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8 Reasons to Move to Tempe, AZ

Fun things to do, sites to see, offbeat adventures, shopping and more. Pack your bags and head to Tempe!

By Laura Hill on June 25, 2015

Tempe AZ
photo by Tim Trumble

Big-city amenities with college-town ambiance, wonderful weather year round, loads of cool things to do and see (and eat) – Tempe, AZ one of America’s 100 Best Places to Live, has it all. A next-door neighbor of Phoenix, Tempe has its own special identity: progressive, a bit offbeat, and known for its rich arts and culinary scenes. Here are eight reasons to relocate to this extraordinary city.

Public transportation

Tempe has got most cities of any size beat when it comes to people-moving. With free Orbit shuttles to take you around town, light rail to Phoenix and Mesa, plenty of park and ride stations, buses, and biking on 175 miles of dedicated trails, this is a city that makes it easy to get out there. 

Arizona State University 

The main campus of ASU is home to more than 51,000 students annually. The highly ranked university is research-focused and considered a leader in sustainability, and predictably, the campus has a big impact on Tempe, from its popular Sun Devil athletics programs to its many arts and culture offerings.

See where Tempe ranked on our Top 10 College Towns 2014 list. 

Big Surf Waterpark

Surfing? In Tempe? You betcha. Big Surf Waterpark, in fact, was the first in the nation. Opened in 1969, it was the brainchild of Phil Dexter, who dreamed up the idea and the machinery that made it work in his own backyard. Today, the park’s 2.5 million gallons of water make surfable waves every 3 minutes, while a variety of big and small slides offer thrills for all ages. 

House of Tricks

No presto-change-o here; House of Tricks is all about good food and lovely ambiance. Owners Robert and Robin Trick (Get it?) opened their iconic fine dining restaurant in 1987 in a charming little house on Seventh Avenue, adding a second charming old house next door in the ‘90s. A favorite with Tempe diners, House of Tricks also boasts delightful gardens and alfresco dining.

Entertainment District

The perennially popular Mill Avenue District was rebranded in November 2014 and is now officially known as Downtown Tempe, a nod to the growth of the area beyond just Mill Avenue. By any name, this is Tempe’s bustling nighttime scene, home to great restaurants, bars and retail establishments. Popular with students, nonstudents, locals and visitors alike.

Tempe Town Lake

There aren’t many towns where you can hike, fish, paddleboat, kayak and play – right in the middle of the city. But at Tempe Town Lake, you can do all that and more. Facilities include a splash park for kids and boat rentals. A calendar of festive events includes the Arizona Dragon Boat Festival, the Fantasy of Lights boat parade and a Summer Ends Music Festival. 

Gammage Performing Arts

Tempe has a very active arts scene, from music to children’s theater. A leading light, Gammage on the ASU campus, is known as one of the world’s largest presenters of performing arts. The stunning 3,000-seat Gammage Auditorium was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and offers well-known Broadway and other productions.

Shopping – Arizona Mills

Shop ‘til you drop at the Arizona Mills mega-mall, the busiest site in Arizona. Browse 185 stores, dine at a café or enjoy an IMAX film. For a change of pace, try the Tempe Marketplace, a lively outdoor mall where you can also enjoy live music, outdoor fireplaces and more.

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