The 5 Hidden Gems of Tempe

Incorporated in 1894, Tempe quickly became one of the fastest-growing cities in the southwest. Currently boasting a population of over 160,000 people, the city of Tempe is located right in the heart of the Valley of the Sun.

Tempe is not only home to Arizona State University and one of the US Airways headquarters; it’s also full of some of the best places for dining, arts, and recreational activity. We’ve picked out some of the best-hidden gems of Tempe and listed them below:

Evelyn Hallman Pond

lake scenery

If you’re looking for a relaxing park away from all the excitement in Tempe, head north of Tempe Town Lake to Evelyn Hallman Pond where you can fish, hike, or enjoy the shade on a hot summer’s day.

Arizona Animal Welfare League

Whether you’re looking to adopt or volunteer, the Arizona Animal Welfare League in Tempe is a great place to start. Offering training, education, and events all throughout the year, AAWL is a fantastic organization. Check out for more information.


By far one of Tempe’s best-kept secrets, Haji-Baba’s offers affordable, quick, and out-of-this-world Middle Eastern food. Haji-Baba, known to locals as simply, “Haji’s,” is also a great place for Tempe newcomers. Guest favorites include chicken or beef shawarma, chicken kabab, or falafel.

Harkins Valley Art

vertical hoarding of valley art

Located on Mill Ave in the heart of Tempe, the Harkins Valley Art theater isn’t technically a “hidden gem,” but it’s still one of our favorite spots! Built-in 1940, Valley Art is Arizona’s oldest active movie theater. Originally called “College Theater,” Valley Art still shows some of the best independent and foreign films in the valley.  

The Original Hoagie Shop

hoagie shop logo

Any east coaster knows a good hoagie. If you’re looking for some of the best sandwiches in Tempe and want that East Coast taste, check out the Original Hoagie Shop on University. With some of the best Philly cheese steak sandwiches, hoagies, pasta, salads, and more, The Original Hoagie Shop’s got it all!