The best advice when looking for apartments in Phoenix is to not bother during the winter months. The huge numbers of people from the northern United States and Canada that come here every winter occupy the vast majority of vacant apartments. However, they all start to leave around April or May of each year, leaving many suites vacant and for the taking.
Because Phoenix is subject to such a seasonal population fluctuation, assuring landlords that you're looking for a year-round home is a very good way to find an apartment. Landlords will be eager to find people willing to sign a one year lease. If you can assure a landlord of this, you might jump yourself to the front of the line.
Phoenix was designed with a very thorough system of freeways that make car travel across the large valley very convenient. Travelling to all the various suburbs is best achieved by car. Although there is a public transportation system, it does not provide excellent reach to the more outlying parts of the metropolitan area.
Phoenix has major sports teams in all the leagues, and enthusiasm for local college sports is high. In addition, the Cactus League spring training that takes place in the area is very popular with baseball fans. The arts are alive in well in Phoenix, with a great music scene, and several professional theatres. For the college bar experience, head to Tempe.