Tempe is a suburb in the east valley of metropolitan Phoenix, meaning that it is bordered by surrounding cities. Spreading out over an area of 40.2 square miles, Tempe is bordered by Mesa to the East, Scottsdale to the North, Phoenix and Guadalupe to the West, and Chandler to the South.
Like many Arizona cities, Tempe was first home to Native American tribes like the Hohokambefore being settled in the 1800's by American Pioneer's headed west. The U.S. Military Fort McDowell was the first major structure to be built in the area, using soldiers and Native Americans for growing crops and digging irrigation ditches along the Salt River. Settlers began building homes further south down the river.
It was pioneer Darrell Duppawho is credited with naming Tempe in 1879, comparing the local tributary of the Salt River, which is near to a 300-foot tall bluff, to the Vale of Tempe, near Mount Olympus, in Greece.
By 1940, the population of Tempe was 2,906, according to U.S. Census Bureau records. Tempe began to grow in the years following World War II as armed forces returned home to a thriving economy. By 1960, Tempe's population had surged to 24,897, and by 1980 to 106,619. Those were the triple-digit growth days. Growth has continued in Tempe but at a more modest, double-digit pace.
These days, Tempe is a thriving city of 161,719, and is home to several Fortune 500 Companies, Arizona State University, arts and entertainment centers, sports centers, and shopping malls. The city was host to one of three Presidential debatesin 2004, and Super Bowl XXXwas played at Sun Devil's Stadiumin 1995.
Shopping and DiningTempe is a shopping mecca for locals and tourists with a variety of malls and chain stores to choose from. Arizona Mills, an indoor, outlet mall located at the southeast corner of U.S. 60 and I-10, is one of the largest shopping malls in the state. The mall is home to more than 200 stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Sears, and Burlington Coat Factory. Parking is easy since there are 6,000 spaces. Another mall, Tempe Marketplace, is an open-air center and is known for featuring live music, laser light shows and other events.
Locals also know to hit the Mill Avenue Districtin downtown Tempe. That's where people stroll leisurely among boutique shops, hotels and spas, as well as some smaller chain storefronts. Mill Avenue is also a very popular dining area because of the selections of restaurants concentrated in one area — with 79 restaurants to choose from on Mill Avenue alone. After dinner, and often at the same spot, is where Tempe nightlife begins, with live music and dancingat as many as 27 venues.
Parks and RecreationThe City of Tempe Recreations Services Departmentmanages parks and organized activities. With a park typically located within a half mile of most neighborhoods, many consider the parks in Tempe to be their own back yards. That said, reservations are required to book one of the many baseball fields or volleyball courts. Recreation Services offers classes and activities for age groups from toddler to adults, has specially-suited classes for older adults (age 50+), and adapted recreation activitiesfor the developmentally disabled. Boats are available to renton Tempe Town Lake as well as boating classes. There are adult and youth sports leaguesoffering baseball, softball, soccer, basketball and flag football.
The Tempe Public Libraryis a popular destination not just for its books, but for its more than 100 public computers, events (like "Story Time for Kids"), and Digital Research Resourcessection, where patrons of the 18,816 square-foot library can peruse the entire National Geographic catalog, and a wide assortment of online databases.
LivingMany residents of Tempe are actively involved in their community, serving on public committees or volunteering for various causes. Many people also enjoy taking in the annual events and festivalsthat take place throughout the year. Each November, Mill Avenue is turned into a festive area decorated with lights, and including a holiday parade. In honor of Independence Day, the Tempe Town Lake Festival Fourth of July Celebrationfeatures a day of fun and festivities, including an amazing fireworks display.
Tempe is also a truly modern city, but with a sense of its own local history. The Tempe History Museumfeatures exhibits that draw present day residents into the city's colorful past, all staged through a variety of media. Many of the exhibits are temporary, but visitors to the museum's main gallery can take in permanent displays that explore four themes: Surviving in the Desert; Building Our Community; College Town; and Living Together. Tempe also has its own Historic Property Registerand invites residents that live on older properties to see if their properties qualify for the register.
There is also a strong emphasis on arts and culture, illustrated in no better way than by the Public Artprogram operated by the city, where art of various styles decorates everything from bus stops to bridges, utility boxes and public facilities. The art displays can also be found in various neighborhoods and parks.
Schools, Health, TransportationStudents in Tempe attend several school districts, depending on where they live. Most of the city is served by the Tempe Elementary School Districtand the Tempe Union High School District, but other areas may belong to the K-8 Kyrene School District, the K-12 Scottsdale Unified School District, and Mesa Public Schools, which is also K-12. There are also opportunities for the pursuit of higher education with Arizona State Universityand Rio Salado College, part of the Maricopa Community College District.
Tempe is served by the 87-bed Tempe St. Luke's Hospital, and there are other hospital facilities in nearby Mesa and Scottsdale. There are also Urgent Carefacilities for some emergencies and for after-hours appointments. Plenty of doctors, dentists and other medical professionalshave offices within Tempe city limits.
Valley Metroservices Tempe with light rail and bus service to Phoenix, Scottsdale and other locales. The Tempe Transportation Centeris where people catch the METRO light rail Mondays – Fridays, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
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Updated: 3rd December, 2021 9:52 PM (UTC).