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Mesa, population 440,000 (2004 est.), is in Maricopa County. It is Arizona's third-largest city, and is part of the Greater Phoenix urban complex.

Unfortunately, Mesa, despite its size, is a near-nonentity. A benighted city council focuses on redevelopment of a dreary downtown that died 35 years ago; library service is barely adequate, only 3 branches for a city of nearly half a million; "virtually nothing of interest to the tourist exists since Jack Adams' Alligator Farm closed" unless you count great scenery (the Superstition Foothills Mountains on the way to New Mexico via Payson) and excellent arts centers (including the Broadway Palm West Dinner Theatre) that attract top-notch talent from all over the globe.

A decaying urban core features a decaying 1970's megamall whose time has come and gone, and the city's far east side features what must be America's greatest assemblage of mobile homes. (It is featured in a Canadian "snowbirds'" musical entitled, appropriately, Mesa by Doug Curtis: “Brilliantly written...Mesa is a warm, wonderful and funny play.” —St. Thomas Times-Journal[1])

The affluent portions of the city -- which are considerable -- constitute many square miles of cookie-cutter upscale homes, known colloquially as "McMansions." (You'd think they'd have run out of red roof tile and stucco by now.)

Like Gertrude Stein's Oakland, in Mesa there is no there there.

Get in

  • Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is situated in southeast Mesa next to the ASU Polytechnic campus. [2] This airport offers flights to 14 destinations in the United States. Has flights thought Allegiant Air and Vision Airlines.

Otherwise, you drive or fly into Phoenix. If you happen to be coming from an "Easterly" direction (a.k.a. New Mexico), that means you'll probably be taking the State 60 highway right through the 17 exits that comprise Mesa, as part of the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

Get around


  • Mesa Arts Center.[3] 1 East Main Street. Located in downtown Mesa, this uniquely designed building features theatres, art galleries, and contemporary public art spaces. It is also notable for being the largest arts center in Arizona.
  • Mesa Mormon Temple.[4] 101 South LeSueur. This unique building, located just east of downtown is notable for being the third largest mormon temple outside of Salt Lake City. A must see at night.


  • Commemorative Air Force Museum.[5]. 2017 North Greenfield Road. Dedicated to the preservation in flying condition of the great war planes that dominated the skies of World War II. The Confederate 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.

Annual Events

  • Arizona Fall League.[6]. 1235 N. Center St. The Arizona Fall league is known to feature the up and coming baseball stars of tommorow. Mesa Hohokam park is home to the Mesa Solar Sox whose players include those from teams such as the SF Giants, Cubs, and Reds.
  • Arizona Renaissance Festival.[7] Starting the second weekend in February, and for eight weekends and Presidents' Day, take U.S. 60 east through Mesa and Apache Junction to Gold Canyon, to the Arizona Renaissance Festival. Jousting, juggling, Ded Bob, music, mirth, mayhem, turkey legs, cinnamon almonds, birds of prey, Scratch the Village Lout, Three Guys and a Bunch of Drums, beer, onsite ATMs, and indoor plumbing!
  • Chicago Cubs Spring Training.[8]. 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.[[9] (Mormon Passion Play/Musical) Billed as "Mesa Arizona's Easter Pageant," this free "community Easter celebration" is apparently, according to its promotersthe "Largest Annual Outdoor Easter Pageant in the World." You might want to get your seats or spots on the lawn well in advance of its April showtimes.


  • Mesa Riverview.[10] 1061 N. Dobson Rd. A brand new outdoor shopping center. Stores include Bass Pro Shops, Cinemark Theatre, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, Petco, Walmart, Marshalls, Office Max, and Jo-Ann Fabrics. Future anchors include Sports Authority.
  • Superstition Springs Mall.[12]


  • Rosa's Mexican Grill,328 E University Dr, Mesa, AZ 85201; Tel. (480) 964-5451. The original Rosa's. Everything on the menu is excellent, a family favorite. Best shrimp tacos anywhere.
  • Ned's or Steve's Krazy Sub, Ned's: 1927 N Gilbert Rd, Mesa, AZ 85203; Tel. (480) 464-0033.,1356 S. Gilbert Rd. Suite B-1 Mesa, AZ 85204 Phone: 480.898.8894. Steves: 1211 N Country Club Dr Mesa, AZ 85201 Phone: (480) 835-0330, 6853 E Main Street (Power and Main next to Greenbacks)Phone: (480) 924-SUBS Best subs in Mesa. Cant beat the lunch special. Try the Poorboy.
  • Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill, 1744 S Val Vista Dr, Mesa, AZ 85204; Tel. (480) 633-8226. Homemade tortillas, huge burritos, addicting taco salads with spicy avocado ranch dressing. Ahh the sweet pork.
  • Pete's Fish and Chips, 22 S. Mesa Dr., Mesa, AZ 85210; Tel. (480) 964-7242, [13]. 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.
  • Waldo's BBQ, 4500 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ 85205; Tel. (480) 807-6475. Located in the eastern portion of town, Waldo's serves up everythng you could ask from a BBQ place, all with a great atmosphere.


  • Arizona Golf Resort, 425 South Power Road, +1 480 832-3202, Toll-free: 800 528-8282, [14]. Located 30 minutes from Phoenix, it feature a championship golf course, meeting facilities, onsite dining as well as many other amenities.

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