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Ultimate Guide to Living in Downtown Phoenix

By Ellen

We get it, finding an apartment and moving can be a hassle… Don’t sweat it – we’re here to simplify the process for you.

If you’re thinking about moving to the Phoenix area you may be asking questions such as:

  • What’s the cost of living in downtown Phoenix?
  • Where do I begin the apartment search?
  • How do I apply for an apartment?

And the list goes on. But relax. In this guide, we will address common questions related to finding housing, the moving process, and all things downtown Phoenix living.

Roosevelt Row Street Sign

At Moontower, our team has helped hundreds of people find their home in Phoenix, so we know how important it is to make a well-informed decision. Our goal is to help you feel confident and knowledgeable throughout the apartment search to ensure you find a spot that fits all your needs.

From choosing your ideal location to nailing down the details of touring and signing a lease, we’re here to help so you can rent with confidence. Let’s find your dream place in downtown Phoenix!




Chapter 1: Living in Downtown Phoenix
Chapter 2: Cost of Living in Downtown Phoenix
Chapter 3: Finding an Apartment in Downtown Phoenix
Chapter 4: Touring Apartments
Chapter 5: Applying for Apartments
Chapter 6: Signing Your Lease
Chapter 7: Moving
Chapter 8: Living at Moontower

Chapter 1: Living in Downtown Phoenix

Three friends smiling and chatting over coffee on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix.

Why do people choose to live in downtown Phoenix?

There are many reasons that people choose to live in downtown Phoenix, but here are the four we hear most often:

  1. You work downtown and want to live close to the office for a more convenient commute.
  2. You enjoy the culture of downtown Phoenix.
  3. You are a student or employee at Arizona State University.
  4. You are a part of the vibrant arts culture.

Read more: 4 Reasons to Live in Downtown Phoenix

What is it like to live in downtown Phoenix?

Downtown Phoenix is a bustling urban center, home to over 7,000 people. Connected by a recently improved public transportation system, the downtown area is made up of a variety of neighborhoods and buildings including:

  • Museums like the Arizona Science Center and Phoenix Art Museum
  • Government buildings like the Arizona State Capitol Building
  • Chase Field and Footprint Center
  • Roosevelt Row Arts District
  • Central Business District
  • Phoenix Biomedical Campus
  • Arizona State University Downtown Campus

Read more: The Best of Downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row

Neighborhood Highlight: Roosevelt Row

Best Bars + Bites

Cham Pang Lanes@champanglanes

  • Photogenic bar offering cocktails & snacks with a side of bowling.

Ghost Donkey – @ghostdonkeyphx

  • Some of the best mezcal & tequila cocktails you can find in Phoenix. Don’t forget the chips & guac.

Sake Haus – @sakehaus

  • Tokyo-inspired sushi & cocktail bars with a must-try happy hour.

Rough Rider – @roughrideraz

  • Victorian era cocktails paired with modern American cuisine.

Want more? Check out our lists of the Best Bars, Brunch, Restaurants, and Happy Hour’s in downtown Phoenix!

Must-See Murals

Radial Convergence by Kyllan Maney – 214 E Roosevelt St

Lalo Cota Collaboration Mural by Lalo Cota, JB Snyder, MDMN, and others – 128 E Roosevelt St

Welcome to Phoenix by Kayla Newnam – 109 E Adams St

Theodore by Tato Caraveo – 110 E Roosevelt St

1½ Street Murals works by 12 different local artists – 901 N First St

Spice up your IG: 12 Most Instagrammable Places Near Downtown Phoenix (Murals, Restaurants and More)

First Friday Faves

monOrchid Community space with an art gallery, local eateries, shops, and more.

Wasted Ink Zine Distro Local library and store with hundreds of zines, serving as a platform to promote self-publishing zines.

Phoenix General Local boutique offering locally sourced products from high-end perfumes to houseplants to apparel.

The Churchill  Made of shipping containers, and home to a variety of restaurants and retailers.

Read Next: Phoenix vs. Scottsdale: What’s the Difference and Which is Right for Me?

How do I get around Downtown Phoenix?

As Phoenix continues to grow, residents are moving away from car transportation and leaning towards public transportation. The city has invested in the expansion of the light rail, Waymo rideshare, as well as scooter programs and designated bike lanes.

There are 30 public parking garages in the area, with average monthly rates at $65 and an average daily rate between $5-$12. There’s also six Light Rail stations and two Grid Bike hubs.

Read Next: Ultimate Guide to Parking in Downtown Phoenix

Chapter 2: Cost of Living in Downtown Phoenix

three young adults research the additional costs and fees associated with renting an apartment in downtown phoenix

How much does it cost to rent in downtown Phoenix?

Rent prices downtown can range from $1,100 to over $5,000 per month.

At the time of publication, according to Zumper, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Phoenix is $1,777 and the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Phoenix is $2,539.

Renter’s Tip – Some apartments offer a discounted monthly rate on longer lease terms since it is a less flexible, greater commitment for the tenant and guarantees that the landlord is receiving rent payments on the apartment for an extended time frame.

Read the full article here: How Much Does it Cost to Live Downtown Phoenix?

What percent of income should I spend on rent?

Up to 33% of your salary.

Most apartments have a 3x income requirement, meaning your household’s gross monthly income must be over 3x the cost of monthly rent. If you don’t qualify, you will have to co-sign with a guarantor who’s income meets the requirements. Typically, the guarantor must have a gross monthly income of at least 5x the cost of monthly rent.

Read Next: 6 Ways to Save Money on Luxury Downtown Phoenix Apartments

What are additional costs that can affect my monthly rent payment?

The following additional costs are common fees to be aware of as you’re looking at apartments. If you’re unsure about a fee, make sure to check the lease agreement or ask the leasing office.

All fees provided are estimates based on industry standard. Exact costs may vary based on provider.

  1. Parking – $100-$250/month
    • Prefer to bike? Many complexes also offer bike storage for a monthly charge.
  2. Trash – $5-$25/month
    • Some apartments require tenants to pay for trash service each month. This can include valet services that will pick up trash from your door
  3. Renter’s Insurance – $10-$30/month
    • Renter’s insurance is not legally mandated in Arizona, but many apartments will still require tenants to show proof of renter’s insurance before moving in.
  4. Technology Fee – $25-$100/month
    • This fee typically covers the cost of your internet usage, but may also include services such as cable.
  5. Utilities – $25-$100/month
  6. Pet Deposit – $250-$600
    • One-time, refundable payment intended to cover any damages your pet might cause.
  7. Pet Fee – $250-$300
    • One-time non-refundable charge used for things like deep cleaning to remove pet allergens before the next resident moves in.
  8. Pet Rent – $30-$60/month
    • This fee may depend on the type of animal and is usually charged per pet, so if you have two pets, be sure to budget twice as much for pet fees.
  9. Pest Control – $1-$5/month
    • Ensures that if any unwanted pests find their way to the premises, the expense of pest control is taken care of.
  10. Amenity Fee – $30-$150/month
    • Common fee at newly developed properties with high-end amenities.

Read the full article here: 13 Additional Costs to Consider When Looking for an Apartment in Downtown Phoenix

What is effective rent?

Typically, any incentives or promotions offered by a property will be applied as a rent credit towards your first month(s) of rent. If you think of that as a savings over the life of your lease this can bring your total monthly cost down, sometimes in by a significant amount. Your rent after this savings is typically referred to as Effective Rent.

Renter’s Tip – Many newly constructed apartments will offer incentives and promotions before construction is finished to help fill leases before the building opens. If you are looking to live in an apartment with new luxury amenities and with a discounted rent, then look to sign a lease at a newly constructed property, especially if the building hasn’t yet opened.

How should I factor promotional specials into my rent?

Every property will occasionally run its own promotions, but the specials with the most savings to look for include a certain number of weeks free when you sign a lease, waived fees (like application or admin fees), and look and lease specials that incentivize you to sign after your tour. Once you have signed your lease and confirmed your rental rate, you can calculate your Effective Rate by doing the following:

Monthly Rental Cost – Incentive Value/Months Of Your Lease = Effective Monthly Rent

Read more: Base Rental Rate vs. Total Monthly Cost for a Downtown Phoenix Apartment

Chapter 3: Finding an Apartment in Downtown Phoenix

two people talk with an apartment leasing agent about renters insurance in downtown phoenix

Some things to ask yourself when deciding to move:

  • Do I like my property’s management? Are they responsive and trustworthy?
  • Does my property feel secure?
  • Do I need (or no longer need) access to parking?
  • Does the rental rate work for my budget?
  • Is this new place worth the hassle of moving?
  • Does this apartment fit my needs?

Read more: Moving to a New Downtown Phoenix Apartment vs. Renewing: Which is Right for Me?

How far in advance should I start looking for a place?

One to two months before your desired move-in date.

If you start searching too early, you might not be able to see the units available for when you want to move. If you start looking too close to your ideal date, there might not be as many options.

Renter’s Tip – Keep in mind if you’re currently renting, many properties require a 60-day notice of move-out, even if you’re moving at the end of your lease. You don’t necessarily need to start looking for other apartments this far in advance, but this is the time to make the decision.

When is the best time to find an apartment in Phoenix?

August – April

The rental market becomes more competitive in the summer months as moving tends to pick back up. Quoted rental rates are typically higher in Phoenix in the summer versus the winter.

I’m ready to start looking for an apartment, how do I begin?

  • Location – Thinking about your commute to work, accessibility to public transportation if you don’t have a car, and what you like to do for fun can help you find a location.
  • Price – Considering the costs associated with renting in downtown Phoenix as well as your income, set a price range and budget that works for your lifestyle.
  • Amenities – Determine your non-negotiables vs. your wants. It is also important to consider what will be located in your units vs. in the greater apartment complex.

You can read our apartment reviews to get you started a list of properties to our:

Renter’s Tip – You can find apartments through your own research or use an apartment locator who will assist you in your search, often free of charge.

Read the full article: When to Start Looking For Housing in Downtown Phoenix

Is a newly constructed or luxury apartment right for me?

A brand new apartment brings a sense of novelty, as you would be one of the first residents to enjoy all new amenities that simplify your day-to-day routine.

Modern finishings found in newer complexes elevate your living experience and will set your space apart from average apartment complexes in the area.

Often times, these buildings will not reach full capacity within the first year of leasing, offering you the chance to take advantage of the space without feeling crowded.

Still unsure? Read the full article on 5 Benefits of Living in a Newly Constructed Downtown Phoenix Apartment.

Coworking space in Moontower PHX lobby

What is the best floorplan for me?

The first step to answering this question is to determine if you will be living alone or with roommates. Living with someone else divides the cost of living, lowering your rent, and gives you a built-in companion. It can also create distractions and reduce your privacy if you value personal space and alone time. Only you know if having a roommate is the best option for you.

Read Next: Which is Right For Me? Coliving vs. Traditional Apartments in Downtown Phoenix, AZ

Studio –

  • Lowest rent overall
  • Best for one person living alone
  • Don’t spend a lot of time at home
  • Don’t often have guests over
  • Sometimes include divider walls that separate the bedroom from the rest of the space

One-Bedroom –

  • Most affordable rent for two people living together
  • Best for one person living alone or with a partner
  • Separate living and sleeping spaces

Two-Bedroom –

  • Best for one person or partners who want extra room for an office space or guests
  • Best option for two roommates
  • Separate living and sleeping spaces

Three-Bedroom –

  • Best for people who want multiple roommates or additional living space
  • Not as common in metropolitan areas like downtown Phoenix
  • Most expensive option overall

Read the full article: 8 Steps to Finding the Perfect Apartment in Downtown Phoenix

Chapter 4: Touring Apartments

friends walking in downtown phoenix near moontower

Why should I go on a tour before signing my lease?

Ensure your satisfaction with your new home.

If you’re new to downtown Phoenix, touring a property can help you get sense of the atmosphere and location. You’ll be able to speak with a leasing specialist and get your specific questions answered. Touring can also help you narrow down if you’re choosing between multiple properties.

Renter’s Tip – If you’re not moving locally, ask the leasing office for a personalized video tour of the unit you’re interested in or ask to FaceTime so you can ask real-time questions while taking a virtual tour.

What should I bring with me on a tour?

Government-issued photo ID

If you plan on living with someone else, bring them! This is a decision you will be making together, and touring properties together will ensure you’re both on the same page and educated on the property. With everyone present, you are more likely to get all questions answered and be able to make a decision more efficiently.

What will I be shown on a tour?

  • Community Spaces – The leasing agent should show you around the property and help you orient yourself in the building
  • Property Amenities – They should show you the building’s amenities so you can better understand what you’ll have access to if you live there.
  • Preferred Unit – You will be able to see the space where you could potentially be living. If the unit is still occupied, you should be shown the same floorplan in a different unit or one that is most similar to what you’re looking for.

For more info, you can read our article on What Happens on a Tour of Moontower? What to Expect and How to Prepare.

Renter’s Tip – Ask to see multiple floorplans to compare your options. This will help you get a better sense of the actual size and layout of each space and can help you decide what’s right for you.

10 Most Important Questions to Ask on Your Tour:

  1. What are the specific lease terms?
    • Make sure you know the subleasing policy, pet policy, late fee policy, parking accommodations, and additional expenses. You might want to also ask about restrictions on changing the appearance of your apartment (like painting or installing shelves).
  2. What is included in my monthly rental rate?
  3. How much do utilities cost?
  4. Is renter’s insurance required?
    • Arizona doesn’t require renter’s insurance, but individual complexes will often request that resident’s are insured prior to move-in.
  5. How do I pay rent?
  6. How are repairs handled?
  7. How secure is the property?
  8. How often does rent typically increase and by how much?
  9. Is parking available and how much does it cost?
  10. What expenses are due upon application, lease signing, and move-in?

Read the full article here: 11 Questions You Should Ask When Touring an Apartment in Downtown Phoenix

+ download our Apartment Tour Checklist to bring with you!

Chapter 5: Applying for Apartments

Girl with laptop at coffee table

How do I apply for an apartment?

Most applications can be completed online.

Filling out an application is generally a 15-20 minute process. You will need to answer basic information, such as your driver’s license information, emergency contact, pet information, current residence, etc. The property will run a credit check, and will most likely ask you for pay stubs, bank account statements, and your Social Security Number.

You will have to pay an application fee to finish your application, usually ranging from $50 to $100. This covers the cost of the apartment to run a background check.

How long will it take for my application to be approved?

Typically within 3 business days

Make sure you submitted a fully complete application with all of the requested forms to expedite the process. If your application is approved, the next step is to sign a lease.

If you don’t hear back about your application within a week, you can follow up with the leasing office and make sure your application was completed and submitted properly.

Chapter 6: Signing Your Lease

What is included in a lease agreement?

Rent rate, term of lease, and important dates

Usually around 30-50 pages, a lease is a legally binding contract. Read each page thoroughly to understand the terms of your lease and know what you’re getting into. Pay close attention to dates and fees, and take note of when you will pay rent each month, when your lease term ends, etc.

For a step-by-step guide, check out our article on How to Lease a Downtown Phoenix Apartment. 

Read more: What’s Included in Rent at Luxury Downtown Phoenix Apartments?

What fees will I incur when signing a lease and moving to a new apartment?

  • Administration fee – This non-refundable fee will either be due when you submit your application or at the time of move-in. At apartments in downtown Phoenix, these typically range from $150 to $250.
  • Security deposit – This can range from around $250 to the equivalent of one month’s rent. It’s usually due before move-in and can be refunded at the end of your lease as long as there are no damages to the apartment beyond typical wear.
  • Utility setup fee – For any utilities that are not set up by the property, you can expect a one-time utility setup fee typically ranging from $25-$100.

Chapter 7: Moving

moving in downtown phoenix

What are some of the costs I can anticipate for moving?

  • Cleaning Service – Professional cleaning services can range from $100 to $500 depending on your needs, but can help you get more back from your security deposit.
  • Moving Service – Hiring movers can alleviate a lot of the stress of moving. This can cost from $50 to $100 per hour per professional plus additional fees such as the cost of the vehicle.
  • Storage Space – The cost of a storage unit can range anywhere from under $100 per month for a small locker to over $500 per month for a large, climate-controlled storage unit.

When should I turn on my utilities like Wi-Fi, water, electricity, etc.?

Allow at least 24-48 hours for your utilities to turn on after activating them.

Your property will have specified providers for utilities like gas, water and electricities if they’re not already included in your rent.

If you have to set up your utilities, get in contact with the provider and follow their instructions to create an account. We suggest setting up your utility accounts about two weeks before you move in.

You will give them a date you want to start servicing your apartment with that utility. We suggest having them turned on the day before you move-in. Don’t forget, you will likely have to pay a one-time start-up fee.

Chapter 8: Living at Moontower

Moontower living room

Open concept living space at Moontower. Pictured here is the Palo Verde floorplan.

What separates Moontower from other downtown Phoenix properties?

  • Amenities – As a new development, Moontower features state-of-the-art amenities, including a rooftop pool and hot tub, on-demand fitness center, yoga studio and saunas, dog park and spa, on-site coffee and cocktail bar, coworking spaces, bike storage, and a covered parking garage.
  • Floorplan Options – Moontower offers studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments to fit any lifestyle and living arrangement.
  • Location – One block away from Roosevelt Row, filled with restaurants, bars and events, Moontower situates you minutes from anything you could want from living in downtown Phoenix.

What amenities are offered at Moontower?

  1. Rooftop pool & hot tub
  2. Multiple coworking spaces located throughout the building
  3. 9th floor terrace with grilling stations & firepits
  4. Yoga studio equipped with mats, towels, blocks, & more
  5. Rooftop lounge and club room with a full chef’s kitchen
  6. Two saunas
  7. Pet spa with washing & grooming stations
  8. Fitness center, featuring cardio equipment, squat racks, free weights, Pelotons and more

Learn more: Everything You Need to Know about the Amenities at Moontower

Residents laying by the pool at Moontower

How much does it cost to live at Moontower?

As of December 2023, rent starts at $1,640.

Your base rent will vary based on which floorplan you choose and how long you sign your lease for.

In addition to your monthly rental rate, all residents are responsible for the following monthly fees:

  1. Technology fee – $80/month
  2. Pest Control – $2/month
  3. Trash fee – $10/month
  4. Utilities – Monthly bill varies based on usage
  5. Rental insurance – Rates will vary from around $11-$26/month based on provider, but a minimum of $100,000 in renter’s liability insurance is required when you live at Moontower.

You can also opt in to these features for an additional charge:

  1. Parking – Contact our leasing office for updated pricing and availability.
  2. Pet rent – $40/month per pet. A one-time $250 pet fee and refundable $250 pet deposit will be due at move-in.

For more info, check out this article: What Fees Should I Expect to Pay When I Sign a Lease at Moontower?

How do I qualify to live at Moontower?

Provide identification –

This will be used to check both your credit and criminal history. If we find any issues with either, it could lead to a denial or the need for an extra deposit or guarantor.

Verify your income –

Applicants must have a combined verifiable income that is at least three times the rental rate of their apartment. We require that a tenant’s income is at least three times the rent so that we can have confidence that the tenant will be able to afford the rent and are unlikely to default on their lease. If you don’t qualify due to income, you have the option of adding a guarantor. If a guarantor is needed, they must have an income that’s at least five times the rental rate of your apartment.

Purchase renter’s insurance –

All residents at Moontower are required to have a minimum of $100,000 in renter’s liability insurance, a standard amount for apartments in downtown Phoenix. This will cost from around $11-$26/month based on the provider.

Meet occupancy limits –

Moontower is required by Arizona state law to abide by the two persons per bedroom, plus one per apartment standard.

  • Studio: Three persons limit
  • One-Bedroom: Three persons limit
  • Two-Bedrooms: Five persons limit

Follow our pet policy –

If you’re planning on bringing your furry friend to Moontower, please reference the list below to ensure your pet isn’t a restricted breed. Please note that these restrictions don’t apply to qualified assistance animals.

  • Pit Bull Terriers
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Chows
  • Presa Canarios
  • Akitas
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Wolf-hybrids

Wondering if you qualify? Read our full article on How Do I Qualify to Rent an Apartment at Moontower? or find out How to Lease a Downtown Phoenix Apartment If You Don’t Qualify.

Moontower seems like the right fit for me. What should I do next?

  • Take a Tour – Schedule a tour of Moontower with a member from our leasing staff.
  • Explore Floorplans – Discover the perfect floorplan for you from our selection of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments.
  • Apply Today – Start your application and secure your new home today!

To find the perfect floorplan for you, check out our floorplan comparison articles:

Your perfect apartment is just around the corner

We hope that this guide has helped simplify the process of finding an apartment in downtown Phoenix. By following this guide, you will be well on your way to finding the perfect apartment for you and your needs!


If you need any additional help during this process, contact the Moontower Leasing Team! We are happy to help answer any questions you might have regarding your housing search or living at Moontower.

DISCLAIMER: This report, last updated December 2023, utilizes various real estate and economic data sources. The information within this document is time sensitive and will be kept relevant to major shifts in the market. No warranties or guarantees are made as to the accuracy of the information contained herein.

Ellen, Moontower Contributing Author


Ellen is a regular contributing author for, covering leasing tips and all things downtown Phoenix. She has 3 years of experience in multifamily leasing and marketing. Ellen is a huge foodie and has a dog named Leo.

January 05, 2024

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