Tempe Tourism Blog

Tempe events this week-Changing Hands Bookstore

Benoit Denizet-Lewis and Casey
August 4, 2014

The dog days are here and what better way to spend the good old diēs caniculārēs than by curling up in a nice cool spot with an engrossing book . If you haven’t already stocked up on your summer reads you’ll  find a terrific selection of both new and gently used books at Changing Hands Bookstore. Speaking of dog days, Changing Hands is hosting Benoit Denizet-Lewis who spent many days with his dog, Casey traveling across the  country in an RV. His lovely memoir, Travels with Casey, recalls that experience. Casey will also be there along with Rezy, the stray dog who joined them during a stop on the Navajo Reservation. This book looks like a terrific summer (or anytime) read. The jacket cover alone had me convinced from the start. There are also two more author events this week at Changing Hands, including local author Tom Fitzgerald who will launch his debut novel Defector in our Midst. On Friday Heather Gillis will share her faith-based memoir of her family’s journey through the loss of their infant son to kidney disease on Friday. For more arts, culture and entertainment events check out this week’s list and view a complete listing of Tempe events, or call 480-894-8158 for more information. August 4: Benoit Denizet-Lewis: Travels with Casey; August 5: Tom Fitzgerald:  Defector in Our Midst, Changing Hands Bookstore August 6: New Faces of Comedy, Tempe Improv August 6: Rebelution with Iration; August 7: Dirty Heads & Pepper with Aer, Katastro, Marquee Theatre August 7-10: […]

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Still hungry? Tempe has plenty of late night dining options downtown

Cornish Pasty Co
August 1, 2014

Eating is one of my favorite things to do.  Whether I’m home or out with friends, sometimes I get late night cravings. Most of the time, I’m not in the mood for a small snack. I want real food – a full meal. There are many reasons why Tempe is great, one of which is the abundance of restaurants that stay open late. Next time 11 p.m. rolls around and you’re starving, it’s okay. You’re in luck. Here are some of my favorite places to satisfy those late-night hunger pangs. Four Peaks Brewing Company Is there anything Four Peaks can’t do? Aside from making some of the greatest beers in the history of world, Four Peaks has an amazing food selection. The Garlic Cheese Beer Bread might change your life. They make the bread in-house and top it with garlic butter and three cheeses. I also love the Bleu Light Special Burger. It’s melted blue cheese topped with hickory smoked bacon. Four Peaks is open every day until 1 a.m. Cornish Pasty Co. Sometimes, my late night cravings require an international twist. When that happens, Cornish Pasty always does the trick. The Bangers and Mash is my go-to. It’s made with homemade pork and sage sausage, red wine gravy, grilled onions and mashed potatoes. If I want the full experience of eating a traditional pasty, I get The Oggie. It’s made up of steak, potatoes, an onion and rutabaga (that’s a root vegetable that a cross between cabbage and a […]

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Tempe events this week-create a steampunk owl at the TCA

Gallery at TCA - Tempe Center for the Arts
July 28, 2014

Who isn’t looking for a fun retreat from the heat as we head into August, one of our least favorite months?  Thank heavens for the Tempe Center for the Arts (TCA), which has offered wonderful programs in both the visual and performing arts in their beautiful, cool environment, all summer. Take for instance the free Walk-in Family Art Workshops that take place every Saturday from noon-2 p.m. These workshops feature artists and TCA staff who show participants how to create works of art from a variety of methods and materials. Michelle Dock, who usually works behind the scenes overseeing the  Gallery at the TCA, w ill conduct this Saturday’s Steampunk Owl workshop.  Michelle enjoys combing second-hand stores and antique shops for vintage treasures that can be repurposed into works of art. In this workshop she’ll show how materials like CD cases, bottle caps and nuts and bolts as well as vintage buttons, jewelry and watch parts can be transformed into fun self-standing artworks. So what exactly is a steampunk owl?  I have no idea, but am confident that Michelle knows. The rest of us will just need to attend this workshop to find out. The Walk-in Family Workshops take place in the Gallery at the TCA, so you’re surrounded by beautiful and inspirational works of art to help set your creative gears into motion. All materials are provided and you don’t need to register in advance. As the name suggests, you just walk in and start creating. For more arts, […]

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Some of the best summer drinks in Tempe

July 25, 2014

Summer is now in full swing and all I want is to have my toes in the sand and a cocktail in my hand. Although the sand part might be hard to come by in the Tempe desert, summer drinks and cocktails are far from being in short supply. I really only require my drink to have three things; it must contain something fruity, the less alcohol I taste the better, and it must be picture worthy enough to post on Instagram. Sure, it’s not an exact science, but it has landed me with some of the best summer drinks ever. Here is a quick list of my favorite summer drinks in Tempe: Z’tejas Southwestern Grill Z’tejas, located in the heart of downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue and 6th street, knows just the right formula for a great summer drink. They have tons of options to choose from, including everything from margaritas, to cocktails, and even specialty drinks. I recommend trying the Anti-Oxidant Martini.  This classy drink starts out with a little kick of Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum, but those who are like me and detest the way alcohol tastes, need not worry because it’s quickly covered with blackberry, blueberry, and lemon to hide the taste of alcohol. To top it all off, they finish the drink with wild berry foam, making this drink the ultimate summer hit. Dave & Buster’s Now, I don’t know about you, but summer always brings me back to great memories with family, past vacations, and […]

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Tempe events this week-JERSEY BOYS at ASU Gammage

July 21, 2014

If the summer doldrums are wearing you down, ASU Gammage has something that will remedy that situation for sure. It’s JERSEY BOYS, the 2006 Tony Award®-winning Best Musical about  one of the most successful groups in pop music history. And it’s no wonder. With a great behind- the-scenes story of how four blue collar kids, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi, became The Four Seasons and a score that includes some of their biggest hits, this musical rocks from the minute the curtain goes up.  The show features their hit songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes off You.” Honestly, the music alone is reason enough to see JERSEY BOYS. But the story is also great, chronicling both the group’s high and low points. JERSEY BOYS opens Tuesday, July 22 and runs through August 3. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.asugammage.com. For more arts, culture and entertainment events check out this week’s list and view a complete listing of Tempe events, or call 480-894-8158 for more information. July 21: The Neighbourhood; July 22: MKTO, Marquee Theatre July 22-August 3: Jersey Boys, ASU Gammage July 23: Pullman Standard Free Concert, Tempe Marketplace District Stage July 24-27: Bill Bellamy, Tempe Improv July 25: Finally Friday: Cottonwood Stone; July 25: Tempe Comedy Concert Series:  Mark Cordes, Tempe Center for the Arts  July 25: Think Horses; July 26: Knee Deep Experience, Tempe Marketplace District Stage July 25: Michael V.; July […]

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Tempe events this week-Michael McDonald at the Tempe Improv

Tempe Improv
July 14, 2014

The enormously talented and  funny Michael McDonald is coming to the Tempe Improv this weekend. Fans of ”MAD TV” will remember his vast repertoire of crazy characters like Stewart and Marvin Tikvah and his many memorable  impressions of such celebs as Dr. Phil, Bill O’Reilly, Ozzy  Osbourn, Mel Gibson, Dr. Drew, Criss Angel, Sarah Jessica Parker (as Carrie Bradshaw)–the list goes on and on.  The memory of his hilarious “MAD TV” antics sent me to YouTube where I found a bunch of clips from the show and caused me to go into near convulsions of laughter. Michael McDonald was the longest standing cast member of “MAD TV” and it was a sad day for many of us when he left. However, thankfully he’s kept busy writing, directing and appearing on TV and appearing in movies. He has recurring roles on the hit Showtime series “House of Lies” and “Web Therapy.” McDonald has written, directed  and produced several  ”Cougar Town” episodes and  costarred  opposite Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in the 20th Century Fox comedy The Heat. Fortunately he also continues to tour as a stand-up comedian, performing to sold-out audiences across the country. You can see Michael McDonald in all his hilariousness this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Tempe Improv.  For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://tempeimprov.com. For more arts, culture and entertainment events check out this week’s list and view a complete listing of Tempe events, or call 480-894-8158 for more information.  July 15: Summerland Tour […]

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Tempe water park fun this summer

Splash Playground at Tempe Beach Park
July 9, 2014

What makes any summer day in Tempe just a little bit better? Water. As in splash pads, water parks and pools. This is my favorite way to keep my daughter entertained during the summer. It keeps her cool and complaint-free and that makes for one happy family. There are a few options in Tempe to keep you cool all summer long: Splash Playground at Tempe Beach Park This popular summer spot covers one acre with pop up fountains, a slide, streams, water cannons and other fun stuff. It is open daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. It’s located in Tempe Beach Park, near the Mill Avenue District (a perfect place to grab a picnic lunch to go) and adjacent to Tempe Town Lake. Kiwanis Wave Pool The Kiwanis Pool is perfect for the whole family. No need to reapply sunscreen here – the pool is indoors. It has water slides and 3’ waves – rafts are also available for rent. Admission is inexpensive at just $5 for adults and $4 for children 2-12 years old. Check the website for hours of operation. Splash Pad at Tempe Marketplace This splash pad is surrounded by shaded seating area for parents and it’s next door to a few spots where you can get an iced beverage or dessert, such as MoJo Yogurt and Sydney’s Café. It is open daily from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. On Friday and Saturday evenings, parents can also enjoy live musicians who play within earshot of the […]

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Tempe events this week- ASU Art Museum Family Fun Day

Art Museum Family Fun Day
July 7, 2014

There are some fun and free art and craft events to keep kids cool and entertained in Tempe this week, including the ASU Art Museum Family Fun Day.  Children of all ages will enjoy a variety of art projects, educational booths and performances held in conjunction with this summer’s family-focused exhibition, Funny Papers.  Activities include face painting, interactive music, dance and magic performances from Persephone, C3 Dance and Jolly Roger. Everyone will find Funny Papers both fascinating and funny.  The exhibition explores the history of comic strips and their continued prevalence throughout art.  The whole family will enjoy the mix of both vintage comic strips and contemporary art infused with comic icons.  Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to view these rare works of art gathered from the ASU Art Museum’s impressive permanent collection. Kids will find more free arts and craft activities taking place at IKEA  and the Tempe Center for the arts. Adults will also find plenty of entertaining things to do in Tempe this week. View a complete listing of Tempe events, or call 480-894-8158 for more information. July 8: Story Time & Craft Hour at IKEA Tempe, IKEA Tempe July 10: Chris DeRose: The Presidents’ War, Changing Hands Bookstore July 10: Life According to Jimmy Tatro, Tempe Improv July 10: Throwback Thursday at the District Stage, Tempe Marketplace District Stage July 11: Finally Friday: AJ Odneal, Tempe Center for the Arts July 11: Clean Comedy, Tempe Center for the Arts July 11: Dry River Yacht Club; July […]

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7 lunch spots in Tempe not to miss

Original Chop Shop Co.
July 1, 2014

Having worked in downtown Tempe for several year now, I’ve had the good fortune of trying several lunch spots in Tempe that make my tummy happy and my day a bit brighter. Here is my list of top 7 lunch restaurants to try in Tempe. In no particular order, here they are: Pita Jungle – Fresh, delicious flavors are what you’ll experience at Pita Jungle. A fun, hipster atmosphere will greet you when you walk in, making you instantly feel right at home. The hummus is amazing, and be sure to try the roasted bell pepper hummus or the cilantro jalapeño hummus too. I usually find a yummy seasonal salad on the daily specials menu to tempt me, but when I want something more hearty, I go for the chipotle chicken lavosh pizza or the chicken schwarma pita. I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve tried at Pita Jungle – it’s all good! 1250 E Apache Blvd, Tempe, AZ 85281 Four Peaks Brewing Company – A local favorite, Four Peaks Brewery is one of my favorites too. Located in a historic creamery, the pub has a fun atmosphere and an open air feel, making it the perfect place to hang out and grab a beer and bite to eat with friends. The alehouse sandwiches are mouth-watering good. My favorites are the portabella veggie beer bread and the grilled chicken beer bread. My dad usually orders the Reuben and swears it’s one of the best he’s ever tasted. Four Peaks is […]

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Tempe events this week- July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival

July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival
June 30, 2014

Tempe really knows how to celebrate the 4th of July.  Anyone who has been to past July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festivals knows what a show-stopper the Tempe fireworks extravaganza is. The Kiwanis Club of Tempe has been putting on this pyrotechnic spectacular for 63 years and this year will make it the 64th. The City of Tempe hosts a bunch of fun activities for the entire family starting at 5 p.m. Local bands, including Don’t Tell Mom Band, Levi Waskom, Donovan and the All-Stars and Outside the Line will perform on the main stage from 5-10:45 p.m. The Family Fun Fest will feature a free inflatable village, rides and a rock climbing wall. Kids and parents can cool down with a little water fun and games at the azcentral.com Splash Playground. Food is always a key component and there will be plenty of July 4th favorites like burgers, hot dogs, BBQ, roasted corn, fry bread, Macayo’s Depot Cantina, snow cones and ice cream, lemonade and lots of cold bottled water, for sale at the food court. All of this activity sets the mood for the final event, the rousing, awe-inspiring fireworks display set to patriotic and classical music that will delight spectators from 9:15-10:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance at City of Tempe outlets and Fry’s stores throughout the Valley and at the gate on the day of the show.  For event details, ticket prices and ticket outlets, visit www.tempe4th.com. Here are some more ideas for cool […]

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