Family travel and visiting colleges often end up as combined activities. Whether a visit to a college becomes a stop along the way to a favorite family vacation spot or to some place new, when traveling with family, it’s a good idea to do a little research to find out more about what else there is to do in the area where you’ll be when you visit a college campus.
Tempe, Arizona, home to Arizona State University, is a great example of a city that offers even more value to you and your family when in town for a campus visit. Whether you’re taking in a show at the ASU Gammage or visiting the Phoenix Zoo after your campus tour, it’s a fun place with a long list of things to see and do. Be sure to check out the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau of the city you’ll be visiting to find out about planning your college visit and family vacation travel.
Here’s my Top Ten in Tempe: Things to do after your college visit
Tempe Town Lake – Perfect for an afternoon or sunset stroll. Watch for public art and wildlife along the way. If you visit from April-September, don’t miss the Cox Splash Playground at the adjacent Tempe Beach Park. Take a guided Segway tour or see a performance or free gallery exhibition at the Tempe Center for the Arts.
The Phoenix Zoo – Voted one of the nation’s top 5 zoos for kids. Kids will love the petting zoo and Fisher Price-themed playground at Harmony Farm and interactive exhibits like Monkey Village. Teens will love cruising through the zoo on bikes that seat up to 4 adults and 2 children and exploring the lagoon in a pedal boat. And everyone will love exhibits featuring zebras, elephants, spectacled bears and Komodo dragons.
Arizona Historical Society Museum – This contemporary history museum introduces visitors to the dramatic development of the Phoenix area through interactive exhibits, hands-on activities for school aged children and guided tours.
Arizona Mills is the ultimate destination for shopping and entertainment with more than 175 specialty stores, restaurants and venues like the Harkins IMAX Theatre and GameWorks.
Kiwanis Park – the ultimate community park with a lake, walking paths, picnic ramadas, a playground and fields for sports
Tempe Marketplace – Great destination for shopping, dining and live music. They schedule live acts Friday and Saturday nights. Restaurants and retailers range from locally owned favorites to national chains. There are plenty of places to relax, share a dessert and listen to music or enjoy the outdoor fountains.
ASU Art Museum – This free contemporary art museum explores art and its impact on individuals and society. The Museum hosts First Saturday for Families on the first Saturday of every month. Children from 4-12 are encouraged to create artwork that’s inspired by a current exhibition.
Festivals – Tempe is a prime location for fun, family friendly events such as the Arizona Dragon Boat Festival, Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake, weekly live music during Music on Mill and the Tempe Festivals of the Arts.
One of the best ways to explore the scenic Sonoran Desert is on foot. Hiking trails are abundant in and around Tempe. Some of most popular trails are located at Papago Park, South Mountain Park/Preserve and “A” Mountain (home to a gold “A” that stands for Arizona State University).
The Mill Avenue District is located just north of the ASU Tempe Campus. Here, you’ll find a weekly farmer’s market and live music on Thursday evenings and a great selection of restaurants to enjoy any day of the week.