Arizona is home to the jaw-dropping Grand Canyon, crazy desert wildlife, and very hot summers.
#1 Tempe Center for the Arts
Completed in 2007 and publicly owned, the Tempe Center for the Arts building was the result of a three phase design competition. The winning design makes the building easy to see from surrounding areas with its roof of geometric folded plates. The center is home to a long list of city produced programs like Walk-in Wednesdays Open Mic Night, Songwriters’ Showcase, Art After Work, Music Under the Stars, and Finally Friday. The Tempe Homegrown Cultural and Arts group also bases their theater, dance, and music groups out of this facility. Don’t forget to check out the public art pieces and exhibits as well.
#2 Big Surf
Big Surf water park is the home of the first ever wave pool in the United States! Their wave pool was recognized with the ASME Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark for being the “first inland surfing facility in North America.” In the past, they were known for holding surfing competitions and exhibitions and even a teen disco. The park has undergone many upgrades over the years, including replacing their sand beach with a concrete bottom, and adding water slides in 1979. They continually add attractions, so you can always expect something new and adventurous!
#3 Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium
Thought to be architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s last publicly commissioned work, this building is named after former Arizona State University president, Dr. Grady Gammage. It was built under budget in only 25 months. It’s been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985, and you can find it on the main campus of Arizona State University. Visitors come to see not only the buildings flying buttress design, but also the multitude of Broadway musicals, grand operas, dramatic productions, solo productions, and lectures they host. If you’re one among the 3, 011 they’re able to seat, you’re sure to have a great time.
#4 Tempe Beach Park
Tempe Beach Park encircles man-made Tempe Town Lake which is great for swimming, fishing, or boating. There are five miles of paths for biking, jogging, and skating. You’ll also find a baseball field and a $1.3 million Splash Playground that helps children learn about water while having fun. They have a 5,000 person amphitheater and they host festivals like Fiesta Bowl New Year’s Eve Block Party, Circle K Tempe Music Festival, Oktoberfest, and APS Fantasy of Lights. Each November, they also host the Arizona Triathlon. If none of these activities are up your alley, simply hang around into the evening to watch the bridge’s LED display light up the lake with a variety of colors and designs.
#5 Tempe Diablo Stadium
Built in 1986, this baseball field is where The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim do their spring training, and where the Arizona League Tempe Angels play their night games. In the past, other teams have used this stadium as well. The stadium can hold 9, 558 people, and received a $20 million renovation in 2006, partially funded by the Arizona Tourism and Sports Authority. If you don’t have time to spare to visit this attraction, luckily you can get a decent view from Maricopa Freeway.
#6 Arizona State University Art Museum
This museum is operated by the University of Arizona and is located on its main campus. The majority of their 12,000 works are contemporary art, American ceramics, and art from Arizona and the Southwestern states. The art collection was established in 1950 and includes works by Hung Liu, Karel Appel, Derek Boshier, Deborah Butterfield, and Sue Coe. They receive contributions from a number of painters and sources, and have a vastly diverse coolection. Everyone is sure to find a type of art they appreciate here.
#7 Arizona Heritage Center
The Arizona Heritage Center is located in Papago Park. They strive to educate people about Arizona’s history and its continuing impact. The mostly focus on twentieth and twenty first century history. You can learn about a variety of diverse subjects, from Arizona’s pop culture to the rise of desert cities after World War II. They also feature gems and minerals from Arizona and around the world. Don’t forget to soak up the beautiful vistas and the desert atmosphere while you’re there.
#8 Tempe Butte
The Tempe Butte is an andesite butte of volcanic origin. Its highest point is 1,398 feet in elevation! Because it’s partially on the Arizona State University Tempe campus, you’ll find a sixty foot gold letter “A” near the top. Locals often call this butte “A Mountain” or “Hayden Butte.” Visit the Tempe Butte and you’re likely to see remnants from the early settlements of the Hohokam people. You can look forward to discovering things like petroglyphs and pot shards. You’ll see a ton of native vegetation like Saguaro cacti, mesquite, and creosote bush as well as native wildlife like jackrabbits and pack rats.