Downtown Phoenix is the nexus of commerce, culture, and art in the metro area. In recent years, this district has been revitalized with the construction of several commercial buildings for mixed use, including CityScape, the central center of the district. Although it looks modern with its skyscrapers and contemporary structures, the area is also home to many historic buildings with a wide range of architectural styles, from Italian Gothic to Art Deco. Downtown Phoenix is home to plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, theaters, museums, and sports arenas, these are just a few of the reasons it tops our list of the best places to live in Arizona. Now let’s get to know the neighborhood better.
Valley Metro is the leading provider of transit services in the Phoenix area. It offers a wide range of bus, streetcar and local shuttle services serving the metro area, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler and other areas. Its bus routes cover many major routes in downtown Phoenix, at intervals of 30 minutes or less on weekdays and up to 60 minutes on weekends.
The streetcar system serves downtown Phoenix, central Phoenix, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and the nearby towns of Tempe and Mesa. Running at 15 or 20 minute intervals, it departs from the Central Phoenix Spectrum Mall, travels south through downtown Phoenix, and stops at Mesa, passing all major sporting venues and venues.
It’s easy to drive in and around downtown Phoenix. Designed around a grid system, most of the roads in this neighborhood are numbered according to their distance from the city center. Downtown is just 8 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 14 minutes from the Phoenix Zoo, 20 minutes from Scottsdale and 22 minutes from Mesa.
Where to eat in downtown Phoenix
Downtown Phoenix is home to many highly regarded restaurants offering a wide variety of dining experiences, making the area a popular destination among foodies. Here are some of the most popular restaurants in downtown Phoenix.
- Chico Malo: Located in CityScape, this inventive Mexican restaurant is known for its modern decor, creative menu, bold flavors and artisanal cocktails. Many locals head there on weekends to try its delicious brunch dishes, such as drunk French toast, shrimp ceviche, and poached egg skirt steak.
- Phoenix Public Market Cafe: If you’re not in the mood for cooking, head to the Phoenix Public Market Café for tasty and nutritious takeout. This cafe offers a healthy menu that includes crispy salads, hearty sandwiches, wood-fired dishes and freshly baked pastries.
- SoSoBaOpen until 2 a.m. daily, SoSoBa at Roosevelt Row is one of the best restaurants in downtown Phoenix for a late-night meal. In addition to enjoying delicious ramen, you can also try one of the restaurant’s shared plates, such as drunk pork gyozas or kimchi tostadas.
- Fairtrade coffee: The Fair Trade Café serves organic shade-grown coffee that meets fair trade standards, as well as homemade sandwiches and homemade pastries. It presents a relaxed setting ideal for studying or working from a distance and a revolving art gallery presenting the works of local artists.
Where to drink
In addition to excellent restaurants, downtown Phoenix also has many bars, pubs and lounges to quench your thirst and keep you entertained. The following is a list of the best bars and pubs in the area.
- Lost leaf: Located in a house built in the 1920s, Lost Leaf is a popular dive bar that offers live music and an underground art gallery. This is the perfect place to have a drink in the beer garden and experience the artistic side of the neighborhood.
- Rooftop Bar chandelier: Luster Rooftop Bar at the Palomar hotel serves local beers, craft cocktails and creative American-inspired cuisine. Relax in peaceful surroundings by the pool while enjoying local music and spectacular city views.
- SideBar: SideBar offers a wide selection of specialty cocktails made with freshly squeezed juices and homemade simple syrup. Its comfortable and intimate environment makes it the ideal place to have a few drinks with your date.
What to do in downtown Phoenix
From shopping to museums, downtown Phoenix offers virtually endless activities for people of all ages. Below is a list of the best things to do in downtown Phoenix. In addition, downtown Phoenix is located at the center of many great Arizona getaway destinations.
- Frances: Boutique offering clothes, shoes, accessories and gifts for chic women.
- Ancient sugar: Large vintage boutique offering clothing and accessories for men and women from different eras.
- General phoenix: Refined boutique offering a selection of clothing and local products and gifts.
- Orpheum Theater: Historic theater that hosts performances of the Phoenix Opera, Broadway musicals, concerts and special events.
- Filmbar: Offers independent films, classic and foreign cults in one room and beer and wine in another.
- Herberger Theater Center: Place of the performing arts which hosts six resident theater companies and hosts more than 40 different shows each year.
- Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market: Open on Wednesdays and in season on weekends, this market offers a wide selection of vegetables, fruits and pastries from local farmers and food manufacturers.
- Uptown Farmers Market: An indoor and outdoor gathering of over 100 vendors selling fresh produce and artisanal food on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
- Verde park: A city park with basketball courts, volleyball courts, a playground, a recreation center and barbecue areas.
- Civic space park: Open and grassy park with durable elements and a large contemporary sculpture.
- Margaret T. Hance Park: Home to the Irish Cultural Center and the Japanese Friendship Garden, as well as a playground and picnic area.
- Arizona Science Center: A four-story science center that features hands-on exhibits, live demos, an IMAX theater, and a planetarium.
- Phoenix Children’s Museum: A large museum with over 300 interactive play areas for toddlers and children up to 10 years old.
- Phoenix Art Museum: A museum with an extensive collection of acclaimed works of art ranging from the Renaissance to the present day. It is one of the city’s hidden gems.
- Hunting field: Home of Arizona Diamondbacks, this versatile place also hosts other events throughout the year.
With its many amenities, its vibrant culture and its abundance of attractions and activities, downtown Phoenix is definitely an ideal place to live. Search thousands of Phoenix apartments for rent on Zumper and find your new home.