Area Hot Spots Blog

millavenueTempe's central event venue is the Tempe Town Lake park, where most of lour local festivals, concerts, and outdoor events are centered.  In recent years, the lake has become lined with glass business and residential towers just East of the park.  Heading South from the lake, you will find eight well-manicured blocks of Mill Avenue connecting the lake to the Arizona State University main campus and ASU's Gammage Theater.  This charming college village has lots of restaurants, hip young stores, and college nightlife.

Tempe Beach Park - This family friendly lake-front park includes a dancing water playground for kids who want to beat the heat, and lots of grassy areas to sit an picnic.  Mostly thought, we like to visit the park during major annual events and festivals, including:

  • Fiesta Bowl Block Party - New Year's Eve
  • Festival of Lights Boat Parade - Fourth of July
  • Tempe Festival of the Arts - This festival is held twice a year, in the Spring and the Fall, and the entire Mill Avenue District is closed to traffic (website).
  • Greek Food Festival
  • Oktoberfest
  • Dragon Boat Festival
  • Tempe Music Festival

ASU Gammage Theater - At the other end of the Mill Avenue District from the lake is a Frank Lloyd Wright designed architechural masterpiece, a performing arts theater which is also a study in old-world beauty and architectural accoustics.

6th Street Park - This green oasis in the middle of downtown Tempe was created when they built a multi-story parking structure for City Hall, leaving an old parking lot available. This park has a curvilinear walking path with patterned brickwork, a shade trellis which also serves as a band platform and a sundial.  Drop by any of the dozens of restaurants on Mill Avenue and order something to go, and then head on over to this park for a wonderful outdoor dining experience in the middle of a bustling village.

'A' Mountain - Hidden Butte - This mountain is where fireworks are launched from during ASU football games, as the ASU stadium actually butts into the East side of the mountain.   The West side is a short hiking trail which offers spectactular views of the area.   It is called "A" mountain because of a 60-foot cement "A" for ASU which was originally placed there by students (well, to be accurate, a "N" was placed there in 1918 for Tempe Norma School, and then an "T" in 1925 when it changed names to Tempe Teacher's College, and finally an "A" in 1938 when the school became ASU.Each year, during the week leading up to the ASU vs. UofA football game, the Student Alumni Association coordinates the guarding of our beloved gold "A" from being painted by UofA students.