With a population of approximately half a million, Mesa is Arizona’s third largest city. It’s also a mecca for those looking to stay active year-round: warm weather, rivers, lakes and scenic natural landscapes, plus top-notch golf courses, bike paths and sporting venues make Mesa the ideal place for tenants who love sports and the great outdoors.
If you are considering moving here, the town is safe and quiet, with a prevailing suburban feel. Its affordable standard of living is particularly attractive, especially since the city is only a short drive from bustling Phoenix.
Mesa offers plenty to do for families with children, including a number of museums and art centers as part of its cultural attractions. Whether you’ve already started looking for apartments to rent in Mesa or are still thinking about moving, here’s our list of the best things to do in Mesa. Our selection will surely come in handy for those with an active lifestyle, art lovers and foodies. Here we are:
There are three lakes and two rivers in and around Mesa. This opens up an (almost) endless list of activities that can be practiced here: kayaking, boating, rafting, fishing, paddleboarding or wakeboarding. Tubing is another fun way to enjoy the water. Basically, you are slowly floating down the river while having a drink or a snack with your friends or family. Here’s a tip: bring your own float tube and a paddle, this will help you get away from shallow or log areas.
Desert Belle Saguaro Lake Cruises
It’s a very fun experience that you should try if you’re in or near Mesa. Saguaro Lake is a reservoir on the Salt River and is a 40 minute drive from Mesa. The Desert Belle has been plying the waters of the lake for more than half a century. During the 90-minute narrated cruise, you can explore the area’s wildlife and scenic natural landscapes, such as canyon walls or desert views. You can choose from several types of cruises, including a wine and music boat tour. Reservations can be made online and those who enjoyed the ride were happy with the seamless digital experience.
Hike in the Usery mountain regional park
For those who love hiking, Usery Mountain Regional Park is like a dream come true. The 3.6-acre park has 29 miles of trails in varying terrain and difficulty levels, including a paved path for easy and inclusive access. Here you can enjoy magnificent views of the Goldfield Mountains and the surrounding area. Usery Park is 30 minutes from Mesa and adjoins the Tonto National Forest. Cycling or horseback riding are other ways to enjoy this incredible park. Look for more trail details on the Maricopa County Parks website.
The apache trail
Whether you’re up for more hiking or are ready for an epic ride, the Apache Trail (State Route 88) is a famous stagecoach route that will take you in the footsteps of Apache Native Americans in the 1800s along the beautiful scenery surrounding the superstition mountains. Only about a third of the 40-mile stretch of the trail is paved, but the rest is in good condition, so almost any type of car can make the trip, except RVs, which are not recommended beyond the flat point of Tortilla. There are several attractions along the way, beyond the breathtaking views, and one of them is Goldfield, a reconstructed ghost town from the 1890s. You can also take in views of Canyon Lake and the Theodore Roosevelt Dam. Camping is another way to enjoy nature on the Apache Trail.
Arizona is one of the best US states for golfers. This is not surprising given that there are over 370 golf courses in the state and the weather is warm or mild throughout the year. Mesa is home to more than 25 golf courses, some of which are public. There are even championship courses designed by world-renowned course experts such as Robert Trent Jones, Jr., but even if you’re new to golf, you’re sure to find a course for you in the city (and you can even rent equipment at most golf courses). For those who want to work on their technique, there are quite a few top-rated golf instructors and golf schools in Mesa that you can find with a simple Google search. But perhaps what sets Mesa golf courses apart are the incredible views from these locations. Whether it’s stunning views of the mountains, the sunset, or the desert, you’re likely to get that added bonus to your shots.
Mesa was named one of the best cities for biking by Forbes and the reasons still apply today. The city has 234 official bike lanes and more than 3,200 miles of mapped bike lanes, according to Bikemap (an app with the world’s largest collection of bike lanes) and its users. There’s something for every type of rider here: mountain bike trails, urban routes, hilly rides, as well as options for long rides or quick rides. The City of Mesa has an ongoing Bike and Pedestrian Program and also offers helpful guides for cyclists, such as a printable bike map of the bike paths and trails around the City of Mesa and drone flyovers of the lanes. for shared use.
Mesa is also a great place to pop into some cool museums. Almost all are located in and around the city center, so you can easily walk or cycle from one to the other. And there are enough museums to keep you busy for a whole day or more! Take for example the 80,000 square foot Arizona Museum of Natural History: it’s the only natural history museum in the Phoenix metro area and offers great insight into the world of dinosaurs and ancient civilizations. Then there’s Idea Museum, which is great for kids and families looking for a day filled with fun and educational activities. Other notable museums in the city are the Mesa Historical Museum, the Commemorative Air Force Museum (featuring World War II aircraft), and the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
There are a few places we wanted to mention that don’t fit any of the above categories: the Mesa Market Place Swap Meet and Organ Stop Pizza. The first is an open-air market with over 1,600 boutique vendors, which also includes a food court, live music, and parking. Admission is free, so it’s a great way to spend the day. Some of the cool things you can buy here are tools, jerky, clothing, jewelry, golf equipment, cosmetics, and cacti, as well as Native American collectibles and art.
Organ Stop Pizza is a staple in Mesa. This destination restaurant has been around for nearly half a century. It houses a Wurlitzer theater organ, originally built and used by the Denver Theater. The organ was first installed in 1927 and used regularly until the early 1930s. In 1975, the Mesa Restaurant opened and housed the original organ, which has since been rebuilt and expanded. So why not enjoy a pizza here while listening to musicians play what is considered to be the largest Wurlitzer theater organ in the world?