From sunrise to sunset, the best of Tempe awaits you this season
Summer fun is officially underway in Arizona! And 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 is perfect for the entire family. This indoor pool features water slides and 3-foot waves. Check the website for more details, including hours of operation. 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.
Check out one of Tempe’s neighborhood splash pads. Kiwanis, Esquer, Hudson and Jaycee neighborhood parks are open daily 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from April through October.
The Cloud at Kiwanis Park | 5233 S. Ash Ave., Tempe, AZ 85283
Jaycee Park | 817 W. 5th St., Tempe, AZ 85281
Esquer Park | 2407 E. McArthur Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281
Hudson Park | 1430 S. Cedar St., 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.
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.
4. Ice, Ice Skating Baby: 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 and the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes from fall to spring — 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.
Mullett Arena | 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 Pkwy., Phoenix, AZ 85008 | (480) 757-541
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 Cir., Tempe, AZ 85282 | (877) 526-3960
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 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
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.
Lumberjaxes Axe Throwing: 2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy. Suite 2105, Tempe, AZ 85288 | (480) 773-6551
Class Axe Throwing: 1625 W. University Dr. 122 B, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 676-3386
Hotshots Axe Throwing: 1290 N. Scottsdale Rd. #102, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 591-9118
11. Phoenix Rock Gym: Are you looking to stay active without the heat? The Phoenix Rock Gym is here to save the day. Located near Dorsey Lane and University Drive, this 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.
*Hours: Monday-Friday: 3-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
1353 E. University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 921-8322
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.
- Arizona Mills – 5000 S. Arizona Mills Cir., Tempe, AZ 85282 | (480) 491-7300
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.
- Tempe Marketplace – 2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 966-9338
The 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.
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 United Escapes of America and Inferno Escape Room, and try to beat the clock in 60 minutes or less!
United Escapes of America | 414 S. Mill Ave., Suite 112, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 666-5550
Inferno Escape Room | 1415 E. University Dr., A-105, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 567-0190
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 Pkwy., #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.