15 Best Things to Do in Tempe, AZ

15 Best Things to Do in Tempe, AZ

Home to the Arizona State University Tempe is much more than just a flourishing college town. The Arizona sunshine is quite well known for providing some of the best ambiances for outdoor activities. The city is always buzzing with some events or concerts organized by its lively people. And, when none of those events are going on- people set out to go kayaking! Downtown Tempe is quirky as well as pedestrian-friendly. The streets have been decorated with a chain of restaurants, bars, and clubs. Aquariums or water-parks are something that families love way too much. Done with all these? Head out to the Hayden Butte or Hayden State University Art Museum to get a real taste of Tempe. Come, let us have a look at what you can do to make the best of your Tempe trip.

Stroll around Downtown Tempe

Downtown Tempe
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Downtown Tempe is one of the most exotic locations to hang out in Tempe. It is in the most promising part of the town- near the University campus and South Mill Avenue. This part of the town is quite gorgeous and is well decorated with sidewalks that are made of bricks. It is filled with branded shops, breweries, boutiques, pubs, and good restaurants.

It is pedestrian-friendly and is the epitome of entertainment. It serves as a venue for a lot of events. Being in the center of the town, Downtown Tempe houses some of the best events in the city. Live music during these events, fireworks during the 4th of July are just to name a few of the entertainments.

Get a taste of art at Arizona State Art Museum

Arizona State Art Museum
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Arizona State University Art Museum acts as a prominent attraction for the city of Tempe. The permanent art collection of this museum is exclusive, having more than 12,000 famous pieces of art.

It also features artworks of folks from all over the United States, Arizona itself, and Mexicans. The Mexican art style is quite prominent here. You can also find a lot of work on ceramics, as it holds a great significance here. Having more than 3500 pieces on ceramics itself, Arizona State Art Museum is adept at exploring new fields when it comes to art. It also deals with contemporary pieces along with certain European styles.

Learn about the natives at Hayden Butte Preserve

Hayden Butte Preserve is one of the most iconic landmarks in Tempe. It also happens to be a protected piece of land by the government. Acting as one of the biggest tourist attractions, Hayden Butte Preserve quite near Mill Avenue. It is also quite high and overlooks the city located at an elevation of 1,398 feet.

It was declared by the government to be a park long back. But, a lot of native flora and fauna were found here, which led it to earn the title of a preserve in 2002. A lot of petroglyphs can be discovered here. It is rumored that these were made by Hohokam Native Americans an incredibly long time back.

Get amazed by the SEA LIFE Aquarium

Interested in aquatic life? Find yourself fulfilling your dream in the biggest aquarium of Arizona- SEA LIFE Aquarium. Having an area of almost 26,000 square feet, the aquarium has a vast exhibit when it comes to different sea lives. Clownfishes, jellyfishes, seahorses, lionfish, various types of sharks, crabs, and other species are present in plenty.

Also, the aquarium is made up of glass so you can see the different fishes swimming around, and touch the glass to interact with them. It is a very entertaining way to spend an afternoon with your family, and kids love this huge aquarium.

Shop at the Arizona Mills

One of the biggest shopping spaces in all of Arizona- Arizona Mills is quite a gorgeous place to hang out if you feel like shopping a bit. But, warning: Once you enter, you will probably go on a shopping spree as it has a huge collection of branded stores and boutiques.

It was established as a shopping mall back in 1995, and it has been popular ever since. With almost 185 shops- you can get your hands on literally everything. It also has a giant parking space. But what’s more important is the interior of this huge shopping mall. The interior is decorated with different abstract and contemporary art pieces.

Visit the local Tempe Marketplace

Tempe Marketplace
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Are you in the mood to have a bit of outdoor shopping fun? Wait no more for we have the Tempe marketplace for you! An outdoor space that is filled with several shops and eateries.- Tempe Marketplace is the paradise for shopping under a budget. The government came up with such an idea, and it was made successful in 2007.

It is built on almost 130 acres of area and has more than 120 shops and restaurants too. So, if you are feeling a little hungry amid all that shopping- you can do so too. Large screens showing different games, live music, crowded shops- everything makes this market a lovable one.

Enjoy a day at Big Surf Waterpark

Do you want to feel some cool splashing water when it gets too heated? Big Surf Waterpark will take care of your needs! It happens to be one of the earliest water parks in all of the United States. It was actually built in 1969 and is the first one to have a wave pool.

Featuring innumerable rides- the park brings a smile to everyone’s face. Also, time flies by real quick here at Big Surf Waterpark. Some of the highlights are Tornado Twisters, Bora Bora Bay, Hurricane Slides, and various other special slides. There is a place where some of the most famous men in music organized their concerts. Did you know even Elton John played here?

Catch a game at Sun Devil Stadium

Sun Devil Stadium
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Located on the campus of Arizona State University, Sun Devil Stadium is a chill stadium to enjoy a heated game night. This is a football stadium that was built back in 1958 and is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a college game in an outdoor stadium.

The stadium was not as large as it is now. Since its construction, it has been remodeled a lot of times. It also underwent renovations, but now it can hold almost 64,248 people! It is actually the home ground of the Arizona State Sun Devils and the stadium has natural grass too.

Did you know that the stadium hosts other games too? It is just not a university stadium, but it also hosts various professional football games too. It also hosts several events throughout the year including a Cactus Bowl.

Enjoy an event at the Tempe Beach Park

Tempe Beach Park
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Tempe Beach Park is more of a landmark of Tempe that is used by both locals as well as tourists to sit back and relax for a day. Surrounded by the Tempe Town Lake, Tempe Beach Park is quite a small park in the heart of Tempe. The park is almost 1 acre in area and has a lot of activities for you to try out.

It has several fields for playing different games, baseball fields, and there is a special attraction called the Splash Playground. It is what makes the park more interesting as it is a tiny water park inside Tempe Beach Park having a lot of thrilling water sports just for you to try out.

Visit the ASU Gammage Auditorium

ASU Gammage Auditorium
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The enormous auditorium located right on the campus of Arizona State University is known as the ASU Gammage. But, it is not any ordinary auditorium- it has got a vast history behind it. The infamous architect- Frank Lloyd Wright-designed and built the huge building.

With the construction being finished in 1964, the auditorium was been named after the then University president- Dr. Grady Gammage. He also happened to be a close acquaintance of the architect. It can hold almost 3000 people. Different operas, concerts, and other events are held in this auditorium. The students can also use this infamous auditorium to host their performances.

Explore the Tempe History Museum

Want to know more about Tempe city’s history? They have presented the Tempe History Museum just for you! The main exhibit happens to be ‘Tempe: Distinct, Diverse, Dynamic’ that has everything you need to see to know more about the city. Located in the main hall, it also happens to be the prime attraction of people.

There are many pieces of art as well as different media through which you can learn about the city. There are two galleries well inside the museum, that has several art exhibitions going on throughout the year. There is also space where you could host private events or conferences. There are a lot of educational tours going on in the museum that helps students and tourists to know more.

Admire the geometrical Tempe Center for the Arts

Tempe Center for the Arts
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The only thing that attracts the tourists more than the art at the Tempe Center for the Arts is its building or architecture. The architecture is very alluring which draws people towards it. The roof is built with different folded plates, placed geometrically.

Apart from having a beautifully designed building- Tempe Center for the Arts has an exquisite art collection for its visitors. It is also a haven for different performing arts too. A lot of dance, as well as music groups, are hosted by the Tempe Center for the Arts. We get to see many national as well as international talents here.

Devour on the gorgeous Kiwanis Lake

Kiwanis Lake
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Owned by the government of the city of Tempe- Kiwanis Park and Kiwanis Lake are two tourist spots located in the same region. So, a single trip will cross two things off your trip!

It is a recreational park built on more than 125 acres of land with a great view! It comprises every field- basketball, soccer, and several other sports. It also has almost 15 volleyball and tennis court

It also has a children’s playground along with panoramic views of the lake. You can go boating in the lake too. Did you know there is also a wave pool built in here? Bonus point: It is heated as well! Children have the time of their lives here while adults can find themselves a nice picnic spot to sit back and relax. You even get to host birthday parties.

Watch Baseball at Diablo Stadium

Tempe Diablo Stadium
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Not content with football? Does your heart crave for some live baseball? Diablo Stadium is just the right cure for you! With almost 10,000 seats- it hosts some of the best games of baseball in Tempe, Arizona.

It was built a while back, but the 2005 renovations brought the stadium back to life. Both major and minor leagues play in this stadium. Being the home ground of Arizona League Tempe Angels, the locals are quite invested in this stadium. Game nights are fun with a lively match, hotdogs, drinks, and popcorn!

Hike at the Papago Park

Papago Park
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Papago Park is a place filled with activities. You can have a picnic, go hiking or learn about the native history at the Arizona Heritage Center that is located in this Papago Park.

The views of this Papago are beautiful indeed as the color of the rock formation is red here, and there are several palm trees and cactus bushes to make the view more splendid. The trails are quite accessible here along with biking options too.

The Heritage Center has quite a nice exhibit to show the history of the town, but it focuses on the modern history of the 20-21st century. Bonus point: It has a copper mine exhibit you can check out!

This concludes our trip to Tempe, Arizona. The hip college town hosts a lot of events throughout the year to give its students and tourists entertained. Not catching a festival? Have a fun day shopping at the Mills or the Marketplace. If you want to relive your childhood days- a day trip to the Aquarium or the Big Surf Waterpark will make you feel like a kid again!