Phoenix is often the first city that comes to mind when one thinks about the sunny state of Arizona. With 1.6 million people and growing, the so-called Valley of the Sun is attracting the attention of both individuals and companies looking to relocate.
Perhaps you're considering moving to Phoenix, but not sure if you want to live right in the center of this big city. Thankfully, this flourishing capital has many neighboring cities sharing the same benefits of a fast-growing state.
Whether you're single and looking for nightlife or your family is seeking their new forever home, there are plenty of cities near Phoenix worth considering.
If you're on the hunt to rent an apartment in Arizona, check out these 10 hotspots — all within 40 miles of downtown:
“Go Sun Devils" might be something you often hear in Tempe. Just 10 miles from downtown Phoenix, the city is home to Arizona State University. Flourishing with college students, Tempe is fun, exciting and offers a fully packed social calendar.
One can catch traveling Broadway productions at the ASU Gammage or visit Downtown Tempe for the annual Festival of the Arts.
Tempe is home to Mill Avenue, one of the state's most popular club districts. The rest of the area boasts eclectic restaurants from global cuisines, hipster cafes with live music and independent boutiques to find unique treasures.
For mainstream entertainment, Tempe Marketplace has world-class shopping, movie theaters and more.
Located due west, Glendale is the go-to city for any sports lover in the Valley.
A resident can experience top sports franchises and athletic competitions year-round. The city is home to both the Arizona Cardinals and the Phoenix Coyotes. In between games, their stadiums host some of the state's biggest concerts and events.
Originally an agricultural hub, Glendale has boomed with residential life over the past decade. It's continually attracting new communities and modern businesses. Here, you can find Westgate, an open-air, lively shopping district filled with fun bars, popular restaurants and entertainment 24/7.
If you want close proximity to Phoenix but also want to live outside the big city, Glendale could be one of your top contenders.
It's a bold statement, but every neighborhood in Scottsdale qualifies as a great place to live. The city has an infinite range of shops, bars, art galleries, museums, restaurants and activities offering something exciting for everyone.
In the city's Old Town district, one can experience buzzing nightlife after dusk and cool cowboy culture by day. Nearby, you can visit otters at OdySea Aquarium or chance your luck with a hand of poker at Talking Stick Resort's casino.
Above this urban heart of the city lies North Scottsdale, an area full of high-end restaurants, beautiful neighborhoods and spas.
If you admire architecture, you'll enjoy Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's winter retreat — it's now converted into a museum.
Love Arizona but not the brown desert landscapes? Check out Peoria, a city that's not only prioritizing sustainability for the environment but is actually green.
The city has made a commitment when it comes to planting and preserving trees, so it's rich with parks and foliage. If you have a furry friend who would love the grassy lands of Peoria, rest assured it's easy to request permission to have a pet through a simple letter.
Known as the Jewel in the Desert, Peoria holds over 10,000 acres of water. Home to Lake Pleasant, the second largest lake in Arizona, the city is popular with those who have a boat, like to fish or participate in water sports.
The beautiful surrounding area attracts horseback riders, offroaders and campers. Although Peoria is north of Phoenix, it's an easy commute thanks to the easy-to-navigate Loop 101 that can take you anywhere in the Valley.
If you love the excitement of a metropolis but want lower apartment rental prices, Mesa is a spot to consider.
Located in the east valley, the city promotes a great quality of life with plenty of golf courses, hiking trails, shopping centers and suburban neighborhoods. Mesa is an ideal place for a growing family since it has the largest public school district in Arizona.
Each spring, you can watch the Chicago Cubs play their spring training season at the beautiful, new Sloan Park. Year-round, Mesa residents can enjoy hiking the Usery Mountain Regional Park or let their dog run off-leash at Mesa Bark Place.
Mesa is abundant with activities offering something for everyone. Plus, at just over 18 miles to downtown Phoenix, commuting from Mesa is a breeze, with multiple highways lining the city.
The smallest on our list, Litchfield Park was originally a planned retirement community outside of Phoenix. Today, it has become a dreamy place to settle down if you prefer a small-town feel.
This relaxed city is home to the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park, one of the only places in the southwest to see endangered and exotic animals.
Golf enthusiasts flock to Litchfield Park to play on one of the best courses in Arizona. Year after year, Wigwam Golf wins “Best of Our Valley" in multiple categories and attracts golfers from all over the country.
Gilbert has notable public schools and low crime rates, making it ideal for families and anyone looking to relocate to a city near Phoenix.
CNN Money's list of “Best Places to Live" awarded Gilbert a spot since the community truly caters to its people. It's the fifth-largest city in Arizona, making it ample enough to offer plenty to do.
You can catch a play at the Hale Centre Theatre or learn more about Arizona at the Gilbert Historical Museum. According to our research, Gilbert's top scores were in coffee, retail shops, health and fitness. This pleasant city is home to cute cafes, eclectic restaurants and plenty of fun, physical activities.
Chandler is worth your consideration whether you're taking your time or need to find an apartment quickly.
This fast-growing community has recently become the Silicon Valley of the desert. Home to tech giants like Intel and Motorola, Chandler offers both career opportunities and a great place to live without the big-city feel.
The Chandler area is spacious and riddled with bike and hiking trails. During hot summers, head over to the award-winning Hampton Aquatic Center or other Chandler city aquatic centers to cool off on water slides and in wave pools.
If you crave a bit of city life, you'll love the vibrant downtown. It offers farmer's markets during the day and an upbeat nightlife scene later.
Fountain Hills is one of the smallest on our list of cities near Phoenix. Traditionally a retirement community, this city has attracted plenty of young families looking for open spaces.
Northeast of Phoenix, Fountain Hills is known throughout the state for its beauty but most noticeably recognized for its fountain. Shooting more than 560 feet tall, the Fountain Hills Fountain is taller than the pyramids and the Washington Monument. The fountain's lake is by a lovely central park that hosts continuous art and cultural festivals all year long.
If you like nature, Fountain Hills offers plenty of outdoor activities. Since an Indian reservation surrounds it, gorgeous desert landscapes encircle most of the city. Fountain Hills is also close to Tonto National Forest and Saguaro Lake, both ideal destinations for outdoor enthusiasts.
Don't forget to take a tube down the Salt River. You may even see some wild horses as you float by.
If you have a family (or are expecting to start one soon), Queen Creek is a great place to call home.
Young children (nine and under) make up 14 percent of the population here, about 10 percent higher than the Phoenix metro area. The city's average age is also lower at 35, meaning Queen Creek is attracting young professionals.
Locals, especially horse enthusiasts, can enjoy the wide trails of the San Tan Mountain Regional Park. Food lovers will want to stop by the Queen Creek Olive Mill to taste locally grown olive products.
Queen Creek is a bit farther from Phoenix than other cities on our list, but in exchange, residents gain even more open spaces.
No matter where you decide to move, all 10 of these flourishing cities are near enough to Phoenix to benefit from everything Arizona's capital has to offer.
Thankfully, Apartment Guide makes finding an apartment in Arizona easy. Just don't wait too long since many are packing up and heading to the Grand Canyon State in 2021.