This post is sponsored by Canopy by Hilton in partnership with The Black Travel Alliance. However, all opinions are my own.
Just a few miles East of Phoenix; Tempe, Arizona, is a small college town that has recently grown to tourism prominence for its striking views, culinary and artistic scene and great outdoor amenity options. While many may not equate Tempe with Black History or Black owned businesses (originally I did not either), you may be surprised to learn that the city is in fact tied to both in unexpected ways. The city of Tempe rings true for a southwestern city vibe but those in search of off the beaten path historical and cultural experiences will also not be disappointed in choosing to explore Tempe and the Phoenix metropolitan area. Furthermore, if you’re traveling to the area and desire to learn more about black history and the cultural imprint that it made on the city, there are a number of black history attractions and black owned establishments to explore while in town.
During Juneteenth weekend, a girlfriend and I packed out bags and spent the weekend discovering some of the most cultural significant black history near Tempe, Arizona. We also had the pleasure of gathering some information about the Best Black owned restaurants in Tempe and establishments in the area while staying at one of my favorite hotel properties , The Canopy Tempe at University District. In this post, I will be highlighting some black history attractions in Tempe and black owned restaurants in Tempe that should not be missed during your trip to Tempe and the Phoenix Metropolitan area.
Where to Stay in Tempe Arizona: Canopy Tempe
During our weekend in Tempe, Arizona, we had the pleasure of staying at the Canopy Tempe. Not only is it one of the best hotels in Tempe but it serves as a prime location and basecamp for easy exploration in the city. The hotel is located in the University District so if you are looking for hotels in Tempe, AZ near ASU campus, Tempe town lake, restaurants and other Tempe and Phoenix top attractions, then this is the property for you.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that we are avid Hilton patrons and loyal Hilton Honors members. I have stayed at just about all the brands within the Hilton portfolio for both business and leisure travel. However, Canopy by Hilton properties, although a newer addition to the brand, continue to top my list as brand preference in my travels. Canopy by Hilton properties are among my favorite because they add a unique and immersive experience to my hotel stay. A quality that even most hotel lovers can agree is missing from the hotel experience.
Canopy by Hilton properties are designed to be uniquely urban and modern and pull from inspiration from the cities that they are located in. You can see that influence from the interior design to art and on site restaurants. Every detail is well planned and executed from the Just Right Rooms to the communal spaces like the Canopy Tempe Rooftop Bar Alibi and on site amenities such as the Canopy Tempe Restaurant on site, Alter Ego. Everything about this boutique style hotel offers a true sense of neighborhood, locality and style which was perfect for our girls’ discovery weekend.
The goal of our trip was to not only discover black history and black owned establishments in Tempe but to celebrate our accomplishments as we both blaze the trail in travel and pull from the inspiration around us to become re-inspired to create and refresh in our businesses. If you’re planning to visit Tempe on a girls’ trip or extended family vacation to discover the history and other amazing things that the city has to offer, I highly recommend choosing the connecting rooms as your preference for accommodations. This allowed my friend and I to have our space and privacy and hang out whenever we saw fit. Dare I say this is the perfect solution for the introverted extrovert.
Below, I am sharing some of the TOP Black Owned Restaurants and Black Historical attractions in Tempe and Phoenix. A number of these are either within walking distance of the hotel or suitable for a short and painless drive. There are a large variety of modes of transportations in the area such as public transit, scooter and bike which are one of the coolest amenities that Canopy Properties are known and loved for. Bike rentals are free and used to encourage guests to explore the city.
Where to Discover Black History in Tempe, AZ
The Eastlake Park neighborhood served as an epicenter of African American life in Phoenix. With history dating back to the 1800s, this is the oldest park in the city. Over the past 100 years, the park held a number of historical events. Booker T. Washington famously spoke there in 1911 at the Great Emancipation Jubilee.
Address: 1501 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Tanner Chapel A.M.E. Church
The Tanner Chapel is the oldest African American congregation in the state of Arizona. This historic church still holds services till this day and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited in 1964.
Address: 20 S. Eighth St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center
This historic center used to be the Phoenix Union Colored High School. It was built exclusively for African American students. Although the school closed in 1954 due to the Maricopa County Superior Court ruling out school segregation, its legacy now continues a museum and cultural center.
Address: 415 E. Grant St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Swindall Tourist Inn
This hotel served as a public hotel for African Americans during segregation In Phoenix. Though the hotel is not open for tours, guests can view the outside and learn more information.
Address: 1021 E. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Where to Eat Black Owned Restaurants in Tempe, Arizona
Disclaimer: I have not tried all of these restaurants listed. However, this highly coveted list has been personally developed by locals and includes a variety of their favorites in the Tempe and Phoenix area. What better way to get a recommendation than from the locals?
All-The-Luv (ATL) is made famous for their Multi-year win for the best Buffalo Wings in Arizona. They have over 21 delicious custom / homemade sauces and a variety of wings, fries, and salads.
655 W. Warner Rd., Tempe, AZ 85284 | (480) 506-0808
This establishment is known for its ground chuck hamburger patties flame broiled over mesquite wood. Guests also love their burger cowboy-style with BBQ sauce and fried shoestring onions and the trendy yet inclusive Impossible burgers.
709 W. Broadway Rd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 966-4000
This café has been Family-owned and operated for nearly 20 years, Café Lalibela offers an authentic Ethiopian dining experience for guests including some vegetarian and gluten free dishes.
849 W. University Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281
Get a taste of the Caribbean islands right in Tempe, Arizona. Caribbean Queen offers Authentic Cuisine from Guyana, Cuba, Trinidad and Jamaica. They also have a mouth- watering menu that includes items like Lobster Mac n Cheese and Jerk Fries.
1900 E. 5th St., Tempe, AZ 85281
https://www.thecqaz.com/ Order food here: https://caribbean-queen.square.site/
Monroe’s Hot Chicken
The famous family who created chains like Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Café and Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles, also created Monroe’s Hot Chicken, an Arizona local favorite. Monroe’s brings all the flavor of Nashville’s famous Hot Chicken to Tempe.
430 N Scottsdale Rd. Suite 108, Tempe, AZ 85281
If your travels ever bring you to the Tempe or Phoenix Metropolitan area, be sure to take the weekend to discover what diverse cultural history that area has to offer. For more information on must see attractions in Tempe, visit Tempe Tourism’s website at https://www.tempetourism.com. For more information on the Canopy Tempe, click HERE.