Veronica Samuels

There are many amazing things to do in Tempe AZ, located in Maricopa County in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

Whether planning a quick weekend getaway from Phoenix or a road trip in southern Arizona, there is something for everyone in Tempe.

This college town, packed with student crowds, bustles with plenty of activities, attractions, and events happening most of the year, along with many outdoor opportunities amidst the stunning desert landscapes.

I have covered the best things to do in Tempe AZ in this guide, along with the top places to stay and the hidden gem of Tempe, Arizona.


Spring is the most crowded season in Tempe as it is a favourite period among locals and visitors.

The weather is excellent, and the warm air and colourful desert landscapes adorned with vibrant wildflowers in blossom, make it popular months.

The hottest period in Tempe is between June and August.

If you want to avoid crowds and travel economically, fall months are ideal, especially November, and beyond, since Tempe is one of the best places to spend a winter in Arizona.


✅3 Cities & Nature Tour. Shop, Art, History, Food. Scottsdale, Phoenix, & Tempe. (5/5 200+ reviews🤩) – This 4-hour tour is perfect covering all the top attractions with pickup included. Check out the activities you can enjoy here.

✅Hole in the Rock & Tempe Lake E-Bike Tour: 2 Hours(5/5 200+ reviews🤩) – This morning Scottsdale e-bike tour gives a great alternative to walking tours that allows you to cover the city without getting too tired before lunchtime. Check out more info here.

Hole in the Rock Hike & Bike(5/5 20+ reviews🤩) – Discover the beauty of Tempe Town Lake and Papago Park on this fun 10-mile, 1.45-hour tour. We’ll explore the region’s history and stop for a hike at Papago Park’s “Hole in the Rock.” 

All gear is included—guided tour, bikes, neck gaiter, and backpack for your items and water. Read more about Hole in the Rock Hike & Bike here.

✅Tempe Puzzling Adventure(5/5 10+ reviews🤩) – Turn Tempe into a game while partaking in a 2-hour Walking Adventure. 

Your smartphone will act as your guide, while you solve clues and complete challenges around the city. The entry price is per team. Check out more details here.

✅Tempe Tirade Scavenger Hunt(5/5 10+ reviews🤩) – Guests get to discover in an alternate reality our favorite hidden gems off the beaten trail and creatively interpret fun art, history, and culture clues – for points! 

They get to enjoy fame and glory while appearing on our website’s international leader board, no matter what their score.

Get ready to discover unusual oddities, laugh out loud, and make the experience your own. Book here.



One of the best things to do in Tempe Az is the heart of the town, the perfect way to immerse in the city’s culture.

Downtown Tempe is located on South Mill Avenue near the Arizona State University Tempe Campus.

Mill Ave, a pedestrian-friendly street, is the perfect place to enjoy shopping, dining, and nightlife. Regardless of what time of day you visit, Mill Ave is always worth a stroll. 

things to do in tempe for free

Known for its brick sidewalks, unique shops, many bars, delicious food, entertainment venues, microbreweries, restaurants, and shops, there’s something for everyone on this iconic Tempe street.

If you are wondering what to do in Tempe today, this is a great place to start.

On special days and during peak tourist months, you can even spot local artists performing on the street, as well as events and parties during Christmas and New Year’s Eve.


The list of the best things to do in Tempe AZ would be incomplete without mentioning the largest university in the state, Arizona State University.

ASU is also home to some fantastic museums open to the public, and Arizona State University Art Museum is one of them.

things to do in Tempe

Established in 1950, the Arizona State University Art Museum features a permanent collection consisting of more than 12,000 objects, including Latin American art, art from Arizona and the Southwestern US.

You can find over 3,500 pieces of American ceramics, contemporary art, and American and European prints.

Depending on when you visit, you can attend one of the many events held at the museum, including attending creative workshops, and outreach activities.


The Tempe History Museum, located in the former home of Charles Trumbull Hayden, one of Tempe’s founding fathers is a treasure house to learn about the history of the city and the Salt River Valley. 

The Hayden House, the location of the museum, itself is worth checking out, which is a beautiful example of Territorial-style architecture, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

One of the top and free things to do in Tempe Az, The Tempe History Museum is home to over 70,000 historical artefacts, archival footage, exhibits and photographs on the history of Tempe and the Salt River Valley.

things to do near Tempe az

The museum is also home to an extensive research library, open to the public. 

The Community Room Art Gallery and the Changing Exhibits Gallery host temporary art exhibitions, depending on when you visit, you may be able to see some additional exhibits.

The museum offers several educational programs for children, including children’s plays, concerts, and films.


Whether you are an art buff or not, I highly recommend stopping by the Tempe Center for the Arts, known for its spectacularly designed building along the riverfront.

It’s a feast for the senses and one of the iconic landmarks in Tempe.

The Tempe Center for the Arts is a visual and performing arts located on West Rio Salado Parkway along the Salt River in Tempe. 

Built between 2004 and 2007, the complex’s roof is dazzling, comprising intricate geometric folded plates.

The center serves as the home of dance companies from around the world.  

things to do in Tempe today

Browse the visual arts space that displays thousands of splendid works by local and international artists.

Watch a show at the theatre, visit one of the many exhibitions, witness an event in their 200-seater studio theatre, or attend the many performances held here.

There are usually open-mic nights, plays held here by local theatre groups, and even free classical concerts during the evenings and weekends.


One of the iconic attractions in Tempe, Arizona is ASU Gammage, a massive auditorium located on South Forest Avenue on the campus of Arizona State University. 

It is one of the top things to do in Tempe AZ as this historic building was the last publicly 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.

fun things to do in Tempe

This architectural marvel has three levels of seating and can accommodate 3,000 people. 

It is renowned for its excellent acoustics, collapsible orchestra shell and symphony ring. 

If you can time it right, do attend one of the events among the many symphony concerts, Broadway musicals, organ recitals, Operas, theatricals, and many other events held in the auditorium.


Another exciting stop for museum lovers visiting Tempe is The Niels Petersen House, a local historic landmark.

Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, it is one of the top things to do in Tempe AZ.

Known for its exemplary Queen Anne Style brick architecture in the Salt River Valley, this house gives you glimpses of the lives of the people in the late 1800s.

things to do in Tempe at night

Wander around the well-preserved rooms adorned with pieces authentic to the late 1800s and early 20th century, all symbols of an upper-class society during those times.

Note that it is best to book your Petersen House Museum tour in advance as visits are by appointment only.


One of the top historical landmark buildings in the city is Hayden Flour Mill, a perfect spot to get introduced to the city’s milling history.

Located at the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, it is one of the fun places to visit in Tempe AZ.

what to do in tempe az

The original flour mill was constructed in 1874 and rebuilt later as the building was brought down by a fire. 

Although not used since 1998, and you cannot get in, the Hayden Flour Mill is worth a quick stop on your way to A Mountain as it is on the way.


If you are a fan of sports, I highly recommend spending an evening at Diablo Stadium, one of the fun things to do in Tempe AZ.

This 10,000-seat stadium is the home of the minor league baseball team, the Arizona League Tempe Angels, and a popular spot for things like concerts, festivals, and other special events.

Built in 1968, the stadium offers plush seating, clean lavatories, and cutting-edge lighting and audio systems offering excellent views of the landscape no matter where the seating is.

fun things to do in Tempe Arizona

Located in the heart of Tempe, right next to the ASU campus and a few blocks from Mill Avenue on West Alameda Drive, Tempe Diablo Stadium is a fantastic spot to catch a baseball game that is usually affordable.

Or, check out one of the many special events often held here.


Located on the north side of Tempe Town Lake near the Mill Avenue Bridge, at the intersection of Mill Avenue and Washington Street, Marquee Theatre is one of the top tourist spots in Tempe you must visit.

This popular venue is compact, holding only up to a thousand people, but is renowned for hosting legendary celebrities, including the likes of Selena Gomez.

You need to plan your visit and the concert to attend at Marquee Theatre in advance.

Check out their calendar online and book tickets before you go to Tempe.


Another venue for sports lovers visiting Tempe is Sun Devil Stadium, an outdoor football stadium on the campus of Arizona State University.

It is one of the top Tempe Arizona things to do to indulge in thrilling games of the Arizona State Sun Devils, for whom the stadium is the home.

Constructed in 1958, the stadium has a seating capacity of over sixty thousand people.

Explore the large stadium, nicknamed the House of Heat, known for its natural grass playing surface.

Sun hosts the annual Cactus Bowl, and other university games and events, so you will most likely be able to catch one for a fun evening in the city.


one of the easily-accessible green spaces in Tempe is LoPiano Bosque Habitat, located north of Loop 202 between College Avenue and Mill Avenue.

Featuring 13 acres of biking and hiking trails, the LoPiano Bosque Habitat is the perfect place to spend time in nature amidst the bustle of the city,

There are many hiking and biking trails, and spots to sit and enjoy people watching or viewing passing birds.


One of the best city parks known for its large green space with baseball & softball fields, basketball court, play area, horseshoes & grills is Daley Park.

Covering 17 acres, Daley Park is one of the best places in Tempe for a recreational evening.

Choose your favourite sport between baseball and basketball courts, softball and volleyball courts, horseshoes and corn hole.

Stroll amidst lush spaces, jog, run or enjoy people-watching. 

There are many picnic tables with grills, along with a larger picnic pavilion with grills while your kids have a blast in the playground.

Opening hours – 6 AM to 12 AM



Who doesn’t love unleashing their inner child? Relieve your childhood or enjoy a fabulous time with your kids getting creative at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona.

Another Arizona Mills attraction, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, is one of the fun things to do in Tempe Az, for families with young kids. 

Enjoy the rides at Merlin’s Apprentice Ride and the Kingdom Quest Ride. 

The build-and-play zones allow kids to let their imaginations run wild. 

what to do in Tempe Arizona

If you want a bit more educational, check out a variety of LEGO-themed workshops, and classes.

There are various themed build-and-play zones, including an underwater zone, a pirate zone, and even a princess zone. 

Enjoy LEGO-themed movies, as the 4D effects make the experience even more fun at the 4D cinema. Take your kids on the LEGO raft ride to cool off. Find your tickets here online.


One of the fun things to do in Tempe AZ is check out SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium in the Arizona Mills Mall.

Plus, during summer in Tempe, SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium, spanning a massive 26,000 square feet, is a great place to cool off and escape the heat.

Get your tickets to the aquarium quickly online here. 

fun things to do in Tempe

Get up close and personal as you walk through the sea tunnel to watch sharks, stingrays, seahorses, angel fish, clownfish, jellyfish, lionfish, many types of sharks, and other sea creatures.

Learn all about the beautiful sea creatures at the many interactive touch pools, where kids and you can touch crabs, lobsters, and sea stars.


One of the fun and unique things to do in Tempe Az is Phoenix Rock Gym, a year-round indoor rock climbing facility to perfect rock-climbing skills. 

In this vast indoor gym spanning 17000 square feet, dare to get on one of the ropes dangling to climb rocks as high as 30 meters.

You do not need to be an experienced rock climber, and even if you have never done it before, you can learn right on the premises. 

things to do in tempe az

Bring your own rock-climbing gear or rent it here. 

There are areas for warm-ups, cool-downs, and 56 top-ropes are available, ranging from straightforward cruising climbs to overhanging arm blasters.


One of the fun things to do in Tempe AZ at night is solve puzzles at Great Room Escape. 

With each room carefully put together with different fun and quirky themes, it is one of the best things to enjoy with your friends and families.


One of the oldest shopping areas and entertainment centres in the city. Arizona Mills is the place to go for buying some souvenirs and more. 

Filled with beautiful artwork inside, this mall is home to top brands, and houses Sea Life Arizona Aquarium and the largest IMAX theatre in Arizona.

things to do in tempe

If you want the kids to be occupied, head to the indoor amusement park Gameworks.


If you want to shop where the locals shop, head to Tempe Marketplace, a vibrant outdoor shopping center where you can enjoy a plethora of activities.

Located along the Salt River in Tempe, on East Rio Salado Parkway, the shopping centre is home to more than a hundred shops of all kinds.

If you wonder what to do in Tempe besides museum, the marketplace is an excellent spot where you can go window shopping, live entertainment, and occasional events amidst the colourful buildings sprinkled with fountains.

Admire the spectacular visual and laser effects, one-of-a-kind water features, and patio fireplaces in the Market Place.

On the weekend evenings, you can enjoy musical performances in the large courtyard.

It is one of the best things to do in Tempe at night as the venue becomes bustling with live music in the evenings.


One of the top entertainment centres in the city, Tempe Improv is the place to go to laugh to your heart’s content thanks to the series of talented comedian performances.

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Tempe, head to the Tempe Improv operating since 1974 and is famous for hosting plenty of celebrity artists including Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher, and Tim Allen.

things to do in tempe az

Located in Downtown Tempe, this is the perfect outlet for some if you are not with kids. You can even join in as they also host open mic nights.

Book your tickets online at the Tempe Improv as they get sold out pretty soon, especially when big names perform.

There is even a restaurant and bar to bite before the show.


There is nothing better than pints of cold beer to unwind on an evening after a busy day of outdoor explorations.

Head to Four Peaks Brewing Company to quench your thirst with some local beers, one of the things to do in Tempe this weekend

Try a pint or two at this brewery housed in a lovely old brick Mission Revival building built in 1892.

Tempe things to do

Or opt for a flight at this working craft brewery known for its award-winning brews.

Or better, join one of their interesting tours to learn about the brewing process of craft beers, which also includes sampling them.

Relax at their pub, amidst high wooden ceilings and 35-foot high clerestory windows eating delicious pizzas and burgers with your beer.

✅Custom Arizona Brewery / Vineyard Tour🤩 – Discover several breweries in the Phoenix area on this private excursion.

There are also options in the area to try mead and wine if you’d like to enjoy a mix of the three to accommodate everyone in your group. Read more about Custom Arizona Brewery / Vineyard Tour.


Located on University Drive, one of the fun attractions in Tempe is heading to the Rage Release Room, Simply Smashing.

If you are looking for quirky things to do in Tempe, Arizona, look no further. 

In this space, you can vent your frustration, anger, and rage by smashing, crushing, and breaking various objects in a safe, protected, and air-conditioned environment. 

Considered a unique and new concept, a combination of a gym, therapy space, anger management room, and amusement park, it is definitely worth checking out for an unusual evening in Tempe.

Packed with coveralls, gloves and goggles, and choosing your favourite music to be played, you can choose from a wide range of objects to let it all out in about 25 minutes.


One of the unusual things to do in Tempe Az is Lumberjaxes Axe Throwing, a pub and an adventure view for Axe throwing, another adrenaline-releasing activity that has gained popularity recently.

After you have had your fill of throwing, taste the best grills with the best brews and cocktails – a perfect evening Tempe itinerary.



One of the best lakes in Arizona, Tempe Town is one of the top things to do in Tempe AZ.

Tempe Town Lake is a popular local spot for walking, jogging, and biking, and one of the largest urban lakes spanning 224 acres. 

Tempe Town Lake has more than a 2-mile-long lake to enjoy boating(including electric motors).

Although you cannot swim, jet ski or waterski, fishing and kayaking are popular in Tempe Town Lake. 

what to do in Tempe

Head to the northern end of the lake, which has boat ramps and spaces for fishing, playing, and sunbathing.

There is a marina with boat rentals, picnic ramadas, multi-use trails, a playground and splash pads.

You can fish Walleye, largemouth bass, yellow bass, rainbow trout, bluegill, channel catfish and crappie regularly stocked. 


Kiwanis Park, a famous park home to the big Kiwanis Lake, is one of the best urban green spaces in Tempe spanning 54,000 square feet.

It is one of my favourite free things to do in Tempe AZ as it has something to offer to visitors of all ages and travellers of all types.

If you want to enjoy outdoor games, choose between a playground, basketball courts, baseball, volleyball and tennis courts.

Want to picnic, head to the picnic tables overlooking stunning lush views.

If you want to have fun in the water, how about fishing in the lake? Or simply relax and watch colourful visitors including herons, ducks, and geese.

If you want to escape the heat if you are here during hot afternoons, head to one of the indoor and outdoor wave pools for cooling off.

Stroll along the winding trails to enjoy stunning sunset views over the lake.

Hike to the top of the Tempe Butte, an extinct volcano following a trail in the park.

Enjoy bowling with your kids at the bowling alley or play with your kids on swings and a zip line.

For people wanting more water sports, there is a three-story tower with multiple slides, or rent a pedal boat or kayak. 

If you are looking for a quiet romantic walk at night, stroll the pathways at night as the park is open until midnight every day!

You may even be able to join a local event as Kiwanis Park is a famous venue for all types of events and festivals.

Opening hours – 6 AM to 12 AM


Hayden Butte Preserve is one of the top attractions in Tempe. 

If you are an outdoor enthusiast wondering what to do in Tempe, Az, I recommend heading to this iconic cinder cone.

Hayden Butte Preserve is also a protected area home to over 500 petroglyphs, created by the Hohokam Native Americans between 750 AD and 1450 AD. 

Besides being a popular spot for hiking and running, Hayden Butte offers stunning views of the college town and is a perfect spot to watch golden sunsets painting the desert landscapes on the horizon spectacularly. 

On a clear day, you can even see all the way to Phoenix. 

fun things to do in Tempe Arizona

Since the hike is pretty easy, it is one of the fun things to do in Tempe, AZ, with kids.

Also known as ‘A’ Mountain, or ASU Mountain due to its proximity to the Arizona State University Campus at over 400 meters high, the hike to the top of Hayden Butte takes around 30 minutes to climb, delivering panoramic views over Tempe.

Ensure to bring a headlamp or flashlight if you’re hiking at sunrise or sunset, as the trails can be a bit dark.

There are two, well-marked, easy-to-follow trails – the Cave Creek Trail and the Gila Trail. 

The Cave Creek Trail is shorter and steeper, while the Gila Trail is longer and more gradual.


Head to Hole in the Rock, a natural geological formation in Papago Park, one of the popular hikes and things to do in 

Hole-in-the-Rock is a series of holes carved out by millions of years of erosion by the wind into the sandstone hills.

fun things to do in Tempe az

Due to its location, this 1,500-acre park, only 15 minutes east of downtown Phoenix, is also one of the best Phoenix sunrise spots as well.

Plenty of trails are categorized into the West Side Trails and the East Side Trails. 

One of the most popular routes for enjoying a quiet sunrise is the trail to Hole-in-the-Rock.

RECOMMENDED – 10 Best Places To Watch An Epic Sunset In Sedona

The trail, about 0.3 miles one way, is easy, and you can enjoy a quick hike with your family and friends to admire the gorgeous views during the golden hour.  

From the parking lot, you will pass a series of unique red sandstone rocks to access the viewpoint accessed via stone steps rising 200 feet high.

You can climb inside the formations and watch one of the best sunsets near Phoenix, casting brilliant hues over downtown and the desert oasis below. 

Since the park gates close at 7 PM, plan your hike accordingly.

Learn more about the area’s history in the Heritage Square Museum which features a replica of an old-fashioned Western town by joining one of their guided tours.

things to do in Tempe this weekend

AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park is one of the best museums known to preserve the history of Arizona, from the 20th and 21st centuries

Check out the days of the early settlement and a Copper Mine Exhibit, 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. 


One of the fun things to do in Tempe AZ if you love outdoor adventures is renting a bike to explore the city.

Tempe is home to over 217 miles of bike paths, and since it is a college town, you will be accompanied by plenty of locals on your tour.

things to do in Tempe tonight

Rent an e-bike for an easy touring option, especially a ride enjoying the views of the lake and other city views.

They even offer bike locks and e-bike tours if you’d have a guide to help you discover the best spots in Tempe.

✅Hole in the Rock & Tempe Lake E-Bike Tour: 2 Hours(5/5 200+ reviews🤩) – This morning Scottsdale e-bike tour gives a great alternative to walking tours that allows you to cover the city without getting too tired before lunchtime. Check out more info here.


When you visit Tempe, there are lots of dishes to be had and drinks to be tasted. 

Thanks to many fantastic restaurants in Tempe, you will be occupied and be treated to a variety of delicious cuisines and drinks.

Here are some of my favourite places to eat in Tempe, AZ.

Top of the Rock – Known for its luxurious ambience and excellent location, Top of the Rock is the restaurant to go if you are looking for a fine dining or a dinner date in Tempe.

Located at The Buttes by Marriott, Top of the Rock features innovative farm-to-table cuisine infused with local Tempe culture.

You will be treated to stunning night views on the 14th floor, surrounded by a classy atmosphere.

things to do in tempe Az

Select from their wide variety of delicious spreads and wines to enjoy amidst a perfect setting for a romantic dinner.

Postino Annex – Located in downtown Tempe, Postino Annex is the perfect spot for lunch as you can squeeze a visit amidst exploring the best things to do in Tempe with friends. 

You can choose from large and small platters depending on your hunger level that go best wines or a cup of coffee.

Barrio Queen – Located in Tempe Marketplace, Barrio Queen is the best place to go if you crave Southern Mexican cuisine.

From tasty tacos to mescal menus, you can taste a variety of snacks and drinks, including tequila here.

Ghost Ranch – Known for its unique dishes like the Aztec Cake(no, it is not a cake, but a tasty layered Mexican lasagna) and other delicious items including steaks and crisps, Ghost Ranch is worth stopping by for a bite.


Canopy By Hilton Tempe Downtown is one of the best options for staying in Tempe. Arizona. Set in Tempe, Canopy By Hilton Tempe Downtown offers accommodation with free bikes, private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre.

Featuring a terrace, the 4-star hotel, this is the perfect place for families and couples. Find more details here.

Tempe Mission Palms, a Destination by Hyatt Hotel – Located 5 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, this 4-star resort offers luxurious rooms with iPod docking stations and Wi-Fi.

Tempe Mission Palms, a Destination by Hyatt Hotel features a rooftop pool and tennis court. Book your stay here.

Hyatt House Tempe Phoenix University – Featuring suites with full kitchens and a year-round heated rooftop pool, our hotel is across the street from ASU and offers free breakfast.

The property is 3.1 mi from Sea Life Arizona and a 4-minute walk from Sun Devil Stadium. Check out more details to book here.

Apartments and Guest Houses In Tempe AZ

Kasa Tempe Phoenix Set 22 km from Copper Square, Kasa Tempe Phoenix offers 4-star accommodation in Tempe and has a fitness centre.

This 4-star aparthotel offers a lift and a shared kitchen. The aparthotel offers rooms with air conditioning, free private parking and free WiFi. Find out more details here.

Sonder at Mill Ave – Each unit at this stunning apartment features a balcony, a fully equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, a dining area and a flat-screen TV. Find more details here.

Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe – Featuring a daily hot breakfast buffet, Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Tempe is 10 minutes’ drive from Arizona State University. An outdoor pool and hot tub are available to guests of the hotel. Check more details here.

Walk to Mill W/ Pool Deck + Clubhouse – Boasting a garden, rooftop pool and city views, Walk to Mill W/ Pool Deck + Clubhouse is situated in Tempe. Check out details here.


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