Northwest Valley

General

Peoria makes up most of this growing area that stretches north to Lake Pleasant. This area has some of the most upscale neighborhoods in metro Phoenix’s West Valley and a couple of popular retirement communities. A mix of new, large stucco homes and more-affordable smaller ones near golf courses and desert parks are found throughout. Retail has followed rooftops here. Job hubs are emerging. A spring training stadium brings many visitors in March. And Loops 101 and 303 make the area much more accessible. 

This neighborhood guide - like every one on Street Scout - was researched and written by experts from The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. It's based on public records, census data and on-the-ground reporting. Our Emmy-winning photographers and videographers have brought images of each neighborhood to life. We know our neighborhoods. If you want to live here, you want to read this.

Transportation

Both Loops 101 and 303 run through this area. State Route 74, known as the Carefree Highway, stretches across the north end. Part of this neighborhood runs along U.S. 60 toward Wickenburg.

School Map
Walk Score

Explore the 5 Areas of Northwest Valley

Peoria Town Center: 85345
View homes for sale in this neighborhood

Peoria Town Center is the original part of the city. This area has Peoria’s older and more-affordable homes. Many houses here were built in the 1970s and ’80s. Pioneer Community Park is a popular spot in this neighborhood.

Centennial: 85381
View homes for sale in this neighborhood

Centennial is named after the well-ranked high school in the middle of the neighborhood. This area has some newer neighborhoods as well as office and industrial parks. Loop 101 runs through the western part.

Westbrook Village: 85382
View homes for sale in this neighborhood

Westbrook Village is named after the popular retirement community and golf courses in the middle of this area. Newer houses and more family-oriented neighborhoods can be found on the north end of this neighborhood.

Vistancia/Lake Pleasant: 85383
View homes for sale in this neighborhood

Vistancia/Lake Pleasant is home to high-end communities and golf courses, including Vistancia. Lake Pleasant is on the northern edge of this neighborhood, where there’s land for growth. The newer Loop 303 runs through it.

North Surprise: 85387
View homes for sale in this neighborhood

North Surprise is bisected by U.S. 60 and stretches to almost Wittman. Sun City Grand, the most upscale of those retirement developments in the Valley, is here. Golf courses are aplenty. Several large new housing communities are planned for the north end of this neighborhood.

Housing

Housing

Newer luxury homes can be found on the north end of this growing area. More affordable houses, typically built in the 1970s and ’80s, are on the southern end. Two popular retirement communities, Westbrook Village and Sun City Grand, are located here. Condos and townhomes can be found throughout. Newer apartments are in the Vistancia area. This area draws families, second-home buyers and retirees.

The Market

Peoria Town Center85345

Centennial85381

Westbrook Village85382

Vistancia/Lake Pleasant85383

North Surprise85387

  • There is a wide range of home prices. The Vistancia area has many new, upscale homes going up. The median price there is above $300,000. In the Peoria Town Center and Centennial areas, houses typically cost half that much.

  • Home prices are in the mid-$200,000s in the Westbrook and North Surprise areas.

  • Vistancia, Westbrook and North Surprise’s Sun City Grand draw many second-home buyers.

  • The northwest Valley wasn’t hit as hard as other parts of metro Phoenix during the foreclosure crisis. Investors had fewer bargain houses to choose from here, so there aren’t as many rentals.

  • Rentals are popular in Peoria when spring training begins in March. The area also draws many snowbirds.

Living Here

Living here

Look for a suburban lifestyle with many golf course and large desert parks. Newer freeways have made this area more accessible to other parts of the Valley. The north end of this neighborhood has a resort-like lifestyle. The center is more family-oriented with lots of schools, shopping and jobs. Two large retirement communities on the west side of the neighborhood draw many winter visitors. U.S. 60 sees many drivers heading to and from Las Vegas, so expect more traffic there on the weekends. There’s plenty of land for growth here.

Things To Do

Peoria Town Center85345

Centennial85381

Westbrook Village85382

Vistancia/Lake Pleasant85383

North Surprise85387

Main attractions

Home to Old Town Peoria, this neighborhood is surrounded by top West Valley attractions. There’s the Wildlife World Zoo, which offers an up-close look at a large collection of exotic animals, including white tigers and a rare white alligator. Also close by is Westgate Entertainment District, a sprawling complex of shops, bars and restaurants. A 20-screen AMC theater is located there. And Gila River Arena, a state-of-the-art concert venue and home to the Arizona Coyotes, is close.

Out on the town

Park West is a major dining and retail hub. It’s home to a brewery, a movie theater and more. For outdoor family fun there’s Pioneer Community Park, outfitted with sports fields, dog parks, ramadas, a playground and splash pad, and a lake. Or go for a round of golf at Peoria Pines. Get cultured at Peoria Center for the Arts, which hosts a variety of plays, musicians and comedians.

Main attractions

This northwest Valley neighborhood is flanked by country clubs and golf courses. A straight shot down the freeway are Westgate shopping and entertainment complex, Gila River Arena and University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals. Peoria Sports Complex is a prime location for seasonal events and festivals. In February and March, it’s the spring training home of the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres.

Out on the town

Arrowhead Towne Center and nearby complexes are flush with shopping, dining and entertainment options. The large indoor shopping mall is outfitted with major department stores, independent retailers and AMC Theatres. Across the street is an 18-screen Harkins Theatre and Arizona Broadway Theatre, where you can enjoy dinner and a live show. Work it all off with a stroll through Thunderbird Paseo Park. With nearly four miles of desert trails, expect to see horseback riders, cyclists, joggers, dog walkers and families at play.

Main attractions

Golf nuts will be pleased to know this area is surrounded by pristine golf courses and country clubs, including Union Hills Golf and Country Club, a semiprivate club with an 18-hole golf course. Peoria Sports Complex is a prime location for seasonal events. In February and March, it’s the spring training home of the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres. A short jump on the freeway takes you to two of the Valley’s best and biggest venues. There’s Gila River Arena, home to the Arizona Coyotes hockey team and host to big-name concert tours. And look for the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals.

Out on the town

Arrowhead Towne Center and nearby complexes are flush with shopping, dining and entertainment options. The large indoor shopping mall includes major department stores, independent retailers and AMC Theatres. Across the street is an 18-screen Harkins Theatre and Arizona Broadway Theatre, where you can enjoy dinner and a live show.

Main attractions

The great outdoors can be found in this active area surrounded by Lake Pleasant, Peoria Regional Preserve and Thunderbird Conservation Park. Enjoy hiking, biking and sharpshooting. In good weather keep your eyes peeled for brightly colored hot-air balloons. Golf nuts can enjoy a round at one of the many surrounding courses, including Blackstone Country Club and Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia, an award-winning, five-star public golf course.

Out on the town

A short drive east is the community of Anthem, where you’ll find deals at the packed Outlets at Anthem and family fun at Anthem Community Park and Daisy Mountain Railroad. Arrowhead Towne Center is to the south, flush with shopping, dining and entertainment options. The large indoor shopping mall is outfitted with major department stores, independent retailers and AMC Theatres.

Main attractions

Golf nuts can enjoy a round at one of the many surrounding courses, including Blackstone Country Club, Desert Springs Golf Course, Great Eagle Golf Club and Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia, an award-winning, five-star public golf course. In February and March, enjoy a day at the ballpark at Surprise Stadium, the spring training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals. Or go to the Peoria Sports Complex, home of the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres.

Out on the town

A straight shot down the freeway takes you to Wildlife World Zoo, which offers an up-close look at a large collection of exotic animals, including white tigers and a rare white alligator. This neighborhood also puts you within easy day-tripping distance of Wickenburg, a rustic Old West town small in size but big on charm and history.


Explore the Outdoors

Outdoors

These neighborhoods flank Lake Pleasant Regional Park, which offers everything from boating to paddle-board yoga. There also are facilities for camping, hiking, biking, fishing and picnicking. Thunderbird Conservation Park offers about 15 miles of groomed multiuse paths for hiking, mountain biking, jogging and nature observation. The White Tank Mountain Regional Park is very close. It has a myriad trails for hiking and biking, plus camping and horseback facilities. The Maricopa Trail, which eventually will connect regional and municipal parks in a 142-mile system, skirts the area. And the multiuse path at Rio Vista Community Park in the south end of the area connects to the Arizona Canal Trail that goes into central Phoenix.

Stats & Facts

Peoria Town Center85345

Centennial85381

Westbrook Village85382

Vistancia/Lake Pleasant85383

North Surprise85387

Who lives here

Led by one especially affluent neighborhood, the Northwest Valley is an area with above-average incomes and high homeownership. The newer Vistancia/Lake Pleasant neighborhood (85383) is one of the rare Valley places with six-figure median incomes. A high share of residents have college degrees in this area.

5 Things To Know About Peoria

It wants to attract more employers.

Peoria is targeting high-wage industries, including information technology services, high-tech manufacturing, life sciences and higher education. The city hopes that satellite campuses of Trine University and Huntington University will attract more businesses and grow its younger population.

It has plans to preserve land.

Although Peoria is focused on growth, it has an extensive land conservation plan. The city plans to save up to 15,000 acres of land for parks, open space, historical monuments, wildlife conservation and recreational use. Much of this land includes ancient Indian sites and areas of the Sonoran Desert.

It has places to play.

There are more than 30 parks located across the city. Peoria’s Rio Vista Recreation Center has a fitness center, gymnasium, rock wall and fitness classes at less-expensive rates than most private gyms.

It was founded by farmers.

In the 1880s, four farming families from Peoria, Ill., were drawn to the area for its fertile land. In 1897, a map was filed with the Maricopa County recorder for the settlement. The farmers named it after their hometown.

Its residents are happy there.

A recent survey done by the National Research Corp. found 98 percent of Peoria residents would recommend the city as a great place to live.