Tempe is home to Arizona State University (ASU). Its shared history with ASU has given it a long-standing reputation as a college town and is considered the academic and intellectual center of the Valley of the Sun. In addition, its younger, student-heavy population allows it to offer a vibrant nightlife rivaled only by that of nearby Scottsdale. It is home to many research-centric industries in fields ranging from biotechnology to solar energy as well as a high percentage of knowledge workers those industries require. The city's size is small and surrounded by the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, and Chandler and serves as a major hub in the Valley Metro light rail transit system.
The Valley Metro Light Rail project is operational and brings light rail service through Tempe from the neighboring cities of Mesa and Phoenix.  The rates are very reasonable, and day-passes are available for a discount. Tickets may be purchased from automated kiosks at every station. Free Park-and-Ride lots are located along the length of the route. There are plans in the works to extend the rail system through the use of spurs.
Tempe is one of the most accessible cities in the Phoenix Metropolitan area and only 10 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Taxis and shuttles are available for arrivals and departures. There are also a number of reasonably-priced public buses, and the recently completed Light Rail is a short shuttle ride away. Those new to Sky Harbor should be warned, however, that the roads and parking lots serving the airport can be poorly marked and rather confusing to navigate. Make sure to allot extra time in case you miss a turn and need to circle around. Also, there is no Terminal 1- only numbers 2 through 4.
Tempe offers two free and convenient neighborhood circulators, called "Orbit" and "Flash". Orbit, which has several routes, takes passengers through neighborhoods to the downtown area and the Mill Avenue District and connects to the light rail station at College Avenue. The Orbit routes are each named after planets (complementing the "orbit" moniker), charge no fare, and can pick up passengers at any point along a sidewalk in residential areas where no bus stops are established.  Flash, also operating multiple routes, takes passengers around the Arizona State University area and Mill Avenue District. 
Valley Metro has an extensive bus service operating on every major road with very reasonable fares. Many bus routes connect to the light rail. 
Tempe is a comparatively bicycle-friendly city in the Phoenix valley area, and features bike lanes along many roads (which see more traffic the closer you get to downtown Tempe and ASU) and a variety of very enjoyable bike paths in and around parks and scenic locations, which connect conveniently to nearly all urban areas and points of interest. Although Tempe is a small city, the dry and sometimes hot summer climate can make it somewhat uncomfortable to self-pedal from one point in the city to another. For this and many other reasons, electric bikes are becoming a very popular option year round. It's possible to rent or purchase an electric bicycle from The Urban Commuter near the Apache/McClintock light rail stop. 
In addition, there are various car rental agencies and sightseeing companies. 
Locally the road running along the south shore of the river as Rio Salado Pkwy divides the addresses & streets from "North" & "South" while Mill Ave divides the addresses & streets from "South" & "East". Some of the main roads change names once they cross over the city limits to the next city while others remain the same name. Such as S Rural Rd (becomes N Scottsdale Rd in Scottsdale), E Apache (becomes W Main St in Mesa), McClintock (becomes N Hayden Dr in Scottsdale) & S Priest (becomes S 56th in Chandler).
Arizona State University is in the heart of Tempe, ASU is a key factor in its the vibrant, diverse and progressive lifestyle. Started as a small teaching college in 1885, it has grown into the largest university in the nation, with several campuses spread throughout the metropolitan area. The largest of these campuses is the Tempe ASU Campus, a square-mile center of knowledge and cultural experience. 
The campus itself is worth a visit; the grounds are officially an arboretum- discreet tags mark many of the trees and plantings, which showcase desert and tropical flora from around the world.
There are also a number of free museums and exhibits available, some permanent and some on a rotational basis. The Life Sciences Building, A Wing, has glass cases set into the hallways that house dozens of reptiles, including a comprehensive sampling of the poisonous snakes of Arizona. The Fine Arts Center houses the ASU Art Museum, and has a fine permanent collection and an active guest artist program. The attached gift shop is, surprisingly, a great place to get beautiful and unusual gifts. The Anthropology building, run by the internationally acclaimed School of Human Evolution and Social Change, also has many interesting permanent and visiting exhibits throughout the year.
ASU's Hayden Library is a vast collection housed mostly underground in the center of campus. It has many unique features, including the only Child Drama collection, various exhibits, and rare and valuable works available to the public through the Luhrs reading room. Where else can one walk in and request to see a page from a Gutenberg Bible?
The ASU Gammage Auditorium, Arizona State University, Box 870105, tel: (480)965-5062  is a Frank Lloyd Wright designed theatre that hosts international talent, Broadway shows, and local entertainment. One of his last architectural pieces, it was originally designed for Baghdad before finally being built in the equally arid Valley of the Sun.
The ASU Mars Space Flight Facility, Arizona State University, tel: (480)965-1790 , supports the Thermal Emission Spectrometer experiment that was sent aboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft when it launched in November 1996. The Mars facility has a visitor area with displays about Mars and a television tuned to NASA TV. Open 8:00AM - 5:00PM Monday - Friday.
The ASU R. S. Dietz Museum of Geology, Arizona State University, Bateman Physical Sciences Center, F-wing, Room 186, tel: (480)965-7065 , houses minerals, gems, fossils from Arizona and around the world. It also has a six-story Foucault pendulum; local fossils including Colombian mammoth remains excavated in 1985, 1997 and 1999; real dinosaurs, a giant-extinct fossil shark over 7 feet tall (to be featured on the National Geographic Channel in 2009) a rare T-rex brain cavity and cast and many other rare and extinct fossil mammals including saber-toothed cats. The museum also features several large meteorites from the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies; Ore minerals and crystals from the many Arizona open-pit and underground mines, a gemstone exhibit and a 6-foot tall amethyst geode at the museum entrance. Other exhibits include: Volcanology; Mineralogy, Geology of Arizona; Rocks of the Grand Canyon and Arizona's State Fossil: Fossil wood from the Petrified Forest proposed by 2 former ASU Geology faculty members in 1988.
City of Tempe Cultural Services, 700 W. Rio Salado, tel: (480)350-2822  Numerous examples of public art dot Tempe's landscape. Additionally, Tempe presents exhibits featuring professional and student artists. Works may be viewed in public places, which serve as alternate spaces for regularly changing exhibits.
Petersen House Museum, 1414 W. Southern Avenue, tel: (480)350-5151 . Restored Queen Anne Victorian home built in 1892 by one of Tempe's earliest settlers. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free admission.
Tempe Festival of the Arts - massive twice yearly street fair featuring arts and crafts from all over the country, as well as a wide selection of carnival/street fair style foods, beverages and live entertainment.
Tempe Town Lake - Set adjacent to Tempe's Mill Avenue District, Arizona State University and the 2,000 acre Papago Park, Tempe Town Lake embodies a unique vision for the future of the Valley. It is the center for a whole bunch of activities like boating,biking etc and has a jogger's track as well. The sight of the bridge at sunset is worth a watch.
Tempe Tourism Office, 51 West 3rd Street, Suite 105, tel: (480)894-8158  Located just off of downtown Mill Avenue, provides city maps, as well as up to date information on hotels, restaurants, and city events.
SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium, 5000 S Arizona Mills Cir #145, ☎ 480-478-7600, . Gaze at an amazing array of marine life at the Sea Life Aquarium, a 26,000-square-foot indoor aquarium at the Arizona Mills mall. The aquarium features more than 5,000 different species, and attractions like a touch tank for curious hands.edit
Tempe has numerous parks, soccer fields, fenced dog parks, lighted tennis courts, pools, golf courses and its own two-mile urban park complex, Tempe Town Lake . Twin bicycle and walking paths circle the lake leading to Tempe Beach Park, Splash Playground, SRP Town Lake Marina and Giuliano Park, where many triathlons take place. In addition, Tempe has more than 150 miles of dedicated bikeways and the League of American Bicyclists has designated Tempe a Silver-Level Bicycle-Friendly Community Award winner.
Tempe's outdoor activities and sporting events add to its dynamic lifestyle. Tempe is the annual home to the Ironman Arizona, the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon & 1/2 Marathon,  the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and all of the intercollegiate athletics at Arizona State University. Every March, Tempe hosts the Angels Major League Baseball Spring Training games at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Tempe History Museum, 809 E. Southern Avenue, tel: (480)350-5100 . Features the history of Tempe from the time of prehistoric Hohokam to today. Video, hands-on exhibits and gift shop. Open Mon-Thu & Sat 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sun 1-5 p.m. Free admission.
Arizona State University University Rd. & College Dr.  Originally founded as a Normal (Teaching) school in 1885, Arizona State is now one of the largest universities in the nation. ASU's expansive campus features many shaded lawns and expansive walks; most buildings feature displays and recent projects. Old Main, located adjacent to University Rd. and College Rd., is the original school's building and dates back to it's founding.
Tempe has a wide range of shopping choices from nationally known department stores to outlets and specialty boutiques. The heart of downtown Tempe and the main shopping district is the Mill Avenue District. This area is filled with specialty shops, bars, restaurants, cafés, pubs and is also the cornerstone of the downtown business district.
Arizona Mills offers more than 175 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues under one roof.
IKEA (the only one in Arizona) is in Southern Tempe.
Tempe Marketplace Tempe Marketplace's 1.3 million square feet of retail space is positioned as an open-air, pedestrian-oriented environment, creating an eclectic atmosphere for a memorable experience. Arizona State University maintains the "Night Gallery" at the marketplace. It is free to the public, and open late into the evening. There are also frequent concerts and other activities throughout the year.
Tempe's Mill Avenue District offers the most concentrated area of restaurants and cafés in Arizona. Tempe restaurants offer cuisines including Middle Eastern, Asian, Mexican and, of course, American fare. Many have received the Phoenix New Times's "Best of" award.
Munch a Mania 2090 E. University, Suite 107 Tempe, AZ. 85281 http://munchamania.com PHONE: 480-967-7944. The food is absolutely spectacular, portion sizes are great, and the service is the most personal you will get in town.
Little Szechwan 524 W University Dr. Tempe AZ 85281 (480.966.7660) http://littleszechuanaz.com/ Family Run Chinese Food Restaurant. Mouth watering food and and very friendly service.
Caffe Boa 398 S. Mill Avenue, tel: (480)968-9112 An original, casual, Euro-style bistro/wine bar. Award winning wine list with authentic Mediterranean styled food. Over 250 wines with full bar. Voted Best Italian Restaurant and Best Chef for 2005.
Cafe Lalibela 849 W. University Drive, tel: (480)829-1939. Cafe Lalibela is a family restaurant bringing Ethiopian cuisine to the heart of Tempe.
La Fonda Mexican Food, 1126 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480 966 8001. La Fonda is a great restaurant if you're looking for Mexican food. The problem with posting this restaurant in the budget section is that many will instantly assume that the food is mediocre. The food is excellent, and the atmosphere is friendly; good pricing is an added benefit, not a factor.
Four Peaks Brewing Company 1340 E. 8th Street, tel: (480)303-9967 Arizona's largest brewery located in a turn of the century brick warehouse with award-winning food and hand-crafted ales.
House of Tricks Restaurant 114 E. 7th Street, tel: (480)968-1114 is a Tempe original accessible within walking distance from Mill Avenue. House of Tricks is hidden inside two turn-of-the-century homes, behind a vine-strewn courtyard. Eclectic new American menus and extensive wine list. Outside catering available. Private dining area or patios can accommodate 35-75 guests; semi private dining areas can accommodate 15-20 guest. Located at 114 E 7th St. (480) 968-1114
Monti's La Casa Vieja 100 S. Mill Avenue, tel: (480)967-7594 Monti's La Casa Vieja (old house) is the largest full-service restaurant in Arizona. This adobe hacienda offers steaks, seafood and grilled options for almost 50 years. Banquet and catering services available.
Phoenicia Cafe, 616 S. Forest Ave., Tempe, +1 480-967-8009, . Delicious Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. Relatively small and often packed, esp. while the university nearby is in session. Try the baba ghannouge (eggplant dip) and the baklava, made from scratch. There is also an attached small Middle Eastern grocery that has great prices, especially on spices, Middle Eastern/Mediterranean deli items, and bulk olive oil. Very good service and friendly atmosphere. Restricted hours June to September, call ahead to check. $15.
Rula Bula Irish Pub & Restaurant, 401 S. Mill Avenue (SE from 3rd St. & Mill Ave.), ☎ (480) 929-9500, . 11am - 2am. Lively old world pub & restaurant built in Ireland. Four-star cuisine, pub fare, and ample pints of Guinness. Live music and courtyard patio bar. Seating for 130. Semi-private dining for 50.$$. edit
Cornish Pasty Co, 960 West University Drive (NW corner of Hardy & University.), ☎ (480) 894-6261, . 11am - 10pm. A British and Irish themed restaurant and bar offers a wide range of classic, modern, and experimental pasties with a number of European beers available on tap. It is popular with Tempe's younger and bohemian crowd.$$. edit
Green, 2240 N Scottsdale Road, ☎ 480-941-9003, . Mon-Sat 11am to 9pm- closed Sunday. Vegan restaurant that was named the Best Vegan restaurant in Phoenix by the Phoenix New Times. PETA named the secret BBQ Chicken sandwich as the best faux chicken sandwich in the USA. Another location in Central Phoenix.edit
Tempe is situated amidst the Phoenix Metro area as a "college town," and considering this Tempe's nightlife constitutes a wide variety of people. Most prominent is a college-aged drinking crowd that congregates on Mill Avenue District (which offers the most concentrated area of restaurants and cafés in Arizona) seven nights a week. Popular spots include Fat Tuesday , a Mardi Gras-themed daiquiri bar, and the Mill Cue Club  which features billiards and beer.
Caffe Boa 398 S. Mill Avenue, tel: (480)968-9112. An original, casual, Euro-style bistro/wine bar. Award winning wine list with authentic Mediterranean styled food. Over 250 wines with full bar. Voted Best Italian Restaurant and Best Chef for 2005.
Four Peaks Brewing Company 1340 E. 8th Street, tel: (480)303-9967 Arizona's largest brewery located in a turn of the century brick warehouse with award-winning food and hand-crafted ales.
Gordon Biersch 420 South Mill Avenue (on the corner of 5th Street), tel: 480-736-0033. The second story New Orleans style restaurant has three balconies overlooking the downtown district. Within walking distance from major business, ASU and Sun Devil Stadium and offers complimentary valet parking beginning at 5:00 p.m. every night.
Rula Bula Irish Pub & Restaurant 401 S. Mill Avenue, tel: 480-929-9500 Lively old world pub & restaurant built in Ireland. Four-star cuisine, pub fare, and ample pints of Guinness. Live music and courtyard patio bar. Seating for 130. Semi-private dining for 50.
Tavern on Mill 404 S. Mill Avenue (just off the main commercial street) tel: 480-967-5887. Offers traditional and southwestern cuisine and is known for its well rounded beer selection, excellent service and great eats. The Tavern on Mill has almost as much seating space inside as outside. 30 television monitors and flat screens display the latest music videos, sports games and more.
Casey Moore's Oyster House 850 S. Ash Ave. tel: 480-968-9935. Built in 1910, the Historic William Moeur house has been the home of Casey Moore's since 1986. With an Irish pub feel and an expansive front and side patio, Casey Moore's maintains a neighborhood ambiance. Often dozens of bicycles are locked up out front; it is a local favorite. Multiple beers on tap, free food with happy hour, and a full menu featuring fresh seafood. Rumored to be haunted.
Monkey Pants Bar & Grill 3223 S Mill Ave. tel: 480-377-8100. Home of the "One O'clock Shirtless Shot", everyone is handed a free shot provided they take off their shirt (with bare-chested men and brassiere-wearing women going up to the bar for their shot); whether it be at 1PM or 1AM. A plethora of daily specials and entertainment options will keep patrons entertained. Check out their "state" burger selection, which ranges from standard burgers to unique variations based on the state it's named after (the Alaska Burger is covered with ice while the New Jersey Burger is covered in "stinky" bleu cheese dressing and "stinkier" bleu cheese crumbles.)
AmeriSuites Tempe/Arizona Mills, 1520 West Baseline Road, 480-831-9800, . Adjacent to Arizona Mills Mall and 10 miles from downtown Phoenix.
Hyatt Place Tempe/Phoenix Airport, 1413 W. Rio Salado Parkway, tel: (480) 804-9544 . 2 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and 1.5 miles from downtown Tempe and Arizona State University.
Comfort Inn & Suites at ASU, 1031 East Apache Blvd, Phone: (480) 966-7202, Fax: (480) 829-9340, . Located within walking distance of ASU, this hotel offers proximity to local area attractions in a room with various full-service accommodations.
Courtyard Tempe Downtown, 601 South Ash Avenue, ☎ 4809662800, . 10 minute free shuttle ride from your flight into Sky Harbor Airport. From there you are just blocks from downtown Tempe and Arizona State University.$109-$149. edit
Embassy Suites Hotel Tempe, 4400 South Rural Road, (480) 897-7444 . 6 miles from Phoenix Airport PHX, and 2 miles from the main ASU campus.
Quality Inn at ASU, 1375 E. University Dr, Phone: (480) 774-2500, Fax: (480) 929-0524, . This hotel is only five miles from the airport and very close to ASU. Easy access to freeways for travel in Tempe
Qualty Inn Airport, 1550 S. 52nd St, Phone: (480) 967-3000, Fax: (480) 966-9568, . Centrally located near the airport, ASU, the Mill Avenue District, and Tempe Town Lake.
Sleep Inn, 2621 S. 47th Pl., Phone: (480) 967-7100, Fax: (480) 921-7400, . This Phoenix, AZ hotel is minutes from Mill Avenue, US Airways Center, Arizona State University, the Phoenix Zoo, Chase Field and the Phoenix Convention Center.
Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, 60 E. Fifth Street (downtown) tel: (800)547-8705 . Upscale 303-room hotel with courtyard and roof top pool, 30,000 sq. ft. of conference space, 10 ADA rooms, restaurant. AAA/CAA & TAG approved.
Tempe welcomes the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual (LGBT) community. However, Tempe features no LGBT-oriented bars or clubs. Neighboring Phoenix contains all of the LGBT bars in the valley.
LGBT nondiscrimination policies have been adopted by Arizona State University and the City of Tempe.
Tempe Police and Fire Departments actively recruit members of the gay and lesbian community.
Tempe hosted the 2004 Out and Equal Workplace Summit.
The Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau has been honored as the Community Ally of the Year by the Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau's LGBT promotions have received awards from the Western Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus and at the Arizona Governor's Tourism Conference.
From 1996 through 2003, Tempe was America's largest city with an openly gay mayor, Neil Giuliano, now the President of GLAAD.
Arizona State University in Tempe is the first university nationwide to officially recognize both a gay fraternity, Sigma Phi Beta, and lesbian sorority, Gamma Rho Lambda.
In 2006, Arizona became the first state to defeat a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, though a similar ban was passed by voters just two years later.