20 Jul 5 Reasons to Add Tempe to Your Phoenix Itinerary (Travel Pulse)
5 Reasons to Add Tempe to Your Phoenix Itinerary
By Will McGough on Friday, July 21, 2017 | Travel Pulse
Phoenix sprawls nearly 60 miles end to end and morphs into “sub-cities,” like Scottsdale, Downtown Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe—each with its own personality.
For a first-time visitor, where to stay? Scottsdale for its luxury, art and Vegas-esque pool parties? Downtown Phoenix for its rebirth?
One area that has evolved nicely is the college-town of Tempe. Home of Arizona State University, the city has a diverse young population, a bunch of bars and craft breweries, and provides a lot of access to the outdoors.
Think: a little more down to earth and affordable than Scottsdale and a lot more active than Downtown. Accessible from the airport via the Valley Metro Rail (15-minute ride, $2 one way), it’s time to give Tempe a try.
You’re going to the desert, but finding your oasis in Tempe is easy.
Tempe Town Lake offers the unique opportunity to kayak or paddleboard within the city limits and serves as a nice walking or picnic area in the early morning or late afternoon.
The Pedal Haus Brewery on Mill Ave sets the tone for the town’s brewery scene with a lineup of award-winning beers and green chili burgers. The Shop Beer Co is Tempe’s newest brewery, and you can throw back a floral IPA under the misters on the back patio here.
Tempe is also home to Four Peaks Brewery, Arizona’s most famous and a tried-and-true local favorite beloved for its “Kilt Lifter” ale and beer bread sandwiches.
Drinks and Ghost Stories
Casey Moore’s Oyster House is the most unique and interesting bar in town and possibly in all of Phoenix. It sits unassumingly in the heart of a residential neighborhood and looks like a residence. Its tall fences hide a laid-back, wrap-around patio that buzzes on relaxed afternoons.
Inside, the place is said to be haunted, and the bartenders are not shy about sharing stories. Oysters in the desert may sound strange, but don’t worry, you don’t have to eat any to make this a worthwhile visit.
Considering it’s part of a larger metro area that sprawls, Tempe does an admirable job of keeping things relatively walkable with its city planning. Even the hotels outside of the heart of town—like the Moxy and the Graduate—are only a mile or so from most of the action, including the restaurants and bars of Mill Street.
Biking around is even easier and, if you must drive, you don’t have to go far.
In addition to the watersports of Tempe Town Lake, casual hikers and bikers will appreciate Tempe’s proximity to some trails. Rent bikes from The Bicycle Cellar and enjoy a ride through Papago Park on the Crosscut Canal Path or take in the desert scenery by foot on the Lizard or Canal trail where you will be welcomed by saguaro cacti and rocky buttes.
You can also climb A Mountain, a small hill that rises up on the edge of town. It will take about 10-20 minutes to reach the top and affords 360-degree views of Tempe.