NCAA Final Four

Final Four landing page logo

The NCAA Final Four game will be played in Arizona for the first time on April 1 and April 3, 2017 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Arizona State University in Tempe is the collegiate host for this exciting event. Tempe, located in the heart of the metro area, is the perfect place to turn your NCAA weekend trip to Arizona into a memorable vacation!

Enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, fun spring events, lots of live music and local hangout spots for meeting up with other fans. Home to the Arizona State University Tempe Campus, this college town is ready to host college basketball fans from across the country. Tempe is located just minutes from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and is centrally located within the Phoenix metro area. Fans can enjoy the game and the area to its full extent – making this a true Arizona vacation.

Looking to add a day or two to explore the rest of Arizona? Check our collection of day trips from Tempe to get ideas about places you can visit in just a few hours drive from Tempe.

 

Tempe Marketplace plaza

Top 10 Things To Do in Tempe

  1. Don’t miss the Tempe Festival of the Arts in Downtown Tempe March 31 – April 2, 2017. This free Downtown Tempe event showcases as many as 400 artist booths and includes live music and food vendors, giving the festival a street fair type atmosphere that is fun for the whole family.
  2. Shop ’til you drop at Tempe Marketplace, an outdoor shopping and entertainment center. With more than 1 million square feet of retail and restaurant space, this shopaholic’s paradise is packed with eateries and retail shops such as DSW, H&M, Nordstrom Rack and Target.
  3. Enjoy live music at Tempe Marketplace on Friday and Saturday evenings at the District Stage from 7 to 10 p.m.
  4. Downtown Tempe, located just south of Tempe Town Lake, is well-known for its abundance of locally owned restaurants, boutiques and bars. Tease your taste buds at breakfast, lunch and dinner at one of the many unique and delicious restaurants.
  5. At Arizona Mills, shoppers will find more than 175 retail and outlet stores such as Neiman Marcus Last Call, Gap Outlet, Kenneth Cole Company Store, Nike Clearance Store, H&M and more. Take a break from shopping to enjoy one of the entertainment venues, such as SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Tilt Studio and Harkins IMAX Theatre.
  6. Take a tour of the Arizona State University (ASU) Tempe Campus. Stroll down the iconic Palm Walk, visit the beautifully renovated Memorial Union, or discover the many pieces of public art on ASU Tempe Campus ranging from murals to the intriguing “Air Apparent” Skyspace by renowned artist James Turrell.
  7. Looking to try a local favorite restaurant? Try Haji-Baba, House of Tricks, Curry Corner, The Dhaba, Four Peaks Brewery, Rula Bula Irish Pub, or Casa Reynoso to eat like the locals.
  8. Enjoy a live music performance at the Desert Botanical Garden. Music in the Garden spring performances are held Friday evenings and feature local musicians. Get there early to explore this living museum featuring 50,000 desert plants from around the world. Advance ticket purchase is recommended.
  9. Be entertained at Main Event Entertainment. This 58,000 square foot center is home to 26 high quality recreational bowling lanes, laser tag, a gravity high ropes course, billiards and shuffleboard tables and more than 125 interactive games.
  10. Visit the numerous museums and galleries on and near campus such as the ASU Art Museum, known for its contemporary art exhibits. The Hall of Flame Fire Museum, Tempe History Museum, Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, and the AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park are all located close to Downtown Tempe and are worth a visit as well.

A Mountain

Top 10 Outdoor Activities in Tempe

  1. Take a quick, but strenuous, hike up “A” Mountain for scenic views of Downtown Tempe and the ASU Tempe Campus.
  2. Rent a stand-up paddle board (SUP) on Tempe Town Lake from Tempe Boat Rentals. SUPs not your thing? No problem. Pedal boats, kayaks and pontoon boats are available to rent.
  3. Experience the Sonoran Desert up close with a visit to Papago Park, located just a few minutes north of Tempe Town Lake. Hike up to “Hole in the Rock,” a natural sandstone formation, at sunset for panoramic views of Tempe, Phoenix and Scottsdale.
  4. Explore Tempe on two wheels. There are several bike rental shops nearby, such as The Bicycle Cellar. Head north of Downtown Tempe to Tempe Town Lake for 5 miles of bike paths, and continue on for 2.5 miles of bike paths at the Crosscut Canal Path. Miles upon miles of bike and hiking paths await visitors in Papago Park.
  5. Stroll the winding paths of the Desert Botanical Garden, located inside Papago Park, just north of Downtown Tempe.
  6. Make plans to visit the animals at the Phoenix Zoo. Exciting experiences like Stingray Bay, Giraffe Encounter, Monkey Village, a 4-D Theater and more, zoo goers are in for a fun day of animal adventure.
  7. Play a round of golf ASU Karsten Golf Course or Rolling Hills Golf Course. ASU Karsten has a “4 ½ Star” rating by Golf Digest’s “Best Places to Play” and Rolling Hills Golf Course is a favorite course with breathtaking Papago Park mountain views.
  8. Kiwanis Park, located just 10 minutes south of Downtown Tempe, features a batting range, heated wave pool, tennis courts and boat rentals on the recreation lake through Tempe Boat Rentals.
  9. South Mountain Park and Preserve, one of the largest municipal parks in the U.S. with more than 16,000 acres, is a 10 minute drive from Tempe. View the South Mountain Park map for directions to Pima Canyon, the closest trail head to Tempe, near 48th Street and Guadalupe Rd.
  10. Hike the iconic Camelback Mountain (said to look like a camel’s back). Located in Phoenix about 20 minutes away, the two main trails on Camelback Mountain are open sunrise to sunset for hikers to enjoy beautiful views of the city.

Culinary Dropout

Top 10 Places in Tempe to Meet Up With Fans

  1. Handlebar Tempe: Located in Downtown Tempe – 680 S. Mill Ave. #109, Tempe, AZ 85281
  2. Pedal Haus Brewery: Located in Downtown Tempe – 730 S. Mill Ave. #102, Tempe, AZ 85281
  3. Culinary Dropout at the Yard Tempe: Located in Downtown Tempe – 149 S. Farmer Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281
  4. Zipps Sports Grill: Located in Downtown Tempe – 690 S. Mill Ave. #103, Tempe, AZ 85281
  5. Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row: Located in Downtown Tempe – 640 S. Mill Ave. #120, Tempe, AZ 85281
  6. El Hefe Supermacho Taqueria: Located in Downtown Tempe – 640 S. Mill Ave. #110, Tempe, AZ 85281
  7. Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill: Located at Tempe Marketplace – 2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe, AZ 85281
  8. Loco Patron Mexican Grill: Located in Downtown Tempe – 222 S. Mill Ave. #115, Tempe, AZ 85281
  9. Blasted Barley Beer Co.: Located in Downtown Tempe – 404 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281
  10. Four Peaks Brewing Company: Located off of University Dr. and Dorsey Ln. – 1340 E. 8th St. #104, Tempe, AZ 85281

light rail

2017 NCAA Final Four Pre-Game Events

The NCAA Final Four weekend is a four-day celebration of student-athletes, basketball and the spirit of collegiate athletics. A culmination of March Madness, four teams advance to compete for a national title at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ April 1 and April 3, 2017.

Getting to events in Downtown Phoenix

Valley Metro Rail provides a convenient link between Downtown Tempe and Downtown Phoenix and offers an extension that connects directly to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Please note that the light rail does not connect to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One: 
Come Ready To Play- the Final Four Fan Fest is so much more than basketball. From rock climbing to youth clinics, from autograph signings to special appearances, there is plenty to see and do. Families will enjoy a special Kids Zone and activities. Friends and teammates will enjoy competing for bragging rights at one of 24 hands-on NCAA championship experiences.
Cost: $10 for adults, kids 12 and under get in FREE. Tickets available January, 2017.
Location: Phoenix Convention Center – Downtown Phoenix
Saturday, April 1; 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 2; 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Monday, April 3; Noon – 6 p.m.

March Madness Music Festival: This special FREE three-day concert series takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday over the Final Four Weekend and features both local and national acts that in the past have included artists such as Pitbull, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, The Zac Brown Band, Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5 and Kenny Chesney, just to name a few. The concerts typically start in the late afternoon and feature team pep rallies, as well as interactive games, activities and refreshments provided by the tournament’s sponsors. This is a free event, open to the public and sponsored by NCAA Corporate Champions AT&T, Coke and Capital One.
Location: Margaret T. Hance Park (tentative) – Downtown Phoenix
Saturday, April 1; 2 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 2; 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Final Four Friday – University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale:  On Friday, March 31, 2017 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., each of the Final Four teams will participate in an hour long open practice at University of Phoenix Stadium. The practices are free and open to the public and provide an opportunity for locals and fans to see all of the teams in action in the venue. Special programming and tributes throughout the practices lend to the exciting atmosphere.

Final Four Dribble – Fan Fest in Downtown Phoenix: This unique event takes place on the Sunday April 2, 2017 of Final Four weekend at 11:00 a.m. Thousands of children will be given their very own official NCAA basketball and dribble it along a route ending at the entrance of Fan Fest. This free event includes a basketball, t-shirt and a unique way for local kids to be a part of the Final Four weekend. Registration opens in January 2017.

Final Four Youth Clinics Location is TBD: Jump-start your basketball skills with a FREE NCAA Youth Clinic. Each participant will receive a FREE t-shirt and other promotional items. Kids will learn fun drills and healthy, active lifestyle tips. Youth Clinics are open to boys and girls, grades 3-8. Details of the clinics coming soon!

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