Heather once wrote a post about some neighborhoods being more "walkable" than others - she even found a website which can assign a WalkScore to any address, showing how easy it is to get around without a car.
I live in the suburbs, where walking might be great for exercise, but it's not a very practical way to get things done. It's about a half-mile just to get out of my subdivision and onto the closest major road; then it's another mile to reach a grocery store or strip mall. This is pretty common around most of the Phoenix-area.
Lately I've been gravitating towards the centers at 67th Avenue & Loop 101 - Corte Freccia on the SE corner, and The Village at Arrowhead on the SW corner. I like these centers because they have a "neighborhood feel" to them.
What's missing are the big-box stores and other chains found at most power centers around town - Target, Ross, Home Depot, Frys, Costco, Applebees, Best Buy, etc. etc. etc. What's left are a combination of Mom n Pop shops, boutiques, and a few chains with smaller stores than their counterparts.
If you're looking for a place to have a nice meal, buy some gourmet groceries and a good bottle of wine, or find something a little different, this might be the neighborhood market for you.
Your making the most of walkability Realtor,