In Arizona, there’s mountains behind my house. – Brian Urlacher
The Good, the Bad and The Ugly
Tempe is in the Phoenix Metro Area and home to ASU. It’s a short drive up the highway to Scottsdale but a world away in terms of demographics. It’s college kids and university staff and the residents like the nightlife, they like to party. Tempe, Arizona is basically a college town smack in the middle of one of the United State’s most sprawling metropolitan areas, Phoenix, Arizona. It has its fair share of hip urban things like nice coffee shops,, delicious craft beer, and excellent local, affordable dining. Politically, Tempe is considered to be a liberal enclave within the valley, otherwise the Phoenix area is visibly conservative.
Frank Loyd Wright designed some of the University’s buildings and nearby Papago Park is very near campus for recreation and beautiful visages. The “main drag” in Tempe leads directly into the heart of Scottsdale just a fifteen minute drive away and Scottsdale is a hub of upscale shopping, golf resorts and horse riding locations.
The Best Thing About Tempe?
Public Transport (seriously)
It’s pretty easy to get around the city without a car. The light rail ferries students around with ease. North of Route 60 is good public transport, South of Route 60, not so much.
Here's a local on the public transport in Tempe:
Be cautious of where you live and where you are expecting to go. Tempe is fairly spread out (all of the Phoenix metro is). So if you are going to live downtown and largely getting around the ASU community you'll probably be fine, or if you're going into downtown Phoenix you are probably also ok. But if you will be out in the burbs a bit or heading south to Tech companies down there you will likely want a car.
For more reviews of what living in Tempe is like from locals check out: The Buzz
The Worst Thing About Tempe?
If you aren't young
Unless you’re 18 to 22 years old, you are bound to feel somewhat out of place. It’s a young town filled with young people doing young people things. In ASU’s case, this means throwing up on Mill Ave. Also, you’d better have a pool.
Here's a locals pov on Tempe and where to live to avoid or be a part of the college scene: You have been to Tempe before, so you should have an idea of whether or not you want to live here. You can avoid the college kids if you stick to the southern part of Tempe. Tempe's downtown area isn't as vibrant as it used to be and the bars are mostly catering to college students. Tempe isn't very far from downtown Phoenix, but if that's more your scene, you'd probably be better off living in the Arcadia or Camelback areas.
Lifestyle of Tempe
Tempe is built all around Arizona State University and its 90,000 students and employees so if you want to attend classes there, people there are attracted to the college style of living; sports, etc. It’s easy to be from out of town here as many of the city’s residents are.
South Tempe appeals to those who like to be just out of reach of the college scene but close enough to partake should the spirit move them. If you’re a student look at renting a house with some roomies west of campus. Alternatively, there are a number of apartment complexes close to the light rail along Apache. Stay west of McClintock to avoid overpriced student-oriented complexes.
If you want to know what's happening year-round in Tempe check out the calendar of events: https://www.downtowntempe.com/explore/events-calendar
Why You Should Move Here Now?
The Phoenix Metro Area (known as The Valley) is hard to beat for value and comfort and Tempe is probably the most walkable part of Arizona and the cost of living here is quite low for a young person just starting out -- it is not difficult to get by in Tempe,