DescriptionFounded as Hayden's Ferry in 1871, Tempe originally was named for Charles Trumbull Hayden, who owned a flour mill and operated a ferry across the Salt River. The town was renamed Tempe (Tem-PEE) in 1879 for the area's alleged resemblance to the Vale of Tempe in ancient Greece.
In 1886 the dusty cow town became the home of the Arizona Territorial Normal School, later to become Arizona State University. Downtown Tempe has a laid-back college town feel.
ASU Gammage, one of the last major buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is a performing arts center on the campus of Arizona State University. Phone (480) 965-6912 for information about free guided tours of the center.
Twice a year, crowds head downtown for the Spring Tempe Festival of the Arts and the Tempe Fall Festival of the Arts , which feature a live entertainment stage, street performers and more than 350 artists selling handcrafted items. In October, Tempe celebrates its ties to its sister city—Regensburg, Germany—with Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake that's complete with beer, brats, bands and family entertainment. Sun Devil Stadium hosts a college bowl game in late November. Then Tempe residents usher in the new year at Mill Avenue's New Year's Eve.
Sports fans can go out to the ball game during spring training, which begins in late February. Fifteen Cactus League teams get ready for the season at Tempe Diablo Stadium; phone (480) 350-5205.
Visitor InfoTempe Tourism Office 51 W. Third St. Suite 105 TEMPE, AZ 85281. Phone:(480)894-8158 or (800)283-6734
ShoppingSpecialty shops are scattered throughout downtown Tempe, the five-block segment of Mill Avenue between 3rd Street and University Drive. Arizona Mills Mall, I-10 and Baseline Road, is one of the state's largest shopping and attraction complexes. Tempe Marketplace, at McClintock Drive and Rio Salado Parkway, is a popular outdoor shopping and entertainment destination.
NightlifeFootball fans enjoy tasty food and libations as they root on ASU in the sports bars and restaurants on shady Mill Avenue. Gordon Biersch Brewery (420 S. Mill Ave., #201) pours tasty brew and has a second-floor terrace overlooking the street action below; phone (480) 736-0033. Blasted Barley Beer Co. (404 S. Mill Ave.) features craft beer and more than 40 flat-screen HDTVs and is usually packed on big game nights; phone (480) 967-5887. Postino Annex (615 S. College Ave.), set in a restored, redbrick building on the ASU campus, is the place to go before shows at the ASU Gammage auditorium; phone (480) 927-1111.