Off the Beaten Path

Off the Beaten Path House of Tricks

If you enjoy digging into the local culture, you’ll love Tempe. Think about it. Any place, located in the middle of the Arizona desert, whose namesake is the Vale of Tempe in Greece, has got to have some major local mystique. Tempe is full of hidden gems and lesser-known treasures that are legendary among the locals.  Kick back,  relax and discover some of Tempe’s off-the-beaten past treasures. Please accept our heartfelt invitation to immerse yourself in our local scene, get to know us, and have fun.


Sitting in the sun or under the stars, you’ll love dining  on the patios at these off-the-beaten path local favorites on a warm desert day or evening.

  • You’ll love taking in the local scene while enjoying the brews and food on the Four Peaks Brewing Co. patio. Four Peaks offers a diverse selection of beers on tap. Its premier, award-winning beer, Kilt Lifter, is especially popular among locals as are the specialty seasonal brews like their popular Pumpkin Porter.  To accompany their great beers, Four Peaks offers equally great food served at lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on Sundays.
  • You’ll find  The Shop Beer Company, tucked away on 1st Street. Relax  on the patio with its  colorful graffiti art and sample the Shop’s specialty brews on tap and tasty food truck bites.  The Huss Tempe Taproom is a cozy little neighborhood place located in a Tempe business complex. Read our blog to learn more about this local favorite and it’s charming owners, Leah and Jeff Huss.
  • For some real local camaraderie,good beer and good cheer, hang out at Casey Moore’s Oyster House along with the eclectic crowds who live, study, teach and work in Tempe. Located in the historic Maple Ash Neighborhood, Casey Moore’s is known for its 28 beers on tap, great food and patio. It’s one of Arizona’s most famous and favorite pubs and a popular St. Patrick’s Day stop. It also received a bit of fame with a mention in the Jimmy Eat World tune, “If You Don’t, Don’t.” Definitely don’t miss Casey Moore’s when visiting Tempe.
  • You’ll want to linger for a while on the patio at Postino Annex located just steps away from ASU, in the historic Art Annex building. Open daily for lunch and dinner with brunch on the weekend, Postino is famous for its bruchettas, fresh salads and hearty panini sandwiches, all prepared with the finest local ingredients. Choose the perfect beverage to go with your meal from their selection of fine boutique wines and craft beers.
  • Culinary Dropout is known for its innovative decor and menu. The patio area has cool furnishings and ping pong tables. You can enjoy a pre-or post-dining round of ping pong! Live bands perform on weekends and the pretzel fondue is addicting.
  • You’ll need to go deep into the Arizona State University Tempe Campus to find Engrained Cafe. It’s well-worth the search to enjoy a sumptuous meal in this restaurant with the focus on sustainability. Most of the materials used in Engrained’s casual interior come from recycled goods and renewable resources. The delicious seasonal dishes are created with locally sourced ingredients with lots of vegan and vegetarian options.
  • You’ll find TRES Tempe tucked away next to the Hilton Garden Inn off Price Road and the 101 Freeway, close to the ASU Research Park. The décor is sleek, cotemporary and comfortable. The menu features delicious dishes that blend both Mediterranean and Southwest flavors. Tres, might be a bit hard to find on your first visit. But, once you’ve discovered it and experienced their fresh mix of menu selections, the comfortable ambiance and excellent service, you’ll have no trouble finding it again and again.

Outdoor Activities

Our supreme spring weather means it’s time to get outdoors to enjoy these off the beaten path activities.  In our dry desert climate it’s always a good idea to use sunscreen, wear a hat and drink plenty of water before, during and after.

  • Do you want a quick hike that offers up amazing views? “A” Mountain in Downtown Tempe is just what you’re looking for. The trails are spotted with ancient petroglyphs, reminders of Tempe’s first settlers, the Hohokam people. Enjoy breathtaking, bird’s eye views of Tempe, Phoenix and Scottsdale from the peak.
  • Go on a stroll or bike ride along the Crosscut Canal Path, located on Mill Ave., just north of Curry Road.  This paved path includes public art, including a cool topographical map at the entrance, a disc golf course and views of the Papago Park buttes.
  • If you prefer to explore Tempe by water, rent a boat or other fun watercraft at Tempe Town Lake. Choose between pedal boats, kayaks, paddle boards, and even pontoon boats at Tempe Boat Rentals. However, if you’re more of a land lubber who enjoys the water from a distance, you’ll find the art-lined paths that surround the lake ideal for a bike ride, leisurely stroll or vigorous run.
  • Reconnect with nature at Singh Meadows, a tranquil urban  Shangri-La hidden away in an industrial area. The Singh family, known locally for their organic produce farm, has transformed a former city golf course into a lovely retreat.  You can hang out on the patio while the kids run off some energy on the large expanses of lawn. Enjoy something tasty in the cozy cafe, or take it outside for a picnic on the green (blankets are provided),   You’ll want to purchase some seasonal organic fruits and vegetables, freshly baked goodies and hand-crafted edibles to take home. Learn more about Singh Meadows in our blog.


You’ll find untold treasures while exploring these off the beaten path shops.

  • Find all your favorite reads while browsing the shelves at Changing Hands Bookstore, one of the best independent bookstores in the country. In addition to all the great reads, both new and gently read, the store frequently features book signings and readings by well-known authors, story time for children and other activities.
  • Shop along with students and fashionistas at The Buffalo Exchange. Find cool new and vintage clothing and accessories, all of which are bought and traded locally.
  • Check out Ash Ave. Comics and Books located at Ash Ave. and University Dr. Considered by many to be the best comic book store in town, this fun place carries new mainstream and indie comics, graphic novels, magazines, toys and t-shirts.
  • You’ll be thrilled when you find a beautiful bargain at Tempe’s unique vintage stores tucked away in inconspicuous places.
  • Check out locally owned and operated, Zia Records Exchange. Its huge inventory and funky vibe has made it a music, movie, games and books mecca in Tempe for more than 30 years. Even in these times of digital downloading, Zia stays plenty busy. It’s a popular  gathering place for locals and out-of-towners who love being completely immersed in their favorite records, CDs, games, movies and books.

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