Mesa was founded in January 1878 by Latter-day Saint or LDS (often nicknamed Mormon) pioneers and its population is still roughly one-tenth Mormon. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates one of its oldest temples in Mesa (the Mesa Arizona Temple, opened in 1927), and the city is a hub for Latter-day Saints residing in the Phoenix Metro area. Mesa is one of the United States' fastest-growing cities and ranks as the 38th-largest. The city has a larger population than better-known United States cities such as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Saint Louis and Saint Paul.
Although it has a large population, Mesa is a "bedroom community." Neighborhoods across the city are diverse — some areas have experienced urban blight, while others contain elaborate custom homes.
- 1 Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau Visitors Center, 120 N Center St (north of Main St), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , email@example.com. M-F 8AM-5PM. Stop by the Mesa Visitors Center and pick up a Mesa Visitors Guide, which can also be viewed online. The Visitors Center has many publications about Mesa and other destinations around Arizona, including the metro Phoenix area. You'll also find knowledgeable staff and local coupons.
- If you happen to be coming from an "easterly" direction (a.k.a. New Mexico), that means you'll probably be taking US-60 (the Superstition Freeway) right through the 17 exits that comprise Mesa, as part of the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area.
- SR-87 connects Tonto National Forest (in the NE) through the Salt River-Pima-Marico Indian Community, Mesa and Chandler, towards I-10 in Sweet Water Village. It goes north-south through Mesa as Country Club Dr.
- State Route (SR) 101 goes north-south between Scottsdale and Chandler. It divides Tempe from Mesa.
- SR-202 loops around the northern and eastern edge of Mesa, from it junction with SR-101 in the NW corner of Mesa to its junction with US Hwy 60 east of Mesa. Going west of SR-101 the 202 goes alongside the Salt River, along the northern edge of Tempe towards Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
- There are various east-west roads (Rio Salado, Apache Blvd/Main St, Broadway Rd, Southern Ave) connecting Tempe to Mesa which are not designated as a state or US Highway except Apache Blvd/Main St which was US Highway 60 before the Superstition Freeway (present US 60) was built.
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX IATA) is to the west of Mesa and is the major air hub for all of Arizona and the southwestern United States. Flights arrive and depart to domestic and international destinations. If you're prone to airsickness, try to get flights into this airport that arrive either before noon or after sundown, particularly during late spring and early summer. The high elevation, hot sun, and spring winds combine to produce thermals that can make afternoon arrivals an extremely bumpy proposition.
- 1 Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA IATA) (in southeast Mesa, which is east of Phoenix), ☏ . This airport offers flights to multiple destinations in the United States, by Allegiant Air and seasonally to/from Minneapolis/St Paul with Sun Country. This is a small airport that is being redeveloped into a major regional airport.
- 2 Falcon Field (MSC IATA; FAA LID: FFZ), due east of Phoenix off the Red Mountain Freeway in Maricopa County, just 6 mi (9.7 km) northeast of Mesa. Falcon Field is home to the CAE Oxford Aviation Academy, the world's largest flight school, and Boeing operates an AH-64 Apache helicopter factory adjacent to the airport.
The Valley Metro Light Rail runs through Mesa along Main St, connecting to Tempe and Downtown Phoenix. It begins/ends at the 3 Gilbert Rd/Main St Station in Mesa. There's a transit center next to the Gilbert Rd/Main St Station served by the 40 & 45 buses. The 136 bus passes by along Gilbert Rd and does not go into the transit center. From Sky Harbor Airport, take the PHX Sky Train (people-mover) to the light rail station. (44th St/Washington Station).
- 4 Greyhound, 1423 N Country Club Dr #7, ☏ , toll-free: . Daily 7AM-6PM (ticketing).
- Valley Metro buses pass through Mesa on multiple routes, connecting Mesa into the neighboring cities of Tempe, Chandler and Gilbert.
Mesa is laid out on a straightforward north-south, east-west grid pattern as regards its major streets. Center Street and Main Street are perpendicular to each other and, as suits their names, intersect in the city center in a manner that provides an excellent reference point and makes city navigation relatively easy.
- 1 Mesa Historical Museum, 2345 N Horne, ☏ . Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. This rapidly growing museum, split between two buildings, features displays of the different phases of Mesa's history. The downtown location holds "Play Ball: the Cactus League Experience," an excellent exhibit on the history of spring training baseball in Arizona. $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 children 3-12.
- 2 Mesa Arts Center, 1 E Main St, ☏ . This uniquely designed building in downtown Mesa features theatres, art galleries, and contemporary public art spaces. It is the largest arts center in Arizona.
- 3 Mesa Arizona Temple, 101 S LeSueur. This unique, historic building opened in 1927. Its 20-acre lot features beautiful gardens and sitting spaces. It is the largest temple built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints outside of Utah. The public is welcome to walk through the gardens. A must see at night when the exterior is illuminated.
- Mesa Temple Visitors' Center, 455 E. Main St. The center includes a children’s play area, with interactive activities; a hang out room for teens; a community section, with displays explaining the city's diverse history and spiritual heritage built by Native Americans, Hispanic migrants and Mormon pioneers. There is also a coloring wall, an interactive justserve.org screen to locate local community service opportunities, a 3D-scale model of the temple, and a display where visitors learn more about God and Jesus Christ. In addition, there is a family research area with computer workstations and helpers where guests can work at their own pace researching, adding to their family history and connecting their family tree. Free admission. Open daily 10AM-9PM.
- 4 i.d.e.a. Museum, 35 N Robson St, ☏ , azMus4youth@mesaaz.gov. Nationally renowned fine arts museum for children aged 1-12.
- 5 Arizona Museum of Natural History, 53 N MacDonald St, ☏ . Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa 11AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM. This rapidly expanding museum features an interesting array of cultural and natural history artifacts from the American Southwest. $10 adults, $9 seniors, $8 students 13+, $6 children 3-12.
- 6 Commemorative Air Force Museum, 2017 N Greenfield Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Jun-Sep: W-Su 9AM-3PM, Oct-May: daily 10AM-4PM. Dedicated to the preservation in flying condition of the great war planes that dominated the skies of World War II. The Commemorative Air Force Museum at Falcon Field is home to the authentically restored World War II B-17 bomber, "Sentimental Journey." Out of the 12,731 B-17s built during WWII, there are about 13 left flyable and approximately eight flying in the United States. In addition to "Sentimental Journey" the CAF Museum also maintains a B-25 Mitchell bomber, SNJ, C-45, and a Grumman Guardian. $12 adults 13+, $10 seniors 62+ $3 children 5-12.
- 7 Mesa Grande Cultural Park, W 10th St, ☏ . Th F 10AM-4PM, Sa 11AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. The site preserves a group of Hohokam structures dated from 1100-1400 CE. Ruins include a great mound, building remains, and several ball courts. $5 adults, $2 children 3-12.
- Mesa Community College Arboretum, 1833 West Southern Ave. 6AM - 10PM. 140 acres (57 hectares) arboretum at Mesa Community College which is accredited by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program with 100 species of trees and more than 80 species of cacti and succulents. Admission is free and the arboretum is open to the general public. It is on the campus at Southern and Dobson with hours of operation from 6AM to 10PM. Free.
- 1 Jake's Unlimited.
- 2 Golfland Sunsplash.
- 3 Cactus League Spring Training, 1235 N Center St. A treat for baseball fans happens every spring with the Cactus League Spring Training games happening all over Phoenix and Tucson.
- 4 Fighter Combat International, 5649 South Avery Circle. Fly an actual dogfight mission in the cockpit of a jet. Starting at $750.
- 5 2nd Friday Night Out, Downtown Mesa- Between Center and Country Club on Main. Monthly event on 2nd Friday of every month from 6 to 10PM with live music, over 60 art and craft booths, food for sale and other types of events and entertainment. Free admission Free admission.
- 6 Desert Belle Paddleboat Cruises, 14011 N Bush Hwy. 90-minute cruises aboard the desert belle paddleboat on Saguaro Lake which is known for towering canyon walls, wildlife, and desert/mountain vistas.
- 7 Park of the Canals, 1710 N Horne, ☏ . Sunrise to 10PM. This 31 acres (13 hectares) park includes evidence of ancient Hohokam Indian canals dating back to 700B.C. and a beautiful desert botanical garden featuring a wide variety of cacti. Free.
- 8 Rose Garden at Mesa Community College, 1833 W Southern Ave, ☏ , email@example.com. Daily 24 hr. Largest rose garden in the Desert Southwest includes 4,600 bushes and more than 450 varieties. Open year-round with peak bloom in April. Free.
- 9 Saguaro Lake Ranch Trail Rides, 13050 N Bush Hwy. Offering guides trail rides surrounding Saguaro lake. Desert scenery and mountain vistas. Sunset rides offered.
- 10 Salt River Tubing and Recreation, 9200 N Bush Hwy. Float down the Salt River East of Mesa on a inflatable inner tube. Enjoy the desert views and wildlife along the way. This activity is known as a very popular party spot.
- 11 Tonto National Forest, Mesa District, 5140 E Ingram St. Stop into this Park Ranger office and pick up a map before heading out on the hiking trails. The Tonto National Forest is the fifth largest in the United States. Desert to Mountain terrain.
- Arizona Fall League, 1235 N Center St. The Arizona Fall league is known to feature the up and coming baseball stars of tomorrow. Mesa Hohokam park is home to the Mesa Solar Sox whose players include those from teams such as the SF Giants, Cubs, and Reds.
- Chicago Cubs Spring Training, 1235 N Center St. Spend an afternoon watching the MLB Chicago Cubs take on any number of teams during spring training at Hohokam Park. Spring training runs from late February to late March annually.
- Jesus the Christ (Mormon Passion Play/Musical). This free community Easter celebration started in 1938 and is, according to its promoters, the "Largest Annual Outdoor Easter Pageant in the World." It portrays Jesus' life, teachings, crucifixion and resurrection through music, dance and drama with more than 400 cast members. It is held annually during the two weeks before Easter on the north lawn of the Mesa Arizona Temple. Come early to secure one of 10,000 chairs provided. No tickets necessary.
- Mesa Music Festival, Main Street (downtown Mesa) (light rail station at Main Street in downtown Mesa). 3-day music festival and block party with over 100 bands, art vendors, bike shows and other events in downtown Mesa with free admission. Free admission.
- Downtown Mesa Brewfest, Downtown Mesa at South Macdonald and Main Street (near downtown Mesa light rail station). Free festival in downtown Mesa near Mesa light rail station with live music, games, contests and vendors offering beer and food for purchase. Early March. Free admission to festival, beer (21+) and food available for purchase.
- Mesa Temple Christmas Lights, 101 S. LeSueur. Hundreds of thousands of lights and Biblical displays adorn the north lawn and gardens of the Mesa Arizona Temple. This free event, which started in 1979, starts each year on the day after Thanksgiving and runs through New Year's Eve. The lights are on every night from 5 to 10PM. During the season, an International Nativity Display featuring more than 150 nativity scenes from around the world (many handcrafted) is held at the Visitors' Center at the northeast corner of the temple lot. Both events are free and free parking is available nearby.
- 1 Bass Pro Shops, 1133 N Dobson Rd. 170 ft² (16 m2), 125 ft² (11.6 m2) of outdoor equipment.
- 2 Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, 1056 S Country Club Dr, ☏ . Daily 9AM-10PM. This Tucson-based used bookstore chain also carries used CDs, DVDs, video games, etc. There is an electric vehicle charging station and free Wi-Fi, and pets are welcome in the store.
- 3 Dana Park, 1700 S. Val Vista Dr. Upscale, boutique style shopping with sparkling fountains and merchants offering jewelry, home accessories, fashion clothing, gourmet foods, and unique dining.
- 4 Mesa Riverview, 857 N. Dobson Rd. An outdoor shopping center. Stores include Bass Pro Shops, Cinemark Theatre, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, Petco, Walmart, Marshalls, Office Max, Sports Authority, and Jo-Ann Fabrics.
- 5 Superstition Springs Mall, 6555 E Southern Ave.
- 6 Asylum Records, 2990 N Alma School Rd #5, Chandler, ☏ . Tuesday-Sunday from noon, closed Monday. Record store in downtown Mesa selling new and used records, CDs, DVDs and music memorabilia.
- 1 Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen, 2051 S Dobson Rd, ☏ . M-Sa lunch and dinner. Camelback area local Cajun cuisine restaurant featuring po boys and, in season, crawfish boils on Wednesday nights.
- 2 Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill, 1744 S Val Vista Dr, ☏ . Homemade tortillas, huge burritos, addicting taco salads with spicy avocado ranch dressing. Ahh the sweet pork.
- 3 Matta's (Mattas Mexican Grill), Grill: 1105 N Higley Rd (Brown & Higley), ☏ . The Mexican restaurant on the east side of town since 1953, hosted by the Matta family. The original location on Main street closed in 2008, but in 2002 the family opened a fast/casual-style location called Mattas Mexican Grill. Nice atmosphere with strolling mariachis in the evening.
- 4 Pete's Fish and Chips, 22 S. Mesa Dr, ☏ . Eight other locations in the Phoenix Valley. Forget the tartar sauce -- "Pete's special sauce" is to die for. Family owned and operated since 1947. Only cash is accepted.
- Ned's Krazy Sub. Can't beat the lunch special. Try the Poorboy.
- 7 Steve's Krazy Sub, 1211 N Country Club Dr, ☏ .
- 8 Rosa's Mexican Grill, 328 E University Dr, ☏ . The original Rosa's. Everything on the menu is excellent, a family favorite. Best shrimp tacos anywhere.
- 9 Waldo's BBQ, 4500 E. Main St, ☏ . Located in the eastern portion of town, Waldo's serves up everything you could ask from a BBQ place, all with a great atmosphere.
- 10 Organ Stop Pizza, 1149 East Southern Ave (SW corner of Southern and Stapley, off US 60), ☏ . About 5-9PM, more depeding on season.. Organ Stop Pizza is an informal restaurant with a twist: It is home to the world's largest Wurlitzer pipe organ. Each night guests are treated to music from "The Mighty Wurlitzer", played by one of the staff organists who have all received "Organist of the Year" awards by the American Theatre Organ Society. Good pizza, salad, drinks, and a variety of other choices are available at great prices. under $10 per person.
- 11 Republica Empanada, 204 E. 1st Ave, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-4PM, F Sa 11AM-8PM. Latin American comfort food restaurant located in a midcentury building in downtown Mesa with the largest selection of empanadas in Arizona priced at less than $3 each and Lunch specials for $6.95 or $7.50 M-Sa 11AM-3PM.
- 12 Vito's Italian Pizza & Ristorante, 1947 N Lindsay Rd, ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F SA 11AM-10PM. Italian restaurant, includes a bar, and offers catering and banquet services. $.
- 1 RT O'Sullivan's Bar and Grill, 6646 E Superstition Springs Blvd, ☏ . This is a great place to watch the game but get there early because it fills up.
- 2 Oro Brewing Co, 210 W Main St. Right along the growing "strip" in downtown Mesa, right next to Worth Takewaway. Grab a sandwich there and head over to Oro for some great beer.
- 1 Arizona Golf Resort, 425 South Power Rd, ☏ , toll-free: . 30 minutes from Phoenix, it feature a championship golf course, meeting facilities, onsite dining as well as many other amenities.
- 2 Courtyard Phoenix Mesa, 1221 South Westwood Ave, ☏ .
- 3 Four Points by Sheraton at Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, 6850 E Williams Field Rd, ☏ . This is located near the Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport. It is an informal hotel, with courteous staff and marvelous food. The rooms are clean and also have a few desks. The usual cost is $84, and they have free wifi and parking, an outdoor pool, laundry services, and air conditioners. It is also handicap-accessible.
- 4 DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix Mesa, 1011 West Holmes Ave, ☏ .
- 5 Sleep Inn, 6347 E. Southern Ave, ☏ .
- 6 Westgate Painted Mountain Country Club, 6302 E. McKellips Rd, toll-free: . A golf resort near Phoenix, offering family lodging and accommodations with panoramic views & featuring an 18-hole, par 70 championship golf course.
- 7 Usery Mountain Regional Park, 3939 N Usery Pass Rd, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: noon. Water and electric hookups at all sites, with toilets and hot showers available; maximum RV length 50 ft (15 m). Reservations can be made online ($8 reservation fee). $25/night.
Mesa has a fairly high crime rate compared to some other American cities, but most of it is property crime of more concern to residents than to visitors.
- 2 The Arizona Republic, 200 E Van Buren St, ☏ . The city’s main newspaper that is read throughout the city and state.
- 3 The New Times, 1201 E Jefferson, ☏ . A great source of independent news and information about events, music, food, etc. The closest thing Phoenix has to New York's Village Voice (and they are under common ownership).
- 4 East Valley Tribune ((formerly the Mesa Tribune)), 1900 W. Broadway Rd, Tempe, ☏ . Freely distributed "voice of the East Valley". Their yearly Best of East Valley readers contests are very helpful for finding great food, drinks, entertainment and shopping; their editors fill the East Valley Guide with their own recommendations, which also includes a calendar of local events.
- La Voz, 200 E Van Buren St, ☏ . A popular Spanish language newspaper published by The Arizona Republic.
- 5 Asian American Times, 668 N 44th St, Ste 343. Excellent Chinese-American newspaper with articles printed in English and Chinese.
- Within in the Greater Phoenix area:
- "Old Town" Scottsdale in the northeast Phoenix metropolitan area is the single most tourist friendly area in the valley.
- Downtown Tempe has a lively night life, being a college town. Accessible by light rail.
- Head to Phoenix – catch a show or a ballgame, or see the Phoenix Zoo or the Desert Botanical Garden.
- There are many museums and other cultural venues in Phoenix. Accessible by light rail.
- North of the Metro Phoenix area — on Interstate 17 North:
- South — on Interstate 10 East:
- West — on Interstate 10 West (via Loop 202 West):
|Routes through Mesa|
|Phoenix ← Tempe ←||W E||→ Apache Junction → Socorro|
|Payson ←||N S||→ Chandler → Ends at|
|Phoenix ← Tempe ←||W S||→ Gilbert → Chandler|
|END ←||W E||→ Queen Creek|