Tempe’s Iconic Places
Maybe Tempe, Arizona has been on your list of places to visit. Or, maybe you live nearby and just haven’t explored everything that our college town has to offer.
To help you plan your visit, we wanted to give you a sense for what our city is all about. Here are some of our favorite spots in Tempe, showcased in 360 degree photo tours, because of their significant architecture or because they serve as recreational havens or popular photo spots.
NOTE: As of June 2020, the public buildings mentioned below are closed, but you can explore them from the outside or of course, from the 360-degree images on this blog.
Use your finger or mouse to hover over each photo and from it from side to side and up and down. These Tempe photos allow you to shift your perspective to explore each spot even further. Picture yourself here. We hope to see you soon.
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
The first building in Tempe that was wired for electric lighting continues to be the building that represents the traditions at Arizona State University. Old Main was dedicated in 1898 and can be easily be seen from the north part of campus, on the south side of University Dr., between College Ave. and Rural Rd. It is the oldest surviving building on campus so it has certainly seen a lot of history. When you’re looking at it, take note of the steps leading to the front entrance. Imagine what it would have been like to see Theodore Roosevelt give a speech from those steps when he visited Arizona to dedicate the Roosevelt Dam in 1911.
Hayden Library was built in 1966. Anyone who has attended ASU has certainly spent a lot of time here, either studying, looking for sources for an essay, or finding a quiet place on the bustling campus. Above Its unique underground entrance is the green space known as Hayden Lawn. The lawn is a central gathering spot in the middle of campus: a place to meet up with friends, attend an event, or just enjoy the Arizona sunshine.
The vision of ASU president Grady Gammage to create a signature auditorium and the talents of his friend Frank Lloyd Wright combined to give us ASU Gammage. Completed in September 1964, ASU Gammage is the only public building in Arizona designed by Wright and it is the largest university-based presenter of performing arts in the world. It is home to the Desert Financial Broadway Across America – Arizona series and the Beyond series of internationally acclaimed performances.
Watching the sunrise or sunset, or hiking a mountain just because we can are popular pastimes in Arizona. “A” Mountain in Downtown Tempe is one of the most beloved hiking spots in the metro area. A quick ascent provides 360-degree views of downtown, Tempe Town Lake and the ASU Tempe Campus. The official name is Hayden Butte Preserve but locals refer to it as “A” Mountain because of the large gold A on top that stands for Arizona State University.
Elmore Pedestrian Bridge
There’s something instantly refreshing about walking or riding a bike over the Elmore Pedestrian Bridge. This beautiful bridge is named after James Elmore, ASU’s founding Dean of Architecture. Elmore and his students had the vision that inspired our community to turn a dry riverbed into what is now Tempe Town Lake. This bridge can be accessed from the Tempe Center for the Arts on the south side of the lake or from the pathways on the north side. If you visit at dusk or after dark, you’ll see it illuminated by blue lights that reflect in the water below.
Tempe Town Lake
A slice of nature in the middle of the city, Tempe Town Lake is a natural gathering spot for runners, bikers, families and everyone in between. This two-mile recreational lake is located between the 202 freeway and Downtown Tempe. It’s biking distance from Papago Park. And, it’s the place to catch one of Arizona’s famous sunsets.
This 125-acre Kiwanis Park has pathways, sports fields, the Kiwanis Recreation Center, batting cages, tennis courts and a lake where you can fish or rent kayaks or pedal boats. It’s a relaxing respite in south Tempe. You can also rent a Grid Bike in the park to explore other parts of the city.
Tempe Center for the Arts
The beautiful Tempe Center for the Arts opened in 2007 and has hosting events from live music to art exhibitions. There are artistic touches around the outside of the building, such as the “Mare Undarum – Sea of Waves” by Ned Kahn. This series of aluminum mirrors reflect the water of the negative edge pool. Or, see “Aurora” by Brower Hatcher, a large blue canopy in the outdoor sculpture garden with five leaf-like forms that are reminiscent of desert seed pods.
Tempe Diablo Stadium
If you’re a baseball fan, especially an Angels fan, then seeing Tempe Diablo Stadium has to be on your list. This is the spring training home of the Angels with great views of the Tempe Butte on the north side. It was renovated in 2005 which gave it a classic baseball stadium look, complete with the grand staircase at the main entrance.