Weekend Warrior Series: A Day Trip to Tempe, Arizona


Tempe, AZ is more than just a college town and the home of Arizona State University — there’s plenty to keep any visitor busy within its 40 square miles. From trendy bars, to plentiful outdoor activities such as hiking or paddle boarding, to enjoying the local food scene — and more.

Here’s how to spend a day in this outer Phoenix destination — including where to grab a brew (of both coffee and beer) where to enjoy dinner on the water, and how explore the town based on my personal experience traveling there.

9 a.m. Morning Coffee at Cartel Coffee Roasters

Cartel Coffee Roasters sources its four-bean blend from a single high-elevation farm in the Sul de Mina region of Brazil. It goes through a natural pulping process onsite, before getting transported to its final destination — my personal cup o’ joe. At the original site of Cartel in Tempe I ordered a mug of straight brewed drip coffee and it did NOT disappoint — full flavor and bold taste.

There’s a few locations across Arizona — including at the newly opened boutique hotel, ARRIVE Phoenix, where I ordered an almond milk latte — which was just as fantastic.

11 a.m. Mid-Morning stroll along Mill Avenue and the Farmers Market

(Please note that new fall farmers market dates haven’t yet been confirmed yet, for 2021)

This free admission, weekly farmers market traditionally event takes place every Sunday October – November from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. It’s the perfect combination of local purveyors, food, craft artisans, and community. You’ll find this market right in the heart of the Downtown Tempe district at the popular 6th Street Park next to Tempe City Hall. Visit the 6th Street Market on Sundays to pick up some new food and drink finds, as well as to support small AZ businesses.

1 p.m. Grab an Afternoon Brew at Pedal Haus

Pedal Haus Brewery on Mill Ave is a restaurant, brewery and entertainment destination offering 14,000 sq. feet of bike-friendly brewery libations including hand-crafted European-style beers, alongside a Belgian-American gastropub food menu. This restaurant features Tempe’s largest patio, with three indoor and outdoor bar options offering 24 taps each. There are also plenty of yard games on the expansive, dog-­friendly beer garden.

AZ Big Media

3 p.m. An Afternoon on the Water at Tempe Town Lake

This manmade lake is two miles long, nearly a quarter mile across and offers entertainment for hours. You can explore it on your own or with a group of friends through using a water sport company such as Boat Rentals of America which is located on the south shore at Tempe Beach Park. Here, rent all kinds of watercraft such as electric boats, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. There are also Swan, Duck and Dragon Pedal Boats. Find a full list of boats and rental rates here.

6 p.m. Sunset Dinner at Pier 54 Tempe

Pier 54 is a waterside restaurant located in the beautiful “Lakes” neighborhood in Tempe, right on the lake shore. Pier 54 is an outdoor only patio-restaurant and bar that offers a prime food selection, a fabulous view of the lake and a lively but relaxed atmosphere.

This eatery is family-owned and operated — acting as a cozy, casual destination with picturesque views of the lake. We ordered the cheese plate which was fantastic — almost as nice as the views.

A day in Tempe town offers plenty of activities for all ages and interests… from brews to lake views, you won’t be bored on a visit to the home of the ASU Sun Devils.

Did I miss anything? Reach out at hellomollyannobrien@gmail.com and let me know what you suggest in Tempe, AZ!


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3 thoughts on “Weekend Warrior Series: A Day Trip to Tempe, Arizona

  1. Tempe is truly amazing! Living in Tempe offers residents an urban suburban mix feel. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to stay here for a while.

  2. I’ll keep this in mind. I’m from Las Vegas. Hoping that I can be fit perfectly.

  3. I love the amount of public transportation and walkability around campus, but the cost of living is quite high. The amount of public parks and facilities are also nice.

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