Refreshingly offbeat, Tempe is in the heart of the metro Phoenix area. Tempe is home to Arizona State University (ASU), one of the largest universities in the country. When visitors arrive in this college town, they’ll find unexpected fun—most of it in one concentrated area downtown and near the university: arts and culture, water recreation, Sonoran Desert hikes and trails, affordable shopping, globally influenced dining experiences, energetic nightlife, and more than 330 days of sunshine a year.
Tempe Town Lake
You might not expect a lake in the middle of a desert city, but you’ll find exactly that in Tempe. At Tempe Town Lake, you can kayak, paddleboard or rent a pedal boat (swan pedal boats are perfect for Instagram!). There are five miles of pathways around the two-mile lake, perfect for jogging or an e-bike tour. From the lake, you’re just a quick walk away from the restaurants and bars in Downtown Tempe.
The last time I was in Tempe, I was part of an LGBTQ media tour with my good friend, Josh Rimer. We need to take a shameless shirtless selfie atop "A" Mountain, where you can also experience the Sonoran Desert from one of the many hiking trails in the Tempe area. “A” Mountain is perhaps the most accessible hike since it is located in the middle of Downtown Tempe. With a quick ascent to the top, you’ll be rewarded with views of downtown, the Arizona State University Tempe Campus and Tempe Town Lake. And, if you hike at dusk, you’ll be able to see one of the famous #nofilter Arizona sunsets. Other hiking options include the iconic Hole in the Rock trail in Papago Park or miles and miles of beautiful cactus-lined trails at South Mountain Park and Preserve.
Photo Courtesy of Slaven Gujic
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