We’ve always been attracted to the desert landscape; The radiant red rocks, the soaring Saguaro cactus, and the warm desert sun. For our first trip of 2020, we took a short flight to Tempe, Arizona for a fun filled weekend of outdoor adventure, desert botanical gardens, and tranquil times on Tempe Town Lake. Even though it was January, the sun was shining, the temperatures were in the 60’s, and it was the perfect place to escape winter without having to leave the country!

How to Get to Tempe

The easiest way to get to Tempe is to fly to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport where there are direct flights from most major cities. From there, Tempe is less than 20 minutes away from the metropolis of Phoenix.

Where to Adventure in Tempe

It’s rare to find a city where you can hike and mountain bike in less than 5 minutes from its downtown.

Papago Park: Papago Park is the perfect place to hike and mountain bike through the ravishing red sandstone rocks in this picturesque desert park. Home to the famous “Hole-in-the-rock,” a favorite sunset viewing point of locals, it also has plenty of other trails to adventure on.

“A” Mountain: While the official name is Hayden Butte, this mountain is referred as “A” Mountain by the locals. Located in downtown near the campus of Arizona State, it’s a beautiful place to hike and watch the sunset over the Sonoran Desert.


Sunset hikes in Papago Park

What to do in Tempe

Tempe Town Lake: Tempe is a town full of surprises including a lake in the middle of the desert! This lake is a tranquil piece of Tempe and the perfect place to watch the sunset. Rent an electric Duffy boat from Boat Rentals of America Tempe Town Lake and cruise around Arizona’s second-most visited public attraction!

Throw Axes: Break out the flannel and channel your inner lumberjack at Lumberjaxes Axe Throwing. We highly recommend spending an evening with friends throwing axes at a bullseye. As if axe throwing couldn’t be any more cathartic, it’s also BYO! Score!

Visit the Desert Botanical Garden: There are over 50,000 desert plants at the beautifully curated Desert Botanical Garden. This serene southwestern garden has its cacti, succulents, agave, and other arid plants expertly dispersed in a beautiful outdoor setting. Arrive early in the day and enjoy a peaceful and serene walk through the Sonoran Desert garden. Hot tip: the Desert Botanical Garden is free on the second Tuesday of every month!


Where to Stay in Tempe

Tempe Mission Palms: The Tempe Mission Palms has been the favorite hotel in the area since 1985. Located walking distance to all of the shops, restaurants, and galleries peppered across downtown Tempe. There’s a rooftop heated pool, a delicious restaurant, and its location makes for the perfect jumping off point for all of your adventures in Tempe.


Where to Eat in Tempe

Culinary Dropout: This might look like a bar from the outside, but it’s an adult playground on the inside. This glamorous gastropub has delicious food, craft cocktails, and plenty of games to play. We highly recommend ordering the ribs and the fried chicken.


Tempe Public Market Café: This café and bar is the perfect place to grab fresh market cuisine all made with local, seasonal, organic ingredients. There’s also a fabulous patio to soak in the beautiful Arizona sun as you sip on a local craft brew.

The Crepe Bar: Crepes. You have me at crepes. You always do. The Crepe Bar has plenty of sweet and savory crepes made fresh-to-order.

Ghost Ranch: If you want to feel like you’re truly in the Wild, Wild West, head to Ghost Ranch for tacos, cowboy steaks, and delicious rancho beans.

House of Tricks: If you want a romantic night out, head to House of Tricks. Located behind a vine-sprinkled courtyard, House of Tricks specializes in American cuisine with a fabulous wine list? Selection?