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Tempe, Arizona

A visitor wrote us that “every Sunday there is a gathering of kind brothers and sisters in Tempe at the Sail Inn. We have been getting together for about two years for an afternoon of kind vibes with the incredible Grateful Dead cover band Noodles. They play from 4:20 till? If you’re ever in town, we would love to have you join us. Hope to see ya sometime.”

UPDATE: Noodles now plays at Nita’s Hideaway, also in Tempe on Sundays starting at 7:00pm.

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47 Responses to Tempe, Arizona

  • Tempe is alright…its your typical college town, with a lot of hip kids. On MIll Avenue is where all the cool stuff happens: go down there on Friday night, and check out Hippie Gypsy, a pretty kickin store and head shop. Theres always live music on the street and lots of cool people bartering and trading,

  • No offense to those who think otherwise, but Tempe sucks. It lacks every essential component a good college town has (a good greasy spoon, a thriving locally owned business strip, and an air of tolerance, wonder and questioning about the world or even what’s down their own street). They wouldn’t recognize a picketing sign if you fanned them with it. Instead, Tempe is as homogeneized as a new suburb, with its last few locally owned businesses gasping under higher rents and a city council well-versed at spreading the word of brotherly convention. The downtown sparkles with the newness of one long coporate strip (and a few sports bars that attract the oh-so-liberal ASU jock).

    To call Tempe a wanna-be college town is a compliment for this simple reason: whatever thin thread of liberalism that exists here was long ago squashed and replaced with condo-dwelling, golf-loving, saggy brown skinned rich folk who seem to own the very air we breathe. They lack environmental foresight…they lack a conscience…they lack a mind of their own. That simple. But it’s not Tempe’s fault; the whole valley sucks in the same way. I would only recommend it to a capitalistic drone.

  • First hung out on Mill in Tempe in 93 and it blew my mind. I had just come down from the nonstop rain and clouds of Seattle and I was so refreshed to hit Mill at night in shorts and a tee and to feel the warm wind of the desert. There were travelers everywhere – even hanging out inside Coffee Plantation twisting hemp. I had to head back North in June due to the heat but I vowed to return soon. I didnt’ make it back there until the Fall of 96 and I was even more glad to find the streets full of kind folk lingering on the street and in Tempe beach park. This seemed to be the perfect Winter resting place for North American travelers. I sold my jewlery easily on the streets and quickly joined a community of beautiful people who were living as I was. Those were the days when the kids still hugged each other and really meant it. I lived out of my van without being harrased and opened my little rolling home to any of the kids who needed a floor to sleep on. I also met a sweet 17 year old local hippie mama there at Java Road coffee shop one night and we have been living happily together since. The persecution began sometime in 1998 and since then it has been an ugly scene. The previous reviewer described it perfectly. Tempe could still be a good scene (October – April) if the kids all got together and rented houses in the same neighborhood and learned their rights as Americans to gather and assemble in public places. The authorities think that we are just stupid dippie dopie hippies who are easy to push around. If we can link together and really start to love one another again and stand up for our legal rights against the ever growing police state (especially in Tempe) I know that we can take back our stomping grounds in the cities and jump start the hip revolution. “Find yourself a city to live in”

  • One word to describe Tempe . . . GENERIC!!
    im sorry to say that tempe is nothing but a link of “chains” from Chillies, to Borders, to Harkins movie theater, to worst of all uggghhhh, starbucks. all the cool mom and pop shops have been pushed out by urban redevelopement. Kids cant afford to eat or drink any where, the arizonians are snoots, the bike cops and mounties are quite harsh to kids as well. and guess what, Mill Ave doesnt even have a dinner!! i live about two blocks off of 5th st and Mill, so im right in the downtown, and even though iv only lived here for a year, i can tell you this place is getting to be no better than scottsdale, rep wise. Oh Yea, i almost forgot! the Coffee Plantation, if you walk past it, it looks like a cool spot, BUT, The Coffee Plantation has BANNED long time paying customers, for the simple reason of personal hygene!!! basicly saying NO HIPPIES ALLOWED! The whole area is so focused on keeping up apperances to attract dollars from the out of state college students at ASU (adjacent to downtown btw) the boys in blue will hassel out of town anyone they look at as undesirable to the town vibe(starbucks and sushi bars). soooooo, KIDS BEWARE!! TEMPE IS NOT HIPPIE FRIENDLY!! *dont be fooled by the weak ass, so called head shop, Hippie gypsy. its just like tempe, fully homogenized, and sterile. a bring your parents along sort of place.
    so if your a young suburban family, or college student from a wealthy family, than tempe is built just for you!! if however you would be called a hippie by a total stranger,,, just head south for bisbee.

  • Hey all im from tempe and venture down to Mill Ave quite often. And yes it does suck and yes it is just a bunch of rich kids in there abercrombie drinking starbucks and talking about how much cooler they are. BUT if you can find it in you to look past these people tempe aint all that bad and neither is Mill Ave for that matter. The thing is you just need to know where to go. Like for instance hippie gypsy is ok if your looking for some clothes but if you want to go to more a “head shop” then go to TRAILS its like one block north of hippie gypsy and about a half block west. Also there is a drum circle that goes on like every saturday night kind of behind the old movie theater. And o yeah the old movie theater rocks, they play old movies and more of the independent films every friday and saturday night. So yes tempe is predominately one large corporation but if you look past that its alright, so give a chance and find out for yourself. And sorry if my spelling sucks. haha, keep on rockn’ it y’all and maybe ill see you on mill sometime

  • Whoever is talkin shiz about Tempe is pretty wrong. Yes there is new chain resteraunts and stuff but that is what makes the city grow. there is over 100,000 that move to the valley every year and thats cuz of how nice it is. The school is great if that is what you are gonna do and there is plenty of stuff to do and TONS of places to eat, compared to where im from this is heaven, in my old town there is 10 fast food joints that are in every town and they suck, here… you can eat somewhere new every meal for a whole year i bet. I see MAYBE 1 cop a day driving through town so there isnt too much to worry about with them. the worst part of it is the car crashes and murders every day…. its legal to carry a gun on you if u are 21 so its pretty lax. and theres plenty to do here so dont listen to the haters. this place is awesome

  • whats up every 1
    this is {anti matter} and im just here to say that on mill ave and 6th
    every sat.night im at the drum circle and i would like to see more of the
    kind hearted fellowship that i enjoy seeing in my life {ESPECILLY GIRLS}
    —ohhh gotta go—its 4:20——–

  • What’s the racial atmosphere like in Tempe?

  • tempe is probably the highest on the list of phoenix metro areas to hang out it, but that’s just because the rest are so utterly dull. when i first went down mill avenue on a weekend, i thought, wow, now here’s a place with culture! yeah, that lasted about ten minutes, until i passed chile’s, then abercrombie & fitch, then borders and starbucks and urban outfitters. tempe is the type of place to attract fauxhemians like my sister, who wears peasant tops because it’s the latest style. hippie gypsy is a disgusting chain of stores that market ‘hipness’ the way starbucks markets ‘a coffee house atmosphere’. the only cool place in tempe that i know of is the food co-op, which is just past ash on university, on the right-hand side. other than that, it’s just another preppy college area.

  • I have lived in Tempe for a few years now to attend ASU and it’s exactly as most have described it.

    Horribly generic, but “so much fun” to the people that have never been to a cultured city.

    ASU isn’t bad though.

  • Sail Inn still rules but yeah mill ave turned from a collection of freaks to a totally main-stream scottsdale yuppie bullshit area

  • Who Here knows DEADLY???
    I need to know how to find him & get ahold of him!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The city council is trying to turn Tempe into Scottsdale yuppieville and they’re winning. They’ve just started construction on a 30-story high rise of expensive condominiums. If Tempe is to be saved from this, the time to act is now.

  • I miss the Tempe of 15 years ago, when they would close Mill Avenue every Friday night and bands and street performers were everywhere and you could always meet someone new. You could get a stick of incense at the corner and cruise through the Changing Hands bookstore and the cops didn’t hassle people. Tons of mom and pop stores and plenty of new bands played at Long Wongs. Now, all but rare few of the shops are gone, they’ve been replaced by P.F. Changs and Abercrombie and Fitch and some botique that sells overpriced sweatsuits. If you look even remotely hippie the cops accuse you of being a squatter. Tempe has lost its soul to the almighty dollar and it’s a shame. Even the co-op is moving to different digs.

  • Hi all.

    I hang out on mill and the coffee plantation about 1995 I think it was.

    Does anyone remember bones, piero, doug, andy, to name a few.

    Sorry I dont have last names. 🙁

  • Tempe is the most uncool place I’ve ever had the misfortune to land in. Anyone who thinks this place is hip hasn’t been anywhere. It’s consumerist, conservative, boring and generic — a cultural desert populated with an overabundance of rich naive brats armed with their daddys’ credit cards. Sure there are a few surly hippies lurking about. But hippies aren’t my idea of culture. Tempe is like the 50’s all over again, with worse music. It’s a total Chachi and Joannie town.

  • I like what Tempe is doing and hope to see them pass a panhandling and loitering law soon because I hate being harrassed walking down mill for money. I’m a poor college student dont ask me for change get off your ass and get a job you lazy bums.

  • I have lived in tempe since 1980, and it’s not like it used to be, that’s for sure. As you know, NOWHERE is like it was nearly 30 years ago.
    times change, businesses move on, others replace them.
    I miss Chuy’s on Mill, 6 East, Long Wong’s, Rundles on the corner.
    I never went to school at ASU, I choose to live in Tempe because it was, and still is, the most liberal, hippest town in the entire valley.
    choices are many for places to live, but for us, Tempe is the best place to live in this area. I don’t hardly ever travel to downtown tempe – there’s not that much there for me. I live south of downtown, and everything I need is close, the weather is great, 20 minutes to the airport, and more great restaurants that I can ever go to.
    suggestion – if you don’t like it here – move on to somewhere else and stop complaining.
    if you do like it here – volunteer your time a little and make this place an even better place to live, that’s what we do.
    join an organization, and give something back to the communitity around you, help out those a bit less fortunate than yourself.
    enjoy life.
    jam on

  • sorry you guys dont like it here. you obviously arent hanging out with the right people. my friends and i are like family. thats the way its supposed to be. i dont know if they still have it down there but somewhere on mill ave. they have this thing called a drum circle. i havent seen it in a while but that was pretty sick….now everyone just chill and smoke a blunt.

  • Everyone lists Mill Avenue but has forgotten going south of University. There’s Three Roots Coffeehouse, then a whole bunch of folks live on Farmer. Sure as shit, the college brings in a lot of brats – but it also brings a huge potential for diversity.

    Remember, this place is so young and the history of how it was built – it hasn’t had time to grow, expand, then decay. Most other cities have had years put upon them. If you want to go to San Fran and eat shitty drugs, hang out on Haight, pay high rent in gentrified neighborhoods, and not have a hand in building anything – don’t come to Tempe.

    Take a look at Haight, it’s dead culturally for what it was. You can buy more shoes on that street than you can buy food or books.

    If you want to build something new, get to Three Roots – find friend’s on Farmer Ave, live cheap. Throw some energy and build a scene.

  • ALL THOSE REALWORLD BUMS CRACKED ME UP IN 1995 THE YEAR MILL DIED FROM THE WIRELESS CONVERSATION ,WHY GO TO MILL TO FIND YOUR FRIENDS AND SEE WHERE THE PARTIES ARE AT JUST GET A CELL PHONE !
    ALL THAT WASTS ENERGY AND TIME
    IN NEED MY ENERGY AND TIME……

    LITTLE SCARRY

  • I would not look to Tempe as a “hippie haven,” but if you’re stuck in the Phx metro area, it’s your best bet. Three Roots Coffee House is cool, and the new Goat’s Head Saloon is supposed to be a cool new jam band bar (now that the Sail Inn, Long Wong’s, Nita’s, and everything else has disappeared). The Co-Op is long gone, but you have several chain health-food stores to choose from (my fave is Trader Joe’s). Otherwise, this city is fairly dry, culturally and hipp-ily speaking. As far as the drum circle goes, I first went in 2001 when I was 20 years old, and I just remember a bunch of street rats, drug dealers and meth kids, no real hippies. And as a young, naive 20-yr old Midwestern girl, I learned quickly how skeezy and creepy many of the drum circle guys were (and there are a lot of them). If you are a young woman, I recommend going with friends or staying away entirely.

  • Anybody the remember them name of that hot girl who worked at Java Road. what ever happened to her? I think her name was Kasey?

  • Wow… came up on this page by accident…

    I remember the glory days of Mill Ave, back when the Coffee Plantation was alive and kickin, had live music, etc etc… then there was Java Road (next to Long Wongs)… both gone now.

    It used to be a very nice mecca for many types of people, but now it’s going to crap. I spent the last 17 years or so hanging out down there, but now it’s not worth my time. 🙁

    Ahh… as they say… back in the day…

  • I’m trying to get in touch with friends in Tempe/Mill ave. I have been stuck out here in Texas for three years and am terribly homesick. I used to be a permanent fixture at the Drum circles, the sail inn, and the planter box in front of coffee plant.People used to call me” hippy Steve”
    this was from 1998 to 2003.If you remember me feel free to e mail me, It would be good to talk about “back in the day” .

  • Wont give prices over the phone, you have to walk your happy ass there…gay as balls

  • I’m with Joe. I’m a native Tempean. I have grown up and lived in Tempe for almost 30 years. I remember the days of sneaking into Chuy’s and my first beer at Long Wong’s well before being legal. However, I’ve watched Tempe institutions such as the Gentle Strength Co-Op close to be turned into a massive structure of greed and gluttony. I’ve watched the streets be re-designed to facilitate upscale consumerism. I’ve watched “The Man” hassle people for being musicians for years. I’ve also voted AGAINST Tempe Town Mistake (the lake) which does nothing for residents along with many other “improvements” which have done nothing to benefit residents. I’ve watched the ASU monstrosity expand to take over apartment buildings, business structures and all done with Tempeans not bothering to stop the over-running wheels of progress. Too often, people complain about the raging consumerism, but in reality, those complaining are in the forefront of those changes. The irony of people ranting, venting, etc. about how things have gotten worse and long for the days ago via the Internet and a board posting without actions to halt or even slow the progress are just as guilty of creating the mass-marketing consumerist nightmare that downtown Tempe has become. Whether you think Hippie Gypsy is “authentic” enough or not is irrelevant. What matters is whether you take the ideals behind the stores like them and turn them back out to those around. You get what you give out. Years ago, we were granted permission by HQ to overnight camp for Dead tickets. The police tried to ticket about 30 people for trespassing and loitering. Steve, the owner, had left a number for us to contact should such an event occur, along with documentation that we were permitted to be in front of the store. In fact, they brought hot chocolate and oatmeal for us the next morning. We’re all still out there, in a kind smile, a hug when needed.

  • For anyone interested, poetry slams are held every friday night at Mill’s End coffee shop from 8:30 to 11:30. Coming can be pretty hit or miss, as the talent does vary from week to week, but there are always at least a couple good expressionists. Come out to support if interested.
    Tempe is still a place that provides ptoential for excellent venues- if you have talent, talk to a local owner, they’ll be happy to work with you for the extra business you’ll draw in for them.

  • The Noodles still play every Sunday at The Loft on 5th and Mill. But if you are looking for music, then definitely check out the GoatHead Saloon on Country Club just off the 60 in Mesa. Its the place to be most Thurs, Fri, and Sat nights.

  • Yeah man. I agree.

  • Hey do you any of you know what the movie theater is call down on Mill Ave not the Harkins the Old one.?

  • the movie theatre on mill ave is still a harkins but called valley art

  • Hippie Gypsy
    601 S Mill Ave
    Tempe, AZ 85281
    Phone: (480) 858-0400

    DISHONEST GYPSY would be a more suitable name for the HIPPIE GYPSY. 04/10/2008

    I’ve shopped here for years. 4/5/08 we purchased a glass pipe. 4/6/08 we went back to EXCHANGE the unused, undamaged, pipe. The woman said “I apologize we don’t do returns on pipes, it’s just our policy.” I was very upset that we weren’t informed of this “policy” before making the $50 purchase. Julia the woman working the register (that wasn’t even helping me) yells, “there are signs all over that state no returns!” I asked Paige (the girl that was helping us) to show me the sign. I never saw it and neither did any of the people that I was with. Julia, then screamed…”You don’t need to have attitude, I will kick your a$$ out of this store so fast!” I thought to myself, “are you kidding me right now!? Paige showed me a very small sign taped to the back of the glass near a register that I did NOT check out at. I informed her that I merely wanted to do an EXCHANGE as we didn’t notice the hole in the pipe was excessively large. Her response, “that would be dishonest.” Dishonest!? HA! She had the nerve to bring up dishonesty to me? Isn’t selling a product and not informing the consumer that the product that they are about to purchase is a FINAL SALE dishonest? We weren’t informed by the retail clerk, not on the receipt, and we certainly did NOT see the small sign that was nearest the register that wasn’t even open! Here is the topper-Paige says “I think that is the policy in every tobacco shop.” This is the very first time I purchased a pipe and so how am I supposed to know or anyone else for that matter! Excuse me for being ignorant but I’m still an honest, paying customer that deserves to be treated like one! Hippie Gypsy has lost my business. You have a FINAL sale policy…..GREAT! BUT MAKE SURE YOUR CUSTOMERS KNOW THAT BEFORE THEY MAKE THEIR PURCHASE! That is all I ask! We gave away our pipe as we have no desire to smoke out of it now. Too much negative energy. Good luck with your Hippie endevors but avoid this place! Peace.

  • I’ve all of my life here, and about half of it in the Farmer area, where my parents owned an antique shop. Rarelion Antiques has been in three locations on Mill over twenty-five years and we are all proud natives. I’ve seen my hometown replaced with big, gray, cubes for buildings. My view of A mountain has been replaced with high-rises? My father helped start the Co-Op, now it is gone. I hear that the plaza that used to have Stablers and Tower Records and Radioshack and Souper Salad and the bookstore and the antique store I was raised in is being leveled.
    Back in the day..

  • Stop shit talking Tempe.

    my dad lives in mesa.
    so I go down to Tempe and walk around
    cuz there’s always plenty of shit to do down there.
    there’s great food joints, with great prices and hardly
    any cops.
    there are plenty of tight ass people to hang with
    and there aren’t as many bums as people are misleading
    you to think.
    just as many as any other normal city.
    so all you haters need to chill the fuck out.

  • Hello everyone i read your comments and agree with most of you but for those who feel that preps/rich kids are against you are just being ethnocentric. just because people dress like a prep or a hippie doesnt mean they smoke pot or are self centered. i admit i dress slightly preppy but i love to smoke pot. ive met many “preps” in Tempe at class or just walking around and have found that they are down to earth and just as human as you so stop being closed minded and have fun! Dont be afraid of people and walk around and let the fun find you…. keep your eyes open and i guarantee you’ll find the fun! and remember things in the mirror are sometimes different than they appear!

  • Does anyone remember CASA LOMA ?????????????? That’s back iin the DAY !!!!!!

  • If all Tempe has to offer is Mill Av then it obviously sucks ! Tempe also smells when you try to go for a walk around the ASU campus it smells like dog poop. Notice how everyone always mentions 2 places … Mill Av and Hippie Gypsy…well obviously all Tempe has to offer is Mill Av and Hippie Gypsy….this is the most vacuuous place I ever had the misfortune to visit.

  • the really old movie theater is called vally art

  • I’m new to Arizona and I haven’t been able to find any Hippie stores in the area of Phoenix. I’m looking for stores with tapestries and hemp clothing. Any suggestions?

  • Check out the smoke shop in Tempe by the Its all goodz,They are located on University and Rural next to Gus pizza!!They have alot of one of a kind pieces there!I had a custom pipe made by them that I wanted, dancing bears around the bowl with a steal your face logo and they made it for me,It was sweet!When I went to pick up the pipe the guy working pointed out the original poster behind the counter that was signed by none the less than Gerry Garcia!!!Dead heads Rock!!

  • Wow, Mill Ave. back in the 90’s was the best! I was a Mill Rat. Of course, I have grown up since then, but I loved the people of Mill. I remember when Coffee Plantation was the place to be penniless or not. Live music, trippin, oh those were the days! Thankfully I didn’t fry my brain from those old adventures… Everyone knew me back then, I used to hang out with the Coffee Plantation employees, Marnie, Bird, Tonya, Most of the trippere, Jewish Josh, etc… Haven’t thought about those days in years.

  • i am in unhippy land ” san antonio ” tx and need a reality check… here i come back to az…………………. hope to find some hip’pies….

  • I recently went back to Tempe for a visit after 15 years. I used to live around there in the 80’s and early 90’s. Most people are right on here, Mill has changed and there are some chain stores. I moved from AZ to Austin, TX in the early 90’s and I can tell you that the “Keep Austin Weird” Austin disappeared more rapidly and completely than Tempe has. I saw good change down there with the addition of Tempe Beach Park and what-nots. At the same time – most of the stores I used to frequent are still there and are not on the main “drag”. HQ (different location), trails, stinkweeds, graffiti shop and the other places in the little alcove area… Granted some things have moved some have closed and some changed but seriously – you hippies that are ranting and raving about old Tempe; how, tell me, is the city supposed to make ANY money off of smelly bums who beg for change? Business is what makes any place thrive, ANY place. And if you are not contributing to that then you are part of the problem. And if you are contributing by spending mommy and daddy’s trust fund then you’re not a hippie or even a proper street rat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a hippie at heart but I used to hang out there in the 90’s. I’m a grown up now and if you hung out there in the 80’s or 90’s – you probably should be too. Unlike Austin, I really like how Tempe has turned out. I really miss it now after being back to visit.

  • The old theather is the Valley Art and it is owned by Harkins.

  • Well the Nodles are back at the Sail Inn and play Sundays from 4:20 till???

  • The Noodles are playing ‘Church’ every Sunday 4:20 at Sail Inn @ Cactus Jacks in Ahwatukee now. Tradition continues

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