Main Event Entertainment, Tempe

Kidding Around in Tempe

By: Arizona Office of Tourism

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June 21, 2018

Keep the family entertained this summer with plenty of things to do and places to eat in the heart of Phoenix.

About the author

Arizona Office of Tourism

These articles are brought to you by the staff of the Arizona Office of Tourism, and occasionally local tourism organizations around the state.

In Tempe, Arizona, parents can easily entertain their kids – from toddlers to teens. Tempe, located in the heart of metro Phoenix, is filled to the brim with colorful arts experiences, exciting attractions, free activities and restaurants catering to both picky and adventurous eaters. Here are Tempe’s top picks for family fun this summer.

Arizona Mills

Arizona Mills is well known for shopping, but it has quickly become a destination for the whole family. This indoor outlet and value retail destination is home to several attractions.

Discover thousands of sea creatures at SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium. It’s designed for kids, with child-level tanks and viewing bubbles, a 360-degree ocean tunnel and an interactive scavenger hunt that is included with admission.

A mother and daughter assemble Legos togetherCredit: LEGOLAND Discovery Center courtesy of Tempe Tourism Office

Next door to SEA LIFE is LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona. Kids can let their imaginations go wild in this ultimate indoor LEGO playground. There are thousands of LEGO bricks in themed play areas, two rides, a 4D theater and the new Dino Explorer Experience, featuring a range of dinosaur-themed activities. Combo tickets are available to allow your family to visit both attractions at a reduced price.

Further down the hall is Tilt Studio, a family entertainment center with more than 150 interactive video and redemption games and a wide array of food, beer, wine and cocktails.

Arizona Mills is also home to the Harkins Theatres IMAX and Luxury 25 Cinemas and restaurants that kids (and parents) love, such as Rainforest Café, Johnny Rockets and Claim Jumper.

Fun, games and water

Family fun in Tempe continues outside of Arizona Mills. Main Event Entertainment is a wonderland for kids. This massive entertainment center features exciting video games, laser tag, bowling, billiards, a gravity ropes course and lots of food and beverage options.

America’s original water park, Big Surf, is the perfect spot for summertime fun. Enjoy Waikiki Beach Wave Pool, Bora Bora Bay and Captain Cook’s Landing for small kids, and lots of water slides, from tame ones to adrenaline rushes, for the bigger kids and adults. Big Surf also has shaded areas for relaxing in between splashes and a snack bar.

A little girl plays with water at Tempe MarketplaceCredit: Tempe Marketplace courtesy of Tempe Tourism Office.

Tempe Marketplace is a gathering place for visitors and locals alike. This shopping and entertainment destination is home to H&M, Old Navy, Nordstrom Rack, Dave & Buster’s and California Pizza Kitchen, among others, as well as 16-screen Harkins Theatre, where you will find all of the summer blockbusters. Relax with an iced tea while the kids enjoy the splash pad. And, on Friday and Saturday evenings, enjoy live music at the District Stage.

Festive events

During summer, families can also enjoy seasonal events such as the July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival. This community-wide party celebrates the nation’s birthday with live entertainment, an inflatable village for children, food for purchase and a stellar fireworks show over Tempe Town Lake.

ASU Art Museum invites families to visit during the Family Day on July 14, 2018. Art stations will be set up throughout the museum and kids ages 4–12 are invited to create artworks related to current exhibitions. All materials are included and admission to the museum is free.

Explore the trails at Desert Botanical Garden after dark during the summer Flashlight Tours. These self-guided tours take place on Saturday nights from May 26 through September 1, 2018. See night-blooming cacti, search for animals that chirp, flutter and slither in the dark, and check out the discovery stations where you can learn about the wonders of the desert.

Kid-friendly restaurants

From flavorful tacos to cheesy pizza and sweet desserts, the whole family can dine out happily in Tempe.

Downtown Tempe is the epicenter for breakfast. Start the day with Red Velvet Waffles at Ncounter, a flight of pancakes at Snooze or fluffy omelets at Morning Squeeze.

Sample creative fare for kids and adults at Culinary Dropout at The Yard Tempe, starting with an appetizer of pretzel bites with cheese fondue. Try local favorites Rigatony’s or Spinato’s for Italian dishes and pizza, or visit vegetarian-friendly Perfect Pear Bistro, where you’ll find everything from salads to pasta to delicious sandwiches.

Get a taste of the Old West at Rustler’s Rooste, a rustic steakhouse with live country music and mountaintop views of the city. Kids eat free at Rustler’s Rooste all summer long.

Satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth at ice-cream shops, bakeries and specialty shops, like Candy Addict on Mill Avenue or Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory at Tempe Marketplace.

To plan a family trip to Tempe, please contact the Tempe Tourism Office at, call (800) 283-6734 or check out @TempeTourism on social media.

Brought to you by the Tempe Tourism Office, (800) 283-6734,

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