Why Tempe, Arizona is the perfect family vacation spot no one talks about

Sep 27 2018, 9:11 pm

Deciding where to spend your vacation is a whole other thing when you have kids. The destination has to offer something for everyone involved, which can be a tall order at home, much less when you’re travelling.

If you haven’t considered the city of Tempe, Arizona yet, hear us out.

The destination offers a totally unexpected side of Arizona that makes it perfect for the annual family vacation. It’s an urban, offbeat oasis (and college town) that’s all about outdoor living through recreational activities in the desert or on the lake. Tempe has countless options when it comes to entertainment, the arts, and shopping.

So if you’re looking to escape the bone-shaking cold here in Toronto, we suggest booking a trip to Tempe where you can bask in the sunshine (this place gets less than nine inches of rainfall annually!). Before you book your flights, here are some of the things your family can do in Tempe.

Get creative at LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Everyone loves LEGO® and you can make a family trip out of visiting the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center at Arizona Mills mall. You can build, test, and race your way around the center that’s home to a LEGO® Playground with two rides, 10 build and play zones, a 4D cinema and more. FYI: It might feel like you’ve jumped into the biggest box of LEGO® bricks, ever.

Shop in style at Arizona Mills

Arizona Mills Mall/Tempe Tourism

The fam jam can enjoy discounted shopping on everything from shoes to sunglasses, and athletic wear at Arizona Mills. Browse over 175 value retailers including the likes of The Disney Store Outlet, Gap Outlet, Steve Madden, and Nike Clearance Store. When you’re done you can grab a bite in the mega food court, watch a movie at IMAX, play the latest games at Tilt Studio and visit SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium to see thousands of sea creatures (all within the mall).

Get on the water at Tempe Town Lake

Stretching across 220 acres, Tempe Town Lake is one of Arizona’s most popular tourist attractions and it’s easy to see why. You can spend the afternoon sailing across the 2 mile lake, picnicking on the grass or walking along the almost five-mile long paths surrounding the lake. This is one of the best places to visit on a sunny day (so, pretty much every day) because you can take the kids kayaking or paddleboarding while you’re there.

See a Broadway show at ASU Gammage

ASU Gammage/Tim Trumble

Tempe’s historic ASU Gammage theatre is set to host the best of Broadway during the 2018-2019 season. The new season features the winner of six 2017 Tony Awards and 2018 Grammy Award winner Dear Evan Hansen; Disney’s Aladdin; and the Tony Award-winning best musical revival Hello, Dolly! starring legend Betty Buckley. Additional shows include RentThe Book of Mormon, and Wicked, among many others.

Go hiking or biking at Papago Park

Papago Park/Tim Trumble

The Tempe landscape will leave you speechless and if you’ve got a family full of adventure seekers, you’ll want to take them out to explore the trails of the Sonoran Desert at Papago Park. Within Papago Park, you can discover desert flora at the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden and visit the fauna at the kid-pleasing Phoenix Zoo. The family will also enjoy a visit to the Hall of Flame Firefighting Museum and the AZ Heritage Center at Papago Park. Whether you hit the trails on mountain bikes, venture around by foot, or visit any of these astounding attractions, this place will remind you why you came to Tempe. 

Find an amazing place to stay

Hotels and accommodation in Tempe are centrally located close to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and many of the attractions that you’ll want to visit. In 2019, there’s going to be a brand new 200-room Canopy by Hilton hotel built in the city featuring a rooftop pool, terrace bar, cabanas, and a fire pit.

Coming soon, a new Westin hotel will be located in the heart of downtown Tempe, boasting a rooftop pool lounge, the signature WestinWORKOUT fitness studio, full-service restaurant, coffee shop, and more. If you ask us, these spots will be family-perfect, too.

Check out the current hotel listings in Tempe and start planning your winter escape from Toronto right now.