Urban, rural, nightlife - it's all here
The Southeast Valley is a diverse region where people of all ages feel at home, from college students at Arizona State University in Tempe to retirees in Apache Junction.
The Southeast Valley borders some of Arizona's most scenic areas with the Superstition Mountains to the east and South Mountain Park to the south.
Something is always happening in the Southeast Valley. Downtown Tempe's Mill Avenue hosts two of the country's largest art fairs during the spring and fall, while Chandler hosts an annual Ostrich Festival that celebrates this city's ostrich farming heritage.
Cultural attractions within the Southeast Valley are vast. Mesa Southwest Museum is known for its dinosaur exhibits. Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University hosts large productions and national acts.
Sports fans can watch the Chicago Cubs play during spring training in Mesa. Tempe brings the annual Fiesta Bowl to Sun Devil Stadium, accompanied by a New Year's Eve block party that attracts thousands.
Chandler Fashion Center is the area's newest shopping experiences. Other malls include Fiesta Mall and Superstition Springs Center in Mesa and Arizona Mills in Tempe.
There's also a rural flavor here in places such as Queen Creek where Schnepf Farms offers fresh fruits and vegetables.
Apache Junction Arizona
Apache Junction is the gateway to some of Arizona's most famous attractions.
Rumors of gold in the Superstition Mountains near town still haunt prospectors who are bent on finding the Lost Dutchman Mine that Jacob Waltz purportedly discovered in the 1880s, but whose location has been lost for years.
Today, the Superstitions are populated with hikers and equestrians who take advantage of numerous trails.
Apache Junction is also a gateway to Canyon Lake, a favorite among boaters and anglers who practice their favorite sport amid a picturesque landscape of high canyon walls.
The city attracts many senior citizens, many of whom come to stay in trailer parks for the winter before packing up and heading to cooler climates during the
Chandler is named for Dr. Alexander John Chandler, who counted ostrich farming among his many pursuits. The city still celebrates its heritage through an annual Ostrich Festival.
Chandler has grown from its rural roots in cotton farming into a city where high technology is a major industry.
The city is also home to the Chandler Fashion Center, a 1.3 million-square-foot shopping mall and outdoor village, and the Chandler Center for the Arts with three performing spaces and a 2,000-square-foot exhibition hall.
Chandler Historical Museum spotlights the history of the town and its founder. Chandler's Arizona Railway Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to Arizona's railroading history.
Chandler's downtown also is chock full of history with landmarks such as the San Marcos Hotel, which opened in 1913 and is still doing business today.
The town of Gilbert is among the fastest growing communities in the Valley. Its population has doubled every five years since 1980.
Despite this growth, a small-town atmosphere still exists in Gilbert where places such as the Heritage District downtown date to the early 1900s.
Known as the "Hay Capital of the World" until the late 1920s, Gilbert was a small farming community until the population boomed. The city today is known for its quality of life and strong school systems. New and established businesses in Gilbert work in a town that encourages business development in areas such as high tech.
Gilbert's concept of planned communities includes parks, equestrian trails, fishing, boating and local business services within walking distance.
With a population of almost 400,000, Mesa is Arizona's third-largest city. The city is home to Mesa Community College, the largest school in the Maricopa Community College District with academic programs offered to more than 20,000 students.
Mesa is also known for its museums. Mesa Southwest Museum houses Arizona's largest collection of dinosaurs, while Champlin Aircraft Fighter Museum has the world's largest private collection of flyable vintage fighter aircraft. Arizona Museum for Youth is another favorite, voted one of the best museums for children in the U.S. by USA Today.
Children and adults will enjoy the city's Park of the Canals, which offers a chance for visitors to view evidence of Hohokam canal systems dating to 700 BC, along with a botanical garden.
Queen Creek Arizona
Queen Creek is named for a creek that flowed past the Silver Queen Mine and through the current site of the town.
Cotton, citrus, pecans and other crops were grown in the area, which was originally founded by farmers and homesteaders at the turn of the century. Queen Creek hangs on to its agricultural roots and heritage while managing growth. The town was incorporated in 1969.
Queen Creek's rural flavor attracts horse owners and nature lovers who can explore the nearby San Tan and Goldmine mountains. The town's general plan includes parks, trails and an open space plan that calls for a network of multi-use trails throughout the community.
Tempe is best known for Arizona State University and hip Mill Avenue where people of all ages are drawn to to enjoy a cup of coffee, grab a bite to eat or listen to a favorite band.
Tempe is also a vital city with corporations such as America West Airlines and Phillips 66 doing business there.
With venues such as the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Gammage Auditorium and Tempe Beach Park, Tempe attracts national acts.
Outdoor enthusiasts may climb "A" Mountain, hike Papago Park or rent a boat to float Tempe Town Lake, a man-made lake secured by inflatable rubber dams.
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