Where to stay in Phoenix for families with kids: 7 Best areas

Hi guys, on my website, I already wrote an article about Phoenix without a car (I will put the link to it at the end of this article). In today’s article, I will help you to find the best places to stay in Phoenix for families with kids.

I will share with you what I believe are the best areas to stay in Phoenix for families, along with a helpful map. I’ll also share where I stayed in Phoenix and recommend some of the best family-friendly hotels in Phoenix for visitors with various budgets.

Before going into the main topic of this article, let’s look at some facts and highlights about Phoenix.

Phoenix is the capital and largest city of the state of Arizona and the fifth-most populous city in the United States. It is located in the southwestern part of the country, in the Sonoran Desert. 

Located in the Salt River Valley, the city is surrounded by several mountain ranges, including the McDowell Mountains to the northeast and the White Tank Mountains to the west. 

The city’s location in the desert results in hot and arid weather, with extremely hot summers. The surrounding desert landscape also offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and exploring the Sonoran Desert’s unique flora and fauna.

If you visit the city, you can explore its popular museums, theaters, and art galleries such as the Desert Botanical Garden, Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, and the Musical Instrument Museum. The city also has a vibrant music and dining scene.

Phoenix has a well-developed transportation system, including the Valley Metro Light Rail system. It is also home to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country.  

Is Phoenix a good place to visit with family?

Yes, Phoenix, in my opinion, is a fantastic destination for families. With its abundant sunshine, numerous outdoor activities, and diverse cultural attractions, the city offers something for everyone. 

Your family can explore the stunning desert landscapes in nearby national parks, visit family-friendly museums like the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, or enjoy interactive experiences at the Arizona Science Center. The Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden are also great for kids. 

Plus, the city boasts a variety of dining options to satisfy all tastes. While the summer heat can be intense, the mild winter climate makes it an ideal year-round destination for family vacations.

Where to stay in Phoenix for families with kids?

The best areas to stay in Phoenix for families with kids are Downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Glendale, Biltmore, and Paradise Valley. Each area has its own unique attractions and characteristics, so you can align with your interests and budget to choose the right base.

Downtown Phoenix is a great choice if you want to be in the heart of the city and have easy access to its cultural and urban attractions. It is home to several family-friendly attractions, such as the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, the Arizona Science Center, and the Phoenix Art Museum. 

Scottsdale is known for its upscale resorts, shopping, and dining options, as well as easy access to the family-friendly Phoenix Zoo, OdySea Aquarium, and Butterfly Wonderland. Tempe is home to Arizona State University, and it offers a more youthful vibe. 

If you prefer a more upscale experience, Biltmore District and Paradise Valley might be appealing. Mesa offers a more budget-friendly option, while Glendale is ideal for sports enthusiasts.

During my trip to Phoenix, I stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix Cityscape in Downtown Phoenix, only a few minutes walk from Chase Field. It also has family rooms, Outdoor swimming pool, and a private parking for those who drive.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Phoenix for families. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Phoenix for families with kids
Map of the best areas to stay in Phoenix for families with kids

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Phoenix, especially for families. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Phoenix have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Best areas to stay in Phoenix with family:

1. Downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix is one of the best areas to stay in Phoenix for families, especially for those who want to be in the heart of the city and have easy access to various attractions and activities.

Downtown Phoenix is home to several cultural attractions that can be educational and enjoyable for kids, including the Heard Museum (with Native American art and culture exhibits), the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, and the Arizona Science Center.

If your family is interested in sports, Downtown Phoenix is where you’ll find venues like Chase Field (home to the Arizona Diamondbacks) and Talking Stick Resort Arena (home to the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Rattlers). You can catch a baseball or basketball game during your visit.

While Downtown Phoenix is a more urban area, there are some parks and green spaces to enjoy, including the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, Margaret T. Hance Park, and Civic Space Park, which has a playground and is a nice spot for a picnic.

You’ll find a variety of dining options catering to different tastes and budgets. Whether you’re looking for casual family-friendly eateries or upscale dining experiences, there are choices available.

The Valley Metro Light Rail system runs through Downtown Phoenix, making it easy to access other parts of the city if you want to explore beyond the downtown area.

Best places to stay in Downtown Phoenix for family with kids:

  • Mid-range ($$): Hyatt Regency Phoenix, great 4-star family-friendly hotel, centrally located in Downtown Phoenix, within walking distance from Chase and US Airways Arena. It features spacious family rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, and two onsite restaurants.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Downtown, popular 4-star accommodations in central Phoenix, welcomes children of all ages. Children 18 years and above will be charged as adults.
  • Budget ($): Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Downtown, 3-star children-friendly hotel, conveniently located within a short walk from Copper Square and Phoenix Convention Center.

2. Scottsdale

Scottsdale is a popular destination for families with kids in the Phoenix metropolitan area, offering a mix of outdoor activities, family-friendly attractions, and upscale amenities.

Scottsdale is a vast area located 15 km east of Phoenix Downtown. Your family can explore the Old Town Scottsdale, a charming area filled with shops, galleries, and restaurants. You’ll find a variety of dining options, including family-friendly restaurants.

Butterfly Wonderland is a popular spot for families. It features a rainforest environment filled with thousands of butterflies, as well as a 3D theater and interactive exhibits.

Located nearby in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the OdySea Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the Southwest. It’s a fantastic place for kids to explore underwater worlds and see marine life up close.

The Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Thursday evening ArtWalk can be an interesting and educational experience for older kids interested in history, art, and culture.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park features a train ride, a carousel, and a playground. It’s a great place for younger children to have some fun.

If your family enjoys golf, Scottsdale has numerous golf courses, including Continental Golf Club, but this might be more appealing to older kids and teenagers.

Best places to stay in Phoenix in Scottsdale with kids:

  • Luxury ($$$): Canopy By Hilton Scottsdale Old Town, 4-star hotel, conveniently located in Old Town Scottsdale, welcomes children of all ages. It has free bikes, private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a restaurant.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hilton Garden Inn Scottsdale Old Town, 3-star children-friendly accommodation set in the heart of Scottsdale’s Old Town, within a short walk from Scottsdale Stadium, as well as numerous art galleries and restaurants. Also a short Uber ride from the kid-friendly Phoenix Zoo.
  • Budget ($): Hyatt Place Scottsdale/Old Town, 3-star family-friendly hotel, located within a few mins walk from center of Scottsdale, featuring an  a year round outdoor swimming pool, and spacious family rooms.

3. Tempe

Tempe is a vibrant city in the Phoenix metropolitan area and is often considered a great place for families with kids due to its lively atmosphere, proximity to Arizona State University, and a range of family-friendly attractions.

At the heart of Tempe is the artificial Tempe Town Lake, offering opportunities for outdoor activities like biking, walking, and picnicking. You can also rent pedal boats or paddle boards for a fun day on the water.

Located along Tempe Town Lake, Tempe Beach Park has a playground, splash pad, and picnic areas, making it a great spot for families to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

While primarily a university campus, Arizona State University (ASU) often hosts family-friendly events, exhibitions, and performances. You can check the calendar for any family-oriented activities during your visit.

ASU Gammage Auditorium is a historic theater that hosts a variety of shows, including Broadway productions and family-friendly performances. Check the schedule for family-oriented events.

Mill Avenue District is a bustling area with shops, restaurants, and nightlife. During the day, it’s a pleasant place for shopping and dining, and it often hosts street festivals and events.

Located in the nearby Arizona Mills Mall, SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium offers an underwater adventure with various marine creatures and interactive displays suitable for kids.

South Mountain Park and Preserve is not far from Tempe and offers numerous hiking trails with different levels of difficulty. It’s a great place for families who enjoy outdoor adventures.

You can take your kid to nearby Papago Park, which features unique red rock formations, hiking trails like the Hole in the Rock, as well as Phoenix Zoo, and Desert Botanical Garden. It is a great place to explore the desert’s plant life.

Tempe Marketplace is an outdoor shopping and entertainment complex that often hosts family-friendly events, live music, and has a splash pad for kids to enjoy on hot days.

The Tempe History Museum and the Pueblo Grande Museum & Archaeological Park provide educational opportunities for families interested in local history and Native American culture.

Best places to stay in Phoenix in Tempe with family:

  • Mid-range ($$): Hyatt Place Tempe Phoenix University, 4-star family-friendly hotel, featuring free breakfast, heated year-round swimming pool, conveniently located within easy access to Sun Devil Stadium, Phoenix Zoo, and Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium.
  • Mid-range ($$): Tempe Mission Palms, a Destination by Hyatt Hotel, 4-star children-friendly hotel, featuring free airport shuttle service, outdoor swimming pool. It’s a short Uber ride from Sun Devils Stadium, Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden, and Rolling Hills Golf Course.
  • Budget ($): Sonesta Select Tempe Downtown, 3-star family-friendly accommodation in Tempe, featuring family rooms, great breakfast, and a heated swimming pool.

4. Mesa

Mesa is another great city in the Phoenix metropolitan area located right next to Tempe, and offers a range of family-friendly attractions and activities. 

The cultural hub in downtown Mesa is the Mesa Arts Center. It hosts various family-friendly performances, including theater, music, and dance.

Kids can learn about dinosaurs, fossils, and indigenous cultures at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in downtown Mesa. It offers hands-on exhibits and displays that explore Arizona’s natural history. 

Specifically designed for children, i.d.e.a. Museum encourages creativity and learning through interactive exhibits related to art and science. It’s a fantastic place for hands-on exploration.

Mesa Grande Cultural Park features the preserved ruins of an ancient Hohokam village. It’s a fascinating spot for families interested in archaeology and Native American history.

Your family can spend a fund day at Mesa Golfland SunSplash, especially during the hot Arizona summers. This water park and family entertainment center offers a wide range of water slides, pools, and arcade games.

You can enjoy picnic and outdoor activities at the Riverview Park, a large park that has a playground, splash pad, and a lake with paddle boats. The Usery Mountain Regional Park located just east of Mesa, also offers hiking and outdoor activities in the Sonoran Desert. 

You can take your children to the Superstition Farm, a working dairy farm that offers farm tours, hayrides, and a petting zoo. It’s a fun and educational experience for kids.

Best places to stay in Phoenix in Mesa with family:

  • Budget ($): Delta Hotels by Marriott Phoenix Mesa, 3-star family-friendly hotel, located in Mesa, a short drive by car to Arizona State University. It offers free on site parking which is a bonus for guests who drive.
  • Budget ($): The Azure Hotel, popular 2-star children-friendly hotel, located on East Main Street, Mesa, close to Mesa Arts Center. It has an outdoor swimming pool, and Free parking.

5. Glendale

Glendale is a great choice for families who want a mix of sports entertainment, shopping, and outdoor activities. It is a city in the Phoenix metropolitan area known for its sports, entertainment, and family-friendly attractions. 

Glendale is home to State Farm Stadium, which hosts NFL games (Arizona Cardinals). If your family enjoys sports, catching a game here can be a memorable experience.

Gila River Arena hosts NHL games (Arizona Coyotes) and various concerts and events. Check the schedule for family-friendly events or shows.

Westgate Entertainment District is a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex. It features a variety of restaurants, shops, and a fountain park with occasional water shows.

Glendale Historic District features antique shops, boutiques, and cafes. It’s a nice place for a leisurely stroll and some window shopping.

Thunderbird Conservation Park offers hiking trails with scenic desert views. It’s a great place for families who enjoy outdoor activities and hiking.

Sahuaro Ranch Park includes a ranch house museum, picnic areas, and gardens. It’s a peaceful spot for a family outing and a glimpse into Arizona’s history.

While the main Children’s Museum of Phoenix is in downtown Phoenix, there is a satellite location in Glendale. It offers hands-on exhibits and creative play areas for kids.

Glendale hosts various family-friendly events throughout the year, including Glendale Glitters (a holiday lights display) and the Chocolate Affaire (a chocolate festival).

Best places to stay in Phoenix in Glendale with children:


6. Biltmore District

The Biltmore District in Phoenix is an upscale and affluent area known for its luxurious accommodations, high-end shopping, and elegant dining options. It can still be a pleasant place to stay if you’re looking for a more upscale experience.

The area is home to Biltmore Fashion Park, an upscale outdoor shopping center featuring designer boutiques, department stores, and high-end shops.  

The Biltmore District is located near Camelback Mountain, a popular hiking spot. While this hike can be challenging and is more suitable for older children and teenagers, it can provide breathtaking views of the Phoenix area.

The nearby Phoenix Mountains Preserve offers opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking and biking. While some trails are suitable for families, it’s important to choose trails that match your family’s fitness level.

Best places to stay in Biltmore District with family:

  • Luxury ($$$): Arizona Biltmore A Waldorf Astoria Resort, 5-star family-friendly hotel, located in Camelback East, featuring 5 swimming pools and very good breakfast. It also offers a range of activities for adults and children, golf courses, tennis courts, and salon services.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hampton Inn Phoenix – Biltmore, 4-star kid-friendly accommodation, offering  a free hot breakfast daily, Outdoor swimming pool, and 24h front desk.
  • Budget ($): Staybridge Suites – Phoenix – Biltmore Area , 3-star accommodation, featuring an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, good breakfast and comfortable family rooms.

7. Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley is a prestigious and affluent area in the Phoenix metropolitan area known for its upscale resorts, beautiful desert landscapes, and luxurious lifestyle. 

Paradise Valley is home to some of the most luxurious resorts and spas in the Phoenix area. These properties often offer world-class amenities, pools, golf courses, and relaxation options.

Paradise Valley is close to Scottsdale, which offers upscale shopping centers and gourmet dining options. It’s a great place for parents to enjoy high-end shopping and dining experiences.

If your family enjoys golf, Paradise Valley has some of the finest golf courses in the region. Some resorts may offer family golf packages or junior golf programs.

Best places to stay in Phoenix in Paradise Valley with family:


In conclusion, Downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Glendale, Biltmore District, and Paradise Valley are the best places to stay in Phoenix for families with kids. These are popular areas for tourists that offer a variety of children-friendly accommodations and activities.

If your family doesn’t plan to drive in Phoenix, you can check this article: Best areas to stay in Phoenix without a car. If you are new to Phoenix, you can check this article: Best places to stay in Phoenix for first time.

There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas and neighborhoods that you can stay during your family trip to Phoenix. I hope you found my article helpful and enjoy your holiday!

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality travel guides.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

Leave a Comment