top of page

Fun Things to do in Mesa


Search activities


city guide

Located in the quaintly named Maricopa County, Mesa is a city in the state of Arizona and shares a border with the Salt River Pima- Maricopa Indian Community. With a population of over 400,000 inhabitants, Mesa is the third largest city in Arizona after Phoenix and Tucson, and is filled with museums, art work, hiking opportunities, and delicious food and drink.


Best time to go

The best time to visit Mesa Verde National Park is in the spring and fall months. Both periods are pleasant times in terms of weather. Additionally, you experience fewer visitors than during the packed summer season.


Fun city facts and activities

    Arizonas third largest city, Mesa is home to unique museums, scenic parks and activities for visitors of all ages. Stop by the Mesa Arts Center to view art and watch a theater performance, get to know Sonoran Desert plants by hiking through Usery Mountain Regional Park, and watch a baseball game at Hohokam Stadium. Best things to do in Mesa with kids include the Arizona Museum of Natural History and learn with hands-on exhibits at the i.d.e.a. Museum. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations.
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    Las Sendas
    Red Mountain Ranch
    Alta Mesa
    Dobson Ranch

Food Specialties

    Savor fry bread, Sonoran hot dogs and prickly pear margaritas during your trip. Whether it's a dish whose origin story is rooted in Arizona soil or an indigenous ingredient not found anywhere else in the country, these 9 foods represent the diversity of the state's people and history.

Mesa Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Visit a local ghost town.
2. Take a drive-in movie night.
3. Take a stroll through the desert.
4. Explore a nearby national park.
5. Go sandboarding.
6. Visit a nearby observatory.
7. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
8. Take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.
9. Participate in a yoga class in the desert.
10. Take a tour of an abandoned mine.

Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1. Visit the Arizona Museum of Natural History
Dinosaur lovers adore the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Every half hour a flash flood pours down Dino Mountain as animatronic dinosaurs roar and shake their heads. Displays encourage touch and play, like building puzzles or feeling the rumble of a volcano.

2. Check out the Planes at the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum
The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum allows aircraft enthusiasts to get up close and personal with historical wartime planes.

3. Interact with Art at the i.d.e.a. Museum
At the i.d.e.a. Museum, children explore fine art by creating their own masterpieces and interacting with art pieces.

4. Float Down the Salt River
Heading to the water is one of my favorite things to do in Mesa, AZ. Grab a tube, kayak, or paddleboard and enjoy a leisurely float down the scenic Salt River.

5. Head to Saguaro Lake
At Saguaro Lake, rent a boat for fishing, waterskiing, or tubing. Or take a kayak or paddleboard through the narrow canyons along the shoreline.

6. Play at Pioneer Park
Mesa parks are some of the best in Arizona, and feature some of the coolest playgrounds.

7. Climb on the Orange Monster at Eastmark Great Park
Another cool playground resides at Eastmark Great Park. The Orange Monster mesh rope climbing structure is a favorite feature with kids of all ages.

8. Make a Splash at Riverview Park
The playground at Riverview Park features a 50-foot-tall climbing tower, two shaded playgrounds, and a 60-foot-long mesh rope climbing structure.

9. Take a Trail in Usery Mountain Regional Park
One of the best ways to experience the Sonoran Desert is by heading off on one of the desert trails. Desert hikes are awesome ways to get outside, especially in the late fall, winter, and early spring.

10. See Hieroglyphics in the Superstition Mountains
Just east of Mesa, AZ lie the iconic Superstition Mountains. Trails here range from easy to extreme.

Anchor 1
Best Parks

City data and FAQ 

What is Mesa most known for?

Well, views of superstition mountain which is one of the coolest mountains in Arizona aesthetically. It also has very mixed income levels with east Mesa being quite wealthy and west Mesa being lower income. There is the Mesa cultural center, downtown Mesa which goes through a revival every 3 years but still remains dead. There is MCC, the Mesa community college, also pretty unimpressive, but decent as those things go. The golf is good, specifically las sendas in east Mesa. Mesa is also home to Eastmsrk, which will supposedly be the headquarters for the new apple head quarters, so we have that to look forward to, and Eastmark itself is a giant master plan. Sadly we have quite a few rv parks filled with low rent retirees, which I apologize if I sound bitter but they drive badly and many are quite angry and resentful of younger people, though of course not all. I can honestly say there is no awesome must eat food in Mesa, all the good food is in Gilbert. There is an organos, and I like dvine wine bistro, but a lot of the food here is pretty much chain food or not great. We are on the path to the salt river recreation area, so that is cool, and east Mesa has a five minute drive to get there, it is another example of the breathtaking scenery that surround this city.
Joshua Jacoby Lives in Mesa, AZ

Lower property taxes than Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, having the largest community college in the nation, being the largest suburb in the Phoenix metro area.
Sylvia Hollingworth Reichle Lives in Nashville, TN

Mormon Temple. Citrus. Amazing views of the mountain ranges that are in the East Valley. Chicago Cubs spring training.
Matt Spiel Lived in Mesa, AZ

A walk in any of the many mountain preserves. The MIM aka Musical Instrument Museum, one of the best museum experiences in the world. Pueblo Grande Museum where the best preserved ruins of our interesting pre-history can be seen.
Tom Lewis Lives in Phoenix, AZ

Do you need a car to visit Mesa?

If youre flying in, its roughly a dozen miles from Sky Harbor to Mesa. You dont need a car if youre legs are up to the task (luggage might be a different problem). There are taxis and ride-shares in operation and a lot of hotels will have shuttle service to/from the airport, so it probably comes down to a question of how much youre going to spend for running around versus how much youd spend for a rental. If youre not flying in, then it raises the kind of overriding question of how you were planning to get to Mesa in the first place. If youre driving, you already have a car, so the question doesnt make a lot of sense. If youre coming in by bus or something, youd want to look at the same considerations as if you were flying: how are you going to get from your arrival point to where you want to be and how much running around were you planning on doing once you got there? Mesa does have a public transit system.
Mark Stinson

Mesa, Arizona is definitely NOT a walk-around town. Covering 133 square miles, nothing is close to anything else. You really do need a car to get around.
The light rail runs down Main Street from the Tempe border, but the final station is at Gilbert and Main, which is actually about the geographic midway point in town. It's absolutely wonderful if you want to head west to Phoenix to hit the Art Museum or the Heard Museum, or to take in a ball game, but it's completely useless if you need to get out to the eastern edges of Mesa or into Apache Junction.
Ali Ziegler Lives in Mesa, AZ

Search activities

bottom of page