Families and Kids

Top 20 Summer Activities in Tempe

photo credit: @allieandsam

Summer fun has officially begun! As Arizona starts to open back up, we have created a list of our top 20 summer activities in Tempe. Check out the list below to help get your summer off to a great start!

1. SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium: Located in Arizona Mills, SEA LIFE is designed to provide a fun, interactive and educational experience for kids (and adults too). Explore the 12 different habitat zones housing more than 32 tanks with thousands of marine life, including colorful coral reefs, jewel-colored fish, undulating sting rays, a huge slithery eel and graceful sea horses. An underwater tunnel provides a 360 degree view and the sensation of swimming underwater, surrounded by sharks and other deep ocean dwellers.

*SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium Opening Update: Check out their website for updated hours (located at the top of the web browser) and health and & safety guidelines.
5000 Arizona Mills Cir., Tempe, AZ 85282

Lumberjaxes Axe Throwing in Tempe, AZ.

2. LumberJaxes Axe Throwing: This summer, try your luck at wielding an axe! Lumberjaxes is an indoor axe-throwing facility very similar to a shooting range, except your weapon of choice is an axe! There are eight bays, with two axe throwing lanes. Each bay has a Lumberjaxes axe throwing specialist to insure all participants are safe and learn proper axe throwing techniques. Make sure to pay attention because there is nothing more satisfying then finally making your axe stick. Lumberjaxes runs on a “BYOB” policy after 4 p.m., meaning you can bring your own adult beverages and food into the facility. You will also want to bring closed toe shoes and a fun attitude!

*LumberJaxes Axe Throwing Opening Update: Check out their website for current safety guidelines.
3105 S. Fair Ln., #100, Tempe, AZ 85282 | (480) 773-6551

3. Frosty refreshments are key to summer survival and Tempe has plenty of options to choose from. You’ll find flavorful frosty frozen concoctions, cool smoothies, frothy favorites and icy blends to cool you from the inside out. Whether you enjoy fruity flavors or are more prone towards exotic teas, Tempe has the perfect refreshing, summer survival drink for you.

Mango Rabbit Bubble Waffle
Mango Rabbit Bubble Waffle

4. Shopping: Whether you like to leisurely shop or you’re on a mission to find that perfect thing, there are lots of shopping options in Tempe.

  • Arizona Mills: You can easily spend the whole day at Arizona Mills. This indoor mall is home to a mile of retail stores, outlets and entertainment venues.

    *Arizona Mills Opening Update: Select stores at Arizona Mills are NOW OPEN! Visit their website for health & safety protocols.
    5000 S. Arizona Mills Cir., Tempe, AZ 85282 | (480) 491-7300

  • Tempe Marketplace: One of the city’s most popular gathering spots, Tempe Marketplace is filled with large national retailers, boutique shops, restaurants, and cafes.

    * Tempe Marketplace Opening Update: Select stores at Tempe Marketplace are NOW OPEN! Visit their website for more information.
    2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 966-9338
Mimosa Flight from U.S. Egg

5. Tempe is home to a fantastic array of tasty breakfast spots. Try a delicious savory and sweet crepe to-go at The Crepe Bar (Rural and Elliot), an example of a food truck that was successful enough to open a permanent location. Or check out one of Tempe’s newest breakfast spots, Scramble, located in south Tempe (Rural and Baseline).

6. Phoenix Rock Gym: Looking to stay active without the heat? The Phoenix Rock Gym is here to save the day. Located near Dorsey Ln. and University Dr., the Phoenix Rock Gym is an indoor rock climbing facility, featuring high walls and an abundance of space to climb to your heart’s desire. From beginners to experienced climbers, everyone will have a great time at this air-conditioned location.

*Phoenix Rock Gym Opening Update: Phoenix Rock Gym is NOW OPEN! Monday-Friday: 3 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
1353 E. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 921-8322

7. Do you love painting pottery? If the answer is yes, check out As You Wish at Tempe Marketplace.

  • As You Wish, located within the District at Tempe Marketplace, is a place where you can discover imaginative possibilities. At As You Wish, you pick out a piece of pottery and decorate it as you please with store-provided paints. There are also classes available for all ages, and the location will happily host events like birthday parties or other group activities.

    * AS You Wish Opening Update: Due to limited seating, reservations are highly recommended.
    2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Ste. 1141, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 557-9100

8. Taste something new: There are so many restaurants in Tempe, it’s always hard to choose where to go. But, give yourself a challenge this summer and try a new place. We have put together a list of some of the Tempe restaurants where you can order delivery or curbside pick-up orders and we’ve also indicated which restaurants are offering dine-in service. Please call each restaurant, visit their website or social media pages to find out more information, including what new safety protocols they’ve implemented.

Ghost Ranch Take-out
Ghost Ranch
Running at Tempe Town Lake web
Tempe Beach Park

9. Stress less in Tempe this summer: After spending the vast majority of our time at home the past couple months, we wanted to come up with a few ways to reduce stress and remind ourselves of the laid-back, come as you are spirit that Tempe, Arizona is known for.  

10. LEGOLAND® Discovery Center: Fun comes in all sizes at shapes from the little LEGO blocks to huge dinosaurs at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center.  Kids can easily while away a summer day playing with thousands of LEGO blocks in 10 build and play zones, or on the two  rides and viewing a movie in the LEGO 4-D cinema. LEGOLAND® Discovery Center is located at Arizona Mills across from SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium.

*LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Opening Update: Visit LEGOLAND® Discovery Center’s website for updated hours and safety information.
5000 Arizona Mills Cir., Tempe, AZ 85282 | (877) 526-3960

11. Gravity Extreme Zone Trampoline and Adventure Park: With over 40,000 square feet, Gravity Extreme Zone features a range of unique attractions, including a zip line, rock climbing wall, bungee jumping, skywalk, drop slide, dodge ball, foam pit, and VR area. With something to do for everyone, Gravity Extreme Zone is the perfect place for families, groups, and individuals of all ages!

* Gravity Extreme Zone Opening Update: Check out their website for updated cleaning procedures.
190 S. Kyrene Rd., Suite 5, Chandler, Arizona 85226 | (480) 757-5411

12. Rent a boat from Boat Rentals of America: Boat Rentals of America at Tempe Town Lake and Boat Rentals at Kiwanis Park are open for business. The weather is warm, not too hot, and perfect for a lovely boating excursion on Tempe’s urban oasis in the desert, Tempe Town Lake. Boats of all types can be rented at Tempe Town Lake, including kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, pontoon boats, pedal boats and electric boats. The Kiwanis Park location rents kayaks and pedal boats and is open on Sat. and Sun. from noon to 7 p.m.

Kayaking at Tempe Town Lake
Kayaking at Tempe Town Lake

*Boat Rentals of America is taking extra precautions during COVID-19 and sanitizing each boat and bike upon its return. Check out their website for additional information.
Boat Rentals at Tempe Town Lake | 72 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe, AZ 85282 | (855) 690-0794
Boat Rentals at Kiwanis Lake | 5203 S. Ash Ave., Tempe, AZ 85283 | (855) 690-0794

Have your own watercraft? Online boating permits for Tempe Town Lake are now available. Visit the City of Tempe website to purchase your permit and enjoy Tempe Town Lake on your own kayak, stand-up paddleboard, sailboat or canoe. Make sure to read all boating regulations before purchasing your permit.

13. Fun and Games: Get into the game – the arcade game that is! Tilt Studio, located inside Arizona Mills and Dave & Busters, located at Tempe Marketplace, are open for some cool fun this summer! From arcade games to delicious eats, each location has something unique to offer. Main Event Tempe also offers entertainment options for all ages, including state-of-the-art bowling, billiards, laser tag, a ropes course, more than 100 virtual and interactive games, free Wi-Fi, attractive dining options and full-service premium bars.

Tilt Studio at Arizona Mills | 5000 S. Arizona Mills Cir., Suite #669, Tempe, AZ 85282 | (480) 648-1222
Dave & Buster’s at Tempe Marketplace | 2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 281-8456

Main Event Tempe | 8545 S. Emerald Dr., Tempe, AZ 85284 | (480) 753-1200

14. Escape Rooms: This summer, challenge your brain and compete with a team through one of Tempe’s escape rooms. Check out escape rooms like Escape Zone, Alcatraz Escape Games and Inferno Escape Room. Pick out your favorite theme and grab a group of friends (or co-workers) and try to beat the clock in 60 minutes or less!

Escape Zone | 414 S. Mill Ave., Suite 112, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 666-5550 | Health and Safety Guidelines
Alcatraz Escape Room Games | 1290 N. Scottsdale Rd., #103, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 719-1234

Inferno Escape Room | 1415 E. University Dr., A-105, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 567-0190 | Health & Safety Protocols

You Are Amazing Mural by @jayarr.art
“You are Amazing” mural by @jayarr.art

15. Enjoy Tempe Public Art from the comfort of your own car: Enjoy City of Tempe’s public art collection and you’ll be amazed at the creativity all around the city. From live theatre to concerts to museum exhibitions, you will notice art shows up in unexpected places.

If you want to explore Tempe’s street art scene, we suggest hopping in your car for a self-guided driving tour of a few of our favorite Tempe murals. You can see all of these works of art from the road or a parking lot. And, if you practice social distancing, you can still get that perfect photo for Instagram. 

16. Snakes & Lattes:
Snakes & Lattes has great food from burgers to poutine, and beverages, from coffee creations to beer and cider. But, the best part is that you can combine your meal with your pick of hundreds of board games. They have classics like Clue and Mall Madness to the newest in strategy games. And, you can enjoy games with friends on their shady patio.

20 W. 6th St., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 361-6644

Hiking at A Mountain
“A” Mountain Hike

17. Take a Sunrise or Sunset Hike: We can all use a little Vitamin D right about now. Hikers are encouraged to practice social distancing and access to some trails has been restricted to control crowds. See the press release from the City of Phoenix for more information about trail access. Visit our Tempe hiking blog to learn about some of our favorite local trails from “A” Mountain to South Mountain Park and Preserve. We advise you to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, a hat and proper hiking shoes. 

Please note that facilities, such as bathrooms and drinking fountains, may not be accessible at this time. Be prepared and check in advance of your hiking outing.

18. Rainbow Riders Hot Air Balloon Ride Company: Take your summer to new heights with Rainbow Ryders! Rainbow Ryders will show you a bird’s eye view of desert at sunrise. Tours are 45-60 minutes during which time you’ll be treated to the lovely aerial views of Deer Valley and the Sonoran Desert vistas. 

* Rainbow Riders Opening Updates: New safety guidelines.
715 East Covey Lane, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85024 | 800-725-2477

19. Enjoy an Outdoor Picnic: There are lots of green spaces in Tempe like Kiwanis Park, Daley Park and Tempe Beach Park. In fact, there are more than 50 parks in Tempe. You can have a picnic with your quarantine buddies, just be sure to bring your own blanket. There are social distancing rules in place in Tempe parks that have closed some amenities like picnic tables, ramadas, playgrounds, basketball courts and dog parks. See the City of Tempe COVID-19 page for information about safely using parks

20. Biking in Tempe: Need a safe social distancing activity? Take your bike out and explore 215 miles of bikeways, including bike lanes, desert trails and canal paths. Ride around Tempe Town Lake, down Mill Avenue or in Papago Park. Visit the City of Tempe website for additional information.

Tempe E-Bike Tours is now offering private group rides for 2-5 people, by request only. Tempe E-Bike tours will provide the clean bikes, you just have to bring your own water, bag, and helmet. To book, contact Todd Davis at (602) 980-3798.

*Bonus Activity!

21. The Phoenix Zoo: Load up the car with your herd and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cruise the Phoenix Zoo! Find September dates and make your reservation for Cruise the Zoo on their website.

Biking at Papago Park
Biking at Papago Park

22. Harkins Theaters in Arizona are reopening on August 28, 2020. You’ll find Harkins Theaters at Tempe Marketplace and Arizona Mills will ensure that you’re #CinemaSafe and enjoy the big screen with new health and safety protocols in place! Reserve tickets online for blockbuster films like Tenent and Unhinged. They’re also celebrating the 10 years Anniversary of the film, Inception – view it for only $5!! With social distancing in place, they’ve added more showtimes for the movies to reduce the the amount of traffic in the lobby areas and at concessions. Harkins perks are also back!! Visit their website for all their safety protocols and to book your tickets now, https://www.harkins.com/welcome-back.

If you need more ideas about what to do this summer, follow Tempe Tourism Office on social: @tempetourism and visit the Things to Do section of our website. As more attractions begin to open their doors, we’ll update their listings.

Toni Smith
Written Toni Smith

An Arizona native, Toni Smith loves to dine out, conquer hiking trails, go to concerts and survive hot yoga classes. She has also never met a dog she didn’t love instantly. She lives in Tempe with her husband and daughter.


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