The 11 Most Exciting Suburbs Near Phoenix

From Tempe to Old Town Scottsdale, these are the best Phoenix suburbs to move to or just to visit for a quick weekend getaway.

The Phoenix Metro Area is one of a kind—a sprawling expanse of suburban cities and neighborhoods surrounding Arizona’s capital city—all easily accessible by wide open freeways, and with each offering its own unique vibe, landmarks, and must-do activities. And while it’s easy to stay in your go-to part of town, we’re here to help you explore what might be your new favorite pocket of the Valley. So, whether its dancing in a college town bar, sipping cocktails poolside at one of Scottsdale’s most high-end resorts, or visiting the farm out in Gilbert, there’s something for everyone in Phoenix’s suburbs.

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

Paradise Valley

Distance from Phoenix: 25 minutes
Paradise Valley earned its favorable name with its stunning mountain views and corridor of high-end hotels that create a feeling of oasis within the Sonoran Desert. If you want to experience the top tier luxury the Phoenix area has to offer, a scenic meal at Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn, massage at the Omni Scottsdale Resort’s Joya Spa, and an after dinner drink at Jade Bar are all within reach during a day exploring Paradise Valley.

Scottsdale Quarter
Scottsdale Quarter

North Scottsdale

Distance from Phoenix: 35 minutes
The northern reaches of Scottsdale were once a quiet destination with a smattering of restaurants and hotels, however, in recent years the area has gained massive traction with new eateries like The Americano and Chauncey Social, and favorites like Buck & Rider on the way as well as increased foot traffic at the Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter outdoor malls. Add in the increasingly popular holiday festivities at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and you’ve got no shortage of things to do.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA)
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA)

Old Town Scottsdale

Distance from Phoenix: 25 minutes
While downtown Phoenix might be the go-to for sporting events and conventions, downtown Scottsdale offers its own version of a vibrant downtown, with tourist-friendly gift shops in a charming and walkable Western neighborhood, world class art on the streets and at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), nationally recognized restaurants and hotels and Scottsdale Fashion Square, the state’s most upscale mall. And, you can’t forget about the nightlife district where you can share a Effen Vodka Mega Mule at Bottled Blonde or play a game of giant beer pong while sipping White Claws at The Maya Day Club.

Ahwatukee, Arizona
Ahwatukee, Arizona | Ken Strieby/Shutterstock

Ahwatukee

Distance from Phoenix: 30 minutes
This family favorite neighborhood nestled in the Southeast corner of Phoenix is your quintessential suburb, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. It offers some of the Valley’s best hiking at South Mountain and a top-notch farmer’s market. Perfect for a leisurely Sunday morning. Not to mention, you can catch one of the best views in town at Rustler’s Rooste—a classic Arizona steakhouse.

Tempe Town Lake
Tempe Town Lake | Gregory E. Clifford/Shutterstock

Tempe

Distance from Phoenix: 20 minutes
Notably, Tempe is recognized as home to one of the largest universities in the country, Arizona State. But this Phoenix suburb is so much more than a college town, although it does add to its undeniable magic. Downtown Tempe plays hosts to epic arts festivals, dragon boat races, marathons and triathlons, and dozens of other events that all take place a short-distance from Tempe Town Lake, a two-mile long perennial reservoir and urban park that attracts cyclists, rowers, and active types. Break a sweat with a hike to the top of A Mountain and take in a panoramic sunset view. Or, just belly-up to the bar at one of Tempe’s innumerable craft breweries. Both are solid choices. And both can get you acquainted with this laidback Phoenix suburb.

Epicenter at Agritopia
Epicenter at Agritopia

Gilbert

Distance from Phoenix: 30 minutes
Not too long ago Gilbert was a sort of sleepy, far-away farm town. That’s certainly not the case anymore. Gilbert has grown exponentially, but its agricultural roots are still readily present in its personality and charm. Downtown Gilbert is home to dozens of restaurants and bars, most of which have a local, farm-to-table approach, naturally. And then there’s Agritopia, a friendly neighborhood with its very own shared garden and community spaces that include Epicenter and BARNONE, where you can order a wood-fired pizza, a can of experimental natural wine, and camp out under a canopy of trees in the open-air. It’s practically a utopia.

Tonto National Forest
Tonto National Forest | meunierd/Shutterstock

Cave Creek and Carefree

Distance from Phoenix: 45 minutes
A gateway to Horseshoe and Bartlett Lakes, Cave Creek’s position on the outskirts of Tonto National Forest makes it a primo spot for outdoor activities like biking and hiking and adventure by way of air balloon or horseback. Modern cowboys and gals can mosey over to The Buffalo Chip Saloon where bull riding and swing dancing are just part of a typical day. Additionally, the Cave Creek and Carefree area has its own botanical garden, raptor rescue, and a gallery packed with person-sized crystals. And it’s all yours to discover.
 

Sonoran Desert
Sonoran Desert | Ade Russell/Flickr

Mesa

Distance from Phoenix: 25 minutes
Point your GPS east and you’ll arrive in Mesa, Arizona’s third largest city. Whether you’re after outdoor adventure, looking to explore the arts and culture scene, or searching for locally made ciders and craft beer, Mesa has it all. There’s a hip, growing downtown area lined with storefronts, restaurants, theaters, and tasting rooms. And if you’re game for a little outdoor recreation, Mesa is your jumping-off point to scenic Sonoran Desert trails including Usery Mountain Regional Park, Lost Dutchman State Park, and San Tan Regional Park. Mesa is also just a short distance from The Salt River where you can cruise by wild horses and native wildlife via paddle board and Saguaro Lake is just up the road.

Fountain Hills Park Fountai
Fountain Hills Park Fountai | Joel Hensler/Shutterstock

Fountain Hills

Distance from Phoenix: 40 minutes
At the center of this Phoenix suburb is an expansive urban park and monumental water fountain that tops out at 560-feet. The fountain in Fountain Hills is larger than the Washington Monument, and it’s three times as high as Old Faithful. Pack a picnic and spread out in the park for an afternoon where you can traverse the walkable paths, cycle around the waterway, or play a competitive bout of frisbee golf. If you swing more towards traditional golf, there’s a shortlist of premier golf courses to tee-off at. And like many of the Phoenix suburbs here, Fountain Hills is surrounded by wide-open desert and scenic vistas just waiting to be explored.

Camelback Ranch
Camelback Ranch - Glendale

Glendale

Distance from Phoenix: 20 minutes
Arizona sports teams including the Coyotes and Cardinals have home turf advantage in Glendale. Over the years Glendale has hosted three Super Bowl bouts and will host another in 2023. But Glendale’s not just a sports mecca for fans of professional football and hockey. This Phoenix suburb is homebase to Camelback Ranch, a modern ballpark with all the amenities where the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers take the field each season as part of Cactus League Spring Training. Take your time in Glendale into extra innings and visit Historic Old Town Glendale. Here you’ll encounter eclectic antique and vintage stores, restaurants, candy shops, and coffee houses.

SanTan Brewing Company
SanTan Brewing Company

Chandler

Distance from Phoenix: 20 minutes
Museums, urban parks, art galleries, and growing neighborhoods like Uptown Chandler and Downtown Chandler give this Phoenix suburb lots of appeal. Rows of palm trees line the Downtown area where you can start your day with a locally roasted coffee and organic breakfast bowl. Downtown Chandler regularly hosts community-focused events and it’s a popular hangout for craft beer drinkers. SanTan Brewery, Pedal Haus, and The Perch, with 40 beers on tap and tropical birds at every turn, all call this Phoenix suburb home.

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Lauren Topor Reichert is a Phoenix-based multimedia storyteller, photographer, and content creator. Her work has been featured in travel guides, national publications, and the social feeds of some stellar local restaurants. Follow her around Arizona, and beyond, on Instagram @hungryinphoenix.

Jamie Killin is a Phoenix native and Arizona State graduate who specializes in lifestyle and features writing. You can usually find her at the spin studio, a concert, or trying new restaurants across the Valley. Follow her at @jamiefayekillin.