If you haven’t been to Tempe in the last 10 years, you haven’t been to Tempe, AZ at all. This Arizona city has added a lake, a major shopping area, changed it’s downtown image and added light rail. Tempe is a city of about 170,000 people and most of them come to work at Arizona State University, US Airways, Chase Bank and Honeywell. But, there’s over 85 companies that have 300 employees or more. So, if you don’t live in Tempe, there’s a good chance you work there.
Or play there. The 10 year old Tempe Town Lake is the centerpiece for sailing, rowing and fishing. But, it also attracks triathletes, runners and folks just out to picnic. The lake and Tempe Beach Park host the Ironman ArizonaTriathlon every November. Other times of the year you can see carnivals, concerts and parties on or around the lake. Tempe has other parks worth checking out too, like Kiwanis Park to the south, Papago Park to the north and 48 parks total. Papago Park is part Tempe and part Phoenix. Either way, you’ll enjoy the hiking, mountaineering, zoo and botanical gardens.
Just to the south of the lake is Mill Avenue, a collection of trendy restaurants, unique boutiques and rowdy bars. Mill is the western boundary of Arizona State University. Pac 10 sports happens on campus year around, plus you can visit over a dozen museums, collections and galleries on campus. All around ASU and Mill Avenue you’ll find shopping, but if you can’t get enough; venture out to Arizona Mills Outlet Mall or Tempe Market Place.
The newest addition to Tempe is the Metro light rail that goes east to Mesa and west to Phoenix. It passes Sun Devil Staduim, Wells Fargo Arena, Mill Ave and heads to Papago Park (short walk) and the A’s spring training home (short walk) and then onto downtown Phoenix, the Diamondbacks and Suns home. Tempe is one of three cities (Phoenix and Scottsdale) that make up the heart of the valley of the sun.