9 Reasons We’re Stoked about Summer in Tempe

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 is a year-round destination. As such, we have all the hacks for your next summer itinerary in this Sonoran Desert city. From sparkling pools and buzzing nightlife to indoor adventures and cool treats, here’s everything you need to know about making the most of value season in Tempe.

Is it warm? Sure. 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:

Cool 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.

Magical Misters

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.

Outdoor Adventures

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 Tempe’s golf courses, including Grass Clippings at Rolling Hills — Arizona’s first night-lit course.

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. Boba fans will find a growing selection of shops with endless flavor combinations of bubbles, milk teas, fruit and more.

In the adult beverage department, blended margaritas and beeritas are crowdpleasers. No matter 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 the roster of indoor adventures is seemingly endless.

Get up close and personal with thousands of aquatic creatures at SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium and build something with your kids at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona. Both are located at Arizona Mills Mall. The country’s fastest-growing sport — pickleball — is also now open at Arizona Mills: Picklemall welcomes all skill levels and provides all necessary equipment.

Thrill-seekers are in for a heart-pumping good time (and a workout) with an indoor climbing experience at Phoenix Rock Gym and Arizona Bouldering Project. And ice skating fans are invited to take to the ice at for public skate on select dates at Mountain America Community Iceplex, located adjacent to ASU’s Mullett Arena.

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. Breaking things can be fun, but destroying things is downright cathartic. And it’s entirely acceptable at Simply Smashing Rage Release Room, where you’ll find everything from plates to electronic devices for your smashing pleasure.

Do you love tapping into your creative side? If the answer is yes, check out As You Wish at Tempe Marketplace or Painting with a Twist for painting experiences. Those with a little more experience, create your own trendy wood signs at Hammer and Stain or Tutugether, a new DIY crafting studio that offers rug tufting, paint pouring, decoden art and more.

If all else fails, Tilt Studio, Dave & Busters, and Main Event are crowdpleasers, with arcade and tabletop games, virtual reality experiences and delicious eats.

Ice Cold Local Beer

Triple-digit temperatures pair perfectly with ice cold beer, so tap into more information on Tempe’s craft breweries this summer. You won’t have to go far to find your new favorite thirst-quenching brew:

Cool down with a Kilt Lifter at Four Peaks Brewing Company, the city’s original destination for great craft beer. Check out such summer favorites as Papago Orange Blossom and Arizona Light Lager at Huss Brewing Co. Pair Hundred Mile Brewing Co.’s Crowd Surfer Mexican Lager (with lime and salt) with the delicious shrimp tacos. Or, hang out with a hand-crafted Light Lager or Belgian-Style Tripel at the bike-friendly Pedal Haus Brewery. 

Water Fun

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.

The largest community splash pad in Tempe is The Cloud at Kiwanis Park, a 5,000-square-foot water attraction with various water features, from “swizzle sticks” and “jelly sticks,” to loops and hoops. There’s also a storm sequence with thunderous sound effects. Free to play. Open daily from April to October.

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. Check the website for details, including hours of operation. 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.

With touring Broadway shows taking place throughout the summer months, ASU Gammage is home to the hottest ticket in town. 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.

Check out the rotating exhibits calendar of events at ASU Art Museum, where admission is always free. 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. The little ones will especially enjoy a visit to Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting, where all ages are invited to explore the history of firefighting through exhibits that include restored fire trucks, fire gear and more.

Tempe’s Nightlife Scene

Tempe’s coolest scenes heat up when sun starts to set. Long known as a hotspot for nightlife, Tempe offers a wonderfully eclectic lineup of venues featuring live music, DJs, entertainment and special events. Whether it’s touring concerts or dance floors in your evening plans, be sure to check out our guide to nightlife in Tempe  for all the details you need for deciding where to step out to once the sun goes down.

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.

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