Moving to Tempe Area… Advice Please?
In general, if you live near downtown Tempe or the light rail, you will be in an area with lots of college students. This is because ASU is near downtown Tempe and many students take the light rail to get to campus. This does not mean you will have to stay in a place with lots of loud frat bros, however.
The light rail runs along Apache Blvd / main st east of campus. If you go east of the 101, you're far enough from campus to avoid the party scene. But that's also not the nicest area of town in all honesty. There's a place in this area called Midtown on Main that has nice units.
West of campus is mostly houses instead of apartments. There can be some great deals for renting in these houses and they offer much more privacy from the party scene, but it might be difficult to rent a whole house on your own. These places are easier to rent with friends.
There's a place called willow creek apartments that is pretty nice, and not far from the light rail. It is just south of Apache on Broadway. Slightly nicer area imo.
I lived in a complex called Red Mountain Villas which is northwest of downtown and the campus. The units were nice but some were a bit dated. I enjoyed living there; it was quiet and had lots of families instead of students. 24 hour hot tubs, small gym, racquetball court, heated pool. And the price was in your range. I would check that place out. It was within walking/biking distance of the light rail too. The only problem I had there was that the prior tenant of my room was a smoker and I never could fully get rid of the smell. If possible, insist on walking through the actual unit you'll be living in rather than just looking at the model.