Tempe Tourism

Arizona

7 Things To Do In Tempe Arizona

June 11, 2019

In collaboration with Tempe Tourism. Thank you for supporting the brands that support A Taste of Koko!

Top Things To Do In Tempe Arizona

Photography by Ready Set Jet Set

Hey Arizona – this Texas gal is back for some more desert heat! I always find myself back in the desert every summer and this time, I’m exploring Tempe Arizona.

SEE ALSO: Where To Eat, Stay & Spa In Phoenix

Walking amongst the giant cactus at Desert Botanical Garden, swimming in the rooftop pools, watching Broadway shows, and eating at all the local restaurants – here are the top things to do in Tempe Arizona! 

 

Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix Arizona

VISIT THE DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN

The Desert Botanical Garden was the number one spot I wanted to visit in Tempe and the #plantlady in me totally geeked out at the gardens. There are over 50,000 plants and 4,482 plant species in the garden collection! Did you know the cactus family is among the five most threatened groups of living organisms?

TIP: Please bring water with you – Arizona is extremely dry and dehydrating and it’s easy to lose track of time while exploring the 5 trails at Desert Botanical Garden so make sure to keep drinking lots of water! 

TICKETS: General Admission (Daytime) – $ 24.95, June 1 – Aug. 31 (After 5 p.m.) – $14.95

1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ, dbg.org

 

HIKE PAPAGO PARK

Papago Park is located right next to Desert Botanical Garden. I highly recommend going early in the morning before it gets too hot for a hike. On the park’s east side is the Hole In The Rock that has an incredible view of the downtown skyline.

625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ

 

AC Hotel Tempe

SWIM IN THE AC HOTEL TEMPE ROOFTOP POOL

It’s hot in Arizona so you’ll want to take a dip in the pool and the AC Hotel Phoenix/Tempe Downtown has a rooftop pool with a front row view of the iconic “A” Mountain. I definitely preferred watching the hikers hike up the mountain from the pool than hiking up the mountain myself! We stayed at the AC Hotel during our stay and I loved how convenient it was to all the restaurants and shops.

100 E Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ, achotels.marriott.com/hotels/ac-hotel-phoenix-tempedowntown

 

Get Together Tempe mural

TAKE A PICTURES WITH THE PUBLIC ART IN TEMPE

You’ll see artwork sprinkled through Tempe as you’re driving around and that’s because one percent of the City’s total annual capital improvements budget is appropriated for the Municipal Art Fund in order to advance art in all its forms! We took this picture in front of the mural behind Social Hall. Here’s an interactive map of the Tempe Public Art.

715 S McClintock Dr, Tempe, AZ

 

WATCH A BROADWAY SHOW AT ASU GAMMAGE

Escape the AZ heat and watch a Broadway show at ASU Gammage. ASU Gammage is a multipurpose performing arts center in Tempe, Arizona on the campus of Arizona State University.

FUN FACT: American architect Frank Lloyd Wright originally designed the model as an opera house in Baghdad, Iraq but when the King Faisal II of Iraq was assassinated on July 14, 1958, all plans were ceased. In the late ‘50s, ASU President Grady Gammage approached Wright, a good friend, and asked him to design an auditorium for ASU so he pulled the original designs of the opera house.

1200 S Forest Ave, Tempe, AZ, asugammage.com

 

Linen jumpsuit in Tempe Arizona

TAKE PICTURES WITH THE BLOOMS

I was so surprised to see so many flowers in bloom with the summer heat while driving around town!

 

Best Restaurants In Tempe Arizona

BEST RESTAURANTS IN TEMPE

FOR BREAKFAST

Matt’s Big Breakfast – local breakfast spot in Arizona with cage-free eggs and real butter. If you like bacon, be sure to order the bacon at Matt’s – it’s thick cut & peppery! 

Morning Squeeze – this local cafe serves a breakfast and lunch menu with fresh, organic, locally grown ingredients. Breakfast platters, acai bowls, sandwiches, wraps, smoothies, juices, and a dog-friendly menu. Yup, in addition to having a dog-friendly patio, Morning Squeeze has a doggy section on the menu so you can order food for your dog like the biscuits and gravy!

Snooze – we have Snooze in Austin and it’s one of my favorite breakfast spots! 

FOR LUNCH

Perfect Pear Bistro – we had a quick lunch on the shaded patio at Perfect Pear Bistro and I loved the green chili cheese dip and Mexicali quinoa bowl. 

Ted’s Hot Dogs – for a quick meal go to the local college spot, Ted’s Hot Dogs for a hot dog with chili cheese fries and a milkshake. I had a late night meal here and loved it! 

FOR DINNER

Ghost Ranch – Ghost Ranch was hands down my favorite restaurant in Tempe. Start with the ceviche with shrimp and fire roasted tostadas and queso fundido with handmade tortillas. The tortillas are SO good – chef says the corn is local from Sonorita (native corn to Arizona). The sampler platter with grilled skirt steak, pork enchiladas, chicken enchiladas, and cheese filled Chile relleno is perfect for sharing. You’ll be thirsty so order the prickly pear frose ‘rita or the prickly pear sparkler (non-alcoholic). 

FOR COCKTAILS

Cotton & Copper – this craft cocktail bar serves organic and farm to table food with farms all around Phoenix and wild game like deer, elk, and boar. Try the spicy Agua Caliente cocktail! 

FOR DESSERTS

Mango Rabbit – Mango Rabbit serves boba tea and bubble waffles with ice cream. I loved the ube ice cream! 

Hurts Donuts – you know I love my donuts and Hurts Donuts is a local donut shop that is open 24 HOURS. Their delivery truck is an ambulance! 

 

Ghost Ranch in Tempe Arizona

Ghost Ranch

Matt's Big Breakfast in Tempe Arizona

Matt’s Big Breakfast

Morning Squeeze in Tempe Arizona

Morning Squeeze

WRITTEN BY:

Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.

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