At this desert city in Arizona, explore arid mountains and lush forest areas and discover plenty of cultural and artistic activities downtown.
With lakes, a national forest and the majestic Sonoran Desert on its doorstep, the city of Mesa is a gateway to outdoor fun and adventure. Located at the base of the Superstition Mountains in central Arizona, Mesa gives you plenty of ways to experience nature. Explore its cultural and historic attractions, including museums, concert venues and an ancient ceremonial site.
Make the most of Mesa’s beautiful scenery with a variety of active pursuits. Take one of the nature or dirt bike trails through the Lost Dutchman State Park. Look for the park’s animals, such as bobcats, jackrabbits and mule deer. Spot additional wildlife at the Riparian Preserve at Gilbert Water Ranch. Nearly 200 bird species have been seen at this wetland sanctuary.
In the Tonto National Forest, explore one of its lakes by kayak, stand-up paddleboard, water ski or powerboat. Head up to the Superstition Mountains to cruise across Canyon Lake aboard the Dolly Steamboat. Salt River is a great place for tubing and floating picnics during the summer. At Saguaro Lake, climb aboard the Desert Belle for a more scenic view of the water.
Mesa has long served as a culinary gateway to Greater Phoenix with the neighboring farms and agritourism attractions providing a continuous bounty of seasonal goods to enjoy. Take a road trip filled with delights and culinary education. A dozen popular food-driven experiences line the Fresh Foodie Trail that winds visitors through Mesa and beyond into the neighboring regional towns of Gilbert and Queen Creek.
Discover the city’s indoor attractions with a walk around downtown. Visit the Mesa Arts Center for concerts, theater and art exhibits. Kids will enjoy hours of science, technology and art-based fun at the Idea Museum. See colossal dinosaur skeletons at the Arizona Museum of Natural History.
If you are a golf enthusiast, swing your clubs at one of Mesa’s golf courses. More than 40 courses are located within a 30-minute drive of the downtown area. For those who like to get active in the water, choose from a dozen public pools and water parks.
Mesa is located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Phoenix. The city is within easy reach of the Goldfield Ghost Town and is a good base from which to explore the historic Apache Trail.