Tempe

General

Urban and suburban neighborhoods, great schools and many parks can be found in this central Valley city. Tempe is home to the main campus of Arizona State University and a growing number of big employers.

This neighborhood guide - like every one on Street Scout - was researched and written by experts from The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. It's based on public records, census data and on-the-ground reporting. Our Emmy-winning photographers and videographers have brought images of each neighborhood to life. We know our neighborhoods. If you want to live here, you want to read this.

Transportation

Transportation is a big draw for residents to this area. Light rail runs through Tempe, connecting the city to Mesa and Phoenix. All of the main metro Phoenix freeways bisect Tempe or surround the city. And Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport is located nearby.

School Map
Walk Score

Welcome to the Tempe neighborhoods

Explore the 4 Areas of Tempe

Downtown/Town Lake: 85281
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Downtown/Town Lake, ZIP code 85281, is the most urban part of the city. ASU is located there. So are several growing employers including State Farm.

Central Tempe/McClintock: 85282
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Central Tempe/McClintock is next to the university. Many students and young families live there. Arizona Mills and Tempe Diablo Stadium are on the western edge of this neighborhood.

Central Tempe/Lakes: 85283
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Central Tempe/Lakes has a more suburban feel. The popular Kiwanis Park is in this part of Tempe. You’ll also find neighborhood shopping centers and bike paths.

South Tempe: 85284
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South Tempe has bigger homes and yards but prices are higher. Top-rated schools are the norm. Honeywell has a big facility in this neighborhood. The Arizona State University Research Park is also there.

Housing

Housing

This city has a wide range of housing. You’ll find historic homes, apartments, high-rise condominiums, patio houses, more-affordable block homes and large stucco and brick houses with big yards and sometimes bridle paths. Tempe is a popular with students, young singles and families. Renters have to compete with students for homes and apartments. 

The Market

Downtown/Town Lake85281

Central Tempe/McClintock85282

Central Tempe/The Lakes85283

South Tempe85284

  • Home sales and prices have been on the rise in Tempe. Its central location, schools, parks and other amenities are among the main attractions.

  • The downtown Tempe area is the most affordable for homebuyers. South Tempe is the most expensive housing area in the city. Its median home price almost doubles the 85281 ZIP code.

  • The area is attracting first-time, move-up and investor buyers, but not many second-home buyers. Affordable houses to buy and turn into rentals are tougher to find.

  • New big homes are a small part of Tempe’s real-estate market. There are few empty pieces of land left to build them on. But sales of new condos are soaring, particularly near Mill Avenue and ASU.

  • Apartment rents are on the rise. Several new upscale complexes are under construction or have recently been completed. Tempe Town Lake has become a hub for new high-end condos and apartments.

Living Here

Living here

Expect the energetic vibe of a thriving downtown near one of the U.S.’s biggest universities. Neighborhoods can be eclectic.  You’ll find different types and styles of homes and a wide range residents on any street. Tempe is a hub for local retail and restaurants. Mill Avenue and Tempe Town Lake draw visitors from across metro Phoenix.  So do sporting and entertainment events at ASU. Crime rates are a little higher in some neighborhoods around the college.  

Things To Do

Downtown/Town Lake85281

Central Tempe/McClintock85282

Central Tempe/The Lakes85283

South Tempe85284

Main attractions

Living so close to Arizona State University means all the best in college sports at Sun Devil Stadium, Wells Fargo Arena and more. There are many can’t-miss cultural events to count each year at Tempe Center for the Arts and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Gammage auditorium. Just across Tempe Town Lake you’ll find the Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden and scenic Papago Park. Cooling off in the summer is as simple as a trip to Big Surf Waterpark, home to one of the largest wave pools in the country.

Out on the town

Historic Mill Avenue is the heart of downtown Tempe. The lively stretch is packed with shops, clubs and restaurants, and even a single-screen art-house movie theater. Tempe Marketplace is more toned down. An outdoor mall and one-stop-shop for your shopping, dining and entertainment needs, complete with a 16-screen Harkins Theatre. Feeling thirsty? Four Peaks Brewing Company makes some of Arizona’s finest craft beer. We recommend a pint of Kilt Lifter.

Main attractions

Arizona State University is right around the corner, offering top-flight in college sports events. Enjoy can’t-miss cultural events at nearby Tempe Center for the Arts and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Gammage auditorium. Tempe Diablo Stadium hosts fun, affordable spring training games. It’s home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Tempe History Museum offers a look at the city’s past.

Out on the town

This neighborhood is flush with cool coffee houses, independent restaurants and quirky shops. For a taste of the mainstream, there’s Arizona Mills, a large indoor outlet mall that’s home to a breathtaking Imax screen and GameWorks, a pub-style arcade. And you can always catch a local band or two at the perfectly grungy Yucca Tap Room.

Main attractions

Nearby Arizona State University offers endless sports and cultural attractions. Catch a touring Broadway show at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Gammage auditorium or a symphony performance at Tempe Center for the Arts. For something more outdoorsy, visit South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the United States. There’s hiking, biking and horseback riding, and the view from the top is breathtaking.

Out on the town

There’s always something to do at the Kiwanis Recreation Center. There’s a 54,000-square-foot complex that boasts an indoor wave pool, 15-court tennis center and plenty more. For the more bookish, there’s Changing Hands Bookstore, the Valley’s premiere independent bookseller and host to big-name book signings. Close by is Arizona Mills, a large indoor outlet mall that’s home to a breathtaking Imax screen and GameWorks, a pub-style arcade. Dining options are endless. Take your pick from cafes, Asian cuisine, taco shops and pizzerias.

Main attractions

Just a short drive away is South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the United States. Choose from hiking, biking and horseback riding, or take one of the park’s many scenic drives – the view from the top is breathtaking. Nearby Arizona State University keeps things lively with college sports and unique cultural events. The Tempe Sports Complex gets you moving with a skate park, dog park, and baseball, softball and soccer fields.

Out on the town

Shopping, shopping and more shopping – whatever you want to buy, this neighborhood sells it. You’ll find car dealers, Costco, Walmart Supercenter and Arizona’s only Ikea store. Nearby Kiwanis Park keeps things active with an indoor wave pool, gym and tennis courts. Enjoy a movie on the cheap at Pollack Tempe Cinemas. The discount theater hosts Zia Records’ Cult Classics movie series once a month.


Explore the Outdoors

Outdoors

Tempe Town Lake is the epicenter of recreation in the area.  You’ll find bike paths for running, walking and rollerblading and stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and other personal watercraft available for rent. Just to the north, Papago Park in the Papago neighborhood offers great trails for hiking or mountain biking. And if you really want a lung-busting challenge, take a hike up A-Mountain near Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium on the south side of the lake.

Stats & Facts

Downtown/Town Lake85281

Central Tempe/McClintock85282

Central Tempe/The Lakes85283

South Tempe85284

Who lives here

The Tempe area is marked by vast differences in its neighborhood demographics. South Tempe (85284) has the second-highest household income in the Valley and very high homeownership. By contrast, the Downtown/Town Lake neighborhood (85281) is among the lowest by income and homeownership. Unsurprisingly for the home of Arizona State University, all areas of Tempe have relatively high levels of education.  

5 Things To Know About Tempe

It's small.

Tempe is one of metro Phoenix smaller suburbs for population and land. The city, called Hayden’s Ferry before Arizona became a state, has one of the most progressive plans for growth. Residents routinely say they are at least satisfied with Tempe government and quality of life.

It supports neighborhoods.

If Tempe residents have ideas to improve a neighborhoods, the city has grants. Tempe’s Neighborhood Grant Fund offers several $10,000 cash awards for resident-initiated projects that benefit neighborhoods. Past projects have included park upgrades, security-light installations, and art and energy conservation projects.

It wants you go out and play.

Tempe has lot of parks. The city boasts 46 parks spread over the roughly 40 square miles within city limits, which means most Tempe residents live within half a mile from a park. The city also has two public pools, one splash playground, three splash pads and five dog parks. In addition, bicyclists can traverse over 175 miles of bikeways throughout the city.

It thinks about the future.

Since the city is landlocked and can’t expand its boundaries, Tempe is focusing on building up. One of the goals is to transform Tempe into a “20-minute city,” where residents can meet all their daily needs within a 20-minute walk or bike ride. To accomplish this, Tempe encourages projects that are part residential housing, part shopping and part office space.

It offers easy access to politicos.

Tempe City Council members regularly have coffees or open meetings with residents.