Why do we love this sunny season? Glad you asked!
Arizona’s toasty temperatures certainly stir up conversation throughout the summer months. The truth is, Tempe’s wide variety of cool things to do in the sun, air-conditioned indoor adventures and the best deals of the year welcome visitors and locals all season long. Is it warm? Yes, it is. But keep in mind, 100 degrees in the Sonoran Desert feels much more comfortable (it’s a dry heat) than in climates with high humidity.
Here are a few of the things we love about summer in Tempe:
Lower Hotel Rates
Tempe hotels offer terrific summer rates, which means you’ll save on accommodations right off the bat. Bonus: Your rate includes free, unlimited access to the hotel pool, where you can spend a lot of time just chillin’. Learn more about Tempe’s cool, comfortable and inviting hotels.
Misters are magical inventions that provide a cool, refreshing mist anywhere people tend to congregate outside. It’s like air conditioning for the great outdoors. They work wonders in dry heat by cooling down your walk between stores at Tempe Marketplace or pairing perfectly with dining on restaurant patios, especially in the evening. So, yes, you can still enjoy great company, food, cocktails and, in many instances, corn hole and ping pong on one of our wonderful patios — thanks to this wonderful invention. Check out our blog to learn more about Tempe’s restaurants with great patios.
Even when temperatures are in the triple digits, you can still enjoy some of the outdoor activities Tempe is known for. Whatever you do, just make sure to apply sunscreen, wear a hat and stay hydrated!
- Take to the lake: Try stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) or taking a donut boat (shade canopy included) with friends out on Tempe Town Lake. Rentals are available well beyond sunset.
- Hit the trails: Savvy hikers know that the sunrise is just as stunning as the sunset in the desert — and the trails are a lot cooler in the earliest hours of the day. Alternatively, bike rentals for trail riding are a breezier way to explore the Sonoran Desert. The choice is yours.
- Experienced golfers know that when temperatures rise, golf courses rise to the occasion by lowering green fees. Check tee times at Papago Golf Club, Ken McDonald and Rolling Hills golf courses.
Frozen Treats to Beat the Heat
There are lots of sweet, cold and refreshing treats to be enjoyed in Tempe. Cool down with such seasonal froyo flavors as tropical key lime at ZoYo Neighborhood Frozen Yogurt. Habitual ice crunchers will, no doubt, love shaved ice goodness at Joe’s Italian Ice or Bahama Buck’s. Whatever you’re craving, Tempe’s got lots of frosty options to cool your craving for something sweet and cold. Love that brain freeze!
Chill Out Indoors
Gone are the days when the main refuges from the heat were movie theaters and department stores. Now there are loads of other cool, air-conditioned activities to pursue. In Tempe, you’ll find lots of fun indoor adventures to cure those summer doldrums.
- Ice skating fans rejoice: Mountain America Community Iceplex, located adjacent to ASU’s Mullett Arena, offers public skating.
- Get into the game – the arcade game, that is! Tilt Studio, Dave & Busters, and Main Event are ready to bring you some cool fun this summer. From arcade games to delicious eats, each location has something unique to offer.
- See beautiful ocean creatures at SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium and build something with your kids at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona. Both are located at Arizona Mills Mall.
- Tackle a new hobby and get your heart pumping as you scale high walls and an abundance of indoor climbing space at Phoenix Rock Gym.
- For something a little more on the wild side, try your axe-throwing skills at LumberJaxes Axe Throwing, Hotshots Axe Throwing, or Class Axe Throwing.
- Throwing stuff can be fun. But destroying things is downright cathartic. And it’s entirely acceptable at Simply Smashing Rage Release Room. They provide everything from plates to electronic devices for your smashing pleasure.
- Challenge your wits and compete with a team through one of Tempe’s escape rooms. Check out United Escapes of America and Inferno Escape Room. Grab a group of friends (or co-workers), pick out your favorite theme and try to beat the clock in 60 minutes or less.
- Do you love tapping into your creative side by painting pottery or canvas painting? If the answer is yes, check out As You Wish at Tempe Marketplace or Painting with a Twist.
- 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!
- Experience the thrill of indoor drifting at Drift Haus, a pro-style drift bar that invites you to drive forward, backward and everything in between.
Ice Cold Beer
Triple-digit temperatures pair perfectly with ice cold beer. (No doubt the best beer you’ve ever had is the one you’ve gulped down after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day.) You won’t have to go far to find your new favorite thirst-quenching brew in Tempe. Cool down with a Kilt Lifter at Four Peaks Brewing Company, the original destination for great Tempe craft beer. Check out such summer favorites as Papago Orange Blossom and Arizona Light Lager at Huss Brewing Co. Or, hang out with a hand-crafted Light Lager or Belgian-Style Tripel at the bike-friendly Pedal Haus Brewery. Learn more about Tempe’s craft breweries.
The Kiwanis Pool is perfect for the entire family. No need to reapply sunscreen here – the water slides and 3-foot waves are all indoor here. Check the website for details, including hours of operation.
The Splash Pad at Tempe Marketplace is 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, such as the café inside Barnes & Noble, Panera Bread, Churroholic and Mojo Yogurt. It’s open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Friday and Saturday evenings, parents can also enjoy live musicians who play within earshot of the splash pad.
Check out Tempe’s neighborhood pools and splash pads, including:
- 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
The above neighborhood parks are open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from April through October.
Celebrate the Arts
It’s no secret that Tempe celebrates the arts, and that’s true throughout the summer months too. Here are some museums and stages with hot summer programming.
- Check out the rotating exhibits calendar of events at ASU Art Museum, where admission is always free.
- Tempe Center of the Arts, also home to Stray Cat Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company, packs a wide variety of art, shows, music and other events under one roof.
- Take a trip through this city’s history with a visit to the Tempe History Museum, which also hosts events and live music.
- Arizona Heritage Center hosts events, exhibits and workshops that connect patrons with local history.
- With touring Broadway shows taking place throughout the summer months, ASU Gammage is home to the hottest ticket in town.
Arizona Day Trips
You may not be planning a big summer trip this year, but lucky for us, Tempe is centrally located in the Phoenix Metro area, making it easy to take a fun day trip to explore Arizona! Yes, you can hop in your air-conditioned car and enjoy a leisurely drive on roads less crowded and go north or south to explore several Arizona destinations that are just a day trip away. Experience the Apache Trail Loop, Jerome, Flagstaff, Bearizona, St. Anthony’s Greek Monastery in Florence, Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Sedona, Antelope Canyon and many more destinations, with lots of good restaurants along the way. With a morning start, you’ll be back in time for dinner. Learn more about day tripping from Tempe.
These are just a few of the reasons why we’re stoked about summer in Tempe. There’s a lot more to check out, starting with our summer fun roundup.