Arizona’s biggest city is famous for its dusty red landscape and strikingly blue skies. But there’s far more to a stay in Phoenix than just great weather. Like the mythical bird from which it takes its game, this is a city with a surprising ability to reinvent itself. Give yourself a couple of days to look around, and you’ll discover gorgeous mountain hikes, an endearingly quirky bar scene, and a smattering of peculiar local galleries. Best of all, Phoenix’s diverse neighborhoods offer a patchwork of different dining experiences to tempt you off the sidewalk.
With over 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve put together your definitive neighborhood guide to the Valley of The Sun. In this article, we’ll take you barrio by barrio through the best places to eat and stay in Phoenix. From unfussy yet unforgettable local hangouts to fine dining in a haunted chewing-gum magnate’s mansion, here’s all you need to know ahead of your aridly awesome getaway.
Located out in South Mountain Park, you likely won’t end up in Ahwatukee without a reason. But the’s plenty about this scenic suburb to make you linger for more than you planned. Terrific trails like Pima Canyon and Fat Man’s Pass showcase the wild beauty of outback Arizona, without being too much of a detour from downtown. On weekends, the Ahwatukee Farmers Market peddles country charm on East Warner Road, with one-of-a-kind salsa, fresh produces, and stall upon stall of local crafts.
Button up your shirt for dinner if you want, but its really not necessary in this homey, unpretentious corner of town. Family-style restaurants and bistros are what Ahwatukee is all about, which also means you won’t have to stretch your budget. Head to Trattoria d’Amico on Warner Road for authentic Italian fare by a brother-sister team from Rome. The old country is pretty well represented throughout the neighborhood, and you can find equally enticing offerings at Arrivederci Trattoria and the intimate Va Bene. For a little more local flavor, check out Cactus Jacks, with crowd-pleasing bar bites and live music Thursday through Sunday.
Where to Stay in Ahwatukee
Right on the threshold of some great outdoor activities, this Four Points is great if you want to get out into nature, but not compromise on comforts during your stay in Phoenix. Spacious air-conditioned rooms with plush premium bedding ensure you’ll have a comfy spot to throw yourself after a long day of exploring. Meanwhile, the hotel’s sunny outdoor pool area is a great place to catch some rays. If you find yourself with an evening free, don’t forget to check out Rustic Cravings, which serves easy-to-love Americana in a gorgeous Spanish atrium.
- Pima Canyon Trailhead (2.4 kilometers)
- Cloud 9 Salon Spa (2.9 kilometers)
- Ken McDonald Golf Course (5.2 kilometers)
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 90 – USD 150
Guest Rating: 7.6
Address: 10831 South 51st Street, Phoenix, AZ 85044, United States
Once a rural backwater, trend-setting Arcadia is now one of the most desirable districts. Known for its spacious colonial-style homes and enviable views of Camelback Mountain, the neighborhood is best explored on two wheels. Plush bike-friendly corridors connect you easily to most of the area, many of which are lined with fragrant grapefruit, orange, and lemon trees — mementos from Arcadia’s past as a center for citrus farming. Discerning shoppers will want to make a beeline for glitzy Biltmore Fashion Park, which boasts an impressive offering of luxury boutiques.
One of the city’s main entertainment hubs, Arcadia has launched more than its fair share of successful dining establishments. Postino’s got its start here and remains a favorite among local winos and anyone seeking out a good brunch. The same can be said for The Henry — especially after you’ve tried their wicked twist on smashed avocado toast. Acadia also does a good job of repping Mexico and the Southwest, CRUjiente Tacos and Chelsea’s Kitchen being two great examples.
Where to Stay in Arcadia
You’ll swoon at this wildly romantic estate housed in a colonial revival mansion. Each of Royal Palms’s 117 gorgeous rooms hides its own historic touches, from crackling wood fireplaces to private patios that peek out at lush courtyard gardens or the mountains beyond. Of course, you’ll want to get pampered at the Alvadora Spa, which features a full offering of massages and body treatments in the seductive surroundings of a Mediterranean-style villa.
- David and Gladys Wright House, masterpiece by Frank Lloyd Wright (450 meters)
- Shemer Art Center, space dedicated to Arizona arts (600 meters)
- The Henry (1.7 kilometers)
Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 208 – USD 1,561
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 5200 East Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018, United States
This is the zany center of Phoenix’s art scene. Roosevelt Row started coloring outside the lines in 1999 with the opening of the monOrchid gallery. Definitely stop by, but there are also plenty of quirky experiences to be had in the hood, day or night. Pick up an “I ate a taco” T-shirt or pop-art bullet-shell necklace at MADEartboutique or hit up. Check out a micro exhibition in a shipping container. Or after dark, hit up local favorite FilmBar for a cold one and an independent movie. However, you chose to spend your time in Roosevelt Row, you’re set to come away with a story with sharing.
Perhaps due to the influx of hungry hipsters, Roosevelt Row has really come into its own as one of Phoenix’s best dining destinations. As is to be expected, there’s a strong showing from the neighborhood’s steakhouses. In particular, we love Trapp Haus BBQ, where chef Phil “The Grill” Johnson doesn’t hold back on flavor. If you’re in the barrio for some great Mexican, hit up Taco Chelo, which is locally notorious for its bad-ass flavors. Not sure what to order? Get the chicharrones, which come sprinkled with chimayo chile and accompanied with lime, guacamole, and Cholula sauce.
At bar time, Roosevelt Road flashes its artistic authenticity (ironically of course) with retro arcade games and game-themed drinks at Cobra Arcade Bar. Meanwhile, The Lost Leaf Bar and Gallery serves crafty, bohemian-style drinks in an art-decked original 1930s home. Satisfy any late-night cravings on Bliss ReBar’s breezy patio, with its booze-soaking Moonlight Menu (available from 10 a.m. until way past your bedtime).
Where to stay in Roosevelt Row
Hyatt Regency Phoenix fits right in with the other cool kids on the block. Doubtless, you’ll want to squeeze Barrel & Bushel into your first night in the city. After all, who doesn’t want to drink locally crafted beer that’s just whizzed through the air in overhead pipes? Things are a little more upscale upstairs at the white-tableclothed Compass Arizona Grill, which serves timeless Americana against sweeping views of the city. These look just as pretty from the snappily designed rooms or suites, which favor clean lines and contemporary flair. If you need a breather some also feature intimate balconies.
- Symphony Hall (110 meters)
- Chase Field, baseball stadium (600 meters)
- Arizona Science Center (650 meters)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 168 – USD 331
Guest Rating: 8.7
Address: 122 North 2nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States
Cash-flashing Biltmore is Phoenix’s glitziest district. But there’s more to this section of downtown than the glass and concrete towers that line Camelback Corridor. Overlooking the neighborhood is Wrigley Mansion, the former reportedly haunted home of the global chewing gum magnate. Built between 1929 and 1931, this opulent Spanish colonial mansion boasts magnificent views, best enjoyed from the shady terrace of Geordie’s Restaurant. Down the slope, there’s plenty more magic at The Carnival of Illusion, which puts on gasp-inciting, Vaudevillian shows with lots of audience participation.
You get it — Biltmore is a showstopper. So it’s only natural that this is the stomping ground of some of the best chefs in the city. At least one night of your stay in Phoenix grab yourself a table at Tarbell’s The Tavern, a neighborhood staple helmed by chef and namesake Mark Tarbell. The menu offers refined flavors from both sides of the border, best paired with a bottle from The Wine Store, right next door. Equally enticing is The Gladly, which gives classic comfort foods a characteristically Biltmore twist, like jazzing up the mac n’ cheese with smoked mozzarella and chilled tomato relish.
Where to Stay in Biltmore
Biltmore’s namesake is a thing to behold. Opened in 1929, this art deco masterpiece has been host to a full roster of golden-age greats, from Marilyn Monroe to Irving Berlin, who reportedly penned “White Christmas” while lounging by its swimming pool. Soak up all that history from the plush gardened terraces or by the breathtaking outdoor swimming pool. At dinner time, delight yourself with time-honored recipes at Wright’s at the Biltmore. Or if you’re in need of something to whet your appetite, pull up a stool at The Wright Bar, the birthplace of a classic Southwestern cocktail: the tequila sunrise.
- Arizona Biltmore Golf Club (250 meters)
- The Wrigley Mansion (850 meters)
- Biltmore Fashion Park (2.0 kilometers)
Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 316 – USD 1,378
Guest Rating: 8.8
Address: 2400 East Missouri Avenue, Camelback East, Phoenix, United States
Much more than just another commercial center, Downtown Phoenix is a drinking, dining, and entertainment hub that’s packed with more character than the playbills at the Orpheum Theater. This will be where you’ll get your bearings at the start of your stay in Phoenix. So begin pointing your compass in the direction of Heritage Square, a plush green space known for its decadent Victorian architecture, including the glamorously gothic Rosson House. For another slice of 19th-century Phoenix, slip around the corner for tea and scones at The Teapot, a British-inspired café housed in a delightful turn-of-the-century cottage. Walk off the sponge cake with a leisurely stroll through the Japanese Friendship Garden. Or if the mercury’s climbing a little high, admire a collection of over 18,000 creative works at Phoenix Art Museum.
With so much on offer in Downtown Phoenix, you’re going to want to make sure that you start your day right. Matt’s Big Breakfast is the undisputed champion of the Phoenix fry up, with syrup drizzled griddle cakes and generous helpings of crispy bacon. Pizzaria Bianco serves up some “dough-pe” artisanal slices. It’s unsurprising then that it regularly tops out lists as the best in the state — oh, and has been garnished with a James Beard Award. For a mash-up of Mexican and South American cooking, head to Chico Malo and gorge yourself on three-for-$10 tacos and duck confit tamales.
Where to Stay in Downtown Phoenix
The Renaissance is Downtown Phoenix in a nutshell — unique, on-trend, and still exuding bags of Southwestern charm. The rooms, in particular, riff off the traditional Arizona aesthetic, with food and leather design, touches that jump into the 21st century with pops of bold color. None of that is lost at Dust Cutter, the Renaissance’s hip urban saloon that trades in flavors from the Sonora Desert. If you need to cool off, there’s also a rooftop pool on the 5th floor.
- Valley Bar (200 meters)
- Orpheum Theater Phoenix (450 meters)
- Children’s Museum of Phoenix (800 meters)
Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 191 – USD 405
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: 100 North 1st Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States
Midtown was a bit of a late bloomer. If you visited 20 years ago, you wouldn’t come away with much to say. But with the arrival of the light rail, this sprawling central district has turned into an area you need to consider when deciding where to stay in Phoenix. Where once there wasn’t much more to look out that cookie-cutter office blocks, there’s now dynamic drinking and dining, abundant museums, and a thriving art scene. North Central Avenue, Midtown’s central artery, reveals a string of cultural pearls, including several lavish early 20th-century mansions. We particularly love the Heard Museum, which celebrates Arizona and New Mexico’s rich Native American cultures.
Midtown dining has really come into its own, and there’s enough choice here to fill a month’s worth of dinner dates. Switch Restaurant and Wine Bar is an easy cop-out, with a balmy outdoor terrace and casual New American fare you won’t be able to help coming back to. Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup is a humorous introduction to area’s Mexican restaurants with build-your-own enchiladas. Things turn a little more upscale at Clever Koi, which favors Asian-inspired dishes and a broad selection of wines — the cocktail game is a stiff winner, too.
Where to Stay in Midtown Phoenix
Discerning Phoenicians know exactly what do to when the weather’s warm and the day’s looking long — head straight for The Clarendon. This boutique hotel’s rooftop oasis is where its at, boasting trendy poolside cabanas, underwater speakers, and a poppy striped mosaic that would make Paul Smith blush. The pool time might be a highlight of your stay in Phoenix, but the swanky rooms are bound to make just as much of a splash. Junior suites offer an arm-swinging 400 square feet of space, with premium bedding and plenty of nineties-affected glam. When you’re hungry onsite restaurant Tranquilo serves tongue-in-cheek takes on Mexican favorites that will leave you craving more.
- Ocotillo Restaurant (1.5 kilometers)
- Phoenix Country Club (2.4 kilometers)
- Encanto Park (2.9 kilometers)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 129 – USD 202
Guest Rating: 7.7
Address: 401 West Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013, United States
Old Town Scottsdale
Scottsdale, Snobsdale. Sure, some Phoecian’s might claim to pass on this upscale suburb just to the north of the city, but we’re calling their bluff. This desirable district will likely be a highlight of your stay in Phoenix, with its delectable drinking, dining, and shopping scenes. Anchor your first day in the ‘hood around 5th Avenue, whose string of boutiques peddles an eclectic offering of Southwestern pearls. Don’t miss Gilbert Ortega Indian Jewelry and Gallery if you want to walk away with a couple of conversation-stirring accouterments. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is also well worth a visit, featuring five revolving exhibitions by local and international artists.
As one of Phoenix’s oldest entertainment hubs, Old Town Scottsdale is a hotbed of trend-setting restaurant concepts and aspiring new chefs. As such, you’ll be spoilt for choice. For fresh plates laden heavy with innovative coastal flavors, head straight for Chula Seafood. Another bright spot for a leisurely lunch is Virtu Honest Craft, which tracks along Mediterranean shores with Spanish octopus and Italian-leaning eggs benedicts to pep up those weekend brunches. To gobble up even more of the coastline, make a date for two (you and a spectacular paella) at Talavera on Crescent Moon Drive. Scottsdale takes things home at FnB Restaurant whose locally produced fare is complemented by an extensive Arizonan wine list.
Where to Stay in Old Town Scottsdale
Dolled up in fluorescent colors and saturated to the max, The Saguaro fun-loving environment is primed and ready for your Instagram feed. This bubble-gum popping city resort’s updated eighties aesthetic draws in day clubbers like flies, most of whom congregate on its glittering pool deck. If your idea of vacation bliss is something a little subdued, not to worry. There’s a second quieter pool where you can collect your thoughts, ideally after a deep, restorative massage at the onsite spa.
- Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (450 meters)
- Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (600 meters)
- Scottsdale Stadium (750 meters)
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 76 – USD 569
Guest Rating: 7.8
Address: 4000 North Drinkwater Boulevard, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States
So Where Should You Stay in Phoenix?
With so much on offer, deciding where to base yourself in this multifaceted metropolis really depends on what you want to get out of your Arizonan adventure. Intrepid adventurers will love the proximity to nature that Awatukee and Old Town Scottsdale affords them. While those looking for something arty and alternative will vibe well with the artsy eccentricity Roosevelt Row. When it comes to food, each district in the Valley of the Sun has its own strong suits to play, and a handful of culinary aces up its sleeves. The only thing you can be sure of is that your stay in Phoenix will entail much more than you had penciled in your itinerary.
So where should you stay in Phoenix? Let us know in the comments below.