Tempe skyline

Tempe is a city in the Greater Phoenix area of Arizona, best known as the home of Arizona State University (ASU).


Tempe is a small but dynamic, steadily-growing city. Its shared history with ASU has given it a long-standing reputation as a college town, and it is considered to be the academic and intellectual center of the greater Phoenix area. In addition, its younger, student-heavy population allows it to offer a vibrant nightlife that is relatively rare in Arizona. It is home to many research-centric industries in fields ranging from biotechnology to solar energy as well as a high percentage of knowledge workers those industries require. Being surrounded by the neighboring cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, and Chandler, it serves as a major hub in the Valley Metro light rail transit system.

Get in

By rail

The Valley Metro Light Rail project is operational and brings light rail service through Tempe from the neighboring cities of Mesa and Phoenix. The rates are very reasonable, and day-passes are available for a discount. Tickets may be purchased from automated kiosks at every station. Free Park-and-Ride lots are located along the length of the route. There are plans in the works to extend the rail system through the use of spurs.

By bus

Valley Metro offers bus service to Tempe from neighboring cities, as well as ORBIT, the free neighborhood shuttle around Tempe (see listing below in 'Get Around'). Routes and fares can be found on their website. Nearby Mesa does not have bus service on Sundays, so some service in Tempe is disrupted.

By plane

Tempe is one of the most accessible cities in the Phoenix Metropolitan area and only 10 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Taxis and shuttles are available for arrivals and departures. There are also a number of reasonably-priced public buses, and the recently completed Light Rail is a short shuttle ride away. Those new to Sky Harbor should be warned, however, that the roads and parking lots serving the airport can be poorly marked and rather confusing to navigate. Make sure to allot extra time in case you miss a turn and need to circle around. Also, there is no Terminal 1 – only numbers 2 through 4.

By car

Tempe is accessible via several main arteries, including Interstate 10, Loop 101, Loop 202, US 60, and surface streets including East Van Buren Street to the Mill Avenue Bridge.

By bike

Several bike routes reach into Tempe, especially around the downtown area where you can bike over Tempe Town Lake from Phoenix on the Mill Ave Bridge.

Get around

Public transport

Valley Metro bus

Tempe offers two free and convenient neighborhood circulators, called "Orbit" and "Flash". Fixed route service (fee) is available through Valley Metro, connecting commuters with neighboring cities. A system-wide route map for all bus routes, paid and free, can be downloaded from the City of Tempe website here.

By bicycle

Tempe is a comparatively bicycle-friendly city in the Phoenix valley area, and features bike lanes along many roads (which see more traffic the closer you get to downtown Tempe and ASU) and a variety of very enjoyable bike paths in and around parks and scenic locations, which connect conveniently to nearly all urban areas and points of interest. Although Tempe is a small city, the dry and hot summer climate can make it somewhat uncomfortable to self-pedal from one point in the city to another. For this and many other reasons, electric bikes are becoming a very popular option year round.

A printable map of bike routes in the city can be downloaded here.


ASU's Old Main
ASU's Gammage Auditorium, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
Petersen House Museum
Tempe Center for the Arts


Mill Avenue Bridge over Tempe Town Lake
Ironman Arizona

Outdoor activities

Tempe has numerous parks, soccer fields, fenced dog parks, lighted tennis courts, pools, golf courses and its own two-mile urban park complex, Tempe Town Lake. Twin bicycle and walking paths circle the lake leading to Tempe Beach Park, Splash Playground, Town Lake Marina and Giuliano Park, where many triathlons take place. In addition, Tempe has more than 150 miles of dedicated bikeways and the League of American Bicyclists has designated Tempe a Silver-Level Bicycle-Friendly Community Award winner.

Tempe's outdoor activities and sporting events add to its dynamic lifestyle. Tempe is the annual home to a number of sporting events, as well as all of the intercollegiate athletics at Arizona State University.

Other events


Tempe has a wide range of shopping choices from nationally known department stores to outlets and specialty boutiques. The heart of downtown Tempe and the main shopping district is the Mill Avenue District. This area is filled with specialty shops, bars, restaurants, cafés, pubs and is also the cornerstone of the downtown business district.


Tempe's Mill Avenue District offers the most concentrated area of restaurants and cafés in Arizona. Tempe restaurants offer cuisines including Middle Eastern, Asian, Mexican and, of course, American fare. Many have received the Phoenix New Times's "Best of" award.


Tempe is situated amidst the Phoenix Metro area as a "college town," and considering this Tempe's nightlife constitutes a wide variety of people. Most prominent is a college-aged drinking crowd that congregates on Mill Avenue District (which offers the most concentrated area of restaurants and cafés in Arizona) seven nights a week.




Tempe welcomes the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual (LGBT) community. However, Tempe features no LGBT-oriented bars or clubs. Neighboring Phoenix contains all of the LGBT bars in the valley.

Go next

Routes through Tempe

Blythe Phoenix  W  E  Chandler Tucson
Quartzsite Phoenix  W  E  Mesa Socorro
North Phoenix Scottsdale  N  S  Chandler END
Downtown Phoenix Camelback East  W  E  Mesa Gilbert

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 26, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.