10 Coolest Places to Live in Arizona | 2021 Update

Are you looking for the hippest and coolest places to live in Arizona? We put together a list of the trendiest cities and towns in Arizona that offer an authentic experience with tons of entertainment options and a creative atmosphere that fills the air.

What makes a city cool? We think it is based on the access to variety that it provides so that you are never bored. To rank these cities and towns, we factored in things like:

  • Nightlife and entertainment
  • Parks and recreation
  • Arts and culture scene
  • Overall vibe and ambience

Of course, it’s not so easy to describe what is “cool,” but we think you will feel it once you visit these places.

So, let’s see where are the coolest places to live in Arizona and what they have to offer that makes them so unique and attractive.

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10 Coolest Places to Live in Arizona

10. Flagstaff

Coolest-Places-to-Live-in-Arizona-Flagstaff

Location: Check on Google Maps

We start our list of the coolest places to live in Arizona with Flagstaff, which is the largest city in Northern Arizona. It is where Northern Arizona University is located, which gives the city an immediate cool vibe with a strong college town ambience.

Go to its historic downtown and you will find buildings still styled in old architecture that house numerous independent boutiques, locally-owned restaurants, and cozy cafes.

Flagstaff’s proximity to nature and the Grand Canyon also allow its residents to take advantage of excellent hiking and biking trails as well as skiing in the winter.

9. Scottsdale

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Scottsdale is a suburb of Phoenix, but it has developed into its own city with its own identity as well. It’s one of the swankiest communities in Arizona and has been called “The Beverly Hills of the Desert.”

Here, you will find an endless array of upscale places to eat and luxury resorts and spas to relax in.

There is also a neighborhood dedicated to the arts called the “Arts District,” where you can find attractions like the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art alongside dozens of other art galleries that offer local pieces.

8. Arcosanti

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There is no other city in Arizona (or in the world even) that is quite like Arcosanti. Located in a secluded part of the desert about an hour north of Phoenix, Arcosanti was created in the 1970s as a planned city for the future.

It was designed by Paolo Soleri, an Italian architect, whose vision was to develop a city that could live self-sufficiently and in harmony with nature and be the answer to issues of suburban sprawl.

This “urban experiment” is now home to about 80 part-time residents who live in the futuristic buildings that look like a colony from Mars, making it one of the quirkiest and coolest places to live in Arizona.

7. Sedona

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Sedona is quite possibly the prettiest city on this list (it’s own motto is “The Most Beautiful Place on Earth”). It is located in the heart of the desert among majestic red rocks and a never-ending landscape of mountains, canyons, and forests.

In the city itself, you can find over 80 art galleries that offer fine art paintings, contemporary jewelry, beautiful wood carvings, and much more.

Additionally, there are many fantastic small restaurants, bars, and cafes that line the streets of this picturesque and artistic town.

6. Lake Havasu City

Coolest-Places-to-Live-in-Arizona-Lake-Havasu-City

Location: Check on Google Maps

We go from the most beautiful city on this list to possibly the most lively and energetic one, at least during the spring. Lake Havasu City is situated right on the lake on Arizona’s western border with California and has a reputation of being the place to be for college kids during Spring Break.

This city is truly a place to have fun and relax. The waterfront is filled with beaches and resorts while the city streets are packed with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs that keep the party going all night long.

However, it’s not just for the young. Lake Havasu City is also a cool place to bring the whole family to get out on the water and enjoy a laid-back atmosphere.

5. Phoenix

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Of course, Phoenix makes our list of the coolest cities to live in Arizona. The state capital offers an endless list of entertainment choices that the whole family can enjoy, ranging from sports to the arts to dining and nightlife options.

Don’t miss the Roosevelt Row Arts District, which is filled with boutiques and art galleries. Also, check out one of the many museums that Phoenix has to offer, like the world-renowned Phoenix Art Museum or the Arizona Science Center.

4. Bisbee

Coolest-Places-to-Live-in-Arizona-Bisbee

Location: Check on Google Maps

This old mining town that is just a few miles away from the southern border with Mexico has developed into a haven for hippies and eclectic personalities in Arizona. The streets of Bisbee are lined with beautiful, colorful buildings that house one-of-a-kind galleries, antique stores, and specialty boutiques.

This is a place where you definitely can feel the creative energy in the air.

There are also numerous bars, breweries, and restaurants that also offer a similar feeling here, with many of them being locally-owned.

3. Tempe

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Tempe is best known as the college town home to Arizona State University, one of the largest colleges in the nation. It delivers one of the best nightlife scenes in Arizona and constantly exudes a lively, young energy that the 50,000+ students bring each semester, making it one of the coolest places to live in Arizona for students and young professionals.

Of course, this flourishing city also offers many other entertainment options for people of all ages.

There is always live music coming from the bars and venues, theaters that host plays year round, and galleries that showcase some of the best local talents.

2. Prescott

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This small city of just over 40,000 residents sits alone in the desert about 1.5 hours north of Phoenix. Yet, we think it is one of the coolest areas to live in Arizona.

It is close to tons of nature and offers several lakes and phenomenal hiking trails. There is also the beautiful Prescott National Forest that is located directly next to the city.

Additionally, Prescott features a historic downtown district that gives you the feeling of being in the Old West. If you want something a bit more contemporary, you can visit Whiskey Row, which is the lively core of Prescott’s energetic nightlife.

Meanwhile, you can also relax while strolling around Courthouse Plaza, which is a grassy public square that is surrounded by unique boutiques and gourmet restaurants.

1. Tucson

Coolest-Places-to-Live-in-Arizona-Tucson

Location: Check on Google Maps

Tucson takes the top spot as the coolest place to live in Arizona. The 2nd most populated city in the state is full of culture and cool neighborhoods in virtually every part of town.

It is home to numerous museums, like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson Museum of Art, and Pima Air & Space Museum. It also offers tons of things to do and culture to absorb in its historic neighborhoods.

Tucson was even ranked as one of the most popular hipster cities, which was based on how many trendy places like vegan cafes, microbreweries, and thrift stores there are in each city.

If you ever get bored of the city, you can always explore the beautiful and vast expanses of nature that surround Tucson. For example, the world famous Saguaro National Park is just 15 minutes from downtown.

Summary – Coolest Places to Live in Arizona

These are definitely the most hip cities in Arizona based on what they have to offer and their overall culture. This list features a wide range of cities and different reasons that make them cool. It is now up to you to decide which one suits you the most.