Arts and Culture

Fun Things To Do in Downtown Tempe

It’s always a great time to explore all the fun things to do in Downtown Tempe.

With all the options to choose from, there’s no better place to enjoy your free time than on Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets that make up Downtown Tempe. This walkable and lively downtown offers great shopping and dining options, as well as nearby hiking, biking, movie watching, museums and a variety of theater performances.

Here’s a short list of fun things to do when you’re out and about in Downtown Tempe:

1) Go for a hike: At the north end of Downtown Tempe lies “A” Mountain. This quick, fairly rigorous hike provides panoramic views of the ASU Tempe Campus and the surrounding areas of Tempe. Just gorgeous!

2) See a movie: AMC Centerpoint 11 is located in the heart of Downtown Tempe and offers luxury movie-going. The seats are fancy recliners so you can watch your movie in style. Grab a snack or get a bite to eat before or after the show at one of the many delicious nearby restaurants.

3) Take a bike ride: Grab a bike and head downtown to experience the city on two wheels. Explore nearby Tempe Town Lake, head north to the Crosscut Canal Multi-Use Path through lovely Papago Park, or check out the hundreds of bike paths winding through the city. Feel free to bring your own bike or rent one from The Bicycle Cellar, just steps from Mill Avenue. 

"A" Mountain sunset hike
“A” Mountain sunset hike

4) See a theater performance: Between the smart and edgy performances from Stray Cat Theatre, performed at the Tempe Center for the Arts, to the blockbuster Broadway shows at ASU Gammage, there’s always something amazing to behold onstage in Downtown Tempe. Visit www.straycatheatre.org or www.asugammage.com for shows and ticket information.

5) Soak up the sun at Tempe Town Lake: Just north of Downtown Tempe, Tempe Town Lake offers fantastic running, walking and biking paths along the entire perimeter of the lake. Or, if you’re looking for some fun on the water, rent a stand-up paddleboard, kayak or pedal boat at Boat Rentals of America – Tempe Town Lake.

6) Explore the ASU Art Museum: Take in a variety of visual arts at every turn, from prehistoric drawings left by Tempe’s earliest dwellers to the contemporary art by national and international artists at the ASU Art Museum and the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center & Brickyard Gallery. The ASU Art Museum is located on Mill Avenue and 10th Street, and The Ceramics Research Center is just up the street on Mill Avenue and 7th Street.

7) Enjoy 2nd Sundays on Mill: Check out 2nd Sundays on Mill, a monthly event series in the heart of Tempe, held the second Sunday of every month, November through April. Meet on Mill Avenue for a local market, featuring artisans, art, handmade crafts, baked goods, unique gifts and more. Enjoy pop-up street performances, live music from local musicians, community programming, fitness classes and outdoor games.

Activities at Tempe Town Lake
Tempe Boat Rentals

8) Hang out at Park After Dark: Kick back and relax at Park After Dark, located at 6th Street Park, every 2nd and 4th Saturday from June 11 to September 24. This free event is open to all ages and features live music, outdoor entertainment, games and a beer & wine garden.  

9) Live music in Downtown Tempe: Several venues in downtown offer live music events throughout the week. Low Key Piano Bar, Culinary Dropout, Alter Ego (located inside Canopy by Hilton Tempe Downtown), Marquee Theatre and Sunbar are solid bets to find live music. Dinner, drinks and live music are always a good mix!

Low Key Piano Bar Downtown Tempe web
Low Key Piano Bar Downtown Tempe

Written Amy Griglak

Originally from California, Amy loves to travel, go for walks, read all kinds of books, enjoys all things Harry Potter, drink caramel macchiatos and explore new places and old favorites with her husband and two kiddos.

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