & Spa at MonteluciaEmbassy SuitesFairmont Princess

Are you visiting Phoenix to get a taste of the desert scenery? For the avid golfer or outdoorsman, Paradise Valley is where to stay in Phoenix. 

This neighborhood boasts some of the city’s best golf courses, and it’s close to different mountain ranges offering hundreds of hiking trails. If you’re looking to fill your days with green fairways and challenging hikes, you’ve come to the right place.

There are two major golf clubs in Paradise Valley. The most highly rated is Paradise Valley Country Club, a picturesque course in the southern section of town with perfectly trimmed grasses and a gorgeous backdrop of Camelback Mountain. Note that this course is invitation-only. The second course is Camelback Country Club. It’s a beautiful setting, but these greens are not beginner-friendly. Swing at your own risk!

On to the hikes! Paradise Valley is surrounded by three mountains–Camelback Mountain,  Phoenix Mountain Preserve, and the McDowell Mountains. Camelback Mountain is an iconic place to hike as it’s one of the most famous Phoenix landmarks.

If you want a relaxing getaway at some of the state’s best luxury resorts, Paradise Valley has you covered. You can have an unforgettable stay at the 5-star Omni Resort & Spa or Mountain Shadows Resort for under $200 during the off-season (usually during the hot summer months). You just can’t beat those prices!

Pros of Staying in Paradise Valley Neighborhood:

  • Golf courses abound
  • Lots of hiking trails
  • High-end restaurants and bars
  • Close to recreational parks and lakes
  • Just outside of the Scottsdale hubbub

Cons of Staying in Paradise Valley Neighborhood:

  • Very spread out–you may want a car to get around
  • Hotels can be pricey

📚 Paradise Valley Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Golfing & Hiking
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsOmni Resort & Spa at MonteluciaEmbassy SuitesFairmont Princess

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Paradise Valley

🍽️ Where to Eat – Rusconi’s American Kitchen ($$), Original Breakfast House ($$), Dominick’s Steakhouse ($$$$)

🍸 Where to Drink – O.H.S.O Brewery, Paradise Lounge, Jade Bar

🎟️ Top Attractions – Butterfly Wonderland, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, Phoenix Bat Caves


A lake under the clear blue sky in Chandler
A picturesque neighborhood by the water in Chandler.

👉 Best Area For Family Fun | ✨ Best Chandler Hotels: Cambria HotelSpringHill SuitesStaybridge Suites

Chandler is the most family-friendly place to stay in Phoenix. If your little ones are big on parks, you’ll have plenty of options here. Desert Breeze Park features vintage train rides that will give the whole family a thrill. For a more educational experience, visit the Veterans Oasis Park for a stroll around the planets at the Solar System Walk. More antique trains can be found at the Arizona Railway Museum.

Chandler makes for a laidback vacation, and there’s something to do for any personality. History buffs will love the Mesa Historical Museum, kids will have a ball at the entertaining amusement parks, shoppers will find tons of awesome stores, and those who just want to relax at the pool certainly will. There are lovely hotels located in lush Sonoran Desert settings with great swimming pools.

Another great thing about Chandler is its proximity to Southern Arizona towns and places to visit. Since it’s located at the southeastern corner of Phoenix, Tucson is only an hour and a half drive from Chandler. Visit Saguaro National Park for an enchanting day in the desert, or go farther south for a day trip to Tombstone, Bisbee or even Nogales. Chandler’s location is ideal!

Pros of Staying in Chandler Neighborhood:

  • Great museum scene
  • Fun shopping centers
  • Family fun at local parks
  • Award-winning restaurants

Cons of Staying in Chandler Neighborhood:

  • Farther from the airport
  • Isolated from Central Phoenix attractions

📚 Chandler Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Family Fun
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsCambria HotelSpringHill SuitesStaybridge Suites

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Chandler

🍽️ Where to Eat – The Hidden House ($$), Singing Pandas ($$), The Brickyard ($$)

🍸 Where to Drink – Spirit House, The Sleepy Whale, The Perch Brewery

🎟️ Top Attractions – Desert Breeze Park, Crayola Experience, SanTan Gardens Brewery & Distillery Tours

Tips for Staying in Phoenix

Bring Your Swimsuit!

A resort in Arizona with pool during sunset
Don’t miss out on a refreshing swimming pool in a desert oasis.

Bring a bathing suit on your trip to Phoenix. Nearly every hotel will have a swimming pool, and you’ll be especially grateful for a dip in the water if you visit during the summer months. The luxury resort swimming pool lifestyle is unmatched!

Get Summer Discounts

Visit Phoenix during the summer for gonga discounts on luxury hotels. You’ll have to endure the blazing heat, but you’ll save a pretty penny on otherwise whopping prices. If the heat sounds like too much to handle, visit during the fall or winter for more pleasant temperatures.

See a Last-Minute Concert

Kaleo performing in The Van Buren
I saw Kaleo, an incredible Icelandic rock band, perform at the Van Buren in Downtown Phoenix last week.

Check out last-minute concerts during your stay in Phoenix. Some venues will slash prices down to under $10 when they haven’t sold out, so you could end up seeing an expensive performer for super cheap.

Take a Day Trip

Since Phoenix is located in the middle of the state, it’s a great starting point if you want to visit other popular Arizona attractions. Check out these day trips from Phoenix for a better idea of where you can go within 2 hours of the capital during your vacation!

Don’t Uber Directly from the Airport

The Sky Harbor International Airport under the colorful sky
Sky Harbor International Airport is one of the largest commercial airports in the U.S.

If you need to Uber from the airport to your hotel, you can avoid higher airport-pickup prices by taking a hotel van to a nearby stay and then Ubering from there. This adds a bit of time to your transport, but you’ll certainly save money!

Protect Your Skin! Wear Sunblock

Wear sunscreen at all times in Phoenix, no matter what time of year you visit. The Arizona sun is no joke, so be sure to protect your precious skin!

🌇 Read Next: Where to Stay in Tucson

FAQs About Where to Stay in Phoenix

What is a nice area to stay in Phoenix?

Scottsdale is the nicest area to stay in Phoenix due to its luxurious atmosphere, high-end establishments, and proximity to local attractions.

Is it better to stay in Phoenix or Scottsdale?

It’s better to stay in Scottsdale if you are prepared to splurge on shopping, fancy restaurants, and clubs. There are also more luxury hotels in this area. It’s better to stay in Phoenix if you want to attend events Downtown like see a baseball game at Chase Field or a basketball game at the Footprint Center.

Is Downtown Phoenix worth visiting?

Downtown Phoenix is definitely worth visiting. There are some awesome museums, concert venues, sporting facilities, bars, and restaurants that will be worth your while.

🏕️ Read Next: Best Places to Go Camping in Arizona


I hope this guide to where to stay in Phoenix helps you decide how to spend your next trip to Arizona. No matter where you end up, you’ll surely have plenty to do in and around this exciting desert city. Thanks for reading!

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One Comment

  1. My wife and I are thinking about a trip to the Phoenix area in February. She has a couple of spots she wants to see in Mesa and I want to spend a day at the Texas Rangers spring training facility in Surprise. We’d probably fly in a rent a care. What would be the best area for us to stay and easily get to both spots? We’d probably have about 3-4 days in the area. Thanks!

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