I’m a lover of the world and far off places who is so excited that you’re here. Looking forward to sharing more of my world with you and all the things I love. I hope this site really does feel like a wellness oasis right here on the internet.
During my time in Arizona, I spent the later half of the week in Tempe. Tempe is an awesome city about 25 minutes away from Downtown Phoenix, and it’s the perfect addition to any trip to Phoenix. One of my favorite ways to explore a new city is through some type of movement, so I loved finding ways to stay active during my time in Tempe. Tempe has so many options and the weather was perfect in Mid-February, so I honestly wanted to spend as much time outside as possible. I delved so deeply into history in Phoenix, having the movement to process all that I’d learned was wonderful.
If you’re visiting Tempe (20 mins from Downtown Phoenix) with your favorite plus one, these are great ways to explore and get active for a day date and even some date night ideas!
Hikes: Easy & Fun
Hole in the Rock (Papago Park)
Trail at Marriott Resort at The Buttes
Papago Park also has a lot of other options between 1-3 miles that are fairly easy and picturesque.
Boats on Tempe Town Lake: Go for a swan boat, it’s a vibe! This is definitely a workout, but such a fun date night activity.
E-Bikes: You’ll appreciate the power on the hills! We got set up with points of interest on Google maps, and you’d be surprised by how far you can get on bikes. It was a great way to see a lot of the city within a short amount of time.
Walk around Tempe Town Lake : I know it’s the New Yorker in me, but I love a good walk so this was definitely my favorite! It was beautiful at sunset and great throughout the day. It was nice to see people walking their dogs, working out, biking or running as well.
Sunset Horseback Ride at KOLI Equestrian Center: They’ve got horses of all sizes, including draft horses which are great for people who may typically be above any weight or height limit. The staff was great, and they really shared as much history and context as you wanted to hear about. I learned so much about life on the reservation, horses and history.
Desert Botanical Garden: My dad and I did this on Sunday morning and we loved it. Tickets are required, and it’s definitely chilly in the mornings but much less busy if you are looking to avoid crowds. There are so many fun walking trails and different types of plants to see, I learned a lot.
After all of these amazing active date options, you will need to refuel. There are so many great places to eat and enjoy, but I have listed some of the amazing restaurants we went to or wanted to go to that I highly suggest you try out!
House of Tricks: My absolute favorite restaurant in Tempe, to be honest. I went twice and probably would have gone a third time if I could have fit it in. The pulled mozzarella salad and the salmon entree were SO good. The restaurant has so many options, and the staff was always more-than-willing to customize dishes based on any dietary needs. House of Tricks also has a great wine list. The restaurant is between two stunning homes with indoor and outdoor options for seating. House of Tricks is locally owned and operated which is awesome. The team has been serving the area for over three decades!
Pedal Haus Brewery: A pub and beer garden with a large selection of craft beer selections, tasty lunch and dinner menus (large selection of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options), and a super spacious patio. I went here to celebrate my dad’s birthday right after he landed and it was perfect, the menu has so many options and you can also tour the brewery if you plan and organize in advance.
Top of the Rock Restaurant at The Buttes: Beautiful views, and a great chance to check out the hotel if you don’t stay on property. The food is locally sourced, and there is a great list of cocktails and wines too. A local favorite and a must see for visitors.
Ghost Ranch: Ghost Ranch serves really good food for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, alongside a full menu of beer, wine and cocktails inspired by the multicultural history of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and northern Mexico.
Culinary Dropout: We discovered this late one night after most restaurants had closed. The food was great and the drinks were even better. They also have an area where you can play games, so I’d suggest making a whole night out of it.
Word of Mouth Grill: Word of Mouth Grill is a family-owned-and-operated restaurant serving BBQ. Offering nine different BBQ sauces to choose from, you won’t be disappointed here. Love a good spot with a lot of different sauces.
Fate Brewing Company: Fate Brewing Co. is an Arizona-based brewery with two locations in Scottsdale and a location in Tempe that recently opened. They’re known for the incredible beers as well as great lunch and dinner fare with midcentury modern vibes,
Perfect Pear Bistro: Perfect Pear Bistro is known for their inviting atmosphere and their modern take on American comfort food, including delicious Panini sandwiches, fresh salads, flatbreads, and pasta dishes.
Daily Jam: A great breakfast and brunch place with awesome avocado toast that is now open even later. Located super centrally you can eat food there or even take it to go!
Black Owned Restaurants:
Caffe Boa: One of my favorite Black-Owned Restaurants out of all the ones I visited while in the Phoenix area. A Downtown Tempe favorite that has been around for more than 20 years, Caffe Boa serves Italian dishes, such as handmade pastas and fresh seafood (pasta made without egg). They also have great craft cocktails and an extensive wine list. Make sure you go to the location downtown with two “f”s in the name. There is another non-related restaurant with a similar name farther out. The pizzas are awesome and customizable.
Café Lalibela: This is one we had on the list but didn’t quite make it to, although I heard amazing things about the menu. This restaurant is family-owned-and-operated, which I love. It’s been open for nearly 20 years and offers an authentic Ethiopian dining experience. Their diverse menu offers unique flavors, including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.
Caribbean Queen: A great restaurant offering amazing Caribbean cuisine that offers the option of takeout now. Since the restaurant is operating out of a ghost kitchen (meaning there is no sit down option), you should make sure to check online before ordering. The restaurant is known for their array of options including jerk fries and rasta pasta.
Acai Bowl Paradise: Small business a few minutes away from downtown Tempe that will soon be moving to a new location. The acai bowl I got was so refreshing and they offer an array of smoothies and bowls that are perfect post-hike.
Monroe’s Hot Chicken: We went here more than once since the location in Tempe actually stays open much later than the Phoenix location. If you’re looking for traditional Nashville style hot chicken with a variety of spice levels, this is the spot for you. Surprisingly, they did have a vegan option and you can also get the rub on fries if you’re not feeling like eating meat. Or a vegan chicken sandwich. The hot cheetos mac and cheese was also a fun side dish! I would suggest starting off with medium, which still has some kick before leveling up into the hot options.
ATL Wings: All-The-Luv (ATL) Wings was originally established by husband and wife team Mike and Cianna Kirksey, and now there are multiple locations throughout Arizona including Tempe. Multi-year winner for the best Buffalo Wings in Arizona, with over 21 custom homemade sauces, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy. We tried Honey BBQ and Garlic Parm, which were both really good. They also have an awesome selection of fries and a great way of packaging takeout fries so they stay crispy which is always nice.
There are a lot of fun places to stay in Tempe, but here are my top three recommendations. Keep in mind that Tempe is closer to Sky Harbor International Airport than Phoenix, so this is a great place to come as you’re touching down or right before you head out.
Canopy by Hilton Tempe: I love that the Canopy brand is locally influenced, making each hotel unique. This new property has great rooms, and a rooftop pool that really does bring all the great vibes. The hotel is located within walking distance of downtown so you’ll be able to easily explore.
Tempe Mission Palms: If you want to be walking distance from all of the sites in downtown Tempe, this is the place to stay. The hotel offers an unparalleled location just a few minutes from Tempe Town Lake and the A Mountain Trail. A huge perk of staying here is the free airport shuttle which leaves every half hour and only takes about 15 minutes.
Marriott Phoenix Resort Tempe at The Buttes: This resort is a little farther out from downtown Tempe, but it has so much to offer as it’s an oasis on it’s own. The pool alone is a draw, and the rooms with little patios are so awesome. It was very nice to be able to eat meals and have coffee outside. This hotel also has one of the most unique front desks I’ve ever seen.