Families and Kids

Top 20 Summer Activities in Tempe

From sunrise to sunset, the best of Tempe awaits you this season

Summer fun is officially underway in Arizona! Just in time for the season ahead, we’ve created a list of Tempe’s top 20 summer activities. Check out the roundup (in no particular order) below to plan your fun in the sun and cool retreats for you and your crew to enjoy all summer long.

1. Make A Splash

The Kiwanis Pool, the Valley’s only indoor wave pool, does not disappoint when it comes to water fun. This climate-controlled pool features 3-foot waves in various patterns and a 122-foot-long spiral water slide. With raft and tube rentals available, this is the perfect pool for the entire family. Check the website for more details, including hours of operation. Additional community pools in Tempe:

  • Clark Outdoor Pool: 1730 S. Roosevelt St., Tempe, AZ 85281 (open April 20)
  • McClintock Outdoor Pool: 1830 E. Del Rio Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282 (open May 25)
  • Escalante Outdoor Pool: 2150 E. Orange St., Tempe, AZ 85281 (open May 25)

Littles love the Splash Pad at Tempe Marketplace. It’s surrounded by a shaded seating area for parents, and it’s close to a few spots where you can get an iced beverage or dessert. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Additional pools community pools in Tempe:Check out one of Tempe’s neighborhood splash pads:

  • The Cloud at Kiwanis Park: 5233 S. Ash Ave., Tempe, AZ 85283
  • Parque de Soza Splash Pad: 1430 S. Cedar St., Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Jaycee Park: 817 W. 5th St., Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Esquer Park: 2407 E. McArthur Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281

2. Sky-High Swimming

Tempe hotels offer a variety of sky-high options for swimming, soaking and sunning. One thing these rooftop pools all have in common is the exceptional views. So, grab a cocktail, a cabana, some light bites and a dose of vitamin D — then be sure to stick around for the stunning summer sunset too.

3. Take to the Lake

The weather is warm, not too hot, and perfect for a lovely boating excursion a Tempe urban oasis in the desert: Tempe Town Lake and Kiwanis Lake.

Boats of all types can be rented at Tempe Town Lake, including kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, pontoon boats, pedal boats and electric boats. They open at 10 a.m. every day.

The Kiwanis Park location rents kayaks and pedal boats and is open on Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

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 perm

4. Get Sporty

In 2023, Grass Clippings at Rolling Hills debuted as Arizona’s only fully lit, 18-hole golf course and practice facility that’s available day and night. Located less than 2 miles from Downtown Tempe, this hilly course lives up to its name with quite a few elevation changes. Golfers will find a trendy, player friendly oasis — juxtaposed against the sandstone buttes of Papago Park. Take in views of the surrounding mountain ranges and skylines from the 8th hole (the course’s highest point) and keep an eye out for Sonoran Desert animals after dusk. A live music venue and new restaurant are set to open before 2025. In the meantime, don’t miss the dedicated taco truck.
1415 N. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85288 | 480-530-9880

If your idea of a cool retreat involves ice skates, you’ve come to the right place. Mullett Arena and the Mountain America Community Iceplex — home to ASU men’s hockey — host a variety of skating opportunities that are open to the public all summer long … just enough time for you to perfect that triple axel. And when the sheet of ice is not available for skating, it’s likely because this multipurpose venue is set to host once of its upcoming concerts.
411 S. Packard Drive, Tempe, Arizona 85288 | 602-457-2500

5. Under The Sea

Located in Arizona Mills, SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium 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 stingrays, 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.
5000 Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe, AZ 85282

6. The Phoenix Zoo

Get up early to beat the heat and plan a visit to the Phoenix Zoo. Favorite spots include a stop at Orang-Hutan, the Orangutan habitat, and the Sumatran tigers of the “Isle of the Tiger” habitat. And don’t miss a stop at the Camel Rides, a favorite of both the kiddos and adults.

455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ 85008 | 602-286-3800

7. LEGOLAND® Discovery Center

An ultimate indoor playground where visitors can explore landmark replicas of the Grand Canyon State built with 1 million LEGO BRICKS, take interactive adventures, watch movies at the LEGO 4-D cinema and build LEGO creations with master builders. Check out the LEGO store and café that are also onsite.
5000 Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe, AZ 85282 | 480-565-7072

8. Take a Sunrise Hike

We can all use a little Vitamin D right about now. During the summer, you can still go for a hike early in the morning. Visit our Tempe hiking blog to learn about some of our favorite places for 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. 

Looking to watch the sunset without the exercise? We compiled a list of the top places to enjoy a stunning sunset in Tempe.

9. Fun & 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.

10. Axe Throwing

This summer, try your luck at wielding an axe. Tempe now has three indoor axe-throwing facilities — very similar to a shooting range, except your weapon of choice is an axe! Make sure to pay attention, because there is nothing more satisfying than finally making your axe stick. You will want to bring closed-toe shoes and an adventurous attitude.

11. Rock Climbing

Bring the outdoors in this summer at Phoenix Rock Gym and Arizona Bouldering Project. Both of these indoor rock-climbing facilities feature 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 these air-conditioned locations.

  • Phoenix Rock Gym: 1353 E. University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281 | 480-921-8322
  • Arizona Bouldering Project: 2626 S. Hardy Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282 | 480-716-9014

12. Treat Yourself

Savor the season with summer’s most-popular pastime (and here you thought it was baseball). Tempe’s roster of treat purveyors includes flavorful frosty frozen concoctions, cool smoothies, frothy favorites and icy blends to cool you to the core. Whether you enjoy innovative flavors or the classics, Tempe has the perfect frozen treat for you.

13. Refreshing Summer Sippin’

Having a cool beverage in hand a non-negotiable this season, it’s just a matter of what you choose to sip on. Thankfully Tempe’s beverage purveyors are continually raising the bar on cocktails, mocktails, smoothies, teas and just about every other frosty beverage selection. So much so, that we couldn’t fit them all into one list … also check out our recommendations for Craft Cocktails and our Tempe Breweries for even more summer refreshment.

14. Retail Therapy

There is a wide array of shopping destinations in and around Tempe, from unique specialty shops to nationally known favorites and everything in between.

You can easily spend the entire day at Arizona Mills, as it is the state’s largest indoor, climate-controlled outlet destination. Just 10 minutes west of ASU, this sprawling retail complex is home to more than 185 stores, including H&M, Nike Clearance Store and The Disney Store Outlet.
5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe, AZ 85282 | 480-491-7300

Tempe Marketplace is an expansive retail center is an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment experience with more than 100 shops in addition to restaurants, live music and a 16-screen cineplex. This bustling entertainment hub is also a social gathering spot with cozy fireplaces, unique water features (including a splash pad), pop-up art installations and lush landscaping.
2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, AZ 85281 | 480-966-9338

15. Downtown Tempe

Spend the day in Downtown Tempe. Enjoy an early a.m. hike up “A” Mountain and then refuel at one of the many restaurants in downtown for a delicious breakfast or a refreshing smoothie. Do some shopping and then head south a few blocks to explore the ASU Art Museum. This free contemporary art museum features exhibits, residencies, collections and programs focused on perspectives of regional and emerging artists, students and the public. Visit the ASU Art Museum website for more details. And just a few blocks north of downtown is Tempe Beach Park and Tempe Town Lake, offering lots of things to enjoy outside.

16. Escape Rooms

This summer, challenge your brain and compete with a team through one of Tempe’s escape rooms. Grab a group of friends (or co-workers), pick out your favorite theme at Alcatraz Escape Games, United Escapes of America and Inferno Escape Room, and try to beat the clock in 60 minutes or less!

17. Live Performances

Once the sun goes down, Tempe stages light up. From Broadway shows at ASU Gammage and eclectic programming at Tempe Center for the Arts to live DJs at Sunbar and touring shows at such live music venues as Marquee Theatre and Yucca Tap Room, there’s a ticket waiting for you for this summer.

18. Catch a Summer Blockbuster

Grab some popcorn and keep cool while watching the newest releases at Harkins Theaters at Tempe Marketplace and Arizona Mills. Check their website for showings, showtimes and to reserve tickets.
Majestic Phoenix combines the movie theater experience with restaurant service. Enjoy new releases, curated classics and a full bar and grill menu.

Harkins Tempe Marketplace 16: 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, #1160, Tempe, AZ 85281 | 480-557-0027
Harkins Theatres Arizona Mills 18 w/ IMAX: 5000 Arizona Circle, Tempe, AZ 85282 | 480-820-0387
Majestic Phoenix: 1140 E. Baseline Road, Tempe, AZ 85283 | 480-795-6622

19. Biking in Tempe

Take your bike out and explore 217 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 two to five people, by request only. Tempe E-Bike tours will provide the bikes, you just have to bring your own water, bag and helmet. To book, contact Todd Davis at 602-980-3798.

20. Self-Guided Mural Tour

Enjoy the 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. 

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.

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