This central neighborhood in the city of Phoenix includes both urban and suburban areas. Ranch-style, historic brick or block and newer stucco homes can all be found here. Million-dollar estates dot the Northwest Central neighborhood. Mountain preserve areas surround and run through this area. Popular restaurants are plentiful.  Many of its schools are top rated and draw students from other parts of the Valley. And light rail runs through the southern part.

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.


Light rail runs through the southern end of this neighborhood. This central Phoenix area has easy access to most of the Valley’s freeways.

School Map
Walk Score

Welcome to the Uptown neighborhoods

Explore the 3 Areas of Uptown

North Central: 85012

North Central is the most upscale area in Uptown and overlaps the Midtown neighborhood. It’s also the second priciest neighborhood in Phoenix. Mansions, large and mid-size ranch houses and smaller historic homes can be found here as well. The area is home to several popular local restaurants.

Madison: 85020

Madison is named after the popular school district in this area that draws residents as well as students. Two mountain preserves wrap around the neighborhood. There’s a wide range of housing here from big ranch-style homes to relatively affordable condominiums. Two resorts can also be found in this area.

Lookout Mountain/Moon Valley: 85022

Lookout Mountain/Moon Valley is tucked away among mountains and desert preserves. Big homes with sweeping views, smaller block homes from the 1960s and newer stucco houses and condos are all part of this neighborhood on the northern end of Uptown.

Northwest Central: 85021

Northwest Central has one of the Valley’s first shopping centers and overlaps with the Black Canyon neighborhood. Uptown’s most affordable homes can be found here. But there are also large houses on big lots farther north in this neighborhood.



Phoenix’s Uptown area is popular with people who want to live closer in, near top-ranked schools and next to desert preserves. Neighborhoods vary from mansions and historic homes in North Central to newer homes around Lookout Mountain. The area’s most affordable houses can be found in Northwest Central. There are few vacant parcels left in the central part of this area. Several new infill housing projects were recently completed or are underway. Older apartments and condos are being renovated.

The Market

North Central85012


Lookout Mountain/Moon Valley85022

  • Home prices are climbing in Uptown as more residents opt to move there. North Central is the area’s most expensive neighborhood. Northwest Central has the most affordable homes.

  • Few new homes are being built in this neighborhood because there’s not a lot of vacant land left.

  • Uptown draws many families. The area has few second-home buyers. And investors are having a harder time finding deals on houses to flip or turn into rentals.

  • The area’s rentals, including apartments, condos and homes, are increasingly popular. Families will rent if they can’t afford to buy to be near Madison schools. Millennials and college students are moving into this area’s southern neighborhoods to be near light rail and local restaurants.

Living Here

Living here

Expect mostly older, established neighborhoods with larger homes near mountain preserves and great schools. A well-worn and popular bridle path can be found in North Central, where home prices are highest. Mountain preserves flank Madison and Lookout Mountain neighborhoods. New hip eateries draw residents and visitors. Families, Baby Boomers, young professionals and college students all want to live here. School mornings can be busy in Madison. Light rail runs through the southern end of this neighborhood.

Things To Do

North Central85012


Lookout Mountain/Moon Valley85022

Main attractions

Hip Central corridor leads straight to downtown Phoenix with its concert venues, sporting arenas, convention center and innumerable other big-city amenities. The neighborhood is home to Phoenix Country Club, a picturesque private golf and tennis club in the heart of the city.

Out on the town

Central corridor is a hip area bursting with restaurants, coffee shops and bistros perfect for destination dining or post-work noshing. Big names and world-class culinary talent abounds with Postino Central, Pane Bianco, the Clever Koi, St. Francis and plenty more.

Main attractions

This part of town is surrounded by Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Piestewa Peak and North Mountain Park. Luxuriate in stunning desert sunsets from the patios of Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort. Easy freeway access makes Downtown Phoenix and its concert venues, sporting arenas and destination dining just a short drive away.

Out on the town

Work up an appetite on the bowling lanes at Let It Roll or at Phoenix’s premiere amusement park, Castles N’ Coasters. The park is home to the double-looping roller coaster Desert Storm, an arcade and miniature golf. Then tuck in to some of the Valley’s best authentic Mexican food at Los Reyes de la Torta, Most Wanted Taco Shop and El Bravo. Take advantage of the Valley’s burgeoning craft-beer scene with a couple pints at North Mountain Brewing Co.

Main attractions

This is an ideal neighborhood for the athletic at heart. Lookout Mountain Preserve offers beautiful views and outdoorsy fun. At lower elevations, there’s yoga, pilates, golf, and even Phoenix SCUBA. Close proximity to many major freeways means all points of the Valley are within easy reach, from a Suns game in Downtown Phoenix to the Barrett-Jackson auto show in Scottsdale.

Out on the town

Particularly close by is Paradise Valley Mall, a large indoor shopping center home to Macy’s, Dillard’s, Costco and dozens more stores. The Musical Instrument Museum, a one-of-a-kind world-class facility with over 15,000 musical instruments and artifacts, is close, too.

Explore the Outdoors


There’s a reason they call a stretch of State Route 51 through this area “the Dreamy Draw.” To the east is Piestewa Peak Park, with its challenging but panoramic hike to the summit, and the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, with its variety of hiking and mountain biking trails. To the west, there’s North Mountain Park, which includes “Trail 100.” It might be the most popular mountain biking trail in the Valley. North Mountain Park also includes the Penny Howe Barrier-Free Nature Trail.

Stats & Facts

North Central85012


Lookout Mountain/Moon Valley85022

Who lives here

Uptown has some of the oldest housing in the Valley.  There is a mixture of high incomes and moderate incomes, but the children of area residents have a high percentage of private-school enrollment. Residents of the Madison neighborhood (85020) earn nearly average incomes and have a slightly above-average share of college degrees. 

5 Things To Know About Phoenix

It’s big.

Phoenix is the nation’s sixth biggest city and its population is still growing faster than many other U.S. cities. The city was named in the mid-1800s by settlers who compared their new home to the mythical bird that burned and rose from the ashes.

It’s a great place to hike.

National Geographic ranked Phoenix as one of America’s 15 best hiking cities. The city has a vast network of desert preserves and hiking trails, including iconic summits like Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak. You’ll find trail maps and descriptions online.

It has a reputation for being a well-run city.

Phoenix has received various awards for good governance and has the highest credit rating of the nation’s six largest cities. But the city has struggled to get its fiscal problems in order since the Great Recession. City Council members regularly have coffee meetings open to all residents.

It is focusing on urban growth and transportation.

Phoenix’s general plan focuses heavily on infill development along the light-rail corridor. Light rail will continue to be one of Phoenix’s key redevelopment tools, with city leaders hoping to triple its miles of track by 2050.

It has a thriving cultural scene.

The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Opera and Ballet Arizona all perform in the city’s Symphony Hall located downtown. The Orpheum Theatre, Herberger Theater Center and Valley Youth Theater are nearby. Also located in the central city are the Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Capitol Museum, Children’s Museum, Arizona Science Center and Heard Museum. A popular monthly art walk to a growing number of downtown galleries is called First Fridays and held on the first Friday of each month.