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Tempe Tourism Blog

All Aboard for the Best Eateries Along the Light Rail

January 5, 2009 reports: “A lot of excitement about the Metro light rail has revolved around the easy new connection between downtown Phoenix and downtown Tempe. And when it comes to dining options, that’s definitely a good thing, whether you’re a commuter, a student, or just a foodie-about-town. Hop off the train in either area and you’ll stumble upon all kinds of eateries, from tried-and-true favorites near ASU, such as Restaurant Mexico (423 S. Mill, Tempe), to new CenPho hotspots like Sens (705 N. First St., and Hanny’s (40 N. First St.). But those two downtowns are only part of the light rail’s appeal. There’s actually plenty of good stuff along the way — restaurants that are about to get a lot more exposure now that so many people will be walking by on their way to and from the trains. …Heading toward Tempe from there, the rail line passes through some long stretches of industrial and office parks, and the better options, such as the time-honored Stockyards (5009 E. Washington,, aren’t in very pedestrian-friendly locations, despite their proximity to the rail. You’ll have to stay onboard until you get to downtown Tempe for a treasure trove of restaurants, but it’s worth the wait. From the Mill Avenue/Third Street stop, you can wander up Mill Avenue for the usual faves. Some of the best ethnic cuisine in the Valley crops in along the eastern stretch of the light rail. The intersection of University and Rural offers scrumptious Ethiopian eats at Blue […]

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Kansas Fans Say Insight Bowl Worth Trip

December 29, 2008 reports: “Packing up and heading out, Seve Palacioz is among the thousands of Kansas Jayhawk fans on their way to Arizona for the Insight Bowl. “It’s exciting just because it’s back to back bowl games,” Palacioz says.  “That’s never happened in KU history.” ” Last season it was the Orange Bowl. This ’07 KU grad and his dad were right there for all the action. While the Insight Bowl doesn’t have the same prestige, this year’s matchup between Kansas and Minnesota looks to be the first sellout in the bowl’s history. “KU fans travel really well and everyone is really nice,” Palacioz says. “We will all just get together and root on the Hawks.” Fans flying by charter will leave from Kansas City on Monday, but others like Seve and his dad have made their own arrangements, trying to save money in these tough economic times. “It’s hard to describe being a Jayhawk fan and being one your whole life and just knowing how much every little game means to you.” The Insight Bowl kicks off on Wednesday, December 31st at 4:30 pm Central Time.  You can watch it on the NFL Network.”

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Tempe’s party a raucous success

December 29, 2008 reports: “Tempe worried that it was being an ungracious host. Every year, it invited football fans to its city for the Fiesta Bowl but offered nothing for them to do on New Year’s Eve. So, in 1984, it decided to close its main street and throw a block party. The event has morphed into one of the most popular places for Valley residents to see in the New Year. The block party was the brainchild of Sherry Henry, who was the general manager at the Fiesta Inn in Tempe. The event was organized through the Chamber of Commerce, and its first few years were low-key. “The first couple ones I don’t think even went to midnight,” said Rich Ripley, current manager of the Fiesta Bowl Block Party. He’s correct. A clipping from Republic archives announced that the 1986 block party would begin at 5 p.m. and “wrap up at 10 p.m. with a fireworks display.” Entertainment was provided by the Pennsylvania State University marching band and the Dancing Grannies. A crowd of 15,000 was expected. “It’s a whole different world now,” Ripley said. This year’s party will be headlined by Styx, and other entertainment will be provided by the 100,000 people expected to jam into the Mill Avenue District. The entertainment lineups have perked up over the years. In 1992, Spencer Davis of the Spencer Davis Group performed. In 1993, one headliner was Dread Zeppelin, a reggae Led Zeppelin  cover band fronted by an Elvis impersonator. But the party […]

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Economic relief an ‘Insight’ for Tempe businesses

December 29, 2008 reports: “Businesses along Mill Avenue in Tempe are making big plans for the upcoming Insight Bowl. Ticket sales are strong and the economic impact for the New Year’s Eve game are expected to top more than $60 million. The game is followed by Tempe’s New Year’s Eve Bash which draws around a hundred thousand people. “Cities are dependent on sales tax revenue,” said Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman. “It is important that people shop here.” Businesses along Mill Avenue have seen sharp decreases in business over the past year, game day will offer a chance to offset a small portion of the losses. “It has been slow, ” said Yianni Ioannou, the manager of My Big Fat Greek Restaurant. “We’ve lowered prices and have several promotions to try to get people in the door.” Ioannou said one night will help but it will take some time before they can get back to where they used to be. The game holds high hopes not just for Tempe. “It doesn’t matter if Tempe succeeds and every town around us fails,” Mayor Hallman said. “We’re in this together.” The Insight Bowl matches up the Kansas Jayhawks against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on New Year’s Eve.”

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Record-setting ticket sales show rising popularity of Insight Bowl

December 29, 2008 reports: “Tickets for the Dec. 31 Insight Bowl at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium are almost gone, and organizers say this year’s sales have far exceeded record ticket sales for the event. Fiesta Bowl/Insight Bowl organization spokesman Shawn Schoeffler said more than 55,000 tickets have been sold for the contest between the Kansas Jayhawks and Minnesota Golden Gophers. The previous record, set in 2006, was 48,391. Each school bought 10,500 tickets, Schoeffler said. Insight Bowl organizers estimate the financial impact of the game at about $62 million, much of it spent in Tempe hotels, bars and restaurants. The financial impact goes on after the game, which is followed by one of the nation’s top New Year’s Eve parties, where about 100,000 revelers will crowd the Mill Avenue District. A study done last year by the Sports Business Program at ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business details how good the games and celebrations are. The study noted that fans in town for the Insight Bowl spent $272.50 per day. The report also said that of the people that attended the 2006 Insight Bowl, 57 percent were visitors and stayed an average of four nights. “The Insight Bowl is fun for the fans and good for Tempe,” Schoeffler said. “It’s good for everyone.” “Our tickets are affordable and the Insight Bowl has been steadily gaining in popularity and has great promise for the future,” Schoeffler said. “We think a lot of people remember when the Fiesta Bowl was beginning and […]

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Holiday Fun with the Grandparents

December 18, 2008

Grandparents looking forward to a visit from their favorite little nippers over the holidays might have a few panicky moments wondering how they can keep the kids happy and busy during down times between all the family festivities and fixins’. Fear not, you’ll be amazed at how many terrific, fun and exciting things going on in Tempe during the season that will appeal to the grandparents, the grandkids and their parents too.  Here’s my quick list of holiday family fun for everyone. You won’t have to venture far to keep them busy, happy and left with lots of wonderful holiday memories with their grandparents. 1. The Velveteen Rabbit, Childsplay’s exquisite production of this holiday classic is on through December 21 at the gorgeous Tempe Center for the Arts.  Childsplay productions are so beautiful and professionally done that they truly appeal to all audiences and this one is no exception.  In other words, you don’t need to be a kid to love this show. 2. The IMAX at Arizona Mills always has several interesting, educational and entertaining movies, many in 3D.  There’s nothing like experiencing a big lizard in your lap, as was the case with one show I saw several years ago about the Galapagos Islands.  But, I digress.  This year you can see the wonderful animated Polar Express and yes, it’s in 3D.  I’ve seen both the regular and 3D versions and I have to say, the 3D version is awesome!  At times you really feel the sensation of being on […]

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Bicycle Valet Service coming to Tempe!

December 17, 2008

Tempe Bicycle Action Group will be running Tempe’s first known free bicycle valet service in cooperation with Destination Tempe for the Tempe Light Rail Opening Party on December 27th. Individuals arriving for the festivities by bicycle should proceed to the Tempe Transportation Center at 5th and Forrest. The group will be parking and securing bicycles in the new Bike Station located on the ground floor. Bike Station has room for approximately 150 bicycles. An overflow site will be available in the parking lot of Tempe Mission Palms should Bike Station reach capacity. Pre-registration is encouraged to help Tempe Bicycle Action Group anticipate demand. With 80,000 estimated visitors, Tempe is encouraging attendees to utilize alternate modes of transportation including City buses, Orbit, Bicycles and walking. All cyclists are encouraged to bring a bicycle lock as the bicycle valet service may reach capacity. Individuals interested in volunteering to help operate the bicycle valet may contact Tempe Bicycle Action Group.

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Tempe Festival of the Arts!

December 3, 2008

It’s almost here…the Tempe Festival of the Arts!  This is one of my favorite festivals of the year because of the all the wonderful art of course, but there’s also so much more to explore. I will first have to mention the yummy food! Not only do you have the choice to dine in one of Mill Avenue’s delicious restaurants, but there is also a variety of food vendors right there in the middle of the festival offering traditional festival fare. I know it’s probably bad for me…but I don’t care on festival day…it always tastes so good! There is also a great line-up of entertainment all weekend long. A wonderful mix of bands will be playing throughout each day from Friday to Sunday, playing everything from R&B to rock to country music. This festival makes for a perfect day outdoors – discovering all the great art that is showcased throughout the weekend, all while enjoying everything that Mill Avenue has to offer! The festivities start this Friday, December 5 and go through Sunday, December 7 and will be open from 10 a.m. to dusk each day. For more information about this free, and really fun, event visit

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Happy Days!

November 21, 2008

For a welcome break from the complexities of  2008, head to ASU Gammage to see Happy Days, a joyful recollection of the 50s and the hit television series that had us glued weekly to the tube during the 70s and 80s. All those wonderful characters–Richy, Ralph Malph, Potsie, Richy and all the Cunningham family, Pinky Tuscadero,  and of course, The Fonze–are beautifully recreated in this funny, joyful musical.  Opening night was especially fun with red carpet festivities that brought the shows Executive Producer Bob Boyett, Garry Marshall, creator of the original TV show and two of the original TV show cast members, Anson Williams who played Potsie and Don Most who played Ralph Malph. There’s still time to catch some of this good old fashioned 1950s fun this weekend.  It’s playing at ASU Gammage through November 23rd.

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Dunkin’ Donuts has arrived!

November 19, 2008

If you haven’t yet heard, Dunkin’ Donuts has come to Mill Avenue! They are located on the northeast corner of 5th and Mill Avenue, so it is very easy to get to when you are craving a coffee or donut! I have already gone twice this week to check out their coffee and morning fare selections. As for coffee, there are more options than one could ever wish for! They offer all different types of flavor shots such as vanilla, caramel or mocha, and milk and cream of course too. They also offer iced teas and iced coffees. And, if you’re into the fancy stuff, like lattes and cappuccinos, they have those too! The best part, is that you can mix and match your favorite drink yourself. Just pick your cup and go to town on whatever it is that is catching your eye. Oh wait, did I say that was the best part? The best part is actually the amazing prices! I bought a medium latte with a shot of caramel for $1.62 – so I had money left over to get a low fat blueberry muffin! Very delicious! I also had the opportunity to sample a variety of their donuts yesterday, and they were mouthwatering good!

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