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All opinions expressed here are OURS; they do not represent SESE's or ASU's.
www.ValleyMetro.org - comprehensive bus, shuttle, and light rail routes. Valley Metro buses are fare-based, and you can either buy a 1-ride ticket, an all-day ride pass, or a U-Pass. The U-Pass is sold at the ASU Transportation office and is $40/semester (a HUGE discount off of the pass sold by Valley Metro). The U-Pass can be used on the bus and on the light rail.
There are also the Orbiters (free shuttle buses) which follow different routes that travel through many parts of Tempe and pass near campus. The routes are named for different planets and make regular stops every 15 minutes or so throughout the day and into the evening. Check out the Valley Metro website for information on bus schedules and routes, fares, trip planning, and accessibility.
Although the bus routes are pretty convenient for most travel, ASU offers the ZipCar service if you need a car for transportation (www.zipcar.com/asu/). There is an annual fee of $35 for ASU students, and then variable rates based on hourly or daily usage. There are a few parking lots with ZipCars on campus, so please check out the website for the current information. There are also several car rental companies (primarily at the airport) that are available. There are also many taxi companies available for hire; check the yellow pages for a comprehensive listing, but Discount Cab (www.discountcab.com/) is especially reliable and visible throughout Phoenix and Tempe.
skyharbor.com is conveniently located near Tempe and is accessible by car, light rail, or bus. For many, the easiest way to and from the airport is on the Valley Metro Light Rail line. Bus routes 1 and 44 will take you to the terminals (although it may take a while). Taxi fares are usually around $20 depending on where in Tempe you live.
Last, but not least, there are designated bike routes (www.tempe.gov/city-hall/public-works/transportation/bicycle) throughout Tempe that allow easy access to campus from several directions. Use caution when riding on Rural Rd - drivers are not particularly bicycle friendly and it is safer to ride on the sidewalks and wait a few seconds after the light changes to cross the street.
Lots and lots of places to shop for groceries, although the prices vary (sometimes significantly). GoogleMap for the closest to you - there are many locations! Standard supermarkets:
The standard supermarkets carry both name brand items and store brand items at relatively affordable prices. Whole Foods is a standard organic market and carries predominantly natural/organic options. In addition to food and standard groceries, Fry's also sells many department store items (although these items are usually cheaper at Target or Bed Bath & Beyond) and has a separate "Fry's Electronics" store. Bashas' is a family-owned chain and is generally well-stocked, but the prices can be a bit expensive at times and there aren't as many brand options (e.g., this store is great if you just need a gallon of milk or some eggs). Safeway tends to be the most expensive of the three "standard" supermarkets, although if you shop the ads well, you can get some great deals. It's always a good idea to go through the fliers in the mail to see which store has the best deals. There are also a few Albertson's around town.
The neighborhood markets are smaller stores although rarely have a limited selection. While these stores usually have affordable prices, some of their products can be pricey (especially the natural/organic items). Fresh&Easy is a "budget" store, aiming to give customers fresh food at low prices; Trader Joe's is fantastic and has many natural foods and goodies; and Sunflower is a "farmer's market" and specializes in delicious and inexpensive produce but has bulk food bins and many other items. Again, the weekly fliers have lots of information about the weekly sales and Wednesdays at Sunflower are "double ad day" when the sale items switch from the previous week to the new one.
Target, Walmart, Ikea, and Costco, and malls such as Tempe Marketplace, Arizona Mills, and Scottsdale Fashion Square. There are also many random furniture stores around here, some are expensive, others are moderately priced. Lots of Goodwills in the Tempe area - pretty high quality most of the time, but also very popular! Circulars for most of these stores are in the Tuesday and Wednesday mail in Tempe.
Before you read this list of bars and restaurants, please take the following into consideration about the author of this section:
Udupi Café — Scottsdale Road, north of Curry. Best Indian food ever and vegetarian.
Delhi Palace — University just east of Rural. Decent lunch buffet.
Ethiopian: (part of the fun is the communal serving style, and you grab bits with pieces of soft bread)
Café Lalibela — University and Hardy, west of campus. Great food!
Blue Nile — University just east of Rural. Also has great food.
Thai Basil — University between Mill and Hardy. Good Thai food and very popular.
88 Tips Thai — University just east of Dorsey, east of campus. Good Thai food and less crowded than Thai Basil.
Lemongrass Thai — Broadway just west of Roosevelt.
Gus's — University and Rural.
Slices — Mill Ave and 6th St. Good for a late night bite and very busy on the weekends.
Pizzaria Uno — Mill just north of University. Deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza.
La Bocca — Mill just north of University. Pizza and wine bar.
Eddie's — Apache Road and Dorsey. Has lots of vegetarian options and hookah. Domino's — University and Rural.
Papa John's — MU and University and Rural.
Four Peaks — 8th St. and Dorsey. Great burgers, sandwiches, and beer.
Chuck Box — University and Forest. Burgers and chicken sandwiches. Not good for vegetarians.
Harlow's Diner — University, west of Hardy. Good diner with tons of options.
Dilly's Deli — University between Mill and Hardy. Sandwiches and salads.
Sacks — Mill and 9th St., just west of campus. Sandwiches and salads. Great place for lunch, but usually very busy.
In and Out Burger — Rural Road and the 202, north of campus.
Phoenicia — Forest and 7th St., north of campus. Best hummus ever and a great place for lunch.
Pita Jungle — Apache and Dorsey. Lots of salads, pitas, and wraps. Fresh, healthy, and vegetarian-friendly.
Crave Bar and Grill — Mill and 6th. Good food and beer specials, hookah at night.
My Big Fat [terrible] Greek Restaurant — Mill and 6th. Chain Greek restaurant that I personally hate because the name is embarrassing and they don't have taboule. I mean, what "Greek" restaurant doesn't have taboule??
Caffe Boa — north end of Mill. Good wine selection and happy hour, expensive for dinner, good date spot.
Oregano's — University between Mill and Hardy. Italian chain in Phoenix and Phoenicians love it! Good pasta, huge portions, and a dessert called the pizzookie (giant, warm cookie, covered in ice cream). Usually very busy for dinner.
RA — Mill Ave north of 5th. Good happy hour specials, but it's very loud. Perfect if you don't want to talk to the people you go with.
Sushi 101 — University and Rural. Good happy hour sushi and drink specials.
Kabuki — NE of Rio Salado and McClintock, in Tempe Marketplace. Great teriyaki!
Restaurant Mexico — Mill north of 5th. Good specials, very friendly staff, and spicy salsa.
Chipotle — Mill and 11th. Burrito chain restaurant that serves gigantic burritos.
Z Tejas — Mill and 6th.
Los Dos Molinos — One restaurant downtown and one near South Mountain. I'm adding this solely because the food is great, very spicy, and the margaritas are yummy. Don't try the sangria unless you love drinks with >1 kg of sugar.
Rosita's — University and Hardy.
Filiberto's — Apache and Dorsey. Cheap, greasy, Mexican food. Great for late night eats and hangovers.
El Peñasco — Mill and Broadway. Good food and salsa lessons Wednesday and Friday nights.
Cornish Pasty Co. — University and Hardy. British restaurant that sells pasties (pastry filled with meat and/or veggies)! They are great and a must-try if you haven't had one. Vegetarian-friendly.
Rula Bula — north end of Mill. Irish bar/restaurant with fish and chips, shepherd's pie, boxties, and great brussel sprouts!
PF Chang's — Mill and University. Yummy Asian semi-fusion food chain.
House of Tricks — 7th St between Forest and University. House converted into a restaurant with mostly patio seating. The food is very tasty and is a little expensive, especially for dinner. Romantic dinner date spot, but also a good spot for lunch with colleagues.
In Grained — MU. Local, healthy food, not 100% vegetarian, a little expensive, but tasty.
Udupi Café — Scottsdale Road south of McKellips. Excellent South Indian food!
Green — Scottsdale Road north of McKellips. Completely vegan comfort food ("burgers", pastas, stir-fry).
Mandala Tea Room — Goldwater and 5th in Old Town Scottsdale. Healthy, fresh, vegan food.
Pita Jungle — Apache and Dorsey. Mediterranean, not 100% vegetarian, but very veggie friendly.
In Season Deli — Mill north of 5th. Good side dishes, soups, and vegan tamales, not 100% vegetarian, only open for lunch.
Essence Bakery and Café — University between Mill and Hardy.
Plaid Eatery — Lemon St. and Terrace, east of Rural. Sandwiches and stir-fries. Not 100% vegetarian, but very veggie friendly.
Slices — Mill and 6th. Always busy late on weekends and after ASU football games.
Chronic Tacos — Mill and 6th. Fast food tacos, burritos, nachos, and a bar. The food isn't great, and the people who work there are pretentious.
The Munchies — Mill and 6th.
Four Peaks — 8th St. and Dorsey.
Filiberto's — Apache and Dorsey.
Chili's — University and Mill.
PF Chang's — University and Mill.
Subway — College north of University.
Panda Express — College north of University.
Port of Subs — College north of University.
Extreme Pita — College north of University.
Starbucks — MU.
Einstein's — MU and Rural and University.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf — Mill and 5th.
Dutch Brothers — Rural between Apache and University.
Devil's Market (mini grocery store with personal pizzas and sushi made daily on the weekdays)
Pitchforks (all-you-can-eat cafeteria with sandwiches, salads, and desserts)
Papa John's Pizza