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Life in Mesa > Things To Do

Local attractions abound

City of Mesa offers no shortage of things to see and do
By Alison Stanton

Local Attractions AboundWant fun? A dash of fine arts? How about a nature hike by moonlight? You can find it all in Mesa!

Whether you’re into fossils, fairways or fashion, Mesa’s many attractions – from museums to outdoor fun and upscale shopping centers – can’t be beat. What’s even better? Most are family- and budget-friendly, so all ages can enjoy a good time.

If you’re looking for a culture fix, be sure to check out the Mesa Arts Center, the state’s largest arts center and home of the Mesa Contemporary Arts exhibition space, or step into one of the city’s local art galleries. Also nearby, you’ll find the Arizona Museum of Natural History, where you can pan for gold or sit inside a long-ago prison cell, and the Arizona Museum for Youth, where little ones can interact with art in a hands-on way. Or, head east to Falcon Field Airport to see restored warbirds, enemy artifacts and more at the Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing Aviation Museum.

For the sporting crowd, Mesa offers endless opportunities. Baseball fans will cheer upon seeing Hohokam Stadium, the downtown area’s Spring Training home of the Chicago Cubs as well as the home field for the Arizona Fall League’s Mesa Solar Sox. The city’s also a duffer’s delight with some 40 golf courses, including the award-winning Longbow Golf Club and Ocotillo Golf Club, with its Ted Robinson-designed, 27-hole Troon Golf championship course.

Outdoorsy types will get a kick out of Usery Mountain Regional Park and, further east into Apache Junction, Lost Dutchman State Park; just remember to always be prepared and take all necessary precautions when venturing out of doors. Also within an easy, half-hour drive of Mesa are Apache, Canyon and Saguaro lakes, as well as the Salt River, all of which offer a cool respite from the Valley heat and many activities such as boating, tubing, fishing and jet skiing. And, of course, in a city of Mesa’s size, there are plenty of mountain bike trails, jogging paths, tennis courts, skate parks, riding stables and hot-air balloon and off-road tour companies to keep everyone happy!

As for all the retail enthusiasts out there, they can get down to business at any number of charming, independent Main Street boutiques or live it up at the likes of Superstition Springs and Fiesta malls. Over at the open-air Mesa Riverview shopping center, it’s possible to pick up everything from a merit badge at the Boy Scouts of America Shop to a pontoon boat at Bass Pro Shops! And be sure to stroll through the upscale Village Square at Dana Park, another open-air shopping experience featuring some of the hottest names in fashion, like J. Jill and White House/Black Market, as well as a plethora of popular eateries, including TQLA and Buca di Beppo.

Get out and play!

In Mesa, it is incredibly easy to get outside and find something fun to do. Thanks to the area’s famous sunny weather and bright blue skies combined with a wide range of activities, there is no reason to stay indoors all day.

For example, if getting out and exploring what Mother Nature has to offer sounds appealing, both residents and visitors will not have far to drive before they find a wide assortment of amazing hiking and biking opportunities. The Superstition Mountains, Usery Mountain Regional Park, and Apache Trail are all easily accessible and filled with a variety of trails that vary in length and difficulty.

Those who need to rent a mountain bike to check out these locations need not worry—Mesa has plenty of bike rental shops that can help get people ready to explore on two rugged wheels. Mesa might be part of the Sonoran Desert, but there are still plenty of aquatic-themed activities to keep people busy. For example, the Salt and Verde Rivers both invite visitors to enjoy a day fishing, rafting or tubing, while the Dolly Steamboat takes people for pleasant cruises across scenic Canyon Lake.

Mesa is also home to dozens of well-manicured golf courses that are both challenging and enjoyable. From the casual golfer to those who take a day on the links very seriously, people will have no trouble finding plenty of places to play.

The city also features 57 parks and 133 basins over more than 2,000 acres. Many of these parks feature colorful playground equipment for the young and young at heart, walking and biking paths, and picnic facilities. Not far from Mesa are two State Parks: Boyce Thompson Arboretum and Lost Dutchman. Both are popular destinations with both residents and visitors to the area. From an early morning hot air balloon ride or an exciting Jeep tour to a leisurely afternoon playing tennis with friends, when it comes to opportunities to get outside and play, Mesa has it all.

Still want more? You’re in luck, because Mesa has lots more to offer in attractions! For more ideas on cool things to do in town and just a short drive away, scope out www.visitmesa.com!