Of course, anyone interested in Arizona has heard of Tucson, and Phoenix is no stranger either. But Mesa? Mesa is (so far) not part of the standard repertoire of a trip to Arizona.
That should change. Because the third largest city in the state of Arizona is an ideal starting point to get to know the beauties of this state. By the way, Mesa also has a lot to offer itself. Whether historically or culturally, whether for shopping or going out – Mesa is fun, Mesa is exciting, and Mesa and is as typically American as a tourist could wish for.
Maricopa County and the Phoenix metropolitan area
Maricopa County’s economic strength is marked by a truly vast array of cities, both large and small. 27 of them make up the Phoenix metropolitan area, where Mesa is the second strongest force. The city is just under 30 kilometers east of Phoenix, which as the state capital of Arizona holds a special position of power. Phoenix is a perfect day trip destination and easy to get to.
But now we want to focus on Mesa. On a first tour you will notice that the city has hardly any skyscrapers. Instead, it spreads out very comfortably with its buildings over a huge area – always with an unobstructed view of the sky. The flat architecture is unusual for a city as young as Mesa. But here you don’t have to skimp on space and that is very clear in the cityscape. Incidentally, Mesa was founded in 1878. The Founding Fathers were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, perhaps better known as Mormons.
Journey into the Indian past
With a total population of 396,375, the area of Mesa was previously settled by the Hohokams and later by the Apaches. At the end of the 19th century, the army subjugated the Indians and released their land for settlement by European immigrants. Their spirit is still there today and many sights are reminiscent of the natives, their customs and their beliefs. One of the most important is the “Arizona Museum of Natural History” (53 N. Macdonald, arizonamuseumofnaturalhistory.org). The museum is definitely worth a visit even if there are children involved.
In true-to-original replicas of the huts, you can clearly see how the indigenous people once lived and worked. Hunting weapons are shown here and you can see how they were cooked and where the supplies were stored. Of course, the exhibition also provides information about the handicraft skills for which the Indians are famous to this day, such as weaving, jewelry making and ceramics. If you like, you can intensify your impressions in other museums in the metropolitan area, for example in the “Pueblo Grande Museum” in Phoenix (4619 E. Washington Street, pueblogrande.org).
Mesa up to date
In the here and now, however, the visitor moves in the Mesa Arts Center. There are also exhibitions to be seen here, but the creative heart of the center beats for “performing arts”. Concerts and theater performances are on the program all year round. Incidentally, the artists who can be seen and heard here are generally of an international standard. The spectrum of events ranges from pop and jazz to Shakespeare and modern authors to opera and classical orchestral performances. By the way, the artists who perform here are all internationally renowned. So it’s definitely worth taking a look at the program – maybe your favorite singer is giving a concert.
Out into the breathtaking nature
Around Mesa there is simply everything that nature lovers and fans of outdoor activities love and need. Mountains, water, desert – the choice is yours. And you also choose how you want to discover this natural paradise. If you are traveling with the whole family, hiking or cycling tours in the Usery Mountain Regional Park might be the right thing for you. Or go horse riding in Lost Dutchman State Park. Or you can explore flora and fauna in the Tonto National Forest. All these goals can be reached within a very short time and let you forget the civilization of the nearby cities very quickly. If you like it a little wilder, you can also go kayaking or water skiing. Golfing is also a big topic in and around Mesa. The range of seats will inspire.
Mesa with children
America has a heart for children. Young travelers will therefore never be bored here. This is ensured by amusement parks and museums and attractions specially designed for children and young people. In Mesa, among other things, a ghost town from the times of the gold rush and the renowned “idea museum” (150 W Pepper Pl, ideamuseum.org), which also pulls adults under its spell.