The Ultimate Guide to Tempe, Arizona

Laura Williams

Updated on:

Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

Tempe is by no means a large or crowded city. And while that may sound boring to some people, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Tempe offers endless fun daytime activities to do with the family and fantastic nightlife for a night out with friends.

And since Tempe is part of the larger Phoenix metropolitan area, you can find fascinating desert scenery everywhere. In addition, the nearby buttes make for a great hiking trip.

You can also have a great time indoors. For instance, Tempe is full of museums, aquariums, shopping malls, and a diverse selection of restaurants and coffee shops.

So if you’re thinking about moving to Tempe or just going there on a quick trip, read this article. We’ll talk about everything there is to do in Tempe, Arizona.

Fun Activities to Do in Tempe

Go to the Tempe Town Lake

Tempe Beach Park Photo Source
Tempe Beach Park Photo Source

Tempe Town Lake is where you’ll find the best outdoor activities in the city. For example, kayaking, paddle boarding, and the Splash Pad waterpark.

Visit the Tempe Center for the Arts

Aside from the impressive architecture of the Tempe Center for the Arts, they always host a wide variety of dance, music, and theater shows.

Attend Festivals at Tempe Beach Park

Tempe Beach Park sits along the Town Lake. It’s known for hosting many events like festivals, music concerts, and athletic events.

Sporting Events at Wells Fargo Arena

The Wells Fargo Arena sits on the Arizona State University Campus. And if you enjoy watching sports, they often host basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling events.

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Best Attractions in Tempe

The Sea Life Arizona Aquarium

Sea Life Arizona Aquarium - <a href="">Photo Source</a>
Sea Life Arizona Aquarium – Photo Source

If you’re looking for a great day out with the family, look nowhere further than the Sea Life Arizona Aquarium, where you’ll find 26,000 square feet of water filled with thousands of species.

Papago Park

Hole in the Rock - Photo Source
Hole in the Rock – Photo Source

Papago Park is a fantastic destination for observing the land’s natural beauty. It’s also filled with excellent hiking, running, and biking trails.

Hayden Butte

Also known as Tempe Butte, this 25-acre park is filled with ancient Petroglyphs made by Native Americans centuries ago. Some even date back to 750 AD.

Tempe Historical Museum

If you want to learn more about where you’re staying, you should head to the Tempe Historical Museum, where you’ll find tons of information about Tempe’s history.

Best Coffee Shops in Tempe

Ziggi’s Coffee

Ziggi’s is a local coffeehouse chain with a highly rated Tempe branch. Apart from serving classic brews and blended drinks, they also have great smoothies.

Cafetal Coffee

This shop sits on the Arizona State University campus. They serve coffee and espresso, as well as breakfast sandwiches and pastries.

Cartel Roasting Co.

Cartel Roasting is proud of the fact that they roast their brews in-house. So if you’re looking for a fresh cup of coffee, this is where you’ll find one.

Highest Rated Restaurants in Town

Top of the Rock Restaurant

Top of the Rock is one of the fancier restaurants in the city. It’s located in the Marriott Hotel and offers a 360-degree view of the valley to enjoy while dining.

King’s Fish House

If you’re looking for a good seafood restaurant, King’s Fish House is the place for you. Also, the restaurant is known for its wide selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.

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RigaTony’s Authentic Italian Restaurant

RigaTony’s restaurant is the highest-rated Italian place in Tempe. And if you’re ever hosting an event, the restaurant provides large-scale catering.

The Keg Steakhouse

Few foods can compete against a good steak. So if you ever find yourself craving steaks, you should head to the Keg Steakhouse.

Where to Go for a Fun Night Out

Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday is always a contender when looking for a fun night out with friends. They serve drinks at a reasonable price and New Orleans-style food.

Yucca Tap Room

Yucca Tap Room keeps the music going all night if you feel like going dancing. They’re also famous for beer and whiskey.

Low Key Piano Bar

Visit the Low Key Piano Bar for a more laid-back night with dueling piano musicians playing all the famous tunes.

Shopping Hot Spots in Tempe

Tempe Marketplace

The Tempe Marketplace is an open-air mall with over 120 retail stores, restaurants, and venues. It’s divided into an outer ring with big stores and an inner ring with smaller ones.

Arizona Mills

If you’re more into shopping inside, the Arizona Mills is a large indoor mall with abstract artwork to enjoy while walking. It also features 185 retail stores.

Mill Avenue Shops

Mill Avenue is a well-planned, pedestrian-friendly area where you can find many retail shops, restaurants, and coffee shops.

Great Hotels to Stay at in Tempe

Marriott Phoenix Resort in Tempe

This is a 4-star hotel that features a swimming pool, hot tub, spa, and free WiFi. It also has a great location, only 4.9 miles away from the airport, 4 miles away from the university, and 3.8 miles away from the Legacy Golf Club.

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Residence Inn

While the Residence Inn is only a 3-star hotel, it doesn’t disappoint in terms of hospitality and activities. They also host regular social events with snacks and drinks.

Graduate Tempe

Graduate Tempe is also a 4-star hotel favorite among many travelers. It’s also relatively affordable, so check it out if you’re on a budget.


Going on a fun day in Tempe will never be a decision you regret since nearly anything you’d think of can be found there.

For starters, if you’re looking for fun physical activities, you can go to the Town Lake for kayaking or paddle boating.

Alternatively, if you want an excellent place to eat, you can go to RigaTony’s for Italian food, The Keg steakhouse, or King’s Fish House if you’re craving seafood.

And if you want to go shopping, head to the Tempe Marketplace or Arizona Mills, where all your shopping needs will be met.

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