A Deep Dive into Arizona’s Attractions, Regions, Cities, and Neighborhoods

by | May 20, 2023 | Food & Things to Do

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the attractions and things to do in all of the radiant regions of Arizona. Whether you're considering a visit or planning to live in Arizona, we're here to guide you through the myriad of vibrant cities, diverse neighborhoods, and exciting things to do in this truly captivating state. Arizona, known for its rugged beauty and diverse landscapes, offers more than just scenic vistas and glorious weather. It's a place bursting with rich history, vibrant cultures, and welcoming communities. From the bustling streets of Phoenix to the awe-inspiring views of Tucson, Arizona is home to some truly extraordinary places to live in.

From the sun-drenched Greater Phoenix Area, known as the Valley of the Sun, to the breathtaking natural wonders of Northern Arizona, there’s no shortage of exceptional places to explore. Each region, each city, each neighborhood, each nook and cranny holds its unique charm and offers its own slice of Arizona’s intriguing life.

Discover the best places to live in, be it the bustling city life of Phoenix or the scenic landscapes in the charming city of Tucson. We’ll explore the diverse neighborhoods that have attracted residents for their unique offerings, from the vibrant arts scene in downtown Tucson to the buzzing nightlife in Phoenix’s urban core.

The cities of Arizona are filled with fun-filled activities and attractions that cater to all interests and lifestyles. Whether it’s exploring the captivating Sonoran Desert, teeing off at world-class golf courses, indulging in gourmet dining, or experiencing the rich Native American heritage, the list of things to do in Tucson, Phoenix, and their surrounding areas is boundless.

We’ve also got you covered if you’re looking for things to do near the iconic landmarks, from adventurous trails in the Grand Canyon to tranquil hikes in Sedona’s red rock country. Our guide will let you know the best things to do in and near these mesmerizing spots that make Arizona a must-visit destination.

Join us as we delve into the wonders of Arizona, painting a vivid picture of what life here has to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned resident or a first-time visitor, we’re sure you’ll find this guide invaluable in discovering the vibrant cities, diverse neighborhoods, and exciting things to do in the beautiful state of Arizona.

Arizona’s Attractions

Arizona, a state known for its stunning desert landscapes and grand canyons, offers a wealth of attractions that draw visitors from around the world. From the bustling city of Phoenix to the historic charm of Tucson and the luxurious allure of Scottsdale, each city offers a unique experience that caters to various interests.

Phoenix: The Heart of Arizona

Phoenix, the largest city in Arizona, is a hub of activity. The city’s attractions range from the historic Heard Museum, which offers an extraordinary collection of American Indian art, to the Desert Botanical Garden, a stunning showcase of desert flora. Phoenix also offers a vibrant nightlife, world-class dining, and a variety of shopping options, making it a must-visit on any Arizona itinerary.

Tucson: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Tucson, nestled in the Sonoran Desert, is a city that beautifully blends history and natural beauty. The city is home to the Saguaro National Park, a mesmerizing landscape filled with the iconic Saguaro cacti. Tucson’s historic districts offer a glimpse into the city’s past, while its art scene adds a vibrant touch to the city’s culture.

Scottsdale: Luxury in the Desert

Scottsdale, known for its upscale vibe, offers luxurious experiences in the heart of the desert. From high-end shopping and dining to world-class golf courses and spas, Scottsdale is the place to indulge. The city is also home to various art galleries and cultural events, adding to its appeal.

Arizona’s Natural Attractions

Beyond its cities, Arizona is home to a plethora of natural attractions. The Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is a must-visit. The Monument Valley, with its towering red rock formations, offers a stunning backdrop that has been featured in numerous films and commercials. The Petrified Forest National Park, home to the colorful remnants of ancient trees, offers a unique glimpse into the state’s geological history.

Exploring Arizona’s River Valleys

Arizona’s river valleys, including the Colorado River and Salt River Valley, offer a range of outdoor activities. From white-water rafting to peaceful river walks, these areas provide a refreshing contrast to the desert landscapes.

Arizona’s Rich History

Arizona’s rich history is evident in its many museums and historic sites. From Native American history and Spanish colonial influences to its Wild West past, the state offers a fascinating journey through time.

Arizona’s Art Scene

Arizona’s art scene is as diverse as its landscape. From Native American art to contemporary works, the state offers a wealth of artistic experiences.

Arizona: A State of Endless Experiences

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a lover of the arts, Arizona offers an experience to suit your interests. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore Arizona’s stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich history. Your adventure awaits!

The Six Regions of Arizona

Arizona, as a diverse and expansive state, can be broadly divided into several regions, each with its own distinct characteristics. Here’s an overview of some of the key regions within Arizona:

Greater Phoenix Area: Also referred to as the Valley of the Sun, this region houses the city of Phoenix along with its adjacent suburbs. It’s famed for its energetic urban center, numerous golf facilities, and a blend of cultural sites and outdoor pursuits.

Northern Arizona: This region is the domicile of the legendary Grand Canyon, Sedona’s red rock formations, and the age-old city of Flagstaff. Northern Arizona is a treasure trove of natural beauty, outdoor recreational activities, and enjoys a cooler climate compared to the rest of the state.

Southern Arizona: Covering the city of Tucson and its nearby areas, Southern Arizona is recognized for its rich cultural history, varied landscapes, and dynamic arts scene. The region encompasses the Sonoran Desert, the scenic town of Bisbee, and many vineyards in the Sonoita and Willcox areas.

Western Arizona: This region extends along the Colorado River, incorporating the cities of Yuma, Lake Havasu City, and Bullhead City. Western Arizona is renowned for its water-based recreational activities like boating, fishing, and jet skiing. It also boasts desert landscapes and the iconic London Bridge in Lake Havasu City.

Eastern Arizona: Showcasing the White Mountains and the Mogollon Rim, Eastern Arizona is a paradise for outdoor lovers, offering prospects for hiking, fishing, and skiing. The region is home to the Petrified Forest National Park, the city of Show Low, and the picturesque town of Greer.

Central Arizona: This region includes the cities of Prescott, Payson, and Globe. Central Arizona is distinguished by its assorted landscapes, comprising pine forests, undulating hills, and desert plains. The area offers a blend of outdoor recreational pursuits, historic sites, and cultural attractions.

These regions offer a broad perspective of Arizona’s geographical diversity, each possessing its unique attractions and points of interest. Visitors to Arizona can experience a diverse array of natural splendor, culture, and history by journeying through these distinctive regions.

Cities: See the towns in every region

More: Hiking trails in Arizona’s six regions

Greater Phoenix 

Greater Phoenix, or the Valley of the Sun as it’s fondly called, is a diverse region with a mosaic of distinct areas. Here’s a closer look at the vibrant regions painting the grand canvas of this metropolis:

Downtown Phoenix: At the heart of the Valley lies Downtown Phoenix, pulsing with life. Housing the central business district, historic neighborhoods, and a rich collection of arts and cultural institutions, the city’s urban core never sleeps.

North Phoenix: Venture north of downtown, and you’ll find North Phoenix, a harmonious blend of residential, commercial, and recreational spots. The Desert Ridge Marketplace is a crown jewel, presenting many shopping and dining options.

West Valley: Stretching west of Phoenix, the West Valley is a flourishing terrain, home to cities like Glendale, Peoria, Surprise, Goodyear, and Avondale, among others. Known for its affordable housing and significant growth, the West Valley offers a slice of the good life without breaking the bank.

East Valley: The East Valley, a thriving hub of communities including Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale, and Apache Junction, lies east of Phoenix. Distinguished by its spirited communities, top-notch schools, and a broad spectrum of employment opportunities, the East Valley encapsulates a dynamic and vibrant lifestyle.

South Mountain Region: To the south of downtown Phoenix, you’ll discover the expansive South Mountain Region. It cradles the South Mountain Park and Preserve, one of the nation’s largest municipal parks. This region elegantly marries residential neighborhoods and commercial developments, creating a unique fusion of tranquility and enterprise.

Scottsdale and Paradise Valley: Synonymous with luxury, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley are realms of upscale resorts, high-end shopping centers, and world-class golf courses. The Old Town area in Scottsdale, replete with art galleries, eateries, and cultural events, is a testament to the city’s rich heritage and vibrant present. Paradise Valley, a serene residential community, stands as a sanctuary for luxury homes.

Northern Foothills: In the shadows of the magnificent McDowell Mountains, the Northern Foothills region harbors the quaint towns of Cave Creek and Carefree. Revered for their natural beauty, hiking trails, and small-town charm, these areas are gateways to an unspoiled Arizona experience.

Remember, Greater Phoenix is ever-evolving, continually welcoming new communities and developments. The Valley of the Sun is, indeed, an exciting, dynamic landscape that keeps the spirit of exploration alive.

Downtown Phoenix

Central Phoenix, commonly called Downtown Phoenix, embraces various neighborhoods and districts. Each with its distinct charm, these communities collectively infuse Phoenix’s urban core with vibrancy and character. Let’s take a tour through some of the prominent neighborhoods and districts:

Roosevelt Row: Often buzzing with creativity, this vibrant arts district is adorned with street art, art galleries and thrives with First Friday Art Walks. A potpourri of residential, commercial, and creative spaces, Roosevelt Row attracts locals and tourists to its effervescent charm.

Warehouse District: Located south of Roosevelt Row, this district tells a story of rebirth as historic warehouses transform into creative workspaces, offices, and event venues. Celebrated for its adaptive reuse of industrial buildings, it offers a unique architectural experience.

Willo Historic District: As one of Phoenix’s oldest neighborhoods, Willo is a beautiful time capsule from the 1920s and 1930s. Tree-lined streets wind through charming, well-preserved homes, cultivating a strong sense of community.

Encanto-Palmcroft Historic District: Nestled near Encanto Park, this neighborhood exhibits elegant homes from the 1920s and 1930s. Spanish Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, and Pueblo Revival architecture converge here, creating a visual delight.

Garfield Historic District: With its diverse neighborhood housing historic homes, vibrant murals, and a lively community, Garfield has seen a revival with new businesses and rejuvenation initiatives.

Coronado Historic District: Home to 1920s and 1930s Craftsman Bungalows, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival homes, Coronado is known for its energetic community spirit and local events.

F.Q. Story Historic District: Named after Francis Quarles Story, a prominent real estate developer, this neighborhood spotlights well-preserved architecture from the 1920s and 1930s and lush landscaping.

Evans Churchill: Adjacent to Roosevelt Row, Evans Churchill is a diverse urban neighborhood with historic homes, modern condos, and commercial properties. Known for its walkability, art galleries, and community events, it pulses with an urban rhythm.

These neighborhoods, each with its unique atmosphere, history, and charm, constitute just a fraction of Central Phoenix. Together, they create a rich tapestry that defines the city’s dynamic urban core.

Attractions in Downtown Phoenix

  • Immerse yourself in culture at the Heard Museum
  • Explore the Arizona Science Center for educational entertainment
  • Take a stroll in the beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Catch a performance at the historic Orpheum Theater
  • Visit Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks

North Phoenix

With its diversity, North Phoenix is a tapestry of neighborhoods, shopping centers, and leisure areas. Here’s a glimpse into some of the distinctive districts and communities in North Phoenix:

Desert Ridge: Structured as a master-planned community, Desert Ridge blends residential neighborhoods with parks and recreational amenities. Among its many attractions, the Desert Ridge Marketplace stands out as a frequented hub for shopping and entertainment.

Moon Valley: Nestled between the Phoenix Mountains Preserve and North Mountain Park, Moon Valley is a residential haven showcasing a variety of housing options, golf courses, and parks. It’s a place where picturesque landscapes and outdoor recreational pursuits blend seamlessly.

Anthem: Positioned to the north of Phoenix, Anthem, another master-planned community, is celebrated for its family-centric neighborhoods, verdant parks, and a host of recreational amenities, including a golf course and community center. It offers a harmonious mix of residential, commercial, and retail spaces.

Norterra: A burgeoning region in North Phoenix, Norterra presents a cocktail of residential neighborhoods, shopping centers, and culinary destinations. The Shops at Norterra, a popular retail locale, is one of its chief attractions.

Sonoran Foothills: Envisioned as a master-planned community, Sonoran Foothills pairs housing options with parks and recreational amenities. Known for its desert landscapes and mountain views, it provides ready access to hiking trails.

Tramonto: Set in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert, Tramonto is a residential community offering a spectrum of housing options, parks, and recreational amenities, including a community pool and clubhouse.

Dynamite Mountain Ranch: Another residential gem in North Phoenix, Dynamite Mountain Ranch provides a diverse choice of housing options, parks, and recreational amenities. It’s particularly recognized for its desert landscapes and hiking trail accessibility.

Attractions in North Phoenix

  • Enjoy shopping and dining at the Desert Ridge Marketplace
  • Explore the trails of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve
  • Visit the unique Musical Instrument Museum
  • Enjoy the thrill at the Hurricane Harbor Phoenix water park
  • Play a round of golf at the Wildfire Golf Club

More about Phoenix

The West Valley

The West Valley, a rapidly expanding region, teems with a variety of neighborhoods and districts spread across an array of cities and towns. Here’s a snapshot of some key neighborhoods and districts in the West Valley:


  • Downtown Glendale: Steeped in history, this district is famous for its quaint antique shops, local boutiques, and cozy eateries. The much-anticipated holiday lights event, Glendale Glitters, graces this area annually.
  • Arrowhead Ranch: Nestled in northwest Glendale, Arrowhead Ranch is a master-planned community known for its serene residential neighborhoods, verdant golf courses, and recreational parks.

More about Glendale


  • Old Town Peoria: This historic district blends local shops, restaurants, and cultural hotspots, such as the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Vistancia: A master-planned community in northern Peoria, Vistancia boasts a variety of housing options, parks, and recreational amenities, including golf courses and hiking trails.

More about Peoria


  • Surprise Farms: A vast master-planned community in Surprise, featuring diverse housing options, parks, and recreational amenities.
  • Sun City Grand: An active adult community in Surprise, Sun City Grand hosts a wide array of recreational amenities, including golf courses, clubhouses, and social activities.

More about Surprise


  • Estrella Mountain Ranch: A master-planned community in Goodyear, known for its captivating mountain views, parks, and recreational amenities, including a golf course and community lake.
  • PebbleCreek: Another active adult community in Goodyear, PebbleCreek offers an assortment of recreational amenities, including golf courses, clubhouses, and social activities.


  • Historic Avondale: This district features local shops, restaurants, and cultural venues, including the Avondale Civic Center and Public Library.
  • Garden Lakes: A residential neighborhood in Avondale noted for its lakes, parks, and well-maintained neighborhoods.


  • Verrado: A master-planned community in Buckeye, Verrado provides a mix of housing options, parks, recreational amenities, and a golf course.
  • Sundance: A residential community in Buckeye, appreciated for its affordable housing options, parks, and golf course.

This compilation represents just a few of the many neighborhoods and districts in the West Valley. Each area exudes a unique charm, contributing to the diverse character of the region. Remember that this list isn’t exhaustive, as the West Valley envelops numerous cities and towns, each with distinctive neighborhoods and districts.

Attractions in West Valley

  • Catch an NFL game at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale
  • Visit the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park in Litchfield Park
  • Shop at the Tanger Outlets in Glendale
  • Explore the beauty of the White Tank Mountain Regional Park in Waddell
  • Walk through historic Downtown Peoria

The East Valley

The East Valley is a diverse and dynamic region composed of numerous cities and towns, each home to unique neighborhoods and districts. Here’s a snapshot of some prominent neighborhoods and districts in the East Valley:


  • Downtown Mesa: Home to museums, art galleries, local shops, and restaurants, this historic district hosts the Mesa Arts Center, a popular hub for concerts, theater performances, and art exhibitions.
  • Alta Mesa: A master-planned community nestled in northeastern Mesa, Alta Mesa boasts a golf course, parks, and meticulously maintained neighborhoods.
  • Red Mountain Ranch: A residential enclave in northeastern Mesa, offering a golf course, parks, and panoramic mountain views.

More about Mesa


  • Downtown Chandler: Revitalized and historic, downtown Chandler bustles with local shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The area hosts various events throughout the year, including farmers’ markets and art festivals.
  • Ocotillo: A master-planned community in southern Chandler, Ocotillo is famed for its lakes, golf courses, and upscale homes.
  • Sun Lakes: An active adult community in Chandler offering a range of recreational amenities, including golf courses, clubhouses, and social activities.

More about Chandler


  • Heritage District: Situated in downtown Gilbert, this district hosts local shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, and regular events such as farmers’ markets and food truck festivals.
  • Power Ranch: A master-planned community in southeast Gilbert, Power Ranch is recognized for its parks, recreational amenities, and family-friendly neighborhoods.
  • Agritopia: A one-of-a-kind planned community in Gilbert emphasizing urban agriculture, Agritopia blends residential, commercial, and agricultural spaces.

More about Gilbert


  • Downtown Tempe: The heartbeat of Arizona State University, this vibrant district features a variety of shops, restaurants, and nightlife options. Mill Avenue, a bustling pedestrian-friendly street, resides here.
  • South Tempe: Known for its residential neighborhoods, South Tempe presents a mix of housing options, parks, and schools.
  • North Tempe: This area encompasses the popular Tempe Town Lake and neighborhoods such as Papago Park Village and Mitchell Park.

More about Tempe

Apache Junction

  • Old West Highway: Reflecting the region’s mining history, this historic district offers local businesses, restaurants, and shops with a distinctive old western flair.
  • Goldfield Ranch: Positioned east of Apache Junction, this rural community offers vast residential lots and picturesque desert vistas.

Attractions in East Valley

South Mountain

The South Mountain Region is celebrated for its remarkable natural splendor and its closeness to the South Mountain Park and Preserve. Here’s a snapshot of some remarkable neighborhoods and districts in the South Mountain Region:

Ahwatukee Foothills: Nestled at the base of South Mountain, Ahwatukee Foothills is a residential community recognized for its picturesque landscapes, parks, and golf courses. The area offers a spectrum of housing options, ranging from affordable condos to luxurious homes.

Laveen: Predominantly a residential area in southwest Phoenix, Laveen offers a blend of housing options, agricultural areas, and commercial establishments. The area is currently witnessing growth and development as it merges more seamlessly with the Phoenix metropolitan area.

South Mountain Village: This district is an amalgam of residential, commercial, and industrial developments, with a broad range of housing options. Its easy access to the South Mountain Park and Preserve makes it a hit with outdoor enthusiasts.

Estrella Village: Situated south of the Salt River, Estrella Village is a diverse community featuring a mix of residential neighborhoods, commercial districts, and industrial developments. The area is noted for its cultural diversity and proximity to natural attractions, including the Estrella Mountain Regional Park.

Central City South: Positioned just south of downtown Phoenix, this area hosts a variety of residential, commercial, and industrial properties. In recent years, it has undergone revitalization with new developments and infrastructure enhancements aimed at improving the living standards for its residents.

Attractions in South Mountain Region

  • Hike or bike in the expansive South Mountain Park and Preserve
  • Visit the Mystery Castle, a unique architectural attraction
  • Explore the local flora at the Desert Botanical Garden
  • Enjoy a round of golf at the Legacy Golf Resort
  • Discover local wildlife at the Phoenix Zoo

Scottsdale and Paradise Valley

Scottsdale and Paradise Valley are renowned for their high-end neighborhoods, luxurious resorts, and breathtaking landscapes. Here’s a brief glimpse of some remarkable neighborhoods and districts in these areas:


  • Old Town Scottsdale: Also referred to as Downtown Scottsdale, this vibrant district boasts art galleries, boutique stores, eateries, and nightlife. Old Town presents a fusion of historic buildings, Southwestern architecture, and modern developments, drawing tourists and locals alike.
  • South Scottsdale: Known for its mid-century modern architecture, art culture, and diverse housing options, South Scottsdale hosts the Scottsdale Fashion Square, one of the Southwest’s largest shopping centers.
  • North Scottsdale: This area is distinguished by its high-end residential communities, golf courses, and natural desert scenery. North Scottsdale also hosts several luxury resorts, spas, and shopping centers, including Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter.
  • McCormick Ranch: A vast, master-planned community in central Scottsdale, McCormick Ranch offers a variety of residential properties, golf courses, parks, and lakes. The neighborhood is celebrated for its green spaces, walking trails, and recreational facilities.
  • Gainey Ranch: Another master-planned community in central Scottsdale, Gainey Ranch features upscale residences, golf courses, and luxury resorts. The area is lauded for its beautiful landscaping, gated communities, and recreational amenities.
  • DC Ranch: Nestled in North Scottsdale, DC Ranch is a prestigious, master-planned community boasting luxury homes, golf courses, and a lively community center. The neighborhood provides stunning views of the McDowell Mountains and access to several hiking trails.

Paradise Valley

  • Camelback Country Club Estates: This upscale neighborhood is centered around the Camelback Golf Club and features expansive, luxury homes with splendid views of the surrounding mountains and golf courses.
  • Mockingbird Lane Estates: A distinguished neighborhood in Paradise Valley, Mockingbird Lane Estates offers luxury homes on large, secluded plots. The area is recognized for its privacy, stunning views, and convenient access to nearby amenities.
  • Clearwater Hills: Situated in the western part of Paradise Valley, Clearwater Hills is a gated community featuring custom-built homes on large, hillside plots. The neighborhood provides breathtaking views of the Valley and a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Mummy Mountain Estates: This exclusive neighborhood hosts luxury homes nestled into the foothills of Mummy Mountain. The area is lauded for its privacy, stunning views, and unique custom-built homes that blend seamlessly into the natural landscape.

These are merely a handful of the numerous neighborhoods and districts in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. Each area contributes to a unique atmosphere, lifestyle, and luxury living experience that shapes the overall character of these prosperous communities.

Attractions in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley:

  • Wander the galleries of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Explore Old Town Scottsdale with its boutiques and eateries
  • Enjoy a day of luxury at the Scottsdale Fashion Square
  • Tee off at one of the world-class golf courses
  • Revel in the serenity of the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort in Paradise Valley

More about Scottsdale

The Northern Foothills

The Northern Foothills region, encompassing Cave Creek and Carefree, is renowned for its enchanting natural landscapes, opportunities for outdoor adventures, and quaint small-town allure. Let’s look at some noteworthy neighborhoods and districts in these towns:

Cave Creek

  • Historic Cave Creek: This district showcases the town’s Western heritage through local stores, art galleries, eateries, and entertainment venues. It hosts numerous events annually, including the well-known Cave Creek Rodeo.
  • Tatum Ranch: A residential enclave in Cave Creek, Tatum Ranch presents a variety of housing options, parks, and recreational facilities. Notable for its scenic desert landscapes and close proximity to hiking trails, this area is a nature lover’s paradise.
  • Rancho Mañana: Situated near the heart of Cave Creek, this neighborhood offers a golf course, resort, and an assortment of residential properties. Known for its magnificent mountain views and natural desert environment, Rancho Mañana is a haven for those seeking tranquility.


  • Carefree Town Center: The town’s center houses local shops, art galleries, eateries, and the iconic Carefree Sundial, one of the largest sundials in the U.S. The area is a hub for various events such as art festivals and outdoor concerts.
  • The Boulders: A high-end residential community and resort in Carefree, The Boulders is recognized for its breathtaking scenery, marked by massive granite boulder formations. The community offers a mix of residential properties, a golf course, and a spa.
  • Black Mountain Foothills: A residential district in Carefree, Black Mountain Foothills features custom-built homes on expansive, hillside lots. Known for its stunning desert landscapes and sweeping mountain views, this neighborhood exudes natural beauty.

Please note that this list does not cover all the neighborhoods and districts in Cave Creek and Carefree, as each town has its distinct neighborhoods and districts. Nonetheless, this overview should provide an appreciation for the unique character and natural beauty embodied in the Northern Foothills region.

Attractions in Northern Foothills:

  • Explore Cave Creek Regional Park
  • Visit the historic town of Cave Creek for a taste of the Old West
  • Enjoy golfing at the Rancho Mañana Golf Club
  • Hike the Black Mountain Summit Trail in Carefree
  • Visit the Carefree Desert Gardens and Sundial

Southern Arizona

Southern Arizona, known for its cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and lively arts scene, is a gem to explore. The region encompasses the city of Tucson and its surrounding areas, including the picturesque town of Bisbee, historic Tombstone, and numerous vineyards in the Sonoita and Willcox areas. Tucson, the anchor city of Southern Arizona, has several regions or districts that each possess their unique charm and character. Let’s take a whirlwind tour of Tucson and beyond:

Downtown Tucson: The vibrant heart of the city houses the central business district, historic neighborhoods, and cultural attractions such as the Tucson Museum of Art and the Fox Tucson Theatre.

University of Arizona Area: A lively area surrounding the university campus. It boasts student housing, university facilities, eclectic shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues teeming with youthful energy.

Midtown Tucson: Featuring neighborhoods like Sam Hughes and Colonia Solana, Midtown offers a mix of residential areas, parks, and shopping centers.

East Tucson: Known for its residential neighborhoods, shopping centers, and gateway to outdoor recreational opportunities such as Saguaro National Park East and Sabino Canyon.

North Tucson: Upscale neighborhoods of Catalina Foothills and Oro Valley grace this area, known for lavish homes, golf courses, and scenic views of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

South Tucson: An independent city within the Tucson metropolitan area. South Tucson is revered for its rich cultural heritage, particularly its strong Mexican-American influences, and a vibrant local food scene.

West Tucson: Housing the neighborhoods of Starr Pass and Tucson Estates, this region is close to the Tucson Mountains and outdoor recreational opportunities like Saguaro National Park West.

Beyond Tucson: Venture to the historic town of Tombstone, the ‘Town too Tough to Die’, and Bisbee, known for its art scene and mining history. Experience the unexpected delight of vineyards and wineries in Sonoita and Willcox, emerging players in the American viticulture scene.

These areas and towns provide a flavor of Southern Arizona’s geographic and cultural diversity, showcasing a variety of neighborhoods, attractions, and natural beauty within the region. Remember, this isn’t an exhaustive list, and there are additional treasures tucked away in Southern Arizona waiting to be discovered!

Attractions in Southern Arizona

  • Immerse yourself in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson
  • Discover the towering cacti of Saguaro National Park
  • Marvel at the architecture of Mission San Xavier del Bac in Tucson
  • Browse the numerous art galleries in Tubac
  • Step back in time in the historic mining town of Bisbee
  • Taste the flavors of Arizona’s wine country in Sonoita and Willcox

More about Tucson

Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona is a tapestry of monumental landscapes, charming towns, and rich cultural heritage. Diving into this scenic part of the state, let’s explore some of the key areas:

Flagstaff: At the heart of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff is a vibrant college town known for its thriving arts scene, historic downtown, and access to outdoor activities. Downtown Flagstaff is bustling with locally-owned shops, breweries, and a variety of restaurants. Its location at the base of the San Francisco Peaks offers access to skiing at the Arizona Snowbowl, hiking, and more. More about Flagstaff.

Grand Canyon Village: The gateway to the iconic Grand Canyon, this area is mostly within Grand Canyon National Park. It’s home to hotels, shops, restaurants, and historic structures like the El Tovar Hotel and Bright Angel Lodge.

Williams: Known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon,” Williams provides a charming slice of historic Route 66. Its downtown area is lined with vintage neon signs, classic diners, and souvenir shops, while the surrounding areas offer outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping.

Sedona: Renowned for its red rock formations, Sedona is a hub for arts, spirituality, and outdoor activities. Uptown Sedona features a walkable district filled with shops, galleries, and restaurants, while West Sedona offers a mix of local businesses, residential areas, and resorts. More about Sedona.

Prescott: Nestled in the Bradshaw Mountains, Prescott offers a blend of historic and modern Arizona. Its downtown Courthouse Plaza is surrounded by historic buildings, shops, and restaurants. The surrounding areas offer access to hiking, boating, and camping in the Prescott National Forest. More about Prescott.

Page: Home to Lake Powell and close to Antelope Canyon, Page is a hotspot for water-based activities and stunning landscapes. The city offers lodging, dining, and shopping options, serving as a base for exploring the natural wonders in the surrounding areas.

Jerome: Clinging to Cleopatra Hill, Jerome is a historic copper mining town turned ghost town turned vibrant arts community. Its compact downtown area is home to eclectic shops, galleries, wineries, and restaurants.

Winslow: Immortalized in the Eagles’ song “Take It Easy,” Winslow offers a glimpse into classic Americana. The Standin’ on the Corner Park is a popular stop in the historic downtown area.

This diverse compilation of towns and landmarks reflects the cultural richness, natural beauty, and historic charm that make Northern Arizona such an unforgettable destination. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply a fan of the open road, there’s something for everyone in Northern Arizona.

Attractions in Northern Arizona

  • Explore the grandeur of the Grand Canyon National Park
  • Discover the stunning Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley
  • Visit the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff
  • Experience the tranquility of Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona
  • Enjoy skiing at Arizona Snowbowl

RELATED: 26 Things to Do Outside Around Arizona

Western Arizona

Western Arizona, an area where the desert meets the water, serves up a blend of water-based recreational activities, striking desert landscapes, and historic charm. Here’s a peek into the individual areas of this enticing region:

Yuma Area: Yuma, the sunniest city in the United States, is a hub for history buffs and nature lovers alike. From the historic downtown district and the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park to the Kofa Wildlife Refuge and the wetlands of the Colorado River, Yuma promises a blend of urban and outdoor adventures.

Lake Havasu City: Known worldwide for the relocated London Bridge, Lake Havasu City is a magnet for water enthusiasts. The city is divided into several neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. The Island, a man-made island in the heart of the city, offers beachfront homes and parks. The Uptown area, near McCulloch Boulevard, is the city’s original hub, known for its restaurants, shops, and the famous London Bridge.

Bullhead City and Laughlin: Located on opposite sides of the Colorado River, Bullhead City in Arizona and Laughlin in Nevada are practically twin cities. Bullhead City offers residential and commercial areas with stunning river views, while Laughlin is known for its bustling casino scene. The Riverwalk in Laughlin provides a leisurely stroll with river views and entertainment options.

Kingman Area: Kingman, the heart of Route 66, exudes a vintage charm. The historic downtown district features Route 66-themed attractions, local shops, and diners. Nearby, the Hualapai Mountain Park offers a high country escape from the desert, with camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Parker Strip: The Parker Strip, a stretch of the Colorado River between Parker Dam and Headgate Rock Dam, is a haven for boating, fishing, and jet skiing. The town of Parker, on the Arizona side, and Big River, on the California side, provide a range of services, from marinas to riverside accommodations.

Quartzsite Area: Quartzsite, known for its gem and mineral shows, is a hot spot for rock hounds. The town offers a mix of RV parks, campgrounds, and open desert camping areas. Nearby, the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge provides opportunities for wildlife viewing and exploring desert landscapes.

Western Arizona invites you on a journey of discovery where the river’s cool waters serve as the perfect counterpoint to the desert’s warm hues. Whether you’re exploring historic downtowns, soaking up the sun on a river beach, or stargazing in the desert, the spirit of the West awaits you in Western Arizona.

Attractions in Western Arizona

  • Engage in water sports along the Colorado River in Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City
  • Visit the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
  • Explore the natural beauty of the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma
  • Take a drive along historic Route 66 to Oatman and see the resident burros

Eastern Arizona

Eastern Arizona, characterized by its high country beauty, boundless outdoor recreation, and historic charm, offers a distinct perspective on Arizona living. Here’s an exploration into the diverse corners of this captivating region:

White Mountains Area: At the heart of Eastern Arizona is the White Mountains Area, an outdoor lover’s paradise. Home to towns like Show Low, Pinetop-Lakeside, and Greer, this region showcases breathtaking alpine landscapes, crystal-clear lakes, and a network of hiking trails. Whether you’re exploring Show Low’s historic downtown or relaxing by the lakes in Pinetop-Lakeside, the White Mountains region offers a respite from the ordinary.

Globe-Miami: Nestled in the foothills of the Pinal Mountains, the twin cities of Globe and Miami form a charming hub known for its rich mining history and vibrant arts scene. Globe’s historic downtown district features a collection of antique shops, eateries, and galleries, while Miami’s Art Alley is a colorful display of local creativity. Nearby, the Tonto National Monument provides a glimpse into the area’s ancient history.

Safford and Thatcher: The cities of Safford and Thatcher, located in the Gila Valley, offer a blend of small-town charm and natural beauty. From the agricultural fields of Thatcher to the historic downtown district of Safford, these communities exude a welcoming, down-to-earth vibe. Nearby, the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area and Mount Graham offer diverse outdoor recreational opportunities.

Petrified Forest National Park Area: The Petrified Forest National Park, known for its colorful fossilized wood, presents a surreal, otherworldly landscape. Nearby communities like Holbrook serve as gateways to this unique national treasure. Holbrook’s historic Route 66 corridor and Wigwam Motel add to the area’s quirky charm.

Springerville-Eagar: The twin towns of Springerville and Eagar, located in the Round Valley, are gateways to some of Eastern Arizona’s most scenic landscapes. The area provides access to the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests and the picturesque White Mountain Scenic Road. Both towns offer a blend of historical attractions, outdoor activities, and local events.

Fort Apache Indian Reservation: This region, home to the White Mountain Apache Tribe, is rich in cultural history. Key areas include Whiteriver, the tribal capital, and Fort Apache Historic Park, which houses a museum and a network of historic buildings. Nearby, the Sunrise Park Resort, owned and operated by the tribe, offers skiing and other outdoor activities.

Each area in Eastern Arizona lends a unique texture to the region’s tapestry, presenting a blend of natural beauty, history, and culture that’s truly Arizona. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, exploring local history, or simply taking in the scenery, Eastern Arizona invites you to discover the unexpected.

Attractions in Eastern Arizona

  • Hike the trails of the Petrified Forest National Park
  • Fish in the White Mountains
  • Participate in outdoor activities year-round in Show Low
  • Relax in the quaint mountain town of Greer
  • Visit the ancient cliff dwellings at the Fort Apache Historic Park

Central Arizona

Central Arizona, when considering regions beyond the Greater Phoenix area, offers a diverse palette of landscapes, history, and charm that uniquely reflects Arizona’s heritage. Let’s journey through some key areas within Central Arizona:

Prescott: This city is a blend of old west history and contemporary charm. It’s home to the historic Whiskey Row, a block of saloons dating back to the Gold Rush era. The downtown area, or Courthouse Plaza, is a hub of shops, restaurants, and events. Nearby, the Prescott National Forest offers a bounty of outdoor activities, from hiking to camping.

Prescott Valley: East of Prescott, this town is known for its growing communities, recreational parks, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The Entertainment District offers a variety of dining and entertainment options.

Payson: Known as the “Heart of Arizona,” Payson is nestled among the Mogollon Rim’s towering pines. The city has various neighborhoods with easy access to outdoor adventures. Downtown Payson offers local shopping and dining experiences, while Green Valley Park provides beautiful lake views and trails.

Globe: This historic mining town in eastern Central Arizona has a rich Native American and Old West history. The downtown area is dotted with historic buildings, antique stores, and eateries. The Cobre Valley Center for the Arts showcases local talents, while nearby outdoor attractions like the Salt River offer opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Cottonwood: Nestled in the Verde Valley, Cottonwood is known for its Old Town area, filled with shops, tasting rooms, and restaurants in Prohibition-era buildings. The nearby Verde River offers opportunities for kayaking and fishing.

Camp Verde: A town with a blend of history, nature, and culture. The downtown area is home to various historical sites, including the Fort Verde State Historic Park. You can also visit Montezuma Castle National Monument, a well-preserved cliff dwelling, just a few miles outside the town.

Sedona: Not just Northern Arizona’s gem, it’s a vibrant part of Central Arizona too. Known for its red rocks and artsy vibe, Uptown Sedona is the city’s main shopping district, brimming with galleries, shops, and restaurants, while West Sedona offers numerous resorts, spas, and residential areas.

Jerome: This town, perched on Cleopatra Hill, is an old mining town turned ghost town turned booming arts community. It offers panoramic views of the Verde Valley and a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants.

This overview highlights the unique character and attractions of Central Arizona, underscoring the region’s historic charm, cultural richness, and recreational opportunities. It’s a region filled with cities and towns each offering a unique slice of Arizona.

Attractions in Central Arizona

  • Hike Thumb Butte in Prescott
  • Explore the geological wonders of the Tonto Natural Bridge near Payson
  • Dive into ancient history at the Salado ruins at Besh Ba Gowah near Globe
  • Experience the charm of the historic downtowns of Prescott and Payson
  • Visit the world-renowned Arcosanti, an experimental town and molten bronze bell-casting community


Arizona Sun Corridor: The Arizona Sun Corridor, also known as the “Sun Corridor,” is a megaregion or a metropolitan area that lies along an infrastructure corridor. It’s the most populous region in the state and includes Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott, Sierra Vista-Douglas, and Nogales.

Arizona Transition Zone: The Arizona transition zone represents the area in central Arizona that serves as the transition between the Basin and Range Province to the south and the Colorado Plateau to the north. Rugged mountain ranges, deep valleys, and a mix of desert and forested landscapes characterize this zone.

Basin and Range Province: This area covers most of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. A series of narrow mountain ranges and flat basins or valleys characterize it. It includes the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts and extends into southern Arizona.

Chihuahuan Desert: The Chihuahuan Desert is the largest in North America, spanning parts of Mexico and the United States, including parts of southeastern Arizona. It’s known for its high biodiversity, with various plant and animal species.

Coconino Plateau: The Coconino Plateau is located in northern Arizona and is part of the larger Colorado Plateau. This region is home to various natural wonders, including the Grand Canyon and Coconino National Forest.

Colorado Plateau: This plateau is a large area of high desert that covers parts of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. A series of high plateaus, deep canyons, vibrant sandstone landscapes, and notable features like the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley characterize it.

Four Corners: This region is the only place in the United States where four states meet at one point: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. It’s known for its unique geography and a number of significant archaeological sites.

Lower Colorado River Valley: This region follows the path of the Colorado River from Hoover Dam to the Mexican border. It’s an important agricultural area and includes cities like Yuma, Lake Havasu City, and Bullhead City.

Madrean Sky Islands: These are a series of mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona and northern Mexico. They’re called “sky islands” because the isolated mountains rise dramatically from the surrounding desert lowlands, much like islands in the sky.

Mogollon Plateau: Located in east-central Arizona, the Mogollon Plateau is a thick layer of volcanic rock that is part of the larger Colorado Plateau. The Mogollon Rim marks its southern edge.

Mogollon Rim: This is a topographical and geological feature in northern Arizona. It’s a steep escarpment that defines the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, and it’s part of the transition zone between the Mogollon Plateau and the Sonoran Desert.

Mojave Desert: This desert extends across southeastern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, and northwestern Arizona. Known for its iconic Joshua Trees, it’s one of the hottest and driest places in North America.

Monument Valley: Monument Valley is a region on the Arizona-Utah border known for its stunning sandstone buttes. The area is part of the Navajo Nation Reservation and has been featured in numerous films and commercials.

Northeast Arizona: Northeast Arizona largely overlaps with the Navajo Nation. It has features such as the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert. The region is known for its diverse landscapes, including forests, deserts, and high plateaus.

Sonoran Desert: This desert covers large parts of the southwestern United States in Arizona and California, as well as parts of Mexico. It’s known for its distinctive saguaro cactus and is one of the hottest deserts in North America.

Southern Arizona: Southern Arizona is a region characterized by desert landscapes, including the Sonoran Desert and mountain ranges. It includes cities like Tucson, Yuma, and Sierra Vista. The region has a rich cultural heritage influenced by Native American and Hispanic traditions.
White Mountains: The White Mountains are a mountain range located in eastern Arizona. The area is known for its outdoor recreational activities, such as fishing, hiking, and skiing, as well as its stunning fall foliage. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests cover a large portion of the White Mountains.

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