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My Tempe- Notes From a Native; Turning 21

By Delaney Wood

This summer, I celebrated my 21st birthday. In the weeks leading up to my birthday, I heard a never-ending barrage of the typical ideas: “You should totally go to Mill!” or “Let’s go to Old Town!”  While heading to Mill Ave on your birthday is always a fun idea, there are numerous other ways for you to celebrate your big milestone in Tempe. Whether you’re looking to dance all night or have a more laid-back evening, here are some ideas for your 21st birthday celebration in Tempe.

Have Dinner and Try a New Restaurant
Don’t want to party on Mill Ave for your birthday? Try out some of the many delicious restaurants we have here in Tempe:

Ghost Ranch | 1006 E. Warner Rd., Tempe, AZ 85284

Postino Wine Cafe | 615 S. College Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281

Pier 54 | 5394 S. Lakeshore Dr., Tempe, AZ 85283

Top of the Rock Restaurant | 2000 W. Westcourt Way, Tempe, AZ 85282

Play Games at the Arcade

Main Event | 8545 S. Emerald Dr, Tempe, AZ 85284
If you’re looking to release your inner child for your birthday, head to Main Event and enjoy all of the activities it has to offer! You’ll be able to choose from bowling, video games, laser tag, a ropes obstacle course, or karaoke, all while enjoying their full dinner menu and bar. If you’re lucky enough to have your birthday fall on a Monday, you can also take advantage of the unlimited game play for only $10.95.

Get Locked Into (and Escape) a Room
Escape rooms are a great place to visit if you’re tired of the usual game nights filled with Monopoly and Charades. In an escape room, each room typically has a different theme- some are set up like jail cells, others like arcades, apartments, or even underground caves (but don’t worry, it’s all fake). You are then locked into the room, and it’s your job to look for clues and solve puzzles to find a way out. Many people worry about the possibility of feeling claustrophobic inside these rooms, but it’s helpful to know that the doors to the rooms don’t actually lock, and you are free to leave at any time if you feel uncomfortable. And, you’ll be so busy solving the clues that the time will fly by. Be warned — these puzzles are difficult and meant to stump you!

Here are a few escape room businesses located throughout Tempe:

United Escapes of America  | 414 S. Mill Ave. #112, Tempe, AZ 85281

Inferno Escape Room | 1415 E. University Dr., Ste. A105, Tempe, AZ 85281

Mindspark Escape Games | 1625 W. University Dr. #122, Tempe, AZ 85281

Trivia Night
On almost any night of the week, you will be able to find a bar in Tempe that is hosting a trivia night. I’ve attended trivia nights at both Flanny’s Bar and Grill and Boulders on Broadway, and both were extremely entertaining. Many of these bars also allow people under 21 to play trivia, so you can bring along your younger friends! Make sure you bring plenty of people with you if you want to win, especially your one friend who always seems to know every fact about Star Wars.

Here are just a few bars in Tempe who regularly host trivia nights. Make sure to check the calendar on the restaurant’s website for exact times.

Boulders on Broadway (Trivia Tues, Sat, Sun) | 530 W. Broadway Rd., Tempe, Arizona 85282

Doc & Eddy’s (Trivia Thurs) | 909 E. Minton Dr., Tempe, AZ 85282

Spokes on Southern (Trivia Mon, Wed) | 1470 E. Southern Ave., Tempe, AZ 85282

Attend Paint Nite at La Bocca Pizzeria
La Bocca Urban Pizzeria & Wine Bar| 699 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281
Enjoy pizza and drinks while learning to create a masterpiece.  Paint Nite is a completely guided painting class where you will learn to create a specific painting by following along with an instructor.  Artistic skills not needed! See a list of upcoming Paint Nites and register for a class here.

Party All Night in Downtown Tempe

C.A.S.A. Tempe | 5 E. 6th St., Tempe, AZ 85281
You can’t talk about a 21st birthday in Tempe without mentioning this classic: C.A.S.A. This is a popular spot for ASU students looking to have some fun, and you can never go wrong with a bucket of alcohol and burritos on your 21st birthday!

Low Key Piano Bar | 501 S. Mill Ave., Ste. B101, Tempe, AZ 85281
Low Key Piano Bar is slightly more “low-key” than C.A.S.A., while still maintaining a party atmosphere. Two to three musicians entertain the bar with live music all night, and you can even request songs by slipping the musicians a few bills!

Rodeo Ranch | 501 S. Mill Ave. #101, Tempe, AZ 85281
Rodeo Ranch is one of Downtown Tempe’s newest restaurants featuring live DJs and a rodeo-themed space.  Make sure to try out the mechanical bull while you’re here!

I hope you get to try out some of these ideas for your 21st birthday. Whether, you’re visiting bars on Mill Avenue, or spending the day playing trivia with friends, it’ll sure be a birthday to remember if you spend it in Tempe!

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