Tempe Museums: Fun Attractions for Different Interests and Ages

Tempe thrives as a destination known for culture and events. Its location east of Phoenix provides access to big-city attractions, but Tempe has attractions that showcase talented artists and offer a glimpse into local life. Learn about the top Tempe museums and what they showcase.

Interesting Tempe Museums: Indulge in Local Culture

Tempe History Museum

For local culture and history, head to Tempe History Museum. The museum has collections, exhibits and galleries suitable for all ages and dedicated children areas.

Visitors will find four main sections that explore college town life, community and the desert environment. There are also changing exhibits such as the 150-year celebration and Tempe Artists Guild. The main collection features artifacts, documents, photographs and interactive displays that showcase Tempe’s rich history. In the kids space, younger guests play and learn.

ASU Art Museum

ASU Art Museum is located at Arizona State University and represents a diverse collection of art mediums. This attraction ranks among the best Tempe museums for its commitment to providing art for everyone.

The permanent collection showcases more than 12,000 works by regional and emerging artists, Latin American art, prints, North and South American pieces and regional history. Exhibits change often, and examples include dinner ware, sculpture, women artists of the 50s-70s, and contemporary art.

For families with children, Saturday Storytime is a must. Tours are available for guests who book them two weeks in advance.

tempe museums art culture

ASU Ceramics Center and Brickyard Gallery

Part of ASU Art Museum is the Ceramics Research Center. The center opened in 2002, and has dedicated itself to researching and educating others about ceramics. Visitors will enjoy more than 3,000 titles from ceramists, including Susan Harnly and Gerry Williams.

Petersen House Museum

Located inside the Petersen House, this museum shares Tempe’s past and showcases residents who helped develop the region into the thriving destination it is today.

The Petersen House was once the home of Niels Petersen, one of the most prominent leaders and businessmen in Tempe. Today, the house serves as an example of Queen Anne architecture and museum complete with personal possessions, furniture and décor from the family. The home dates from 1892 and is a local history icon.

tempe museums family kids

Legoland Discovery Center

Legoland Discovery Center ranks among the best Tempe museums for families. While exploring, visitors have access to a two-story indoor LEGO playground full of fun things to do. Example activities include Arizona mini land, earthquake shake, Duplo Farm, dino explorer, and build and test.

After building and creating masterpieces with LEGOS, families ride indoor coasters and watch a 4D movie. Those who have more time should buy a combo ticket, which grants admission to the Arizona Sealife Aquarium located next door to Legoland. The aquarium has 10 interactive zones, a 360-degree ocean tunnel and marine life.

Arizona Heritage Center

Those spending time at Papago Park should tour Arizona Heritage Center. Here visitors learn about the history of broadcasting in Arizona, see photographs of Navajo and Hopi Nations, and history from important contributors.

While strolling through the museum, guests also learn about Arizona’s past, desert living, quilting, World War II, and southwestern culture.

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Photo by Andrew Ruiz on Unsplash

Murals in Tempe

In addition to these informative Tempe museums, the city also has a rich art scene that includes murals painted throughout the city. Guests can see these from the road or get up close for a memorable photo. All murals showcase the area’s beauty and create a positive place for creativity.

A few popular murals in Tempe include “The Tempest”, “America. American. Americans” and “You Are Amazing”. Take the virtual driving tour.

Museums in Phoenix

Tempe is only 20 minutes from Phoenix, which makes it easy for visitors to access more museums. These options also showcase art, culture and history. However, there are also attractions for special interests.

To make the most of a daytrip, must-see Phoenix museums include Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Arizona Science Center, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting and Musical Instrument Museum.

After checking out these museums, enjoy lunch or dinner with loved ones. Read about the best local restaurants in Tempe and browse available vacation homes in Tempe.