Posted on: December 27, 2012
There’s always something happening in Tempe and that is especially true this weekend. From the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl leading right through to New Year’s Eve, you won’t have a shortage of activities to choose from. Here’s a quick guide with lots of fun things to do in Tempe.
TCU vs. Michigan State at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: The streets of Tempe are starting to fill up with Spartan and Horned Frog fans. Our college town is the perfect setting for this Big Ten and Big 12 duel at Sun Devil Stadium. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl kick-off is at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, December 29. The pre-game Buffalo Wild Wings Tablegate is also not to be missed. Fans will be treated to marching bands, cheerleaders, pep rallies, interactive games, big screens with team highlights and a live performance from Cheap Trick. The Tablegate will be open from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on game day. It will be across from the stadium in Lot 3. Tickets are $25 and include a plated meal.
Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden: The Desert Botanical Garden is a beautiful place to visit anytime of the year, but it is extra special during the holiday season. Las Noches de las Luminarias brings 8,000 hand-lit luminarias lining the scenic Garden trails, thousands of white twinkling lights, ten musical acts each night and food and beverage options. This event takes place nightly through December 30.
Zoo Lights: It’s not the holiday season in metro Phoenix without a visit to Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo. The Zoo is magically transformed by thousands of colorful lights, including animal sculptures and the “Music in Motion” light show on the lake. You can visit Zoo Lights nightly through January 6.
Hiking: In my opinion, our Sonoran Desert is best experienced from a hiking trail. Trails are easily accessible no matter where you’re staying in Tempe. “A” Mountain in the downtown Mill Avenue District is a quick hike that provides great views of the city and the ASU campus. South Mountain Park and Preserve is the largest city park in the country and it boasts more than 16,000 acres of amazing trails for any fitness level. Papago Park is located just north of Tempe Town Lake. Hiking and biking trails can be accessed from College and Curry Roads or Mill Avenue and Curry.
Tempe Pub Crawl: There are lots of excellent places to grab a drink with friends, either before the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl or just on a regular night out on the town. Mill Avenue is home to popular spots such as The Handlebar Tempe, Canteen Modern Tequila Bar, the Tavern on Mill or Rula Bula Irish Pub, just to name a few. Tempe Marketplace is home to Cadillac Ranch, San Felipe’s Cantina, Dave & Buster’s and Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill. And, Four Peaks Brewing Company, located in a neighborhood on 8th Street just south of University Drive and east of Rural Road, is well known for terrific microbrews and food in a cool atmosphere.
Live Music at Tempe Marketplace: One of my favorite things to do on a Friday or Saturday night is go to Tempe Marketplace to hear live music. Starting at 7 p.m., there will be free performances at the District Stage near Dave & Buster’s and at a stage near Barnes & Noble.
SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium: Arizona Mills is known for its excellent collection of retailers and restaurants. And, now, it is also known as the home of SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium. SEA LIFE has more than 5,000 creatures in more than 30 display tanks. It’s sized perfectly for kids, but adults love it too. Don’t miss the two rescued sea turtles, Ziva and Frye.
Boating on Tempe Town Lake: Winters in Tempe are still warm enough to enjoy Tempe Town Lake. This urban oasis is best experienced by renting a kayak, hydrobike, paddle board or other watercraft from Tempe Boat Rentals.
New Year’s Eve in Tempe: Warm temperatures and a festive atmosphere always add up to a great New Year’s Eve in Tempe. There are activities planned in the Mill Avenue District, Tempe Marketplace and the Phoenix Zoo. Check out our New Year’s Eve in Tempe blog post for details.
Plan your next vacation with the Tempe Visitor's Guide.