Soul search in downtown Tempe

Find your creative spirit by the lake in the Mill Avenue District
Nora Burba Trulsson

EAT

The Center Bistro Try an artichoke Caesar salad and an organic Chardonnay at I Am the Center's healthy cafe. INFO: $; 21 E. Sixth, Ste. 114; 480/557-9719.

Dragonfly Aubergine and olive hues set the mood for this modern Vietnamese eatery. Go for bun bo hue (lemon grass-infused noodle soup) or tamarind chicken wings. INFO: $$; 414 S. Mill Ave.; 480/921-0131.

SIP

Rúla Búla Find some of downtown Tempe's raucous, friendly spirits by lifting a pint or two at this popular Irish pub. INFO: $$; 401 S. Mill; 480/929-9500.

MAKE IT AN OVERNIGHT

Relax in the citrus- and palm-filled courtyard of the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel (303 rooms and suites from $129; 800/547-8705), a short walk from Tempe Town Lake and Mill Avenue. Swim laps in the rooftop pool; soak up the soothing, contemporary Southwest ambience; or sip nightcaps at Harry's Place ($$) the convivial indoor-outdoor lounge just off the lobby.

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