Arizona State University at Tempe
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If you get a chance to take in a concert or recital at ASU Music Department's Organ Hall, take it! It's a gorgeous hall adorned in white, with a dramatic Fritz organ as its centerpiece, and is located within the Music Department's strange pink "birthday cake building," which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright's son-in-law.
Afterwards, stroll the pretty grounds in front of the Gammage Auditorium. They are lovely at night. The entire grounds of ASU have been dedicated as an arboretum. Trees from around the world abound. Palm Walk, created around 1896 by Arthur J. Matthews, is lovely with its over 100 palm trees in a row, extending from University Drive and the University Bridge in the north to the Student Recreation Complex in the south.
Also, check out the interior of Grady Gammage Auditorium, a fantastic concert hall with stunning architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright. Gammage, ASU's popular president for three decades, was a friend of Frank Llyod Wright and persuaded him to build a spectacular auditorium for the campus. It was one of Wright's last designs, and he aspired the building to be acoustically perfect. Notice its desert colors, globe-illuminated ramps, and sculpted contour curtains from the outside. You can take a tour of the building and see the main foyer with its glass walls and majestic pillars. Tours are offered daily, call (480) 965-4050 or 965-3434.
I haven't visited these personally but I've heard they're good: Check out Nelson Fine Arts center, a pale-gray stucco building which blends well with the desert. The path that leads up to it is lined with fat saguaro cactus. Inside, visit the Galvin Playhouse, sculpture displays, and art museum with Latin American art and early American art.
If you have time, head over to the Physical Sciences Building, which has a collection of meteorites and a planetarium. The Life Sciences Center displays rattlesnakes and Gila monsters, along with plants and fossils.
While in the area, have a night out on the town or a pleasant lunch in Downtown Tempe, where tree-lined streets and picturesque dark green buildings make for a great walk (if it's not too hot out). If it is summer, take your kids to the Tempe Splash Pad, where there is tons of room to run around in the nice, cool water.
Exit at Rural Road. Turn left onto Rural Rd, and then left onto Apache Blvd. Turn right on Normal Avenue, which is the street after McAllister Ave. Follow the signs to Visitor Parking Structure 1.
Directions if southbound: Take Highway 17 south to Highway I-10 east (exit 200A). Take Loop 202 east (Exit 147). Exit at Scottsdale/Rural Rd. Turn right on Rural Rd, and then right on Apache Blvd. Turn right on Normal Avenue, which is the street after McAllister Ave. Follow the signs to Visitor Parking Structure 1.
Parking at the university is free in some lots on Sundays and after 7pm on weekdays. There is a fee at other times, depending on which lot you are in. Access to the visitor parking lots is available from 6am-10:30pm Monday-Friday. Visitor parking costs $2 per hour with an $8 maximum charge, and cash only is accepted.
Gammage Auditorium, call (480)965-3434. Nelson Fine Arts Center, call 965-9011. Physical Sciences Building, call 965-9011. Life Sciences Center, call 965-9011.
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.