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Tempe and Phoenix

The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning is located on ASU’s Tempe campus. Tempe, a compact city of about 175,000, includes a lively historic downtown, recreational opportunities from hiking to water sports, and an excellent transit system.

Just 10 miles from ASU, central Phoenix is the governmental and business center of Arizona, with an up-and-coming youth-oriented urban core. Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row, a walkable, creative downtown district, is nationally known for its arts and cultural events, restaurants, and live music.

Public Transit

The core of the Phoenix metropolitan area is linked by Valley Metro, the urban area’s light rail system, which offers service 20 hours a day, from Mesa east of Tempe, to the ASU campus, to the airport, through downtown and north-central Phoenix, and is supported by bus routes throughout the metro area. Within Tempe, Orbit buses provide free transportation between ASU, downtown, neighborhoods and shopping areas. Bicycles are allowed on the light rail, Valley Metro and Orbit busses. Regular transit riders can take advantage of ASU’s discounted U-Pass.

Bicycle Transit

Tempe’s urban design plans work to integrate bicycling as part of the city’s culture and the League of American Bicyclists has designated Tempe a gold-level Bicycle-Friendly Community. Phoenix is also working to build its bicycle program, with bike lanes on major streets, paths along canals, and a new Grid bike share program. You can store or rent a bike, or get help repairing it, at the Bike Cellar, located at the Tempe Transit Center, and if you’re a bike advocate, consider getting involved with TBAG, Tempe Bicycle Action Group.

Outdoor Recreation and Exploration

If you like the outdoors, ASU is the place for you! South Mountain Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America, is less than 7 miles from ASU and features 51 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as picnic grounds and ramadas. As you travel through the lush desert ecosystem, watch for rock art carved into the varnished granite rocks, and you may catch sight of a desert tortoise or javelina. There are numerous other hiking areas in the City of Phoenix, and even more within an hour or a few hours’ drive. Want to get out of the heat, find winter sports, or explore a volcanic field? Flagstaff is less than 3 hours away, and explore the White Mountains for skiing, hiking and climbing.

Geography and Planning Student Organizations

The school’s student organizations can help you explore some of Arizona’s unique locations. The Student Planning Association at ASU organizes social trips to locations such as Arcosanti and Taliesin West, and the ASU chapter of GTU, the geography honor society, plans excursions and hikes to a variety of destinations. ASU’s Sun Devil Fitness program organizes outdoor trips too.