10 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Tempe, AZ

September 06th, 2022

10 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Tempe, AZ

Living in Tempe

Are you considering a move to Tempe, Arizona? Make sure you know these ten things about living in Tempe!

Located just east of Phoenix in Maricopa County lies the city of Tempe, Arizona, which is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece. With a population of over 190,000 people, Tempe is one of the best places to live in Arizona. It is best known as the home of Arizona State University and the Tempe Center for the Arts, Gammage Auditorium, and the Rock n Roll Marathon.

Considered to be part of the Phoenix metropolitan area, Tempe is bordered by Phoenix to the West, Scottsdale to the North, Chandler to the South, and Mesa to the East. Thanks to its affordable cost of living, thriving job market, and rapidly growing infrastructure, it is estimated that Tempe will experience a population increase of 20% over the next decade.

Not only is the city diverse and full of culture, but its good weather and excellent school system make it a sought-after place to live just 13 miles away from Phoenix.

Offering its residents the perfect blend of urban and suburban living, Tempe is a great place to live for college students, families, young professionals, and retirees alike. Often described as a college town, Tempe has found a way to appeal to all age groups through its unique amenities, including world-class restaurants, trendy coffee shops, and beautiful parks.

So if you are wondering what life is like in Tempe, you have certainly come to the right place. Whether you have only visited a few times or have never stepped foot in Tempe, this ultimate moving guide was created to help you learn all you need to know about Tempe before making a final moving decision.

With that being said, keep reading to learn more!

City of Tempe, Arizona near the water at night with bridge and the Sonoran Desert with cactus during sunset

Before moving, you need to know about Tempe, Arizona, before proceeding!

Affordable Cost of Living

Though the cost of living in Tempe might be 9% higher than the national average, it is an affordable place to live in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Compared to nearby regions, these affordable prices make Tempe a desirable place to live in south-central Arizona.

Even though housing expenses are 39% higher than the national average, utility prices are 6% higher than the national average, and transportation expenses are 3% higher than the national average, you can still find an affordable place to live in one of the best neighborhoods in Tempe that fits within your budget.

With an average salary of $60,000 a year, it is recommended that a resident make an average of $50,000 annually or $24 an hour to live comfortably in Tempe. The current median home price in Tempe as of 2022 is $552,281.

Cost of Living Item Average Tempe Price
Loaf of Bread $3.44
Gallon of Milk $2.20
Bunch of Bananas $3.33
Carton of Eggs $1.56
Doctor's Visit $109.77
Veterinary Visit $93.87

Data from Payscale

Bridge in Tempe, Arizona near the city and the water during a sunny, clear day

Job Opportunities

Known for having one of the country's most thriving and promising economic environments, Tempe employs over 107,000 of its residents. With an economy fueled by advancement and innovation, some of the strongest economic industries in the city include advanced manufacturing, technology, healthcare, business services, biotechnology, and tourism.

Home to multiple Fortune 500 companies and start-ups, job growth in Tempe is predicted to increase 49.9% over the next ten years, higher than the national average of 33.5%. Some of the top companies to work for in Tempe currently include the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, Freedom Financial, and Arizona State University.


Tempe is a great place to live for its education choices alone, whether you have school-aged children or are interested in attending graduate school. With three public school districts that serve the city, including Tempe Elementary School District, Tempe Union High School District, and the Kyrene School District, families moving to the area will have access to public, charter, private, and home school options in the city.

Home to two higher education institutions, college students can attend Arizona State University, a public research university, or Rio Salado College, a public community college.

Students walking to class at Arizona State University on a clear day outside next to palm trees

Public Transportation

Tempe has reliable public transportation that offers services 365 days a year and provides easy connectivity throughout the city. While most residents tend to have cars, multiple options are available to beat commuter traffic and get to the town, the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and nearby cities fast. Some of the public transportation services offered by the town include the Valley Metro Light Rail, the Tempe Streetcar, and Tempe FLASH. This free shuttle takes students to and from the Arizona State University campus.


Offering up to 300 sunny days per year, the desert climate in Tempe is sought after for its rainless days and comfortable temperatures between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Tempe weather is generally clear year-round, with summers swelteringly hot and dry and winters mild and cool. This is the perfect place to live if you want low humidity and pleasant average temperatures, only receiving about nine inches of rain annually and zero inches of snow yearly.

Cacti in the Sonoran Desert at sunset


With more than 50 neighborhood and community parks to explore, Tempe has no shortage of outdoor recreation opportunities that the whole family will love. Featuring playgrounds, open green spaces, and athletic fields, spending time outside in Tempe will quickly become your favorite thing to do. Providing residents with a place to relax, hang out, and play, most parks are open in Tempe from dawn to dusk unless otherwise posted.

Check out these favorite local parks in Tempe, AZ:

  • Kiwanis Park: Thought to be one of the best parks in Tempe, this is a great place to spend time with the family since there is a 54,000-square-foot complex with an indoor wave pool and a 15-court tennis center.
  • Tempe Beach Park: The perfect place for outdoor fun and relaxation, this 25-acre park provides more than five miles of walking paths, a splash playground, and athletic fields. Visitors can also rent a boat or paddleboard to take out on the lake.
  • Selleh Park: Hang out at this dog-friendly neighborhood park with a pond, children's playground, large soccer field, picnic benches, and a basketball court.
  • Daley Park: Known to be one of Tempe's oldest parks, take advantage of green space, baseball and softball fields, a basketball court, playground, and grills at this 17-acre park.
  • Estrada Park: Named after one of Tempe's pioneers, Pete Estrada, this neighborhood park in south Tempe is equipped with a basketball court, play structures, picnic areas, and wide open grassy green spaces.

Hiking Trails

One of the best things to do in Tempe is lace up your hiking boots and walk along one of the many trails throughout the city. Offering easy and challenging routes, there is no better way to blend in with the locals than by conquering its numerous hiking trails.

Make sure to explore these favorite local hiking trails in Tempe, AZ:

  • "A" Mountain Tempe: Located at Arizona State University, this butte is a popular hiking place and is considered an easy route since it is only a 0.9-mile trail.
  • Papago Park Butte Loop: Taking an average of 45 minutes to complete, this 2.2-mile loop trail is generally an easy route around the west side of Papago Park.
  • South Mountain National Trail: This 16-mile point-to-point trail is considered a moderately challenging route and a popular area for birding, hiking, and biking.
  • Rio Salado Park: What was once a former industrial area has since been turned into a beautiful desert river habitat with plenty of hiking trails to run, walk, or bike.
  • Crosscut Canal Path: This 18-mile trail near Tempe is an easy route, but it generally takes around five and a half hours to complete.

Hiking in the Desert and near the mountains on a clear hot day in Tempe, Arizona

Family-Friendly Activities

With an average population age of 29 years old, many Tempe residents have children or are thinking about starting a family. Since Tempe is known to have a thriving entertainment sector, there are plenty of educational museums, exciting arcades, festivals, splash pads, and indoor activities available that people of all ages and interests will enjoy.

Bring the whole family to these favorite local attractions in Tempe, AZ:

  • LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona: Bring the whole family to this children's amusement center in Tempe that features multiple family-friendly exhibits, rides, 4D movies, and a Lego factory tour that is all included in the price of admission.
  • SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium: Home to a variety of sea creatures, this 26,000-square-foot interactive aquarium in the Arizona Mills Mall is a must-visit attraction.
  • Tempe History Museum: Learn about the history of Tempe and its growth over the years through rotating displays, exhibits, photographs, and artifacts.
  • Inferno Escape Room: Located at the University Plaza, this 60-minute escape room experience is the perfect activity for a group of different ages.
  • Main Event Tempe: This fun entertainment destination includes bowling lanes, laser tag, arcade games, interactive video games, and a casual dining experience.


Well known for its Southwestern cuisine and seasonal menus, Tempe has a thriving dining scene that will satisfy any craving. From rustic cafes to five-star restaurants, there are a variety of dining options available that will keep you coming back for more.

Check out these top favorite local restaurants in Tempe, AZ:

  • Culinary Dropout: Enjoy great food and drinks in this British-style gastropub that serves comfort food and inventive cocktails.
  • Top of the Rock Restaurant: Located in the Marriott Phoenix Resort Tempe at the Buttes, this New American cafe offers beautiful 360-degree views of the city below and serves creative farm-to-table cuisine in a romantic setting.
  • King's Fish House: Dine on seafood dishes bursting with unforgettable flavor alongside beer, wine, and craft cocktails in a laid-back atmosphere.
  • Postino Annex: Providing unique wines and delicious food using only fresh and local ingredients in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Perfect Pear Bistro: With two locations in Tempe, this local family-owned restaurant has a creative menu that changes seasonally and is beloved for its salads.

Live Music

There is no better way to have fun with friends than hanging out at one of Tempe's famous live music venues. Welcoming local, national, and international musicians that represent all music genres, live music can be heard throughout Tempe.

Discover a new band at these favorite local live music venues in Tempe, AZ:

  • Low Key Piano Bar: Featuring dueling piano players that play familiar tunes and delicious drinks in a laid-back atmosphere.
  • Yucca Tap Room: Recognized as Tempe's original live music venue, enjoy live music, a large selection of beer and whiskey, and bar food at this beloved neighborhood hangout.
  • Marquee Theatre Tempe, AZ: Found on the North side of Tempe Town Lake, Marquee Theatre is considered one of Tempe's top performing entertainment venues and hosts over 150 performances yearly.
  • Time Out Lounge: Found in the Huntington Square Shopping Center strip mall, this chill hangout is known for its live music, pool tables, darts, jukebox, and good vibes.
  • Tempe Tavern: Located in a historic white dairy barn that was built in 1918, this site has been turned into a rustic-style watering hole that has live music, a classic pub menu, and TVs that play sports.

A crowd enjoying live music at night outside in Tempe, AZ

Living in Tempe, AZ Pros and Cons


  • Affordable cost of living
  • Strong job market
  • Great education
  • Reliable public transportation
  • Nearby international airport
  • Nice weather
  • Low humidity
  • Diverse
  • Beautiful parks
  • Scenic hiking trails
  • Abundance of family-friendly activities
  • Delicious restaurants
  • Thriving live music scene


  • High crime rate
  • Intense summer heat
  • Urban sprawl
  • Rising housing prices

Moving to Tempe, AZ - Final Thoughts

Whether you are moving to Tempe for its budget-friendly housing or highly rated schools, this small but charming town is packed full of fun things to do that all ages will enjoy, which is part of what makes it such a great place to live.

When searching for homes for sale in Tempe, there is no shortage of property types and architectural styles that vary in size and price. Whether you dream of a quiet suburban neighborhood just outside of town or a lively community near the center of the city, our team of Realty Specialists is here to help you along your home-buying journey.

Contact us today if you are ready to start your home search in Tempe, Arizona!

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.