Tempe Travel Guide

Without a doubt the hippest, most happening sub-city of the sprawling Phoenix metropolis is Tempe. With the massive Arizona State University at its center, Tempe forms the southern fringe of the Valley which almost imperceptibly evaporates into the surrounding desert. Situated on the floor of a huge valley, things can get pretty hot in Tempe, and we’re not just talking about the nightlife.

Thanks to Arizona State University, which has a long and deserved reputation as one of America’s premier party schools, Tempe has the most lively nightlife scene in the state. Unlike other parts of Phoenix, people actually walk around the streets of Tempe. Students, locals and tourists alike come out once the blistering sun goes down to wander the main shopping, dining and entertainment hub along Mill avenue. The four bustling blocks of this wonderful street are the center of activity in Tempe, day and night.

The university, which sits right in the heart of Tempe, is the main focus of daily life in this city within a city. If Mill avenue provides the shopping, it’s Tempe Town Lake that offers the outdoor recreation. Biking and walking paths circle the large lake, leading to a marina, swimming beach and public parks. If you want to venture outside of Tempe you’ll need a car, but within the town itself you can walk or take the local bus to nearly everywhere of interest.


Arizona State University: the progressive, diverse and vibrant atmosphere of Tempe is embodied by Arizona’s largest university, where there is always something interesting happening.

Petersen House Museum: this restored Queen Anne Victorian mansion, built in 1892, was the home of one of Tempe’s first settlers and is now open for free tours.

Tempe Historical Museum: from the earliest Hohokam Indians to the modern day pioneers who settled the area, the history of Tempe is presented in this well-designed museum.

Tempe Town Lake: a wonderful watery oasis in the desert has biking and walking trails around its perimeter leading to public parks, swimming beaches and even a marina where you can rent boats.

Mill avenue: these four blocks of pure shopping, dining and drinking pleasure are the nexus of all activity in Tempe, especially after dark when the air cools down and the action heats up.

ASU Gammage: designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the university’s main performing arts venue always has something impressive scheduled.