Downtown Tempe Hot Spots
Tempe’s downtown offers a variety of entertainment options, from bars and restaurants to special events and shopping. Despite what you might think, Mill Ave is not the only thing Tempe has to offer. Here are some local favorites:
1. Four Peaks Brewery
Tempe is home to the original Four Peaks Brewery location, which opened in 1996. Other locations include one in Scottsdale and one inside the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Four Peaks was voted Best Brewery in America by users on Thrillist, a culture website that explores food and drink nationwide.
2. Mill Avenue
For generations, Mill Avenue has been recognized as a local entertainment mecca and a national college hot spot. Downtown Tempe business leader Nancy Hormann said the Mill Avenue District’s model for success is having one-of-a kind businesses that attract people from across the Valley.
3. Arizona State University
Visit the Tempe campus of Arizona State University, which has the largest enrollment in the U.S. While there, check out the always free ASU Art Museum and the Old Main building before hiking nearby “A” Mountain, which sports ancient petroglyphs and a great view of the sunset.
4. The Tempe Bakery/Hackett House
In 1888, Tempe businessman William Hilge built a bakery, a shop and an upstairs residence in two adjoining buildings. Over the years, Hilge added onto the buildings to serve the needs of an expanding business. According to the Tempe History Museum, the bakery was successful, and delivered fresh baked goods daily throughout Tempe and neighboring towns for 17 years.
The buildings were later purchased by the city and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The restored Tempe Bakery building is the oldest red-brick commercial building in Tempe and a rare example of territorial period architecture in the metropolitan area today.
Today, the complex is called Hackett House and is home to the Tempe Sister Cities organization.
5. Southern Pacific Railroad Bridge
The Salt River Southern Pacific Bridge is significant not only because of its age and size, but because of its durability. The bridge was built in 1912 to replace three railroad bridges destroyed in floods.
The bridge’s nine individual spans stretching 1,291 feet were an engineering feat for that era. It was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, but it was never successfully added.
Today, the bridge is structurally sound and sturdy and is in daily use. It is the oldest existing railroad crossing of the Salt River.
6. Tempe Beach Park/Tempe Town Lake
In the 1930s, people gathered at Tempe Beach Park, which was built in 1931, and would swim in the Salt River. Red Harkins of Harkins Theatres built a theater at the park where he showed summer movies for 5 cents. The Ironman Arizona Triathlon is hosted in November at Tempe Town Lake. Thousands of spectators gather to cheer on 2,400 competitors as they complete a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run around the lake and Papago Park.
7. ‘A’ Mountain
The “A” on Tempe Hayden Butte was made out of reinforced steel and poured concrete in 1955. Tempe Hayden Butte is a Valley icon famous for scenic hiking and the thousands of college students who climb the mountain to take part in the annual painting of the “A.”
8. ASU Gammage
The concert hall’s story began in 1956 with the collapse of the roof of the nearly 50-year-old Gymnasium/Auditorium at Arizona State College at Tempe. Grady Gammage, the school’s longtime president, sensed an opportunity to replace the building with something grander. He pitched the idea to his friend Frank Lloyd Wright, the legendary architect who had built his winter home, Taliesin West, in Scottsdale. These days, ASU Gammage is known primarily as the home of touring Broadway shows such as “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Wicked.”
9. Old St. Mary’s Church
The church, built in 1903, was registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1978. According to the nomination form, the bricks that make up the building were made locally. It is a prominent landmark and representative of Territorial Victorian Romanesque Revival architecture, according to the Tempe website. Mass is still celebrated daily in the church.
10. Tempe Center for the Arts
This $63 million venue on the shore of Tempe Town Lake opened in 2007. In contrast to Scottsdale’s and Mesa’s performing-arts centers, TCA focuses on promoting local talent, with concerts by the Tempe Symphony Orchestra, A Ludwig Dance Theatre and others. It has two theaters (600 and 200 seats) and an art gallery and sculpture garden, but its marquee tenant is Childsplay, the internationally known professional theater for young audiences.
11. Cartel Coffee Lab/Maple Ash Historic District
Cartel Coffee Lab opened in Tempe in 2008, and now has locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson. ASU students often come to Cartel for a coffee and wander through the Maple Ash Historic District.
Read original article here to view a map of these Downtown Tempe hot spots.