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ASU Family Weekend in Downtown Tempe

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ASU Family Weekend 2023 kicks off September 22-24 and the weekend promises to be full of family fun on campus including the ASU Family Block Party,  the Spirit Hike up “A” Mountain and the ASU home football game against USC (wear maroon!) with Sparky's Touchdown Tailgate - it will be a jam-packed weekend.

Here's your chance to impress your family with your knowledge of the local community with this can’t-miss – insider’s list of things to do in Downtown Tempe. Whether you’ve got your grandparents and/or little siblings in tow – or it's just you, mom & pops, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

First, here's a few Family Weekend Specials just for you and your family this weekend. Show mom & pops how thrifty and budget conscious you've become!

414 Pub & Pizza, 414 S. Mill Avenue - Enjoy BOGO any size specialty pizzas for Family Weekend. Delicious pizza and karaoke for the full family to enjoy!

Pita Jungle, 4 E. University Drive - Family Weekend includes:

  • Award winning kids menu
  • Amazing Happy Hour with Tapas starting at $2 and specialty drinks
  • The "Art of Eating Healthy" with something for everyone. Vegetarian, Vegan and gluten-friendly items alongside Mediterranean chicken & fish dishes

It’s probably been at least 3 months since you’ve seen each other, so a celebratory meal is in order! Call ahead for reservations Friday night at one of downtown Tempe’s favorite, award-winning restaurants, like Caffe Boa. It’s on the pricey side (thanks Mom & Dad!), but well worth it as you dine on the beautiful patio. Did we mention they’re award-winning? It’s not a stuffy place, so you’ll be fine in your shorts and sneakers.

Looking for something loud and lively? Start the weekend strong at Pedal Haus Brewery with live music Friday night from 6:30pm - 9:30pm and then come back Saturday at 1pm for Sun Devil spirit and more family vibes at the perfect tailgate setup. Let ASU football and Parents Weekend festivities begin! Pedal Haus Tempe is also the official ASU Watch Party headquarters, so come back for away game weekends all season long. 

Have a sweet tooth in your family? Be sure to stop by Sparky’s Old Time Creamery at the corner of 5th Street and Mill Avenue. You’ll find fresh, house-made flavors of ice cream (includes 1 free mix-in), along with ice cream sandwiches, Hawaiian Ice, smoothies and Baby Belgium waffles. Can’t make up your mind? Check out the new seasonal flavors Caramel Pumpkin Porter and Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie!

Looking to make an escape for about an hour?  Bring the fam along to United Escapes of America Tempe. It’s definitely not your ordinary escape room experience. There are over 5 separate rooms at United Escapes of America Tempe that offer parallel play rather than linear play, meaning a ton of things are happening at the same time – giving everyone playing something mysterious to figure out (great for those siblings of yours). With rooms with names like Ransom, The Island and Rush Hour, there’s something for everyone (to figure out).

Here’s a hare-brained idea: give your family a walking tour of downtown Tempe with Tempe Tales and soak in the vibe of downtown and the world-famous Mill Avenue. Fourteen life-sized jackrabbits have been hidden around downtown and are waiting to be found. Use the clues to find the rabbits while you are exploring downtown. Fun fact: the ginormous jackrabbits (the not life-sized) at Centerpoint Plaza outside of Pedal Haus Brewery are by the same artist, Mark Rossi.

Your family will definitely need some souvenirs commemorating Family Weekend, both of the ASU variety and some just plain Arizona desert stuff – you know… with saguaros & cacti on them. For the ASU variety, stop into the new Fan Outfitters on Mill near University Drive Sun Devil Marketplace at 7th Street & College Avenue or go to Cactus Sports near 5th & Mill, home of the best selection of OG ASU gear.  For the best selection of cacti, desert-themed items, check out Lotions & Potions, next door to the Starbucks at 5th & Mill.

Last but not least, you might want to take a break from the campus fun and grab an electric scooter and scoot over to Tempe Beach Park. Get out on the lake in a Donut Boat, a pontoon boat or paddleboard, which are super easy to rent from Boats of America at Tempe Town Lake

Go ahead and show off Tempe Town Lake (the lake was the brain-child of ASU students in the 1960’s – yay innovation!) and head west down the lakeside to Tempe Center of the Arts for free admission to The Gallery (open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm) and the Elmore Pedestrian Bridge. Here, you’ll see the country's largest hydraulically-operated steel gate dam system and if you’re on the bridge at the right time the most beautiful sunset views in the Valley.

Check out other Dining, Shopping and Nightlife in Downtown Tempe!

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