Tempe is an offbeat, quirky urban oasis of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, home to the Arizona State University and many great attractions. Stroll through the pedestrian-friendly downtown with brick sidewalks, a choice of restaurants and lively nightlife. Visit Arizona State University Art Museum, and the Tempe Historical Museum.

1. Downtown Tempe

Downtown Tempe
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Downtown Tempe is an area located on South Mill Avenue near the Arizona State University Tempe Campus. It is known for its brick sidewalks and its many bars, entertainment venues, microbreweries, restaurants, shops, and its lively nightlife. If you are wondering what to do in Tempe today, this is a great place to start exploring.

Downtown Tempe is pedestrian-friendly and hosts many special events throughout the year, some of which include the Tempe Arts Festival, the 4th of July Fireworks Celebration, and the New Year’s Eve Block Party on Mill Avenue. Cultural venues include the Gammage Auditorium that presents concerts and Broadway plays such as Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and more. Browse our romantic weekend getaways in Arizona guide for more ideas.

310 South Mill Avenue #201, Tempe, AZ, Phone: 480-355-6060

2. Arizona State University Art Museum

Arizona State University Art Museum
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Established in 1950, the Arizona State University Art Museum features a permanent collection consisting of more than 12,000 objects. These include art from Arizona and the Southwestern United States; works by Latin American artists, especially Mexican folk art and ceramics; 3,500 pieces of American ceramics; contemporary art including new media; historic and contemporary American and European prints; and much more.

The art museum offers several education outreach programs, some of which involve activities in local area schools and neighborhoods. The museum also hosts a variety of events throughout the year.

51 East 10th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281, 480-965-2787

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3. Hayden Butte Preserve

Hayden Butte Preserve
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Hayden Butte Preserve is a protected area and a famous local landmark located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway. Also known as Tempe Butte, the butte stands 1,398 feet (425 meters) high. The City of Tempe declared it a park in 1973, and it was designated a preserve in 2002 because of its many desert plants and animals.

There are approximately 500 petroglyphs found here, which the Hohokam Native Americans made sometime between 750 AD and 1450 AD. The 25-acre park is a popular area for outdoor exercise, especially hiking.

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4. Tempe Center for the Arts

Tempe Center for the Arts
© Tempe Center for the Arts

The Tempe Center for the Arts is a visual and performing arts center located on West Rio Salado Parkway along the Salt River in Tempe. Built between 2004 and 2007, the center features striking architecture, and its roof is composed of intricate geometric folded plates. The center serves as the home of dance companies such as ConderDance, Desert Dance Theater, and A Ludwig Dance Theatre; music groups like the Arizona Wind Symphony, the Tempe Community Chorus, and the Tempe Symphonic Wind Ensemble; and a theater company called Childsplay.

The Gallery is a visual arts space that displays works by local and international artists.

700 West Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-350-2829

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5. Tempe History Museum

Tempe History Museum
© Tempe History Museum

The Tempe History Museum is dedicated to presenting the history of the city of Tempe. In the main hall there is an exhibit entitled Tempe: Distinct, Diverse, Dynamic that explores the history of Tempe through a variety of media. The Community Room Art Gallery and the Changing Exhibits Gallery both host temporary art exhibitions, and the Community Room can be rented for meetings and performances.

The museum offers several education outreach programs for children. It also hosts a wide variety of events including children’s plays, concerts, films, and Tempe Historical Society Lunch Talks.

809 East Southern Avenue, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-350-5100, (website link)

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6. Tempe Beach Park

Tempe Beach Park
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Tempe Beach Park is a one-acre city park and local landmark that sits along the Tempe Town Lake. Some of its features include a baseball diamond, other athletic fields, and a splash playground called the Splash Pad, which features a slide, waterfall, spray cannons, and interactive play equipment. Activities include biking, boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, picnicking, and much more.

The park also hosts many events such as concerts, festivals, and running events, and it offers a special program called the Living Tree Memorial Program, a program that gives people the opportunity to have a tree planted in memory of a loved one.

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7. LEGOLAND Discovery Center

LEGOLAND Discovery Center
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LEGOLAND Discovery Center is a great place to spend some quality family time. Your children will love every minute they spend in this wonderland of play and learning. In Miniland, you can all marvel at the amazing famous landmarks which have been constructed out of Lego bricks, including the Grand Canyon exhibit. There is a dedicated build-and-play area for children, as well the Lego 4D cinema, the Merlin’s Apprentice Ride and the Kingdom Quest Ride. You can check the daily schedule online and plan to attend a Creative Workshop where your kids will learn the tricks of the trade from expert Lego builders.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center, 5000 S. Arizona Mills Cir STE 135, Tempe, AZ 85282, 480 565 7078

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8. Things to Do in Tempe: SEA LIFE Aquarium

Things to Do in Tempe: SEA LIFE Aquarium
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The 26,000 square foot SEA LIFE Aquarium contains thousands of aquatic animals including angel fish, clownfish, jellyfish, lion fish, rays, seahorses, and several species of sharks such as black tip reef sharks and white tip reef sharks. The aquarium also features an interactive touch pool called the Interactive Rockpool, where children can touch several aquatic creatures, including crabs, lobsters, and sea stars.

The aquarium is also involved in animal conservation, and it rescues and cares for disabled or injured sea animals including an endangered green sea turtle named Ziva, now happily living in the aquarium’s 161,000-gallon display.

Arizona Mills, 5000 South Arizona Mills Circle #145, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-478-7600, (website link)

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9. Things to Do in Tempe: ASU Gammage Auditorium

Things to Do in Tempe: ASU Gammage Auditorium
© ASU Gammage Auditorium

ASU Gammage is an auditorium located on South Forest Avenue on the campus of the Arizona State University. The auditorium is a historic building: it was the last public commissioned building designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Built between 1962 and 1964, the auditorium is named after Dr. Grady Gammage, president of the university from 1933 to 1959 and close friend of Frank Lloyd Wright.

With a seating capacity of 3,000, the auditorium features three levels of seating. It is known for its good acoustics and its collapsible orchestra shell. The auditorium serves as the venue for operas, symphony concerts, organ recitals, and much more.

1200 South Forest Avenue, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-965-3434

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10. Arizona Mills

Arizona Mills
© Arizona Mills

Located on South Arizona Mills Circle, Arizona Mills is a large indoor outlet shopping mall in Tempe. Opened in 1997, the mall contains more than 185 retailers and 6,000 parking spaces. The interior of the outlet mall features abstract graphics and several pieces of artwork.

Some of the stores include Burlington Coat Factory, Ross Dress For Less, and the Sports Authority. The mall is also the home of Sea Life Arizona and the largest IMAX theater in Arizona.

5000 South Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-491-9700

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11. Tempe Marketplace

Tempe Marketplace
© Tempe Marketplace

Tempe Marketplace is a large open air shopping center located on East Rio Salado Parkway along the Salt River in Tempe. Opened in 2007, the shopping center consists of more than one million square feet of retail space sitting on 130 acres of land. The shopping center features more than 120 retailers, entertainment venues, and restaurants, and it is divided into two areas: an outer ring that houses large retail stores and an inner ring called the District, which contains smaller shops.

There is a large courtyard in the middle of the District that has a stage where there are musical performances and a large screen showing local sporting events.

2000 East Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-966-9338

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12. Things to Do in Tempe: Sun Devil Stadium

Things to Do in Tempe: Sun Devil Stadium
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Sun Devil Stadium is an outdoor football stadium located on the campus of the Arizona State University in Tempe. Built in 1958, the stadium has been renovated and enlarged several times. With a seating capacity of 64,248, the large stadium, sometimes referred to as the House of Heat, features a natural grass playing surface. The stadium is the home of the Arizona State Sun Devils, and it hosts the annual Cactus Bowl.

In addition to university games, the stadium has also hosted pre-season professional football games between the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings as well as between the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos.

500 East Veterans Way, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-965-2381

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13. Tempe Diablo Stadium

Tempe Diablo Stadium
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Tempe Diablo Stadium is a baseball field located on West Alameda Drive in Tempe. Built in 1968 and extensively renovated in 2005, the stadium has a seating capacity of just under 10,000. The renovation targeted several parts of the facility such as the main stadium, the Major League Fields, and the Minor League Complex. The stadium serves as the spring training facility of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

It is also the home field for the night games of the Arizona League Tempe Angels. Concessions provide traditional baseball food and drinks; there are also several concessions that sell a variety of specialty food.

2200 West Alameda Drive, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-350-5265

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14. Kiwanis Park

Kiwanis Park
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Kiwanis Park consists of 125 acres and a 54,000 square foot recreation complex owned by the City of Tempe. The park features an amphitheater, a lake called Kiwanis Lake that includes a boat dock, a children’s playground, several soccer fields, a tennis center with 15 courts, several baseball fields, and a number of volleyball courts.

The recreation center features an indoor heated wave pool as well as lap swimming. The park offers several programs for adults and for children and hosts events such as birthday parties.

5500 South Mill Avenue, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-350-5200

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15. Riverbound Sports

Riverbound Sports
© Riverbound Sports

Riverbound Sports is a family owned and operated paddle board shop that sells and rents standup paddle boards, street longboards, inflatable kayaks, and much more. The shop also offers paddleboard instruction as well as yoga and other fitness classes. Paddle boarding is appropriate for all age groups and all levels of experience and fitness.

The shop sells apparel and a wide variety of accessories, including auto accessories, board accessories, paddle accessories, dry bags, electronics, personal floatation devices, and many others.

1425 E University Dr Ste B-102, Tempe, AZ 85281, Phone: 855-777-6683

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16. Things to Do in Tempe: Culinary Dropout

Things to Do in Tempe: Culinary Dropout
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Culinary Dropout strives to keep customers returning time after time to enjoy ice cold craft beers, killer cocktails and classic American comfort food, prepared the way it was meant to be. To judge by the crowds they attract, they must be doing it right. The menu is packed with all your favorite dishes including a mouth-watering 36-hour version of BBQ pork ribs. Other delectable dishes include their Provolone Fondue, Roasted Salmon, Spicy Korean Skirt Steak and everyone’s favorite Beer Battered Fish and Chips. You can enjoy washing it all down with your choice of craft beer, cocktail or wine by the glass or bottle.

Culinary Dropout, 149 S. Farmer, Tempe, AZ 85281, 480 240 1601, (website link)

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17. Simply Smashing Rage Release Room

Simply Smashing Rage Release Room
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It is difficult to define Simply Smashing. Located on University Drive in Tempe, Arizona, it is officially called a "Rage Release Room." It is a space where people are invited to vent their frustration, anger, and rage by smashing, crushing, and breaking various objects in a safe, protected, and airconditioned environment. It is a combination of a gym, therapy space, anger management room, and amusement park, and it is proving so successful that it is now popping up all over the country. Each exercise, with the client’s favorite music playing in the background, lasts about 25 minutes, and there are all sorts of objects that clients can use to vent their suppressed rage: Glassware, dishes, computers, televisions, car windshields, baseball bats, hockey sticks, and much more. Participants must wear safety goggles, gloves, and coveralls and must be over 18.

1845 East Broadway Road Suite 120, Tempe, Arizona 85282, Phone: 602-909-1996

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18. Cafe Lalibela, Tempe, Arizona

Cafe Lalibela, Tempe, Arizona
© Cafe Lalibela

After you’re introduced to Ethiopian cuisine at Café Lalibela, you will become a life-long fan. This simple, unassuming downtown eatery serves authentic Ethiopian dishes, and they are so authentic, they don’t even provide diners with forks or knives with their meal. The cuisine revolves around crepe-like bread called injera, which you dip into all kinds of stews called wats.

Ethiopian food is all about spices, which they bring all the way from Ethiopia to transform simple ingredients as carrots, cabbage, and potatoes into a delightful, delicious Tikil gomen. They serve superb Ethiopian coffee with all dishes.

849 W University Dr., Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-829-1939

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19. Four Peaks Brewing Company

Four Peaks Brewing Company
© Four Peaks Brewing Company

You do not have to know how beer is made to enjoy it when it is good. Still, it is fun to learn a bit about the process and watch it come out of big, shiny machines and into your mug. At Four Peaks Brewing Company, you can do both. You’ll taste some excellent beers, take a tour of their brewery, and talk to the folks who make it.

The brewery occupies a former creamery, a lovely old brick Mission Revival building built in 1892. High wooden ceilings and 35-feet high clerestory windows create not only a great atmosphere for making beer, but also for hanging out with friends and sampling a brew or two. They also have great pub grub to go with it. Ask them to recommend what goes better with a burger: India American Pale Ale or Scottish Style Ale. They have won quite a few awards for their beers.

1340 E 8th St #104, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-303-9967

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20. AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park

AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park
© AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park

AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park is a museum dedicated to preserving the history of Arizona. Although it focuses on the history of the 20th and 21st centuries in Arizona, the museum also features exhibits of the early settlement days and a Copper Mine Exhibit, a part of the museum’s gem and mineral collection.

The Copper Mine Exhibit is a scale model of an Arizona copper mine that shows how the copper ore was brought up from the earth and made into everyday products. The museum rents out its space for special events such as parties and wedding receptions.

1300 North College Avenue, Tempe, Arizona, Phone: 480-929-0292, (website link)

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21. Daley Park

Daley Park
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Covering 17 acres in the heart of Tempe, Daley Park is a recreational gem which is much loved by locals and visitors. The park offers visitors the choice of many activities including walking and jogging, baseball and basketball courts, soft ball and volleyball courts, horseshoes and corn hole. There are several picnic tables with grills, as well as a larger picnic pavilion with grills. The children’s playground is large and well-equipped with 6 or 7 slides, plenty of climbing areas and several swings for all ages. There are ample clean restrooms.

Daley Park, Encanto Drive/College Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281, 480 350 5200

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22. Phoenix Rock Gym

Phoenix Rock Gym
© Phoenix Rock Gym

Phoenix Rock Gym is a year-round indoor rock climbing facility where everyone can perfect their rock-climbing skills. The facility boasts more than 17000 sq foot of climbing surface and 30mt high walls to challenge you. You do not need to be an experienced rock climber to have fun at this gym; everything you need to know you can learn right on the premises. You can bring your own rock-climbing gear or hire everything you need on site. Lessons and an introductory video will ensure that even total beginners will soon build their strength and confidence. More experienced climbers will find that the routes are regularly changed to provide fresh experiences.

Phoenix Rock Gym, 1353 E. University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281, 480 921 8322

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23. United Escapes of America Tempe

United Escapes of America Tempe
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Continuing the nation-wide fascination with Escape Room experiences, United Escapes of America Tempe has no fewer than 5 exciting escape rooms for you and your team to experience. Each of the rooms has been carefully put together to offer the most authentic and immersive experience possible, with several things happening at once to add to your dilemma. You and your friends or family will need to work together as a team in order to solve the riddles and puzzles and make your escape within the allotted time. Escape Room experiences are great for birthday parties, team-building events and even for an unusual date night.

414 S. Mill Ave, Suite 112, Tempe, AZ 85281, 480 666 5550

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