Tempe Tourism Blog

TicketCity Cactus Bowl brings Huskies & Cowboys to Tempe

Cactus Bowl
December 18, 2014

The Washington Huskies and Oklahoma State Cowboys are coming to Tempe for the TicketCity Cactus Bowl on January 2, 2015. Tempe is a perfect location to host a bowl game. Not only is the weather beautiful, but there are several nearby attractions, shopping and dining options to keep everybody entertained during their trip to the desert. Tempe is located in the heart of the metropolitan Phoenix area, next to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, so it’s a quick drive to Downtown Tempe and Sun Devil Stadium. Here are a few tips for fans who are planning to cheer for their team in Tempe: 1.    Tickets are available through each school’s ticket office, at the TicketCity Cactus Bowl website and the ticket office at 480-350-0911. Single game tickets start at just $25. 2.    There are lots of great Tempe hotels near the action – from budget-friendly choices to luxury properties. Sun Devil Stadium is centrally located within walking distance or just a quick drive to numerous Tempe hotels. 3.    Prior to the game, Washington and Oklahoma State fans will want to be at the southeast corner of Sun Devil Stadium for The Oasis Pregame Party. This is the ultimate fan tailgate experience. The event will feature live music, marching bands, cheerleaders and jumbotrons showing highlights from each team. The cost is only $25 and that includes a plated meal in addition to entry. 4.    Downtown Tempe is also a great gathering place for fans in the days leading up to the game. There are more […]

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Top six places to take out of town guests

Las Noches de Las Luminarias
December 16, 2014

Do you have family and friends coming to visit you in Tempe during the holidays? Are you expected to be the expert on what there is to see and do? No worries! We’ve got you covered. Here are a few of our favorite places to take out of town guests. We promise you’ll have a great time too. Phoenix Zoo All ages love the Phoenix Zoo. They are home to more than 1,000 animals from African lions to zebras. And, they have unique interactive experiences like Stingray Bay, Giraffe Encounter, Monkey Village and 4-D Theater. One of my favorite places to visit is their Arizona Trail, showing animals, birds and reptiles native to the desert. If you need something to do at nighttime, don’t miss ZooLights, powered by SRP EarthWise Energy. The zoo is aglow with nearly 4 million lights including entertaining animated displays. The Music in Motion show, happening at regular intervals each night, takes place at the main lake. The lights on the lake are set to music from Polar Express and Carol of the Bells. Kids will love Tortuga the Talking Galapagos Tortoise and Jengo the Talking Giraffe. You’ll love casually strolling through the zoo, enjoying the lights, with a hot chocolate in hand. Check the zoo’s website for ticket information and hours of operation. ZooLights continues nightly through January 11. Desert Botanical Garden No trip to the Tempe and Phoenix area is complete without a visit to Desert Botanical Garden. This is a living museum with […]

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Tempe events, Petersen House Danish Christmas

Petersen House Museum
December 15, 2014

  Tempe events include the  Petersen House Danish Christmas, a fun and unusual tradition that has been a part of Tempe’s holiday celebrations for many years. This weekend the Petersen House Museum will be filled with Danish Christmas decorations and traditions for the holiday season. Volunteers will be on hand to tell about the home’s history and the Danish Christmas traditions and beliefs. The Petersen House was built in 1892 by Niels Petersen, a Danish immigrant who came to Tempe in 1871. It is the oldest Queen Anne style brick residence in the Salt River Valley. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places and has received the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation. The Petersen House is located at 1414 West Southern Avenue and is open to the public only during the holidays. Don’t miss this unique Tempe holiday tradition and take advantage of this once- a-year opportunity to visit this Tempe historic landmark. Hours are Saturday, December 20, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and from 1-4 p.m. on December 21. Contact 480-350-5100 for more information. The holidays are in full swing in Tempe with holiday celebrations, music, theatre, comedy, art exhibitions and more.  Check out this list and view a complete listing of Tempe events, or call 480-894-8158 for more information. December 15: Jeff Allen, Tempe Improv December 15: Spoon; December 16: Him, Marquee Theater December 16: Joe Hopkins 52nd Street Jazz Band, Madhatter Brewpub December 18-20: Stray Cat Theatre: Year of the Rooster, Stray Cat Theatre December 18-21: Tommy Johnagin, Tempe Improv December 19: Finally […]

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Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade is holiday magic

Fantasy of Lights boat parade featured image 244 x 163
December 9, 2014

For me, the holiday season is all about recreating memories I have from my childhood, and sharing those traditions with my own family. For years while growing up, my family and I attended the annual holiday events held in Downtown Tempe. From the annual Fantasy of Lights Opening Night Parade to the Circle K New Year’s Eve Block Party, visiting Tempe will get you in the holiday spirit. One of the longest running holiday traditions in the Tempe area is coming up on Saturday, December 13: the annual Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade at Tempe Town Lake. The Boat Parade is one of the most unique holiday events in the Phoenix area. Event attendees will see over 50 boats, each decorated with Christmas lights and decorations, as they sail past crowds lined on the shore of Tempe Town Lake. The lake is absolutely aglow during this event and with holiday music streaming from many of the boats, you can’t help but sing along. This holiday boat parade started back in 1999 and has continued to grow in popularity every year since. It opens at 5 p.m. and the boat parade will begin at approximately 7 p.m. The Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade is free to attend. To start off the night, Tempe South Rotary will display over a thousand luminarias on the sidewalks and paths of Tempe Beach Park. Children should bring their wish lists because Santa Claus will be on hand to hear their Christmas requests. Don’t forget to bring your […]

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Tempe events: Architecture for Place at ASU Art Museum

Glenn Murcutt: Walsh House; Photo: Anthony Browell; courtesy Architecture Foundation Australia.
December 9, 2014

Tempe events include the opening of a new exhibition, Architecture for Place: Glenn Murcutt at the ASU Art Museum this weekend. Architect Glenn Murcutt ‘s distinctive residences and public buildings combine simple materials with elegant and refined forms and detailing. Known for projects which ‘touch the earth lightly,” he begins his work with a keen observation of the natural conditions of each site. He brings the qualities of the surrounding world into the daily experience of the occupants.  Since 1972, his practice has been based in Sydney, Australia, where he has developed a range of projects receiving international recognition, including the 2002 Pritzker Prize and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2009. The exhibition of drawings, renderings, photographs and models will be installed through an innovative collaboration between the ASU Art Museum, The Design School and the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. A graduate design studio working with faculty and curators will research, design, fabricate and install the exhibition to reflect the principles of Murcutt’s work. Their working process will be open to the public. The exhibition was originated by TOTO and Gallery Ma in Tokyo, Japan, and is being traveled internationally by the Australian Architecture Foundation. The exhibition, making its first appearance in the United States, profiles a selection of Murcutt’s works through photographs, models, sketches and working drawings. Take a break from the Holiday flurry of activities and attend the opening reception of Architecture for Place on December 12 from 5-7 p.m.  For […]

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Tempe events: It’s Tempe Festival of the Arts time!

Tempe Festival of the Arts
December 1, 2014

Tempe events this week include the Tempe Festival of the Arts, everyone’s favorite Tempe event comes to Mill Avenue this weekend. There will be as many as 350 artists selling their paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry and many more beautiful items that make great gifts for yourself and others on your holiday shopping list. And, it’s a great chance to meet the artists. The Tempe Festival of the arts also has great offerings for all you foodies. You’ll l love exploring the cottage foods and crafts section for yummy hand-crafted treats like salsas, olives, cheeses and other tantalizing delicacies. Wine connoisseurs can sample some of Arizona’s best wines or purchase a glass, bottle or case at the Arizona Wine Festival.  Or, those who are into artisan beers won’t want to miss the Art of Beer where local microbreweries will offer their finest brews to samples and  purchase. Mill Avenue and the adjacent streets will also be sprinkled with musicians, street performers and activities for the whole family to enjoy and children will have their own special place to be creative at The Kid’s Innovation Station. No festival would be complete without tasty food. Food vendors will keep you fueled for hours with snack food favorites like kettle corn, chocolate dipped fruits, fudge and caramel apples, to name a few. And, of course you’ll find all kinds of yummy eats in the comfortable surroundings of any of the great restaurants in downtown Tempe. The Tempe Festival of the Arts takes place, this […]

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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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