Sunny weather? Of course, it’s Arizona – the real desert! So, you’ll be enjoying that big orange ball of fire 300 days a year, along with sand, saguaros, and gorgeous landscapes. But, surf? Paddling? Fishing? Yup, yup, and yup! That, too. Welcome to Tempe – not just a hipster college town in the middle of the desert, but a cultural oasis and an actual oasis, too, thanks to thriving local theatre, the Mill Ave music milieu and a penchant for making the most of its minimal H2O.
That’s right. Known for sunshine, for Arizona State University, for its gorgeous desert landscape, and for a nightlife and arts scene rivaling any college town, Tempe went all out and garnered the one thing most desert towns don’t have – water – in the form of Tempe Town Lake, a 225-acre splash smack dab in the middle of this fun city. Rather than retreating to AC by midafternoon, in Tempe, you grab your paddleboard (or rent one) and hit the lake, maybe bring your fishing rod and land a rainbow trout, catch a wave at the water park, then enjoy a live musical onshore. Then head downtown, steps away, to sip a craft cocktail on Mill Ave and catch an awesome band!
So if all that, and maybe your upcoming business trip, is why you’re already on your way to Tempe, you’ve got a few neighborhoods to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a travel apartment close to the water or one adjacent the downtown music scene, Stay Alfred is your place in Tempe. Got business in nearby Phoenix or fun in Scottsdale and would rather stay there? Check out our Stay Alfred travel apartments in Phoenix and Scottsdale, too!
Oh, and we didn’t stop at location. All of our Stay Alfred travel apartments in Tempe are full of character and upscale amenities. Partial to a full living room rather than hotel foot-of-bed seating? Yeah, us too. Traveling IS living, and you need some space to rehash your day. Keen on saving cash with home-cooked meals in a full kitchen? Of course you are, and that kitchen island is a great spot to post up with a laptop. Traveling on business? Skimping on WiFi isn’t our thing, nor is other weirdness you might find in a random B&B. (No Bob, I don’t want to share the hot tub with your unicorn.)
Ok, let’s get away from Bob and help you find your ideal Tempe neighborhood!
Tempe Beach Park Neighborhood
Lakeside volleyball, fishing, standup paddle-boarding, an evening swim in warm waters… that doesn’t sound like your typical Arizona urban center, but atypical Tempe is the one place in this great state where you can enjoy city life and beat the heat. Along with shore-to-shore paddling, jogging on uncrowded paths, angling and general maritime merriment rivaling South Beach and San Diego, Tempe Beach Park neighborhood also boasts world-class waterfront concerts and plays, plus great restaurants and bars, too! All steps away from the water and the best of downtown Tempe!
Tempe Beach Park Outdoor Fun
The neighborhood centerpiece is, you might’ve guessed by the name, Tempe Beach Park, which features major arts events, sports fields, biking trails, grilling areas with ramadas, funky water fountains, and more. The park rests on the shores of Tempe Town Lake, a large reservoir that’s home to major endurance sports events like IRONMAN Arizona. And, surf’s up kids! Another big neighborhood attraction is the landmark Big Surf Waterpark, a splash playground with waterslides and a huge wave pool. No Tempe trip would be complete without a round of golf on the gorgeous Rolling Hills Golf Course the valley's best 18-hole executive golf course tucked away in the picturesque Papago Park, which offers great hiking trails amidst spectacular sandstone formations.
Tempe Beach Park Arts and Entertainment
Got your exercise and sun in for the day and up for some culture? The Tempe Beach Park neighborhood is also home to Temp Center for the Arts, a big, modern art installation on the lake with an eclectic performance schedule often featuring the likes of the local Stray Cat Theatre group, a “quirky, edgy and irreverent” indy theatre company, and the Scottsdale Musical Theater Company that loves to bring Broadway’s favorites back to life. The center also features a small art gallery, and frequently hosts local singers and songwriters that put on great shows.
Catch some more fantastic local bands and tasty eats and craft brews with a stroll to The District Stage at Tempe Marketplace on Friday and Saturday evenings. Across the lake, The Marquee Theater hosts some of the biggest names in music.
Tempe Beach Park Dining & Drinks
So, the Tempe Beach Park neighborhood gives you your dose of outdoorsy fun AND culture to boot! Enough fun to work up quite an appetite, and hot enough to work up a thirst. So, what about food? Maybe a drink? From the neighborhood’s best beer garden to pub grub with ping-pong fun to, ehem, so rustic an atmosphere you could bring your Yeti date, Tempe Beach Park delivers.
Wanting to eat large? Try The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen, a cabin-like place with antler chandeliers and pine-log bars that serves up solid American fare with plenty of big screens to catch your game. Up for a beer? You’ve gotta hit The Shop Beer Co., an laid-back tasting room and beer garden offering craft brews plus food truck victuals. Like to mix in some ping-pong, bean-bag-toss, and other backyard games with your beers? Stroll on over to Culinary Dropout and pick from a huge selection of booze, beers and pub grub from tasty sliders to pretzel fondue. And, not enough can be said about the Tempe Marketplace. Along with the aforementioned great music options, Tempe Marketplace boasts a huge alfresco shopping center with more than one million square feet of retail space and great dining options.
Stay Alfred, Your Place in Tempe Beach Park
Diggin’ the Tempe Beach Park scene? We don’t blame you. Make this neighborhood your home base and book a travel apartment at Stay Alfred at Rio Salado Parkway. Your place in Tempe Beach Park!
With palm-tree lined streets and sidewalk cafes, rowdy college bars and pedestrian friendly festivals, plus art galleries celebrating the Southwest like no other, Downtown Tempe ups the ante when it comes to college-town culture and fun. Best of all (though you could stay busy here for days, strolling the brick streets, checking out galleries and dancing to great local bands) you’re never far from Tempe Town Lake fun!
Downtown Tempe’s Greatest Hits
A the heart of Tempe’s upbeat downtown is the famous Mill Avenue District, a bustling bar hub with a vibrant music scene as well as dozens of superb eateries. From thumping clubs to quiet dive bars, Mill Ave has a little something for everybody. A couple of Mill Ave’s greats are the Mill Ave Cue Club and Rula Bula Irish Pub, with “Rula Bula” meaning “Uproar and Commotion” in Gaelic, so bring your energy!
Much of the traffic comes from the nearby Arizona State University campus, with 70,000 plus students and exciting sports events at nearby Sun Devil Stadium and Wells Fargo Arena. Need to stretch your legs? Take a daytime stroll up Hayden Butte Preserve, a prominent downtown landmark standing 1,398 feet high and home to many desert plants and animals plus 500 Hohokam Indian petroglyphs. Here’s one the kids’ll love. A short drive from the central biz district, downtown Tempe’s Sea Life Aquarium features family-friendly exhibits with a variety of sea creatures sure to dazzle. Those are just a few of downtown’s sites that help make the Tempe experience a unique one for all.
Downtown Tempe Arts & Entertainment
Though loaded with cool galleries and music venues, Tempe’s most prominent arts installations can be found at ASU. The Arizona State University Art Museum features a collection of more than 12,000 ceramic and fine art exhibits, with one of the biggest collections of Southwestern art in the US, including works by some of the greatest Latin American artists. ASU’s Gammage Memorial Auditorium, is a beautiful venue designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, offering Broadway blockbusters, big Disney hits for the kids, and a well-rounded schedule of productions. Another notable downtown art installation is the She Tempe project, a collection of murals throughout downtown adorning urban walls, newsstands, and more. Look for them as you stroll the Tempe streets! Got kids in tow? Hit the Childsplay Theatre Company, a local theater with a great lineup of kid-oriented productions along with arts education for the youngsters.
Downtown Tempe Dining & Drinks
Downtown Tempe is home to some of the best dining in the Phoenix Metro area. Try Cafe Lalibela, an easygoing restaurant featuring traditional Ethiopian fare, wine and beer, plus gluten-free injera. Hungry for seafood? Maybe a whiskey? Head on over to the memorabilia-filled local landmark Casey Moore’s Oyster House. For a more intimate dining experience, try some New American in the ultra-cozy, 1920s-bungalow-turned-eatery House of Tricks. All must-sees in downtown Tempe.
Stay Alfred, Your Place in Downtown Tempe
Liking the downtown Tempe scene? Make your downtown Tempe stay that much better by booking a travel apartment at Stay Alfred at West 6th. (And make sure your trip is free from “oh [email protected]” moments with this handy packing list.)
We hope you enjoy your trip to Tempe to the fullest and get your fill of sun and downtown Tempe fun. If we can provide any more advice on where to stay in Tempe, just give us a call at 1.866.232.3864. We’re always happy to help!