A Visitor’s Guide to Phoenix Neighborhoods

Downtown – During the day, downtown functions as a business and government district, with much of the action taking place in the modern skyscrapers and the state capitol. At night, artistic lighting gives the area a futuristic glow as residents and visitors arrive for the sports and cultural offerings. Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks play at Chase Field, and the Phoenix Suns play at the U.S. Airways Center. Cultural offerings include the Herberger Theatre Center, Phoenix Symphony Hall, Dodge Theater, and the historic Orpheum theater. Other attractions include the Arizona Science Center, the Phoenix Museum of History, St. Mary’s Basilica, the Japanese Friendship Garden, and historic Heritage Square. At the heart of downtown is Copper Square, which is home to many art galleries and hotels. Shoppers will want to plan a visit to the large Arizona Center shopping and entertainment complex. Downtown Phoenix is clean, and many of the attractions are within walking distance.

Encanto Village/Midtown – Midtown is centered along Central Avenue directly north of downtown. Tucked among the various office buildings are a wide range of restaurants, with everything from taco shops and barbeque joints to high end independent restaurants. Notable attractions in the neighborhood include the Phoenix Art Museum, the Heard Museum of Native American art, and the Steele Indian School Park. Scattered throughout the residential areas on either side on Central Avenue are historic neighborhoods with some of Phoenix’ oldest homes.

Camelback East Village/Biltmore District – The living is good in this posh area along Camelback Road. For luxury hotels and upscale shopping, visitors will want to head toward the historic Arizona Biltmore Hotel and Golf Course and the posh Biltmore Fashion Park, which boasts Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier and Escada. On the southern end of the neighborhood is the Desert Botanical Garden, and on the east side, near 40th and East Indian School Road, is Arcadia, a recently revitalized and hip area of trendy restaurants.

Scottsdale – Scottsdale has a reputation as a land of resorts, golf courses, and art galleries, and it is all of those things, but also more. The Old Town area downtown offers a touristy slice of the Old West with unique small shops and galleries and a lively nightlife. West of Old Town is shopping in the Scottsdale Fashion Square and Waterfront area and art galleries in both the Main Street Arts and Antiques District and the Marshall Way Contemporary Arts District. Greater Scottsdale actually stretches more than 20 miles to the north to Carefree, and the main artery – Scottsdale Road, is referred to as Resort Road for the number of resorts in the area.

Tempe – as the home to Arizona State University, Tempe offers a collegiate atmosphere and a buzzing nightlife. To reach the heart of the action, head to the Mill Avenue District on Mill Avenue just south of the river. Just southeast of Tempe is Chandler, another hip and growing town.

Glendale – this northwest suburb is home to the Phoenix Cardinals of the NFL and the Coyotes of the NHL. The Historic District centered around 58th Avenue and West Glendale has the Bead Museum and a strip of antique and collectible shops in historic buildings. The Westgate Entertainment District near the stadiums has a plethora of bars, restaurants, shopping, and movie theaters.

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