Tempe Tourism Blog

Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden

Las Noches de las Luminarias at Desert Botanical Garden
November 26, 2014

One of my  favorite  holiday events here in the beautiful Sonoran Desert  is Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden. It’s a beautiful Southwestern holiday tradition that’s been taking place for 37 years. The Garden’s lovely paths will be aglow with more than 8,000 lit luminaire bags and the trees will sparkle with thousands of tiny white lights. You can’t help but catch the holiday spirit while strolling along the garden’s glowing trails with a cup of hot chocolate or cider in hand on a crisp, clear night. Adding to the festivities will be 10 music groups performing throughout the garden. From Dickens carolers to bell ringers to Flamenco to steel drums to Mariachi and more, there will be music everywhere. Favorite local musicians and bands, including Mariachi Pasión, The Sugar Thieves, Will Clipman, Duncan Family and several hand bell ensembles will perform every night with additional groups performing on select nights. Make the evening even more special and include dinner at Gertrude’s, the Garden’s on site restaurant featuring local  or dine al fresco at the Patio Cafe or enjoy a sumptuous holiday buffet served in Dorrance Hall. Reservations are recommended for Gertrude’s and required for the holiday buffet. Las Noches de las Luminarias takes place over 16 nights, November 28-29; and December 5-6, 12-13, 19-23, 26-30 from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. To create the best guest experience you may choose a ticket for 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. or 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Be sure to reserve your time slot soon […]

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Tempe events: Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade

Fantasy of Lights Opening Night
November 24, 2014

Tempe events  include the always colorful and fun Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade  this long Thanksgiving weekend. I love it! You’ve got Thursday of feasting and football followed by Friday to recover and the Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade on Saturday. This is the weekend that officially marks the beginning of the holiday season in Tempe. I love a parade, especially one like the Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade that has a true home-town spirit with families, neighborhoods, organizations and businesses participating.  Now in its 22nd year, the parade will celebrate Santa’s workshop and feature a mix of floats, balloons, clowns, novelty units, marching bands and the arrival of Santa Claus. The parade will begin at 3rd Street and proceed along Mill Avenue, turn onto 7th Street and continue to Centerpoint Plaza, where the festively decorated holiday tree awaits ceremonial lighting at the conclusion of the parade. The Fantasy of Lights Tree Lighting Ceremony, presented by State Farm in Centerpoint Plaza, will be hosted by emcees Mark & Monica from 98.7 The Peak.  Tempe’s Mayor Mark Mitchell will assist honored guests in the countdown to the tree lighting. Finally, jolly old St. Nick will take his seat to hear children’s special gift requests.  Don’t forget to  have your camera or smart phone  charged and ready to take your free selfie with Santa. All of this holiday magic takes place this Saturday, starting at 6 p.m. in Downtown Tempe which is all decked out in its finest holiday […]

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Tempe Shopping for the Holidays

here on the corner
November 18, 2014

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” That sounds better than, “Trying to find holiday gifts for everyone on my list makes me panic.” But, have no fear. There are plenty of Tempe shopping options and you’re sure to find the perfect gifts for all (and maybe a gift or two for yourself). The shopping season officially begins the day after Thanksgiving, of course. After you’ve found a few deals on Black Friday, don’t forget about Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29. There’s room for all kinds of shopping experiences in Tempe, from chain stores to small independent retailers. We love them all. But, Small Business Saturday is a reminder to support those local stores. If you haven’t been to Downtown Tempe lately, you’re in for a treat. There are lots of new restaurants that have opened in the past few months. And in between all of those tasty restaurants and fun nightlife spots, there are some excellent places to find holiday gifts. Brand X is the place to create one-of-a-kind gifts. You can choose from their designs, or bring in your own ideas and they’ll help you make a memorable t-shirt, hoodie, messenger bag or whatever you can dream of. And, your order is ready very quickly – sometimes even on the same day. You can’t go wrong at Here on the Corner, the cute as a button retailer on College Avenue, just north of University Drive. Their motto is “Local fashion. Global passion.” That means that they either […]

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Tempe events-Junie B. Jones returns to TCA

Junie B Jones in Jingle Bells
November 17, 2014

Tempe events feature the holiday hijinks of  Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!  This Childsplay favorite opens this weekend at the Tempe Center for the Arts. The play is set in Room One where the kids are gearing up for a holiday celebration. All is well until Junie B. Jones draws tattletale May’s name for the Secret Santa giveaway, which does not make her at all happy. Her solution? She makes a plan to leave her nemesis with a nasty old lump of coal. The hilarious Junie B. and her holiday mischief will leave kids laughing for days. The play is based on the best-selling books by Barbara Parks and is recommended for age five and older. Always a fun holiday treat for the entire family, Junie B. Jones will be on stage at the Tempe Center for the Arts, weekends from November 23- December 28. Performance times are: Saturdays at 1 and 4 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m.  Childsplay is Arizona’s award-winning professional theatre for children and families. What a week this is for arts and culture events!  See for yourself. Take a good long look at this list and view a complete listing of Tempe events, or call 480-894-8158 for more information. November 17: Tegan and Sara, Marquee Theater November 17: John McCain: Thirteen Soldiers, Changing Hands Bookstore November 17: ASU String Ensemble: Fun Favorites, ASU Katzin Concert Hall November 18: ASU Concert of Soloists: Competition Finalists Concert,  ASU Katzin Concert Hall November 18: ASU Guitar […]

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Dine out in Tempe this Thanksgiving

Rustlers Rooste dining room
November 14, 2014

Thanksgiving is two weeks away. That means in thirteen days or 312 hours or 18,720 minutes from now, we’ll be gathered around with friends and family, watching football, cooking the largest turkey we could find, baking pies and cakes, prepping the stuffing and the green bean casserole (my favorite and a Thanksgiving must if I’m invited to your home). Once the prepping, cooking/baking and in some cases, when the tears are wiped away, you can eat, laugh, yell, scream and chat around the table. Then the cleaning begins. And it never ends. If this doesn’t sound appealing to you – and that’s okay if it doesn’t – you still deserve to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. You deserve the works too. We’re talking about turkey, ham, prime rib, mountains of potatoes and all the pies you can dream of. Best of all, you can let someone else do all the cooking and cleaning up for you. Here are three Tempe area restaurants that will be open on Thanksgiving and are more than happy to take care of everything for you so your Thanksgiving can be relaxing and stress-free. Rustler’s Rooste Head to Rustler’s Rooste for a boot-scootin’ good time on Thanksgiving. Open Thanksgiving day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Enjoy live country music from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Call now to make a reservation: (602) 431-6474. RUSTLER’S ROOSTE TURKEY STUFF - *Pre-order only , Excluding beverages, tax and gratuity 16 to 20 Pound Oven Roasted Tom Turkey - Turkey Serves 6 – 8 […]

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Here are some free things to do in Tempe

Free things to do in Tempe: Papago Park
November 10, 2014

In life we learn that nothing comes free, that spending money is inevitable, and that going out on the weekends means spending most of your paycheck. Well, I am here to tell you that money does not need to grow on trees in order for you to have a good time. All you have to do is head down to Tempe and enjoy some free entertainment. Tempe offers plenty of free activities including music, museums, and even outdoor activities that are fun and won’t make you break the bank. Here’s a list of free things to do in Tempe. Tempe offers many great locations to catch free musical performances. Enjoy free music every Friday night at Tempe Marketplace on 2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy. Come see local artists put their musical talents on display at Tempe Marketplace’s own District Stage. Another great source for music is Mill Avenue, including restaurants such as Rula Bula on 401 S. Mill Ave., which always has free weekend performances on Friday and Saturday night.  Also joining the music scene on Mill Avenue this month is the Tempe Music Revival. Each weekend in November, Mill Avenue will host a free music series featuring various artists. You can also shake off the work week with Finally Fridays at the Tempe Center for the Arts located on 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Enjoy live music, free appetizers, and great views. Museums are another great option for free entertainment. The Tempe History Museum on 809 E. Southern Avenue, is […]

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Tempe events: The Tempe Sound at Tempe History Museum

Tempe History Museum
November 10, 2014

Tempe events include The Tempe Sound exhibition opening at the Tempe History Museum this weekend. The exhibition is a big one, lasting almost a year and featuring more than 2,500 square feet of exhibition space filled with hundreds of pieces of music items honoring groups such as The Refreshments, St. Madness, Walt Richardson and the Morningstar Band and many others. You’ll see guitars used by Doug Hopkins of the Gin Blossoms, pieces of the Long Wong’s building, heavy metal costumes, platinum records and a lot more. You can also jam out at the listening station and play the drums. There will be events taking place throughout the exhibition’s run, including 25 concerts, lectures and gallery openings, all of which will celebrate Tempe’s role as a source of some of the best music around from Waylon Jennings to the Gin Blossoms and beyond. Don’t’ miss the  exhibition opening this Friday at the Tempe History Museum beginning at 5 p.m. Be among the first to see this amazing collection of music paraphernalia and hear the legendary Hans Olson, Dead Hot Workshop, Prophet and the Cowboys of the Apocalypse perform. There will also be a raffle of a guitar signed by Flogging Molly from the group’s 2012 performance at Tempe Beach Park. Refreshments from the locally-owned Papa Murphy’s Pizza franchise may be purchased.  You can also purchase a souvenir  T-shirt with the names of all the artists and venues in the museum exhibition—a nice addition to any rock concert T-shirt collection. Visit The Tempe […]

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Dining in Tempe just keeps getting better

Postino Anneex
November 5, 2014

You’re in Tempe and you’re hungry. I can’t think of a problem with as many good solutions. Tempe is known for longtime favorite restaurants such as Four Peaks Brewing Company, House of Tricks and Chompie’s. But now, the Tempe dining scene has expanded to include several new, noteworthy establishments. You’re such to find a new favorite to add into your Tempe restaurant rotation. Here’s a summary of what restaurants have opened and what’s coming up next. Postino Annex The latest Postino WineCafé location, Postino Annex, is now open steps from Arizona State University on College Avenue. Located in a cool red brick building that was a former art studio, Postino Annex features their renowned menu of bruschettas, soups, salads and panini sandwiches, with brunch items on the weekends. They’re also known for their wine list and beer selection. The sunny patio with welcoming yellow umbrellas is sure to become a new favorite spot to meet up with friends. 615 S. College Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281 http://postinowinecafe.com The Normal Diner The complete transformation of the Twins Palms Hotel into the Graduate Tempe included a brand new restaurant. The Normal Diner is your classic American eatery, serving classic dishes in a very chic setting. Breakfast items, served all day, include chicken and red velvet waffles, blue corn pancakes and a gringo burrito complete with house-made chorizo. Lunch and dinner options range from a bison burger to a red quinoa and kale salad. And don’t miss the Bloody Mary to end all Bloody […]

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Tempe events: Tempe Music Revival amps up Mill Ave.

The Pistoleros
November 3, 2014

Good news!  Cool, fall weather has finally arrived and with it Tempe events that include Tempe Music Revival, an exciting new free live music series, beginning this weekend. The series will bring musicians and bands to different intersections along Mill Avenue on Friday nights throughout November, which the City has designated as Tempe Music Revival Month. Another cool feature of the Tempe Music Revival is the Tempe Music Walk. Each November, the City of Tempe and Tempe Music Revival Group will select  bands, musicians or venues to honor with a plaque embedded in the sidewalk on Mill Avenue, creating Tempe’s Music Walk. Tempe is the first Phoenix Metropolitan Area city to honor its musicians in this way. Each November, as part of Tempe Music Revival Month, the City of Tempe and Tempe Music Revival Group will select a bands, musicians or venues to honor with a plaque embedded in the sidewalk on Mill Avenue, creating Tempe’s Music Walk. Tempe is the first city in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. The inaugural dedication will take place at 4 p.m. on Friday, November 7 at Fourth Street and Mill Avenue.  The first musician to be honored with a plaque (and deservedly so) is Tempe’s legendary Walt Richardson. Walt has been a major force in Tempe’s music scene for more than 30 years.  Locals and visitors have appreciated Walt and loved his music since he started out as a street performer on Mill Avenue. Over the years he’s gone on to perform on world […]

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Visit Tempe’s spine tingling Halloween haunts

Casey Moore's Oyster House
October 30, 2014

With Halloween coming this Friday, my thoughts are on places in Tempe that are reputed to be haunted. Tempe was settled in the second half of the 1800s. Some of the old buildings are still in use by businesses and a few purportedly have permanent residents who, though long dead, make an occasional ghostly appearance. So, if you’re looking for a little spooky action and goose bumpy fun evening this Halloween, you might visit Tempe’s spine tingling Halloween haunts. Probably Tempe’s most famous haunted place is Casey Moore’s Oyster House, located at the corner of Ninth Street and Ash Avenue. Originally built as a private residence in 1910, Casey Moore’s is one of Tempe’s most popular restaurants and pubs. It’s known for great seafood, its beer selection and convivial outdoor patio. It’s also known for its ghost, a young woman named Sarah who was strangled by a jealous lover in the restaurant’s Blue Room. Staff and guests claim to have glimpsed Sarah, described as having fair skin and dark hair, before she quickly disappears. Chug down a few of those good beers and you might see Sarah too. Uninvited dinner guests might join you  at Monti’s La Casa Vieja (The Old House), the longest continually occupied building in the Valley. Originally the home of Tempe’s founder Charles Trumbull Hayden, it has a rich history and has housed many residents since it was built in 1871. It’s been a popular steakhouse since 1956. Staff and visitors have reported strange happenings such as flickering lights, cabinets opening […]

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