When Charles Trumbull Hayden established his homestead on the south side of Tempe Town Lake, in the same building that now houses Monti’s La Casa Vieja, he couldn’t have known that in a hundred years’ time the area would still be alive with the hustle and bustle of modern day commerce. Nowadays, Mill Avenue is a hotbed of activity where you can find shopping, dining, entertainment and a stimulating nightlife scene.
Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the country. Established in 1881, the downtown area has been thriving ever since and is now rife with sports and cultural attractions, unique dining experiences, museums and, of course, educational opportunities at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus
With so many concert and sports venues, you’ll never miss out on a visit from your favorite band or team in Phoenix. From U.S. Airways Center and Chase Ballpark downtown, to Tempe’s own Marquee Theatre where you can catch big name and local gigs, there’s always somewhere to go and something to see.
Whether you’re looking for a daylong trek or a quick 30-minute hike, Phoenix is the place to be. “A” Mountain is mere minutes from campus and is a great way to get in a quick workout between classes. For something more challenging, head over to Camelback Mountain where you’re sure to feel the burn. Just remember to bring lots of water!
The Phoenix metro area is loaded with all sorts of museums and historical sites. From the Arizona Natural History Museum in Downtown Mesa, to Phoenix’s Arizona Science Center, to ASU’s own Art Museum, located on the Tempe campus.
Tempe Beach Park
Tempe Beach Park is one of the top recreational attractions in Arizona and the centerpiece to the Tempe community. The 25-acre park is the perfect setting for outdoor fun and relaxation for everybody, offering more than five miles of paths and exercise trails, picnic areas, and ramadas. Tempe Beach Park also hosts over 75 events of all shapes and sizes each year, including the Ford Ironman Arizona, PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, Fourth of July celebration, Circle K Tempe Music Festival, Way Out West Oktoberfest and many, many others.
As the sun rises over the Valley, ASU’s malls begin to swell with pedestrian traffic of all sorts: bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, scooters and, of course, good old-fashioned walking. If your choice of getting around is biking, make sure to take advantage of the option to register your bike with the ASU Police Department to prevent theft. And be sure to heed the “walk your wheels” signs on campus when in a big crowd. When we all respect one another, getting around campus is a real breeze.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is one of the 10 busiest in the nation and is merely a hop, skip and a jump away from ASU’s Tempe campus. Chances are, if you’re coming from out of state, Sky Harbor is where you’ll be docking.
Arizona State University is one university in many places. Because of that, you may need some help getting around all the campuses! But never fear; intercampus shuttles run to each of the ASU campuses Monday through Friday and are free of charge for students, faculty and staff. Tempe also has its own FLASH shuttle service and Orbit system, a neighborhood shuttle for Tempe residents.
Valley Metro is the public transit agency that provides service to nearly every city in the greater Phoenix-Metro area. ASU’s Parking and Transit offers students, faculty and staff discounted transit passes that allow for unlimited rides on Valley Metro buses and the METRO light rail. Phoenix’s Valley Metro Light Rail is a 57-mile, high-capacity transit system that runs between Mesa and North Phoenix. It’s the perfect way to travel between campuses or just get out and see the city. New trains come along about every 15 minutes and a full day pass is only $3.50.
For those looking for a way to get around that is more flexible than public transportation, Zipcar could be your answer. The service allows you to reserve a car for a couple days or a couple hours, depending on your needs. Gas and insurance are included!
Sports in the Valley
Go Suns! A Phoenix Suns game is a can’t-miss experience for any sports fan. Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, U.S. Airways Center has been home to the Suns since 1992 and is easily accessible from campus by Light Rail. While you’re there, be sure to partake in the revelry that accompanies home games in the surrounding area’s legendary restaurants and sports bars, like Alice Cooperstown.
Founded in 1898, the Arizona Cardinals are the oldest continuously run professional American football club in the United States. Fun fact: From 1988 until 2006, the Cardinals shared Sun Devil Stadium with ASU. They are now based at the newly constructed University of Phoenix Stadium in the northwestern suburb of Glendale.
Diamondbacks caption: Founded in 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks are located at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. In the first four seasons as a team, the Diamondbacks won the National League West Division as well as a world championship.
Also based in Glendale, the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team has been a mainstay of Arizona sports since 1996. If you’re ever looking for a good way to beat the heat in the Valley, just head to the Jobing.com Arena to catch a game.
Recreation and Entertainment
Tempe Town Lake
One of the metro area’s most popular destinations with more than 2.7 million visitors a year, Tempe Town Lake is situated just north of Rio Salado Parkway, mere minutes from ASU’s Tempe campus. Tempe Beach Park is host to dozens of special events annually, including Ironman Arizona, the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade and Oktoberfest.
The first Friday of every month is a chance to celebrate the local arts scene in downtown Phoenix. Just hop on the light rail and make your way to the heart of the city to check out the city’s galleries, studios and various art spaces that are open free to the public. With over 100 participating artists and venues, the event covers an area from Indian School Road to Buchanan Street and 12th Street to 17th Avenue.
Tempe Festival of the Arts
Twice yearly, more than 225,000 people flock to Tempe’s Mill Avenue District for a three-day weekend celebration of the arts. The Tempe Festival of the Arts features some 400 artists from across the nation, carefully selected by judges from the local art community to display their work. Browse the booths while enjoying live music performances and sampling local vendors’ tasty treats. Then top off the day with a featured wine or beer tasting.
Desert Botanical Garden
Perhaps one of the most stunning tributes to the beauty of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden has been wowing visitors for over 70 years. With 145 acres of over 50,000 plant displays, the garden is committed to educating and inspiring people the world over about the importance of preservation and the inherent beauty of plant life in the Southwest.