There are several great communities in the Phoenix metro area. If you are looking for something in Phoenix proper, I would recommend Arcadia, Biltmore, or the North Central corridor area. There are some great homes in these areas that have lots of character (no cookie cutter communities).
I always tell people to check out the areas where new restaurants are going in, as these are usually areas that people end up migrating to. For instance, LGO and Postino's brought a whole new vitality to the Arcadia area. RIght now, there is an explosion of new restaurants in Arcadia/Biltmore and in the Central corridor (along the light rail route).
I personally live in the Biltmore area and love the proximity to the freeways, restaurants, and cultural events.
If you need more help, feel free to say hi and I will help you out! I can be reached at 480.217.9184 or kevin@fineAZliving.com