Mesa, Arizona is a large suburb at the eastern end of the Phoenix metropolitan area, just east of Tempe and north of Gilbert. Mesa stretches as wide as 18 miles and is home to nearly 500,000 people—which totals about 10% of the Phoenix area population and makes Mesa the 3rd largest city in Arizona. Although Mesa is primarily residential and lacks a major downtown area, it is a popular destination for shopping, the arts, golf, several local attractions, and access to the outdoors.
There are at least seven museums and art centers in and around Mesa and several historical attractions. The Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa exhibits dinosaur fossils and Native American artifacts, and the nearby Arizona Museum for Youth showcases art created by the young. The Mesa Arts Center has fourteen visual and performing arts studios and offers classes on numerous topics. All these museums are great for families and little ones. Visitors can experience the area’s history and Wild West past at the Rockin’ R Ranch, where gunfights are staged and dutch oven biscuits are served. At the Rawhide Western Town there are train, stagecoach, and mule rides. Other attractions include the Goldfield Ghost Town, Dolly Steamboat, Apacheland Movie Ranch, and the Superstitious Mountain Museum, where the legend of the Lost Dutchman Goldmine lives on.
Visitors interested in outdoor recreation can easily access the numerous parks within and around Mesa, which offer spectacular desert scenery. South Mountain Park, Papago Park, and Usery Mountains Regional Park maintain miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Lost Dutchman State Park gives hikers access to remote wilderness, with trails that wind into the Superstition Wilderness and Tonto National Forest. The nearby Salt River is ideal on hot summer days for drifting the cool water. Numerous guides and outfitters provide rafting trips and rentals. If you’d rather spend your time practicing your swing, there are over 40 golf courses in and nearby Mesa.
Shopping in Mesa is a big draw. Dana Park Village Square covers 400,000-square-feet of upscale, fashion centered shops, and Power Square Mall features name brand values and bargain shopping. Mesa Riverview is the largest retail and entertainment complex anchored by the several large retailers and major restaurants. And of course, Mesa is a quick drive from Phoenix and other cities that offer fantastic shopping.
Mesa hotels are scattered about but mostly located in West Mesa. Great restaurants are found all throughout town as well, but the best are usually located in shopping districts and malls. Mesa is located about 20 miles east of downtown Phoenix, and about 7 miles east of downtown Tempe. To learn more about Mesa hotels, attractions, and things to do, explore the links to the left.