It’s October and it’s already started to snow in Calgary — do you need any more of an incentive to visit a sunny paradise that’s only a three-hour flight away?
We didn’t think so.
Don’t worry, we’re not trying to suggest somewhere you’ve already visited 10 times over. We’re talking about the hidden gem you’ll want to add to your list that’s located east of Phoenix, Arizona: Tempe.
If you’re ready to swap the cold in Calgary for a temperate, sunny destination, Tempe has what you need. The vibrant city is one of Arizona’s best-kept secrets, featuring lively bars and restaurants, amazing shopping, and the activities you’ve been longing to do since summer ended in Alberta.
Be sure to pack light, because Tempe has a temperate climate year-round, meaning you’ll definitely need your tees, shorts, shades, and sandals. As soon as you arrive, you’ll want to make this trip a new winter tradition. Here’s why.
You can play a round at ASU Karsten Golf Course
You might have put away your golf clubs for the year in Calgary, but you can still play like a PGA pro in Tempe. The ASU Karsten Golf Course boasts exceptional playing conditions throughout the year.
Located on the ASU campus close to downtown Tempe, it offers some of the most amazing mountain views which make every game completely worthwhile, whether you consider yourself a pro or a total newbie to the golf course.
Shop artisan goods at the 6th Street Market
The 6th Street Market takes place every Sunday from October 14 to April 14 in Downtown Tempe. It showcases a wide range of uniquely-made artisanal goods and the best in live musical talent. And you’ll find up to 40 vendors at the buzzing market surrounding Tempe City Hall.
It’s the perfect place to try a selection of locally made food and drinks, all while shopping outside in true Tempe style.
Enjoy a beer at Four Peaks Brewing Company
Embrace the warm weather vibes in Tempe with a seat on the patio (or beat the heat inside) at Four Peaks Brewing Company. The brewery has been open since 1996 and serves up seasonal specialities on tap. Whether you’re a craft brew enthusiast or not, you’ll be captivated by the charm of this brewery, set in a building that dates back to the 1890s.
Take a free tour and see where they make their seasonals, single tank series, cask-conditioned and barrel-aged beers. Enjoy your favourite with lunch or dinner on the expansive patio.
Spend the day exploring Tempe Town Lake
It’s still summer somewhere, and in Tempe, that’s always the case. In winter, temperatures here are similar to what you’d expect to experience in the midst of summer in Calgary (60 – 80+ °F). This kind of weather invites summer-inspired activities like taking to the water in an electric boat, kayak, or on a stand-up paddleboard.
You don’t need to wait until next year to make it happen again because you can do this kind of thing in Tempe every day. If you’re in Tempe on December 8, make sure to check out the Fantasy of Lights Holiday Boat Parade at Tempe Town Lake — it’s magical.
Attend the 50th annual Fall Festival of the Arts
If you want to experience the true culture and heart of the city, the Tempe Fall Festival of the Arts is a must. The highly-anticipated three-day event is taking place from November 30 to December 2 in Downtown Tempe and showcases everything from art to live entertainment, and bespoke food and beverage vendors.
You’ll see works by hundreds of artists across North America throughout the event and get a shopping experience like no other in Arizona with vendors selling handcrafted goods. Best of all, it’s completely free to attend.
Go hiking up “A” Mountain
You don’t often find a mountain right in the middle of the downtown area of a city, but you will find “A” Mountain in Downtown Tempe. You can enjoy hiking here early in the morning or during sunset as you pass desert plants along the way.
When you get to the top you can see epic vistas of downtown and the ASU Tempe Campus. You can drive to the trailhead or take transit if you’re not renting a car. Who said hiking season was over?