Papago Vista – Phoenix, AZ

Papago Vista, a vibrant urban community located in the city of Tempe, sits less than 10 minutes away from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Refreshingly unconventional, this neighborhood provides natural beauty, a rich cultural history, and plenty of outdoor attractions for tourists and residents of all ages. Whether you prefer a picnic with family and friends, a day of golf, or a simple stroll along the distinctive red rock formations, Papago Vista guarantees not to disappointed. You can easily experience the splendor of the Sonoran Desert, with Papago Park and South Mountain Park right in your backyard. This outdoor paradise attracts active sports fans, families looking for a reasonably priced getaway and nature lovers from all over the world.

Schools in Papago Vista

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Long influenced and inspired by regional, local and international tastes, Papago Vista residents can enjoy a vast selection of fast food, casual dining and fine dining styles. Dishes that you wouldn’t expect in Arizona, such as Japanese sushi, French crepes and Mexican ice cream, thrive in this diverse community. Nook, a low-profile Italian eatery in the center of Arcadia Gaslight Square, serves satisfying Italian plates at affordable prices. Try the Napolitano pizza or the Purco e Funghi, which come served with perfect house-pulled mozzarella. The Calabrese, decorated with taleggio, parmesan, sweet sausage and caramelized onions serves as another house favorite. Tasty pizzas, amazing service and signature desserts make this place one of the best-kept secrets in the neighborhood. Don’t be fooled by its vintage appearance, New Hong Kong Restaurant features the most authentic and flavorful Cantonese food in town. Toss aside the Americanized menu with the value buffet, and ask for the Chinese menu, where tangled layers of skilfully prepared noodles, slow simmered soups and moist meats await. Begin with the salt and pepper wings, then move on to the tender black beef fillet served over curry powder and Singapore rice noodles. The cuisine at Asi Es La Vida, a Mexican restaurant, remains as gratifying today as it was over 20 years ago when it first opened. Given the long years, the outside may seem a bit ruined, but once inside, you notice that the softly lit rooms, white linen table tops and Frida Kahlo paintings tell a different story. Order a glass of genuine sangria, then sit back and unwind. Try the Acapulco-style shrimp bisque, a spicy soup with enormous shrimps, Veracruz-style fish and sliced top sirloin. Grab a cold drink or dance the night away at one of Papago Vista’s local pubs. Crafted cocktails, savory nosh and upcoming names in music have found a home at Culinary Dropout at the Yard Gale. This entertaining gastro-pub can accommodate more than 700 guests and organizes large music events on Friday and Saturday nights. When you walk through the doors of Papago Brewing Company, a laid-back neighborhood pub, expect to be welcomed by a large statue of a jolly monk. This remains the place to visit if you love beer, especially Belgium beer. Live rock bands brew up a party on the weekends, and a large crowd gathers on Thursdays for karaoke.

History & Culture

The Hohokam people inhabited Papago Vista for roughly 1,500 years. They were expert farmers who established a system of irrigation canals, carrying water from Salt Lake River to water their crops. The canals were so efficient that they were excavated hundreds of years later and became the footing for today’s water system. In 1865, early Western settlers migrated into the area and built stores, mills, warehouses and small communities across the vast desert land. In 1872, the town witnessed a cultural change as Hispanic families arrived from northern Mexico and southern Arizona. They brought with them new costumes, cuisines and social activities. Today, the area celebrates the historical importance of Hispanics within the community with the annual Tardeada Festival. You can find visual arts everywhere in Papago Vista, from prehistoric drawings to contemporary arts by international artists. Watch for art in unexpected places, such as the post office or public library.


Most residents prefer to drive their cars to get around town, as they enjoy access to the best freeway system in the entire state of Arizona. The METRO light rail line provides simple connections to Tempe and Downtown Phoenix. It also has a direct link to Sky Harbor International Airport. The community’s central location makes traveling to nearby cities and popular tourist attractions a breeze. Papago Vista’s public bus service operates 7 days a week, from 5 am to 1 am, and utilizes 14 local routes, two free Flash routes and five express routes. Uber and Lyft remain available throughout the Greater Phoenix area, and hailing a cab off the street proves quite easy during daylight hours. This town provides plenty of ample sidewalks, safe bike lines and light rail facilities to encourage getting around in anything but a car.


Life in Papago Vista carries an average cost of living when compared to the rest of Phoenix, yet it offers a high quality of urban life with access to top-notch transportation, plenty of outdoor activities and safe schools. The cost of renting a one-bedroom apartments averages at $685 per month. A light rail ride to downtown Phoenix costs about $2.50, while gas prices typically settle at 9 percent lower than the national average. Expect to pay about $3 for a pint of beer at a local bar.


Papago Vista provides a wide assortment of shopping destinations, from specialty boutiques to major retailers and anything in between. Take a stroll along the tree-lined sidewalks of Downtown Tempe for unique shops, including Divaz Boutique, a place that sells fashion-forward women’s clothing and accessories. Sit back while this top-notch team prepares a dressing room just for you and makes your shopping experience truly exceptional. Hippie Gypsy, Papago Vista’s premier hippie boutique since the 1960s, carries classic tie-dye t-shirts, 70s board games, retro room decor and anything a true hippie might need. Arizona’s busiest shopping destination, Arizona Mills, includes over a mile of retail stores, outlet stores and entertainment venues. Shop and save big on designer brands, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike and Nine West. Residents can do their grocery shopping at the Safeway on East Broadway Road, a long-time supermarket chain that includes a deli, bakery and butcher shop. The Tempe Farmer’s Market features organic produce, grocery items, salads and fresh sandwiches at affordable prices.


Papago Park houses one of the most scenic and easy-to-access desert landscapes in the Greater Phoenix area. Explore over 1,200 acres of rolling hills, picnic fields and outdoor attractions. The Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden and Arizona Historical museum are all located within the park, making it a great destination for kids of all ages. Don’t miss the easy “Hole in the Rock” hike, a spot where locals gather to watch the sunrise and sunset. Golf enthusiasts can also enjoy the park’s 18-hole executive golf course. Surrounded by beautiful dessert sights, Rolling Hills Golf Course delivers a pleasurable experience for players of all levels. Go for a leisurely stroll, bike ride or active run at the Tempe Beach Park, located in Mills Avenue. This vast park features scenic pathways that encircle a placid lake and hosts many athletic events throughout the year, such as Ironman Arizona.
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