Family Weekend in Downtown Tempe

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ASU Family Weekend 2021 kicks off November 5 - 7 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 - 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!

Be sure to download the new Discover Downtown Tempe Pass to show your family how budget-conscience you have become (yay college!). This free mobile pass will not only get you specials and discounts as you eat and shop downtown this weekend, but you'll also earn prizes like stickers and gift cards as you check-in to the participating merchants. Get your Discover Pass today!

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 House of Tricks. 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? Be sure to look for a few of the resident cats, they’re usually not far from the koi pond. It’s not a stuffy place, so you’ll be fine in your shorts and sneakers (and check in with your Discover Pass for a chance to win those prizes).

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 22 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 Escape Rooms Tempe. It’s definitely not your ordinary escape room experience. There are over 5 separate rooms at Escape Rooms 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 Jail Break, 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 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. Did you know Tempe turns 150 this year and we are celebrating at Tempe beach park on Sunday, November 7 from noon to 6:00 p.m.? This festival event features two stages of free entertainment, including Tempe favorites The Meat Puppets, and other local bands. Go back in time with hands-on history activities and interactive art projects for all ages. Meet artisans, craft-makers, and vendors with items "Made in Tempe."

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 (check out the Gallery) 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.

What a way to end a great Family Weekend!


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