What to do in Tempe This Summer

by Lexi Carr


Contrary to the believe that any Arizona city is miserable in the summertime, the season of sunny weather is one of the best seasons to be in Tempe. First, school is out at Arizona State University, which means the area is less crowded. Second, all of the nearby water parks are open. And finally, it’s very easy to keep cool with the variety of shopping options and indoor activities. Between all of these excellent activities, residents in the heart of Tempe will have plenty to do throughout the summer.

Explore the Campus

Spend time at ASU now that most of the students are away and visit the university’s Art Museum. The ASU Art Museum is free, and it has a series of rotating exhibitions. One current exhibition is Saber Acomodar, which features works from Jalisco, Mexico. The museum also has several family events where kids can create their own pieces of art.


Right around the corner from the Art Museum on campus is the Marston Exploration Theater. While easy to overlook, this theater puts on four different 3-D astronomy shows that make it feel as if the planets are within arms’ reach. The theater utilizes 4K projection systems that put objects on the screen in 3-D stereographic vision. The theater is open to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the tickets under $8.

Have Some Fun

Take some time outdoors and visit the Tempe Town Lake. The man-made lake was created by damming a portion of the Salt River, and it is now the city’s second-most visited public attraction. There are paths along the edges for people to walk, run or take their bike for a ride. Visitors can also rent pedal boats, kayaks or take an electric boat out on the water.


For an all inclusive, family friendly indoor day of fun, check out the Main Event Entertainment. The 55,000-square-foot venue is new to the area — it opened in 2013 — and it has things to do for all ages. There’s bowling, laser tag, a ropes course, more than 100 types of arcade games and a full service bar. Their food menu is expansive as well, with vegan options too.



Adults looking for some evening fun should go no further than Tempe Improv. This comedy club brings in big acts such as David Cross from “Arrested Development,” and Bill Burr who made a brief appearance on “Breaking Bad.” The theater also has nights dedicated to up-and-coming comedians at least once a month.

Beat the Heat

There’s no doubt that Big Surf Waterpark is the place to be during the summer in Tempe, if not the entire state. This water park is home to Waikiki Beach, which was one of the first wave pools in America.


The park has several water slides ranging in intensity. There’s the Tornado Twister, Black Hole, White Serpentine and Hurricane Falls. The water park also has a zip line named after Hawaii’s highest peak Mauna Kea. Families with small children will enjoy having their own space at Captain Cook’s Landing or the Otter Slides.


If the heat is a little too much to bear in Tempe, pack the bags, rent a comfortable road trip car, and head to Sedona for a quick getaway. Temperatures in this beautiful and majestic city are on average 10 degrees cooler than Tempe during the day, and that drops even further at night. This place is great for exploring the outdoors, as it has pine forests, canyons and climbing among the red rocks. It also has several spas and spiritual attractions for those looking for a unique adventure.

Savor Local Dining

One local favorite near ASU campus is Slickables. This ice cream shop is known for its ice cream sandwiches, nestled in between cookies that are fresh baked in store. Stop by on a warm summer day and try their salted caramel ice cream or red velvet cookie. Even better, this store delivers to hotels in the Tempe area.


Back in Tempe, one popular spot to satisfy the shopping bug is Tempe Marketplace. This retail area has a mix of chain stores and smaller boutiques. The on-site theater shows all of the latest movies, and there is a splash area for kids. This place is especially busy on Friday and Saturday nights, as it has live music and multiple bars within walking distance of each other.


People with plant-centered diets will enjoy Green, which was named the best vegan restaurant by the Phoenix New Times. There is also Caffe Boa, a restaurant once voted the best Italian restaurant and best chef. Brunch fans will like Ncounter, as this spot serves up classic pancakes and several different types of omelettes.


For those interested in the music scene, be sure to check out Tempe’s favorite music venue, the Marquee Theater. The Marquee it’s a popular pitstop for musicians during the summer. This venue is great due to its smaller size, as people can get up and close to their favorite artists.


Regardless of your interest, Tempe offers plenty of activities throughout the summer for all ages. Be sure to check them all out – you wouldn’t want to miss out on the fun!

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