Photo Courtesy of Slaven Gujic/Tempe Tourism Office

liv score
665
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 61
Demographics 70
Economy 50
Education 69
Health 43
Housing 64
Infrastructure 50

#26. Tempe, AZ

You could credit Tempe’s youthful buzz to the fact that it’s a college town, home of Arizona State University. But really, the vibrancy is a state of mind here, shared by residents regardless of age. Scuttle to the top of Hayden Butte, AKA “A Mountain,” to enjoy a panoramic view of Tempe, and, on the same day, get a view from the water while paddleboarding on Tempe Town Lake. A calendar full of festivals, plus a buzzy brewery and restaurant scene no doubt make Tempe a fun place to live. But this Southwestern city also has a robust economy, with tech and tourism sectors flourishing. The 330 days of sunshine and the close proximity to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport are added perks. 

Top Industries and Employers: In this college town, Arizona State University reigns as the biggest employer. State Farm, Salt River Project utilities, Safeway and Wells Fargo are among the other top employers and some other key industries in Tempe include advanced business services and healthcare. 

Best Coffee Shop: Start your morning at King Coffee, an independently owned espresso bar in the heart of Tempe. They also offer a great tea, pastry and sandwich selection.

Best Local Beer/Brewery: If it feels like you’re enjoying a beer at a friend’s house while at The Shop Beer Co., well that’s exactly the point! A local favorite, the tasting room is inside a former home that was built in 1952 as the residence for Harry Mitchell, a former U.S. Representative and Mayor of Tempe, and his son Mark Mitchell, the current Mayor of Tempe. The backyard has community tables, is strung with lights and features some rad murals.

Must-Have Meal: Consider the Tijuana Torpedo from The Chuckbox a rite of passage. The burger with jalapeño jack cheese and topped with green chile is less than $7.

Best Co-Working Space: Craft coffee and floor-to-ceiling windows are among the co-working perks at Industrious Mill Ave.

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Corn hole. Foosball. Ping pong. You’ll find yard games galore at Culinary Dropout’s Tempe location. Loser buys the next round of pretzel bites with provolone fondue. 

Creative Hub: The ASU Art Museum has a focus on Latin American Art, and houses the largest collection of Cuban art in the United States. Admission is free.

Favorite Weekend Activity: A quick jaunt up Tempe’s Hayden Butte, also referred to as “A Mountain.” 

Free Way to Have Fun: Catch a sunrise or sunset at Air Apparent, a public art installation on the ASU campus, located near the intersection of Rural and Terrace roads. Artist James Turrel created the skyspace as an interpretation of Native American Hohokam shade ramadas and pit houses. Color-changing light fixtures enhance the views during twilight hours.

Local Dream Job: An announcer at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the spring training field for the Los Angeles Angels.

Read More:
Why Tempe, AZ is a Top 100 Best Place to Live
The 10 Best Places to Live in Arizona
Why Tempe, AZ is the Best College Town in America

– Brittany Anas

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