Every time I go to or through Arizona I just fall more in love with that state! From the desert wilderness, to the red rocks, to the mountaintops, it just gets more and more beautiful! But when I had the chance to visit Tempe last month I wasn’t sure what to expect other than a fun little college town. But, like the rest of the state, it completely took me by surprise; full of adventure, fun, and good food! Here are 10 things to do in Tempe, Arizona.
Climb “A” Mountain
No, not just any old mountain…”A” Mountain is a great way to start a trip in Tempe! Technically called Hayden Butte, the “A” is for Arizona State University and from the top you get an amazing view of campus, Tempe Town Lake, and downtown Tempe. I highly recommend going at sunrise or sunset for some incredible Arizona colors!
2. Enjoy a Board Game and Beer at Snakes and Lattes
I’m not entirely sure who started the recent upswing in gaming bars, but I want to give that person a giant hug! The board game lover in me geeks out hardcore and Snakes and Lattes is the best one I’ve seen yet! With over 1000 board games to choose from I could basically just live here! Throw in the combination of coffee, food, and beer, and this is my happy place!
3. Go Mountain Biking
You know me, I’m always down for a new adventure; so when Tempe Tourism suggested trying out mountain biking, I was stoked! This is something that I’ve wanted to try for awhile but, let’s be honest, all of those insane videos of bikers on giant cliff drop-off’s had me second guessing this desire.
Tempe was the PERFECT place for a newbie like me to try my hand at mountain biking. We headed out bright and early with AOA Adventures to explore Papago State Park and it was awesome! It’s the perfect amount of rough terrain combined with safe and beautiful trails. One thing is for sure, it’s a heck of a workout!
4. Explore Arizona State University
Tempe is most known for being the home to Arizona State University which has around 72,000 students. From the art museum, to the Frank Lloyd Wright building, to the giant cowboy boots, we had a great time wandering around the beautiful campus.
5. Explore Downtown Tempe
One of my favorite parts of Tempe was the fact that it didn’t feel like a college town. Wandering downtown, you’ll find people of all ages checking out stores, hanging out at Pedal Haus Brewery, or enjoying one of it’s almost 100 restaurants!
And a MUST do in my book is to get some avocado toast at the Daily Jam. I’ll be honest, we ordered the Avocado, Bacon, Jalepeno toast to get some great photos and videos for the episode (I don’t even like jalepenos) and it was by far my favorite food of the trip! I still dream about that delicious combo!
And don’t forget to come back out for the nightlife! There are so many amazing bars and restaurants in this town I could make an entire food vacation!
6. Get Out On The Water
Tempe Town Lake is an amazing way to view the city and get some adventure in. They offer electric boats, stand-up paddle boards, and my go-to, kayaks! This is another gorgeous time to go either at sunrise or sunset and take in those stunning views.
7. Explore the Desert Botanical Garden
With 140 acres and over 500 desert plants to see, the Desert Botanical Garden is an amazing place to visit. On top of the incredible natural beauty, they also host special events throughout the year. We came during the amazing Electric Desert; a light and sound show that runs through May 12th, 2019, so be sure to check it out!
8. Go Horseback Riding at Koli Equestrian Center
I feel like this probably should have been number one because I cannot stress this enough…GO HORSEBACK RIDING AT KOLI EQUESTRIAN CENTER! Now obviously I’m a country girl and will take any chance that I can to get on horseback but Koli Equestrian Center was unlike any other ride I’ve ever taken.
The equestrian center is part of the Gila River Indian Community and our guide was a member of the Pima tribe. He told us all about the history of the area and the Native American community. I learned SO much about how the reservation operates and the Indian Community itself. On top of that, you have this beautiful view of the desert and horses that are free to explore outside of the traditional nose-to-tail trail ride. And the kicker…we even spotted some WILD HORSES!
9. Take A Tour at Four Peaks Brewing Company
Check out Arizona’s most awarded craft brewery and get a behind the scenes look at it’s history and process. I’ve explored a lot of breweries and each has it’s own unique look to it. Most craft breweries are fairly new and modern but Four Peaks Brewery is located in a turn-of-the-century brick warehouse with a very rustic feel to it. Not to mention the food and beer are incredible! And be sure to top it all off with delicious beer-infused ice cream!
10. Try Your Hand At Axe-Throwing
Unique adventure…CHECK! Lumberjaxes is Tempe’s first competitive axe-throwing facility. We had a guide walk us through the how-to’s and then we were off! There are 8 lanes with two throwing spots at each so you can come with a group or even join a competitive league! And don’t forget to wear your best lumberjack shirt to fit the part.
Tempe is by far one of my favorite cities I’ve visited. Between it’s natural beauty, fun adventures, and incredible people it’s honestly a place I could see myself living. So next time you plan a trip to Arizona, be sure to check out this amazing town! And for more, check out the episode below!