Just 20 miles east of Arizona’s capital is the city of Mesa- the largest suburban city by population in the United States. The original inhabitants, the Hohokam people, settled in over 2000 years ago. Since then, Mesa has expanded vastly. According to the 2019 Census Bureau, it is now home to over 500,000 people and boasts numerous cultural and historical attractions. Moreover, (and perhaps more importantly in our opinion), Mesa is home to our very own Sunkist Warehouse. If you’re thinking of celebrating a joyous occasion in this town, rest assured there’s much to do, see, taste, and enjoy. To make it easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best sites and restaurants around this charming city to keep you, your partner, friends, and family entertained! Check out our recommendations on the hottest spots in Mesa, Arizona.
Mesa Arts Center
In the heart of Downtown lies the Mesa Arts Center, also known as ‘MAC’. It is a performing and visual arts complex that is the largest comprehensive arts campus in the state of Arizona. The MAC is an arts mecca for the community. It is home to four theaters and a contemporary arts museum. They offer live shows; everything from music performances, Broadway, to dances. They also offer a myriad of visual and performing classes and workshops for youth and adults. Additionally, the Mesa Arts Center hosts festivals, events and many free concerts annually.
Arizona Museum of National History
If you’re looking for an educational and entertaining spot for your kids, check out the Arizona Museum of National History. The museum is the only one of its kind in the greater Phoenix area and showcases the natural history of the Southwestern United States. The museum includes a real territorial jail, a recreation of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, a Dinosaur hall, and a three-story indoor waterfall. It also has a gallery exhibiting the first inhabitants of North America and a recreation of a Hohokam village, which is an ode to the founders of Mesa, Arizona.
Perhaps you prefer the outdoors and all the recreational activities that accompany it. You can check out one, two, or all six of the trails this gorgeous wilderness has to offer. Furthermore, these trails range from easy to advance in order to offer you the best challenge possible. As many locals can attest, the views from both below and on top are incredible. Arizona is already known for its captivating colorful sunsets; just imagine that view from the peak of the mountain!
Mesa Arizona Temple
If you’re religious, you can pay a visit to the Mesa Arizona Temple. It was the first of six Latter-day Saint temples built or planned in the state. It is currently closed for renovation but was expected to be completed by 2020. Year round, the temple is a hot spot for tourists and photographers. With its incredible size, structure and landscape, the temple makes for an extravagant backdrop. This is especially true during the holidays when the entire temple and landscape are covered in colorful lights and beautiful decorations.
Mesa Riverview Park
The Mesa Riverview Park is unlike your ‘around the corner’ park. It’s got green grass, trees and a playground like your local park, but there’s much more. Firstly, it offers a spray ground with multiple water features, like a mini water park. Secondly, the park has an extraordinary playground with a climbing tower called the 50 foot Genesis Tower. In addition, the park features a rope climbing structure, shaded picnic areas with tables, miles of accessible sidewalks, community fishing lake, open play areas, and is even home to Sloan Park, the new Spring Training facility where the Chicago Cubs train. Moreover, The Mesa Riverview shopping strip is also just across the street with a variety of dining options as well!
Need to cool down? Check out Golfland-Sunsplash. You can never go wrong visiting a water park in Arizona. Golfland-Sunsplash has two different parks. Golfland operates year-round and offers miniature golf courses, bumper boats, go-carts, a pizza restaurant, and an arcade. Furthermore, the other side of the park is Sunsplash, which operates in the summer and features 29 water-based attractions. So, depending on what time of the year you plan to visit, you can always go to both in a day. If you’re working up a sweat, take a ride on a water slide. Once you’ve cooled down, grab a bite to eat at the pizza restaurant and then race away at the go-cart track.
Granite Reef Recreational
If you haven’t had enough of the outdoors, still hot and long to be by a body of water that isn’t flooded with kids, go to Granite Reef Recreational. This reef is a perfect spot to kayak, paddle board, or fish. With its view of the mountains, there’s no way you wouldn’t be relaxed. If you’re in need of a quiet, less hectic recreational touristy spot in the city, consider this quiet gem.
Furthermore, any populated city would have an assortment of dining options. Mesa is no different. In addition to mainstream franchises, are a vast array of multi-cultural restaurants. Everything from international to local, Mesa is sure to have a place serving a dish originating from every corner of the globe! Check out a list of these top-rated places below: