Where to stay in Phoenix without a car: 6 Best areas

Hi guys, as usual, on my website, I cover topics for car-free travelers. Today, we will explore Phoenix and help you find the best places to stay in Phoenix without a car

I will share my recommendations for the top areas to stay in Phoenix without a car, along with a helpful map. Additionally, I’ll tell you where I stayed in Phoenix and suggest the best hotels in Phoenix for all budgets.

Phoenix is the capital and largest city of the state of Arizona in the United States situated in the Salt River Valley, commonly referred to as the Valley of the Sun.

The city has numerous museums, theaters, sports teams (such as the Phoenix Suns in the NBA and Arizona Diamondbacks in MLB), and outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking and exploring the nearby Sonoran Desert.

Notable landmarks in Phoenix include Camelback Mountain, Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden, Heard Museum, and the Arizona State Capitol.

Phoenix has a well-developed transportation network, including a light rail system, a major international airport (Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport), and several highways and freeways that connect the city to other parts of Arizona and neighboring states.

It is possible to get around Phoenix, Arizona, without a car, but it can be challenging compared to cities with more extensive public transportation systems. Some options for getting around Phoenix without a car include public transportation, rideshare services, biking, and walking.

Phoenix has a light rail system operated by Valley Metro that connects various parts of the city, including downtown Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. This can be a convenient way to travel within the urban core.

Valley Metro also operates a bus system that covers a wider area than the light rail. You can use buses to reach destinations that are not served by the light rail.

Services like Uber and Lyft are available in Phoenix and is a convenient way to get around the city, especially if you need to reach a destination not well-served by public transportation.

In some areas, especially in the downtown area and central neighborhoods, walking can be a viable option for getting around. You can rent a bike and use it for short trips or explore the city on two wheels. Be prepared for the desert climate, especially during the hot summer months.

If you need to get to Phoenix Airport, you can use the Valley Metro Light Rail’s SkyTrain, which connects to the airport terminals. Valley Metro Rail connects Downtown, Tempe, Mesa, Uptown, and Midtown.

Phoenix is a sprawling city with various neighborhoods to explore. If you’re planning to stay without a car, you’ll want to consider areas that offer good public transportation options, walkability, and proximity to attractions, restaurants, and amenities. 

Where to stay in Phoenix without a car?

The best areas to stay in Phoenix without a car are Downtown Phoenix, Midtown/Uptown, Old Town Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, and Glendale. These areas offers easy access to tourist attractions and amenities on foot, by public transportation, and Uber/taxi.

Downtown Phoenix, without a doubt, is the overall best area to stay in Phoenix without a car. It’s the central business district and cultural hub of the city. You’ll find light rail and bus services that can take you to various parts of the city.  

During my trip to Phoenix, I stayed in the Downtown area at Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix Cityscape. The hotel is centrally located, offers easy access to attractions, restaurants, and shops. It also has easy access to the Valley Metro Rail.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Phoenix for car-free travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Phoenix without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Phoenix without a car

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Phoenix, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll explain to you how to reach each area and how to get around. I’ll also 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.

6 Best areas to stay in Phoenix without a car:

1. Downtown Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix is a great area for visitors who want to stay in a central location without a car. This vibrant area offers a mix of cultural attractions, dining options, and entertainment venues.  

Downtown Phoenix is well-connected to the Valley Metro Light Rail system, which makes it easy to access various parts of the city and neighboring areas like Tempe and Mesa. There are also bus routes that serve the downtown area.

Downtown Phoenix is pedestrian-friendly, with many sidewalks and crosswalks. You can easily explore the downtown core on foot, visiting attractions, shops, and restaurants. It can be hot during the summer months, so it’s advisable to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen when exploring on foot.

You’ll find several cultural institutions such as the Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, Herberger Theater Center, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Rosson House Museum at Heritage Square, Arizona Capitol Museum, George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center. and the Arizona Science Center. 

 Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, also known as Ro Ho En, is a beautiful Japanese garden located in Downtown Phoenix. This tranquil garden is a symbol of the strong and lasting friendship between Phoenix and its sister city, Himeji, Japan. 

It was designed as a place for people to experience the beauty and serenity of Japanese culture while fostering cultural exchange and understanding.

Downtown Phoenix boasts a diverse culinary scene, with numerous restaurants, cafes, and food trucks. You can also enjoy live music, theaters, and nightlife options in the area.

If you’re a sports fan, Downtown Phoenix is home to sports venues like Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Talking Stick Resort Arena (Phoenix Suns). You can attend games or events without worrying about parking.

Best places to stay in Downtown Phoenix without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 5-star hotel, located in Downtown Phoenix, within walking distance from Talking Stick Resort Arena, home of the Phoenix Suns. Short drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and easy access to Valley Metro Rail train station.
  • Mid-range ($$): Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix Cityscape, an IHG Hotel, 4-star hotel offers free wine in the lobby from 5pm to 6pm. Short distance from Chase Field Washington/ Central train station.
  • Budget ($): Courtyard by Marriott Phoenix Downtown, 3-star hotel, great base to explore Talking Stick Resort Arena, Footprint Center, Chase Field and Arizona State University.

2. Midtown & Uptown 

Midtown and Uptown are the areas center around North Central Avenue, north of Downtown Phoenix and are well-connected to the Valley Metro Rail. 

The area is home to Phoenix Art Museum, and Enchanted Island Amusement Park. There are numerous hotels in the area and is a great base for car-free travelers.

Best places to stay in Phoenix in Midtown & Uptown without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Fairfield Inn & Suites Phoenix Midtown, 3-star accommodation, located on  North Central Avenue, Encanto, Midtown area. Great base for car-free travelers as it is right on on the Phoenix Light Rail Line. Short taxi/ Uber ride from Phoenix Convention Center, Talking Stick Resort Arena and Chase Field Ballpark.
  • Mid-range ($$): Embassy Suites by Hilton Phoenix Downtown North, great 3-star accommodation, conveniently located in Midtown Phoenix, easy access to restaurants, shops, and the Light Rail Line.
  • Mid-range ($$): RISE Uptown, 4-star accommodation, conveniently located on West Camelback Road, Uptown Phoenix, easy access to public transportation. It has an outdoor swimming pool, private parking, a terrace and a restaurant.

3. Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale is a charming and popular area for both tourists and locals, known for its historic feel, shopping, dining, and vibrant arts scene. It’s located northeast of Downtown Phoenix and can be a good choice for visitors looking to stay without a car. 

Old Town Scottsdale is accessible by bus. The Scottsdale Trolley also offers a free shuttle service that runs through the area, making it easy to get around within Old Town.

Old Town Scottsdale is highly walkable, with sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly streets, and well-marked crosswalks. You can explore the historic district, art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants on foot.

Old Town Scottsdale is famous for its shopping options, including upscale boutiques, art galleries, jewelry stores, and souvenir shops. Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall is also nearby for more extensive retail therapy.

The area is home to a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and eateries serving diverse cuisines, from Southwestern to international flavors. There is also  a variety of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues in the area, making it a lively place for nightlife.

Old Town Scottsdale is known for its art scene, with numerous galleries showcasing contemporary and Western art. The Scottsdale Arts District is a must-visit for art enthusiasts.

Old Town Scottsdale is close to the Arizona Canal, providing opportunities for walking, jogging, and cycling. Nearby parks like Scottsdale Civic Center Park offer green spaces for relaxation.

The area hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, including the Scottsdale Arts Festival and Scottsdale Culinary Festival.

Best places to stay in Phoenix in Old Town Scottsdale without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Canopy By Hilton Scottsdale Old Town, 4-star accommodation, great location, offering free bikes,  an outdoor swimming pool, private parking, and a restaurant.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hyatt Place Scottsdale/Old Town, 3-star hotel located on East Third Avenue, 5 mins walk from town center of Scottsdale.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hilton Garden Inn Scottsdale Old Town, 3-star hotel, located in the heart of Scottsdale’s Old Town, within walking distance from Scottsdale Stadium, as well as numerous art galleries, restaurants, and nightclubs.

4. Tempe

Tempe is a lively and vibrant city located just east of Downtown Phoenix. It’s known for its youthful energy, thanks to the presence of Arizona State University, as well as its diverse cultural scene and outdoor recreational opportunities. 

Tempe is well-served by the Valley Metro Light Rail system, making it easy to access other parts of the Phoenix metro area, including Downtown Phoenix, Mesa, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Several bus routes also connect Tempe to surrounding areas.

Arizona State University’s Tempe campus is a prominent feature of the city. You can explore the campus and take advantage of its cultural events, art galleries, and sports facilities.

The Mill Avenue District is a popular destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment. It features a wide range of restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques, and live music venues.

Tempe Town Lake, a man-made lake, is a focal point for outdoor activities such as jogging, biking, and boating. You can rent paddle boards, kayaks, or pedal boats to enjoy the water.

Tempe is home to cultural institutions like the Tempe Center for the Arts and the Tempe History Museum, which offer engaging exhibits and events.

The city hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, including concerts, art festivals, and the Tempe Festival of the Arts.

Many parts of Tempe, especially the downtown and ASU areas, are pedestrian-friendly with well-maintained sidewalks and crosswalks.

Best places to stay in Phoenix in Tempe without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Hyatt Place Tempe Phoenix University, great 4-star hotel, offering  free breakfast, heated swimming pool. Easy access to Sun Devil Stadium, Phoenix Zoo, and Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium.
  • Mid-range ($$): Canopy By Hilton Tempe Downtown, 4-star hotel, easy access to Valley Metro Rail, offering free bikes, private parking, and an outdoor swimming pool.
  • Mid-range ($$): AC Hotel by Marriott Phoenix Tempe/Downtown, great accommodation, located on East Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe. Convenient location, close Mill Ave, lots of eateries and shopping stores.

5. Mesa

Mesa is a city located just east of Tempe and is part of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. It offers a range of attractions and amenities for visitors and is a suitable place to stay without a car, thanks to its public transportation options and walkable areas. 

Mesa is connected to the Valley Metro Light Rail system, making it easy to access other parts of the Phoenix metro area, including Downtown Phoenix and Tempe. The light rail provides convenient transportation for car-free travelers.

Mesa is home to Mesa Arts Center, the Commemorative Air Force Museum, and The Arizona Museum of Natural History that are worth visiting.

The Downtown Mesa area of Mesa offers a mix of shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. It’s a walkable district where you can explore locally-owned businesses and enjoy the local atmosphere.

Mesa is surrounded by natural beauty, including Usery Mountain Regional Park and the Superstition Mountains, which offer hiking, biking, and outdoor adventures. You can reach these areas by public transportation or rideshare services.

If you visit during baseball’s spring training season, you can catch MLB teams in action. The Chicago Cubs’ Sloan Park and the Oakland A’s Hohokam Stadium are popular spring training venues.

Best places to stay in Phoenix in Mesa without a car:


6. Glendale

Glendale is a city located northwest of Phoenix and is known for its suburban charm, sports attractions, and historic downtown district. 

While Glendale is a bit less walkable and connected by public transportation compared to some other parts of the Phoenix metro area, it is still possible to stay there without a car and explore the city’s offerings. 

Glendale is home to several major sports venues, including Gila River Arena (home of the Arizona Coyotes) and State Farm Stadium (home of the Arizona Cardinals). If you’re a sports fan, you can attend games or events at these venues.

The historic downtown district of Glendale is pedestrian-friendly and offers a variety of shops, antique stores, boutiques, and dining options. You can explore this area on foot.

The Westgate Entertainment District is a lively area with restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment venues. It’s within walking distance of State Farm Stadium and Gila River Arena.

Best places to stay in Phoenix in Glendale without a car:


In conclusion, Downtown Phoenix, Midtown/Uptown, Old Town Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, and Glendale are the best places to stay in Phoenix without a car. These are popular bases in Phoenix for visitors, offering a range of amenities that can be explored on foot, by public transportation, taxi, Uber, or Lyft.

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

If you travel to Phoenix as a family, I recommend you to read this article: Best areas to stay in Phoenix with kids. If you are new to Phoenix, you can check this article: Best places to stay in Phoenix for first time.

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!

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