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Phoenix Lightrail

Essential Valley of the Sun Tips for Living In Downtown Phoenix

by Debra Pietri

Living near Phoenix is not the same as living in Phoenix. If you're on the fence about making the move from Chandler, Tempe or other Valley suburb to the pulsing heart of downtown Phoenix, a rundown on the downtown highlights may be enough to prompt you to hop from your perch. Those already living near Arizona's state capital know the benefits of living in the middle of the city's action.

Apartments

Whether you're a family of four, a man with a cat or a single woman who needs a large office area to work from home, downtown Phoenix has digs to suit all lifestyles. The size, style and price range of apartments are just as varied as the 1.5 million residents who live in the city proper. Apartments.com showcases a pet-friendly studio with a pool starting in the $500 range to a luxury, three-bedroom, two-bath spread in the $1,400 zone. Need something in between? Downtown Phoenix is the place to nab it.

Transportation

Because Phoenix is one of those sprawling cities that always grows wider, you need some way to get around its 517 square miles. The downtown area is much more compact, putting many amenities on local bus routes, according to the Valley Metro website. Other options include express and rapid bus routes, LINK bus routes and the highly-touted light-rail system that streams you through the downtown area and beyond.

Getting your own vehicle is also a snap with the vast amount of Phoenix car dealerships right around town. Like anything else in the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix car dealerships are extraordinarily varied to meet the needs of your family of four, transporting your cat or the infrequent personal use you'd need if you happen to be working from home in your apartment's large office space.

Food

Fodors notes the restaurant scene in Phoenix and its environs "have metamorphosed into a melting pot for every type of cuisine imaginable."

That means Chinese on Monday, New-York-style pizza on Wednesday and mom-and-pop comfort food on Friday are as readily available as fast food or Greek food every other day of the week. Go to the famous swanky steakhouse, Durante's for a special occassion or check out one of the newer eclectic places like Switch. Of course, you can always hit one of the many supermarkets in and around downtown if you're into that crafty thing called cooking. Fry's, Safeway and AJ's Fine Foods are all in close proximity to downtown.

Night life

Heading home to your cozy downtown Phoenix apartment is always an option for evening, but it might be tough to pass up the wide array of nightlife calling your name. Once again, the phrase "something for everyone" comes to mind, with choices as tame or wild as you care to go.

Parties are big in the downtown scene, according to azcentral.com, and you can find several every week in honor of whatever holiday may be on the calendar or in the bar owners' heads. The bar scene would not be complete without karaoke bars, sports bars, dive bars, cocktail bars, high-end bistros and a number of live music venues. As you may have already guessed by now, downtown Phoenix has them all.

Day Life

You don't have to be a night owl to find stuff to do downtown. The About Phoenix guide boasts a legion of things to do that include annual festivals, behind-the-scenes tours of selected hotspots and professional sporting events. Zoos, gardens, museums, pools, amusement parks and water parks are also on the lengthy list.

Debra Pietri A salsa dancer and lover of fine arts in general, Debra loves attending theater performances and performing with other local artists. When she's not performing, she's writing reviews about the shows she attends.

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