Planning a trip down south to Arizona? Get your fill of entertainment with all the best things to do in Tempe, AZ. Located in Maricopa County in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, Tempe offers visitors a barrage of cultural attractions along with plenty of fun outdoor activities.
Home to Arizona State University, Tempe is known for its impressive arts, culture, and event venues. Pencil in a performance at the Tempe Center for the Arts or catch a college football game at the Sun Devil Football Stadium. No matter your travel interests, you’ll find it in Tempe.
Not sure where to go in this Arizona college town? Dive in with our complete guide to the best places to visit in Tempe, AZ!
Best places to visit in Tempe, AZ
Tempe Beach Park
Looking to have some family-friendly fun while roaming in the Arizona sunshine? Grab your flip-flops or your bike and visit Tempe Beach Park. Located in the center of Tempe, this beach park is always fun and vibrant, with plenty to see & do.
Cycle along this riverside trail, relax on the grass, run around the splash playground, or glide atop the water on a boat ride. Popular with tourists and locals alike, Tempe Beach Park is centrally located on Tempe Town Lake, offering beautiful views.
Got a whole gang of you traveling to Tempe? Bring your mitt and take on the Tempe Beach Park baseball diamond. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone, right?
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona
Who doesn’t love unleashing their inner child? Relieve those exciting childhood memories and get creative at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona.
Construct a masterpiece brick by tiny brick, rack up a high score on one of the many arcade games, or kick back and relax in the 4D cinema. Ideal for big kids and little kids alike, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona offers you a peek behind the scenes at the toy giant’s workshop.
Take a tour around LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona and see what it takes to build your favorite kits and bricks. Then, have a go yourself and see where your imagination takes you.
SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium
Curious about what goes on in the briny depths of our oceans and seas? Quench your thirst for knowledge at SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium. As one of the most popular tourist spots in Tempe, this fun and colorful aquarium is a must-visit.
The SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium is a family favorite, spanning a massive 26,000 square feet and filled to the brim with all your aquatic must-sees. Marvel at the many interactive touch pools, where you can get up close and personal with your favorite animals and get entranced by the 360-degree observation tunnel.
With new exhibits and residents constantly added, you never know what you’re going to see next at this wonderful and vibrant aquarium!
AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park
Interested in the history and culture of Phoenix and the surrounding area? Get curious at the AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park.
Nestled in the gorgeous Papago Park, the AZ Heritage Center educates and offers insights into the creation of all the cities of this fertile river valley. With plenty of hands-on interactive exhibits and multimedia displays, the AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park is fun and inspiring for visitors of all ages.
Remember that the AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park is closed on Sundays and Mondays; be sure to schedule your visit around that.
Tempe History Museum
Looking for a free spot to while away a couple of hours in Tempe? Learn about the birth and development of Tempe at the Tempe History Museum. Though a tad underrated, this museum is a worthy addition to your Tempe itinerary.
The Tempe History Museum is home to over 70,000 historical artifacts, archival footage, and photographs covering the entire history of this beautiful Arizona city.
Browse its permanent collection to learn more about how the first settlers survived the desert, gaze at the clothing and fashion of eras past, or sit on the comfortable sofas and watch the world go by.
ASU Art Museum
Consider yourself an art buff? Bring your keen eye over to the ASU Art Museum, where you might just find a new favorite artist or artwork!
Located on the Arizona State University campus, ASU Art Museum is a predominantly contemporary art museum offering plenty of rotating exhibitions. With a focus on multimedia installations and ceramics, it’s more laid back than many other art galleries.
Need an inspiring place to work while you’re in Tempe? The peaceful facilities within ASU Art Museum make it a popular spot to study. Bring your laptop and enjoy a one-of-a-kind office experience with a backdrop of stunning artwork.
Petersen House Museum
Interested to see how people used to live in the late 1800s while admiring some beautiful historic architecture? Save time on your itinerary to pop into the Petersen House Museum in the Petersen Park neighborhood of Tempe.
Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, this living museum has been amazingly well-preserved. Wander around the rooms decorated with pieces authentic to the late 1800s and early 20th century, and imagine upper-class 19th-century life.
Architecture buffs in the know may spot the home’s Queen Anne Style brick design; the Petersen House is an excellent example and a rarity in these parts!
Remember to book your Petersen House Museum tour in advance; visits are by appointment only.
Hayden Flour Mill
Want to check out one of Tempe’s most iconic buildings while learning more about the city’s milling history? Wander over to the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway and gaze upon the Hayden Flour Mill.
Despite not being in use since 1998, the Hayden Flour Mill still stands proudly as a reminder of Tempe’s milling industry and its impact on the area for generations. Although you can’t tour the inside of the mill due to health and safety concerns, you can appreciate the scale of the flour mill and accompanying silos from the exterior.
Standing tall since 1918, this incarnation of the Hayden Flour Mill replaced the original mill, built in 1874, that burned down in a fire.
Looking to spend some time out and about in nature without having to leave the city? Gather up your family and spend the day at Kiwanis Park. Be sure to bring plenty of energy—you’re going to need it here!
Dominated by a beautiful lake, Kiwanis Park spans 54,000 square feet and is jam-packed with amenities to suit visitors of all ages and interests. You can take a dip in the indoor and outdoor wave pools, stroll along the winding trails or challenge your travel mates to a tennis match at the 15-court tennis center.
Kiwanis Park is open from 6 am to 12 am daily. If you’re visiting the park in the evening, carve out time to watch the sunset over the lake. It’s a perfect end to a chilled-out day in Tempe!
Need a culture injection on your next trip to Tempe? Treat yourself to a fun and entertaining night out at the Marquee Theatre. You might just get to see a legend perform for a fraction of the price at a bigger venue!
Big-name acts like Selena Gomez, Nine Inch Nails, and even the late great Prince all performed at this intimate venue. The Marquee Theatre holds just 1,000 people, offering a charming atmosphere where you’ll get to be closer to all the action.
To find out what’s on while you’re visiting Tempe, check out their calendar and book tickets here.
Tempe Center for the Arts
Looking to explore one of the most striking landmarks in the whole of Tempe? Get your fill of art at the Tempe Center for the Arts. It’s a feast for all the senses!
The Tempe Center for the Arts occupies a gorgeously designed building along the riverfront, encompassing both performing arts and visual arts venues. Take in a show at the theater, visit one of the many exhibitions, or have a more intimate event in their 200-seater studio theater.
With events such as open-mic nights, local theater groups, and even free classical concerts, there’s always something interesting going on at the Tempe Center for the Arts.
Need to stretch your legs and work up a sweat? Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails at the Hayden Butte. It’s a must-do in Tempe, especially after a heavy night out!
Otherwise known as Tempe Butte, ‘A’ Mountain, or ASU Mountain due to its proximity to the Arizona State University Campus, Hayden Butte is a short but rewarding hike in the heart of the city. The butte takes around half an hour to climb, delivering panoramic views over Tempe.
Remember to keep your eyes peeled for the giant yellow ‘A’ on the side of the mountain near the peak. After all, ASU pride runs deep in Tempe!
LoPiano Bosque Habitat
Want to spend the day out in nature and explore the trails? Round up your travel companions and wander over to the LoPiano Bosque Habitat, just 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 escape the hustle and bustle of the city—especially on game day! Get back in touch with nature, rack up the miles on your bike, or go for a run with the locals.
Experience the native flora and fauna of the area, including desert-specific trees. Enjoy the peace and quiet before journeying back into the city center.
Four Peaks Brewing Company
All this exploring got you feeling thirsty? Quench your thirst with some local beers down at Four Peaks Brewing Company. Try a pint or two, or opt for a flight!
As a working craft brewery, Four Peaks Brewing Company offers tours and insight into the wonderful brewing process and how craft beer differs from other kinds of brewing. These tours also often include a sample or two, so you can experience the process from start to finish.
Not wanting a tour? Rock up at their pub, complete with a shop and huge terrace, and make an evening of it. As the pub serves burgers and pizzas, you can line your stomach with some pub grub before trying all the local brews.
Infusion Coffee & Tea Crafters
Need a caffeine injection or a laid-back spot to sit and work? Get your java fill at Infusion Coffee & Tea Crafters in the University Heights neighborhood.
As a specialty coffee and tea house, Infusion Coffee & Tea Crafters offers a chance to learn more about your beverage of choice or find your new favorite blend. Ask the knowledgeable staff for their recommendations, or dive right in and pick a brew!
Infusion Coffee & Tea Crafters also hosts plenty of events at their venue, including Latte Art classes, homebrewing workshops, and more. Sip on delicious tea or coffee and learn a new skill in the process. (To see what classes are on at Infusion Coffee & Tea Crafters while you’re in Tempe, click here.)
Now that you’ve explored breweries and coffee shops, how about some hearty American fare? Located in the Riverside neighborhood, Culinary Dropout is the perfect spot in Tempe to pick up some no-nonsense, delicious food.
This British-style pub restaurant has a unique charm that makes you feel immediately at ease. Order a plate of pork belly nachos, get an ice-cold beer, and listen to whichever live music act Culinary Dropout has on that night.
Looking for a deal? Get more for your money at Culinary Dropout happy hour, including its delicious provolone fondue. Bring your appetite and your friends—and have a great night out on the town!
Sun Devil Football Stadium
Want to soak up some school spirit and cheer on the local team? There’s only one place to be on game day in Tempe: Sun Devil Football Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University.
Home to the mighty ASU Sun Devils, Sun Devil Football Stadium offers an unparalleled atmosphere for checking out a college football game. Cheer on the Sun Devils as they go head to head with their Pac-12 Conference rivals, join in on the tailgating before the big game, or start off a chant or two!
The ASU campus is a huge part of the city, so supporting the local college football team is a must when you’re in Tempe. Just make sure to bring plenty of yellow clothing and face paint to fit right in with all the local fans!