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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.


Mesa was founded in January 1878 by Mormon (Latter-day Saint or LDS) 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), 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 currently ranks as the 37th-largest. 2006 Census Bureau estimates put the city's population at 460,155. The city has a larger population than better-known United States cities such as Cleveland, Miami, Minneapolis, Saint Louis, or 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.

Get in

By Car

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.

By Plane

  • Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport[1] is situated to the West of Mesa and is the major air hub for all of Arizona and the Southwest United States. Flights arrive and depart to domestic and international destinations. One tip: 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.
  • Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport[2] is situated in southeast Mesa next to the ASU Polytechnic campus. [3] This airport offers flights to 14 destinations in the United States. Has flights thought Allegiant Air and Vision Airlines. SkyValue offers scheduled charters to/from Gary/Chicago International Airport in Gary, Indiana, only 25 miles southeast of Chicago.

Get around


  • Mesa Arts Center.[4] 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.[5] 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.


  • Arizona Museum for Youth.[6]. 35 N. Robson. Nationally renowned fine arts museum for children aged 1-12.
  • Arizona Museum of Natural History.[7]. 53 N. Macdonald. This rapidly expanding museum features an interesting array of cultural and natural history artifacts from the American Southwest.
  • Commemorative Air Force Museum.[8]. 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.
  • Fighter Combat International.[9]. 5865 S. Sossaman Rd. Fly an actual dogfight mission in the cockit of a jet. Starting at $750.
  • Mesa Historical Museum.[10]. 2345 N. Horne Street. This small museum features displays of the different phases of Mesa's history.

Outdoor Activities

  • Desert Belle Paddleboat Cruises.[11]. 14011 N. Bush Highway. 90-minute cruises aboard the desert belle paddleboat on Saguaro Lake which is known for towering canyon walls, wildlife, and desert/mountain vistas.
  • Outback Safari Company.[12]. Take a hummer tour of the Sonorana desert surrounding Mesa.
  • Park of the Canals.[13]. 1710 N. Horne. This 31-acre park includes evidence of ancient Hohokam indian canals dating back to 700B.C. and a beautiful desert botanical garden featuring a wide variety of cactii.
  • Rose Garden at Mesa Community College.[14]. 1833 W. Southern Ave. Largest rose garden in the Desert Southwest includes 4,600 bushes and more than 450 varieties. Open year-round with peak bloom in April.
  • Saguaro Lake Ranch Trail Rides.[15]. 13020 Bush Highway. Offering guides trail rides surrounding Saguaro lake. Desert scenery and mountain vistas. Sunset rides offered.
  • Salt River Tubing and Recreation.[16]. 1320 N. Bush Highway. 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.
  • Tonto National Forest, Mesa District.[17]. 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.

Annual Events

  • Arizona Fall League.[18]. 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.[19]. 12601 E Us Highway 60. 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.[20]. 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.[[21] (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.


  • Dana Park.[22]. 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.
  • Mesa Riverview.[23] 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.[25]


  • 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, [26]. 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, [27]. 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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