How to Spend 2 Days in Tempe
A vibrant city with a thriving cultural scene and some of the best restaurants in Arizona – it’s about time you discovered Tempe, Arizona.
Thinking of exploring Arizona this year? Alison Brooks and the team at Tempe Mission Palms gave us the scoop on the best things to eat, see and do in Tempe.
With over 75 restaurants and bars lining the streets of Downtown Tempe, the easiest thing to do in downtown Tempe is eat. The difficult part is deciding where to go.
Our recommendation: eat a little bit of everything and start your day at the Mission Grille buffet. Whether you’re morning cravings include made-to-order omelet, pancakes, muffins and fruit – or all the above, the Mission Grille has you covered. However, if you are wanting to venture out to Mill Avenue, one of our favorite breakfast spots is NCounter. Try the Huevos N’Chorizo for a little Southwest kick to start your day. Don’t leave without one of their spicy Blood Mary’s.
Nothing pairs better with the warm Arizona sunshine like an ice-cold beer (if you’re not used to the dry dessert sun, you’ll want to double up on H2O too). Quench your thirst with the “Kilt Lifter” craft beer at Four Peaks Brewing Company. This brewery was named the number one craft brewery in America by the Travel Channel, and has been a Tempe Treasure for over two decades. Another interesting fact: this brewery used to be a creamery built in 1892, almost entirely of red brick. Not only is it one of the oldest buildings in Tempe, but definitely one of the coolest. Oh, and the food is delicious too!
Downtown Tempe’s “House of Tricks” comes highly recommended by the Tempe Mission Palms team, and it is a truly one-of-a-kind venue. Located near Mill Avenue, these two historic bungalows with beautiful patio and tree-covered bar, were voted “Best place for dining al fresco.” The House of Tricks is a great choice for lunch or a special romantic dinner. The wine list includes more than 300 varietals from all over the world, so prepare to indulge.
One of the most beautiful things about Tempe is Hayden Butte, a picturesque mountain that gazes over the city. A quick 20 minute climb up this small mountain rewards you with spectacular views of the entire Phoenix metropolitan area. Be sure to take a few selfies at the top, and take a good look at the giant “A” which represents Arizona State University. Located just five minutes from Tempe Mission Palms is Papago Park, which features distinctive red sandstone geological formations that were formed 6-15 million years ago. While you’re in the area, head over to the Desert Botanical Garden (yes, we said it. Plants do grow in the desert). With over 21,000 plants, the Desert Botanical Garden is the perfect way to immerse yourself in all things “desert.” Check their event calendar for special events like the annual “Las Noches de las Luminarias in December,” “Day of the Dead” festival in October, or one of the many evenings featuring live music in the garden.
For a healthy dose of the arts, head to the ASU Gammage auditorium, which hosts Broadway Across America and features nationally touring shows such as “Phantom of the Opera” and “Wicked.” This Frank Lloyd Wright designed building is an architectural landmark, and a Broadway musical at the Gammage should definitely be on your list.
Yes, it’s the desert – but don’t let that fool you…there is water, and it’s beautiful. Take a lesson in Stand Up Paddle Boarding, rent a paddle boat, or make your mark among the 2,000 rowers who use Tempe Town Lake each year. One of Arizona’s biggest attractions, whether you walk the trails surrounding the lake, or enjoy a picnic at the adjacent Tempe Beach Park, Tempe Town Lake is the perfect place to soak up the Arizona sun.
Getting around: the Metro Light Rail is very easy to navigate and runs from Phoenix to Mesa. This is the best way to catch an Arizona Diamondbacks or Phoenix Suns game, or to check out the nationally touring acts at one of the many downtown Phoenix concert venues. With over 20 stops, the rail makes the metropolitan area easy to navigate for locals and tourists alike.
Want more great Tempe travel tips? Let The Tempe Mission Palms Concierge assist you with planning your Tempe adventure. If you stay at Tempe Mission Palms, be sure to share your pictures with us using #TempeMission!