Phoenix is a fascinating city often overlooked by travelers. Once a desert ghost town, the Arizona capital is now buzzing and brimming with arts, culture, food, and fun!

Phoenix is a massive city, but some neighbourhoods just don’t have much to offer travelers. We’ve created this guide on where to stay in Phoenix to help you find the best places to go, so you can make the most of your trip.

We’ve broken down the five best neighborhoods in Phoenix for any travel style and budget. We’ve also included our top accommodation and activity picks in each!

Where to Stay in Phoenix

These are our recommendations for the best places to stay in Phoenix.

Best Airbnb in Phoenix: Charming Spanish Colonial Revival Studio

Charming Spanish Colonial Revival Studio

This Airbnb is ideal for solo travelers or couples visiting Phoenix. It contains all the modern conveniences of home, and is close enough to cafes and restaurants for enjoying meals out. The studio is also within walking distance to the Art District, bars and museums.

Best Hostel in Phoenix: HI Phoenix – The Metcalf House

HI Phoenix The Metcalf House

There aren’t many hostels in Phoenix, but HI is one of the best. Set in downtown, it’s conveniently located for sightseeing, exploring, dining and shopping. It has a large common room, spacious dorms, and breakfast is included with each reservation.

Best Hotel in Phoenix: Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe

Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe

This comfortable three-star hotel is located in southern Tempe. It offers premium amenities including an indoor pool, free wifi and luggage storage. Rooms included microwaves and fridges, so you’ll be able to prepare basic meals.

Make sure to check out VRBOs in Phoenix for even more accommodation inspo!

Phoenix Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN PHOENIX
Downtown Phoenix
FIRST TIME IN PHOENIX

Downtown

Downtown Phoenix is the neighbourhood located at the heart of the city. It is the historic and cultural hub where you’ll find everything from government buildings and towering skyscrapers to historic squares and swanky boutiques.

ON A BUDGET
Tempe, Phoenix_2
ON A BUDGET

Tempe

Located 25 minutes southwest of downtown Phoenix is the bustling town of Tempe. Home to Arizona State University, Tempe is renowned for its lively and vibrant student population that loves and knows how to have a good time.

NIGHTLIFE
Scottsdale, Phoenix_2
NIGHTLIFE

Scottsdale

Scottsdale is a town situated 25 minutes northwest of Phoenix (and directly north of Tempe). It is a separate city that is home to 200,000 people, but due to its close proximity falls under the umbrella of Phoenix.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Biltmore District, Phoenix_2
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Biltmore District

Set north of the city is the Biltmore District. One of the most upscale areas of Phoenix, Biltmore is known for its high-end shopping and old school vibe. Thanks to its great selection of trendy shops and hip restaurants, Biltmore is our pick for the coolest neighbourhood in Phoenix.

FOR FAMILIES
Camelback Mountain, Phoenix_2
FOR FAMILIES

Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain is an area located between downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale. Set northeast of the city, it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the region standing 824m tall and comprised of Phoenix’s signature red rocks.

Phoenix is the capital and largest city in Arizona. It is a city famous for its sunny days (more than 300 each year!), hot temperatures, and stark desert landscapes.

But there’s much more to Phoenix than cacti and red rocks. Within this sprawling metropolis, you’ll find activities and attractions that will excite and entertain travellers or all ages, styles and budgets.

Downtown is the historic and cultural hub of the city. It’s the prime destination for travelers discovering Phoenix, as it offers a little bit of everything. Whether you’re into shopping, dining or history – you’ll find it here.

If you’re traveling on a budget, Tempe is the ideal place to base yourself. It’s home to Arizona State University, so you’ll be sure to find lower prices on food and accommodation.

Scottsdale is a lively and vibrant area of Greater Phoenix. It’s the best place to stay in Phoenix for exciting and electric nightlife, and boasts shopping, dining and luxury resorts.

One of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Phoenix, Biltmore is known for its trendy boutiques, bistros and bars. It’s the coolest place to stay in Phoenix if you’re into your high-end shopping and dining out.

Camelback Mountain is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the city. It’s a haven for outdoor adventurers, and our top pick for families staying in Phoenix thanks to its abundance of activities.

Still not sure where to stay in Phoenix? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Is This the Best Travel Backpack EVER???
nomatic backpack black

We’ve tested countless packs over the years, and now we’ve found our absolute favourite: the nomad-approved Nomatic Backpack.

Want more deetz on why we love it so damn much? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

Learn More Now!

Phoenix’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

In this next section, we’ll take a closer look at the five best places to stay in Phoenix. Each is a little different from the last so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that works best for you!

1. Downtown – Where to stay in Phoenix for your First Time

Downtown Phoenix

Located at the heart of the city, Downtown is an awesome place to visit in Phoenix. It’s the historic and cultural hub, where you’ll find everything from towering skyscrapers to historic squares and swanky boutiques. If you’re visiting Phoenix for the first time, this is the best place to go.

If you’re visiting on the first Friday of the month, make sure to check out First Friday Art Walks. This event sees galleries and museums opening their doors to locals and visitors, so you can learn about arts and culture in Phoenix.

Best Airbnb in Downtown: Charming Spanish Colonial Revival Studio

Charming Spanish Colonial Revival Studio

This stunning studio in Downtown Phoenix is bright, clean and contains all modern amenities. It sleeps two guests and is located right next to the best bars and restaurants in town. The Airbnb is also situated within walking distance of city attractions, including the Art District and various museums.

Best Hostel in Downtown: HI Phoenix – The Metcalf House

HI Phoenix The Metcalf House

Set in downtown, this hostel is conveniently located for sightseeing, exploring, dining and shopping. It has a large common room, spacious dorms, and includes free breakfast each morning.

Best Hotel in Downtown: SureStay Hotel by Best Western Phoenix

SureStay Hotel by Best Western Phoenix

This hotel is ideal for any type of traveler looking to stay in the heart of the action, as there are double and family rooms available. SureStay provides self-catering, but is located close to restaurants and bars if eating out is within your budget. It’s situated right next to the Light Rail, making it a great base from which to explore Phoenix.

Best Hotel in Downtown: Hyatt Regency Phoenix

Hyatt Regency Phoenix

The Hyatt Regency is an elegant and stylish four-star hotel in the heart of Phoenix. Rooms are outfitted with luxurious amenities, and the hotel includes a gym and swimming pool. It’s within easy walking distance of city attractions.

Things to See and Do in Downtown:

  • Admire the architecture and design of the 1920 Spanish Baroque-style Orpheum Theatre.
  • Explore 350 hands-on exhibits at the Arizona Science Center.
  • Grab a pint and catch a flick at FilmBar.
  • Indulge in exquisite Japanese dishes at Nobuo at Teeter House.
  • Root for the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
  • Savour traditional American fare at The Duce.
  • See incredible works of art at the Phoenix Art Museum.
  • Sink your teeth into a delicious slice at Pizzeria Bianco.
  • Sip swanky and stylish cocktails at Hanny’s.
  • Spend a night out at one of the many bars on Roosevelt Row.

2. Tempe – Where to Stay in Phoenix on a Budget

Tempe, Phoenix_2
source: Kevin Dooley (flickr)

Bustling Tempe is located 25 minutes southwest of downtown Phoenix. Home to Arizona State University, Tempe is renowned for its lively and vibrant student population. Here, you can enjoy a great selection of bars, pubs and clubs as well as charming shops and funky boutiques.

Tempe is also where you’ll find a high concentration of budget accommodation options. Boasting everything from apartments and hotels to wallet-friendly resorts, Tempe is the place to stay if you’re looking to save a little money while exploring Phoenix.

Best Airbnb in Tempe: Valley Apartment

Valley Apartment

This Airbnb sleeps up to three guests and includes access to swimming pools, BBQ pits and private patio. It’s ideally situated close to the airport but not far from some of Arizona’s great hiking trails. The apartment is opposite Papago Park and is a stunning place to go walking.

Best Budget Hotel in Tempe: Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe

Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe

With a pool, fitness center and breakfast included in the room price, you can’t go wrong with the Drury Inn Hotel. Rooms come with ensuite bathrooms and internet access, and come in a variety of sizes. The hotel is surrounded by restaurants and is close to sights including the Mystery Castle and Desert Botanical Gardens.

Best Hotel in Tempe: Red Lion Inn & Suites Phoenix – Tempe

Red Lion Inn & Suites Phoenix - Tempe

The Red Lion Inn is a comfortable and functional hotel. It is set just north of Tempe and is close to restaurants, bars and shops. You’ll also find plenty of parks nearby. This delightful hotel has a pool, outdoor tennis courts, and a host of wellness facilities.

Best Hotel in Tempe: Sonder – Mill Ave

Sonder - Mill Ave

This accommodation in Tempe provides units and apartments fitted with kitchens and living areas. The hotel is surrounded by restaurants and is within walking distance to attractions, including the Tempe Center for the Arts. Onsite, you’ll find a fitness centre and swimming pool.

Things to See and Do in Tempe:

  • Browse the stalls and shops of Tempe Marketplace.
  • Catch an incredible performance at The Tempe Center for the Arts.
  • Drink at CASA Sunbá where the patio is rocking and the drinks come in buckets.
  • Enjoy a night of billiards and beer at Cue Club.
  • Explore the grounds and historic buildings of Arizona State University.
  • Get back to nature by hiking through Papago Park, an expansive desert with cacti and wildlife.
  • Grab a pint at Four Peaks Brewing Company.
  • Hit the water at Tempe Town Lake.
  • Indulge in locally sourced pasta, pizza and more at La Bocca.
  • Take a stroll through the bustling Mill Avenue District.

3. Scottsdale – Where to Stay in Phoenix for Nightlife

Tempe, Phoenix_2
source: Kevin Dooley (flickr)

If good nightlife is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong staying in Scottsdale. Old Town Scottsdale is packed with great bars and restaurants, and is worth a visit even if you choose to stay elsewhere.

Despite being its own city, Scottsdale is home to just 200,000 residents and falls under the Phoenix area. Other than nightclubs, you’ll also be greeted with awesome architecture and interesting boutiques.

Best Airbnb in Scottsdale: Modern Private Apartment

Modern Private Apartment

This beautifully designed Airbnb in Scottsdale is ideally located close to the best things to see in the city. The Papago Mountain trails are just steps away, as well as Phoenix Zoo and the Old Town.

Best Budget Hotel in Scottsdale: Rodeway Inn Old Town Scottsdale

Rodeway Inn Old Town Scottsdale

This hotel is a short distance from the area’s top attractions, including Scottsdale Stadium. It boasts comfortable and clean rooms with air conditioning, refrigerators and coffee/tea facilities. Guestrooms also have microwaves, private bathrooms, cable/satellite channels and free wireless internet.

Best Hotel in Scottsdale: Howard Johnson by Wyndham

Howard Johnson by Wyndham

This hotel is ideally located for exploring Scottsdale. It is set within a short walk of top attractions, including vibrant and lively Old Town Scottsdale. This modern hotel comes complete with a laundry service, and spacious and well-equipped guest rooms.

Best Hotel in Scottsdale: Hotel Adeline Scottsdale

Hotel Adeline Scottsdale

The Hotel Adeline is a stylish and modern three-star hotel in Scottsdale. It is within walking distance of Fashion Square, as well as great options for dining, sightseeing and nightlife. On-site you’ll be able to enjoy a Jacuzzi, a lounge bar, and a heated pool.

Things to See and Do in Scottsdale:

  • Dance the night away at Maya Day and Nightclub.
  • Dine on fresh and delicious Mediterranean fare at Olive & Ivy.
  • Drink cheap drinks at the Coach Horse.
  • Excite your taste buds at Barrio Queen.
  • Explore the art galleries of Old Town Scottsdale.
  • Go for a stroll along the Scottsdale Waterfront.
  • Listen to great tunes and enjoy fantastic drinks at AZ88.
  • See paintings, sculptures, architecture and more at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • Shop until you drop at Scottsdale Fashion Square.
  • Sink your teeth into an incredible burger at The District.

4. Biltmore District – Coolest place to Stay in Phoenix

Biltmore District, Phoenix_2
source: Visitor7 (wikicommons)

The Biltmore District is one of the most upscale areas of Phoenix, known for its high-end shopping and old school vibe. Thanks to its great selection of trendy shops and hip restaurants, Biltmore is our pick for the coolest neighbourhood in Phoenix.

The most famous landmark in the Biltmore District is the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. Since opening in 1921, this legendary hotel has welcomed Hollywood royalty including Marilyn Monroe, Bob Hope and Fred Astaire. Today, the hotel boasts a spectacular pool, cabana bar, restaurant and lounge.

Best Airbnb in Biltmore: Exclusive Biltmore Condo

Exclusive Biltmore Condo

Located in a gated community on the Biltmore Golf Course, this Airbnb is close to shops, restaurants and bars. The cozy condo sleeps four guests and will make you feel right at home, allowing you to relax in the heart of the action.

Best Budget Hotel in Biltmore District: Hotel Phoenix

Hotel Phoenix

Rooms in this Extended Stay Hotel come with private bathrooms, flat screen TVs and internet access. The hotel close to the Botanical Gardens and Phoenix Zoo, as well as the Shemer Art Center. Breakfast is available each morning, making this ideal if you’re looking for budget accommodation in Phoenix.

Best Hotel in Biltmore District: Extended Stay America – Phoenix – Biltmore

Extended Stay America - Phoenix - Biltmore

Set in the Biltmore District, this hote is close to a variety of restaurants, bars, shops and attractions. It has a swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, and each room comes with a spa bath – so you can stay in style.

Best Hotel in Biltmore District: Hampton Inn Phoenix-Biltmore

Hampton Inn Phoenix - Biltmore

The Hampton Inn is a comfortable accommodation option in Phoenix. This four-star hotel is ideally located close to the city’s top restaurants and bars, as well as parks and attractions. There’s a free shuttle service, and a golf course onsite.

Things to See and Do in Biltmore District

  • Be amazed at the Carnival of Illusion.
  • Catch the game at quirky Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill.
  • Dine on incredible and vibrant Mexican fare at Blanco Tacos + Tequila.
  • Play your favourite video games at Arcadia Tavern.
  • Sample a variety of beers at O.H.S.O Eatery + nanoBrewery.
  • Savour stylish cocktails at District American Kitchen and Wine Bar.
  • Shop for new pieces at Biltmore Fashion Park.
  • Sip succulent wines at Postino.
  • Try a great selection of on tap beers at Alice Cooperstown.
  • Visit the legendary Arizona Biltmore Hotel, which once hosted Hollywood royalty including Fred Astaire and Marilyn Monroe.

5. Camelback Mountain – Where to Stay in Phoenix for Families

Camelback Mountain, Phoenix_2
source: Jtesla16 (wikicommons)

Camelback Mountain is an area located between downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale. Set northeast of the city, it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the region standing 824m tall and comprised of those signature red rocks.

In addition to great hikes and biking, Camelback Mountain is an excellent base for families keen to explore some of Phoenix’s most famous attractions. The Phoenix Zoo is a short drive away, as well as the Desert Botanical Garden.

Best Airbnb in Camelback Mountain: Family Home with Amazing Views

Family Home with Amazing Views

This newly renovated Airbnb in Phoenix sleeps four, giving everyone the space they need to feel right at home. It’s ideally situated between Old Town Scottsdale, Sky Harbor and Downtown Phoenix, so you can make the most of everything the city has to offer.

Best Budget Hotel in Camelback Mountain: Studio 6 Phoenix Scottsdale West

Studio 6 Phoenix Scottsdale West

Set in Scottsdale West, this two-star hotel is close to Camelback Mountain as well as eating, shopping, and sightseeing options. It has spacious and comfortable rooms and a myriad of great features.

Best Hotel in Camelback Mountain: Motel 6 Scottsdale

Motel 6 Scottsdale

The Motel 6 Scottsdale is a recently refurbished two-star hotel. Located in boisterous Scottsdale, this hotel is close to a good selection of family-friendly activities and restaurants. You’ll also get to enjoy an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub.

Best Hotel in Camelback Mountain: Best Western Plus Sundial

Best Western Plus Sundial

Tucked away in Scottsdale, this pet-friendly hotel is ideally located next to a variety of shops, bars and landmarks. Each room is spacious and comes with a kitchenette, and there’s a gym and heated swimming pool on-site.

Things to See and Do in Camelback Mountain:

  • Create your own works of art at Paint on Pottery.
  • Dine on delicious American fare at Wally’s American Pub N Grill.
  • Put on your best walking shoes and hike the Echo Canyon trail.
  • Experience a variety of unique and colourful desert plants at the Desert Botanical Garden.
  • Have so much fun at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix.
  • Hike to the Hole in the Rock.
  • Hop on an ATV and navigate the rugged Arizona terrain.
  • Rent Segways and explore nearby Old Town Scottsdale.
  • Run, jump, splash and play at Big Surf Waterpark.
  • See your favourite animals, mammals, reptiles and birds at the incredible Phoenix Zoo.

FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Phoenix

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Phoenix and where to stay.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Phoenix

Phoenix is such a cool place to visit in the USA, whether you’re staying for longer or passing through on an epic road trip through the state. From history and league sports to hiking trails and upmarket shopping, there’s something for every traveler here.

In this guide, we’ve highlighted the five best neighbourhoods to stay in Phoenix. While there aren’t many hostels to accommodate budget backpackers, we’ve done our best to include affordable options and inexpensive hotels.

If you’re still not sure where to stay in Phoenix, you can’t go wrong in Downtown! It’s full of fantastic shops, restaurants and bars, and provides easy access around the city. It’s also where you’ll find HI Phoenix – The Metcalf House – ideal for budget travelers.

For something more upmarket, the Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe provides comfortable and stylish accommodation where you can base your travels.

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below!

And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

world nomads insurance banner

Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.


Find out how YOU can support the site.

We work hard to put out the best backpacker resources on the web for free! It’s all about helping out our tribe of awesome backpacker readers (that’s you!). Please visit the link to find out how you can help keep the site going 🙂

For the sake of transparency, some of the links in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a piece of gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only link to stuff that members of the Broke Backpacker team has actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. Thanks for your support!