Situated in the beautiful Maricopa County, the city of Mesa is in the state of Arizona. It is also one of the state’s most beautiful cities.
Mesa shares a border with the Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community.
Mesa is Arizona’s third-largest city and has a population of about 400,000. Phoenix and Tucson are the first and second most populated in the state.
Mesa is everything you could always want in a tourist destination.
It has museums, artworks, hiking opportunities, and a horde of delicious dining options.
When you think of Mesa, the desert may come to mind. But Mesa has two rivers. And so, whether you crave an arid environment or the wetlands, there is always something for you in Mesa.
Remember that the arid environment attracted the pioneers of the city. The wetlands were magnets to the settlers when they were looking for gold.
Mesa has the best of both worlds available for you.
And so, let us talk about 12 of my favorite places in Mesa.
Here they are.
List of Contents
1. Orange Patch
Fun and unique are only two of the most fitting words to describe your trip to Orange Patch.
It is more than just a sightseeing activity for you and your family.
Head down to the Orange Patch, where you can spend the afternoon picking your oranges. While here, you can also marvel at the myriad varieties of other fruits that the place offers.
The location is a famous orchard.
While in Orange Patch, you can pluck the sun-kissed citrus fruits direct from the tree. There are also grapefruits, tangerines, oranges, and a farm store where you can buy the fruits if you do not like picking them.
Aside from the opportunity to pick your fruits, you can also browse the store for their many offerings. There are pickles, sweets, and a whole row of preserves and jams.
The Orange Patch has been a popular Mesa destination since its creation in the 1960s. You can enjoy the rich history the location offers while munching on the local produce that you picked.
2. Mesa Arts Center
Situated on East Main Street near the downtown area of Mesa, the Mesa Arts Center is another popular destination when in the city.
The center houses a diverse range of visual arts. It is also host to different performing arts in the city. It sits on an area that spans about 210,000 square feet.
Established in 2005, the Mesa Arts Center is the largest arts complex of its kind in the state. As previously mentioned, it is also one of the most popular attractions when in the city.
The center has four performance venues, one of which is a 99-seat Farnsworth Studio Theater. There is also the Ikeda Theater, which can seat 1,600 guests.
Aside from the performance venues, five art galleries consist of 5,500 square feet of space for displays and exhibitions. Usually, the Mesa Contemporary Arts Center occupies this space.
Finally, there are 14 performing and visual arts classroom studios available.
Over the years, one can find several performances done in the center. There are Broadway shows, dance, drama, and music concerts.
The center also has an offering of classes intended for adults and children. You can make field trips here, school shows, and many more.
3. Commemorative Air Force Museum
Established in 1978, the Commemorative Air Force Museum is another destination you should not miss in Mesa.
The Museum features several artifacts from World War II. It is easy to find many American and foreign combat planes on display here.
The Museum houses the largest unit of the Commemorative Air Force worldwide.
I have always been curious about everything in the air force. And that is why when I was in Mesa, I had to drop by the Museum.
Here, I got all the information I needed to satisfy that curiosity.
Plus, if you have your kids in tow, they will, for sure, enjoy seeing the helicopters and combat planes displayed inside the Museum.
I’m sure a visit to the Museum will sit well with the kids.
And while you are here, be sure to check out the actual artifacts displayed inside the Museum. There is a treasure of information explained in every display.
As a history buff, this is heaven for me.
I am sure you would love it here, too.
4. Sloan Park
Are you a fan of the Chicago Cubs?
If you are, then you have to drop by Sloan Park.
Sloan Park is a baseball stadium where you can see the team train during the spring season. It is also the home of many Arizona teams for many years.
The stadium can seat about 15,000 guests. It is, therefore, one of the largest stadiums in the country when it comes to seating capacity.
When you are in town, be sure to visit. You might catch a game here. You never know.
Besides, as a Chicago Cubs fan, visiting is a must. You have to see them practice!
5. Rose Garden at Mesa Community College
This Rose Garden at Mesa Community College is a sure treat for you if you love roses.
For starters, the garden has more than 9,000 roses in 300 types. They all bloom and thrive all year round as if boasting their sheer beauty to visitors, tourists, students, and kids who drop by for a visit.
This garden is the largest of its kind in the Southwest. It is beautiful, but it also serves as a study area for the students of Mesa Community College. Aside from that, the rose garden has another purpose – as a botanic laboratory.
The garden was established in 1997 and came about as a collaborative effort between the Mesa Community College people and the East Valley Mesa Rose Society. Most of the work and maintenance depend on volunteers and donations from locals.
There are types of roses that bloom almost all year round. But the perfect time to visit the rose garden is during spring and fall.
During these seasons, many roses bloom and create a rainbow of colors.
And you cannot deny that sweet smell the roses exude.
6. Arizona Museum of Natural History
Created in 1977, the Arizona Museum of Natural History is a must-see destination in Mesa.
It is a museum that has displays related to both the cultural and natural history of the American Southwest. With about 58,000 objects on display, the Museum is one of the most extensive of its kind in the country.
As you already know by now, I am a history buff. And visiting the Arizona Museum of Natural History is a proper exercise in Mesa.
It is educational and enjoyable at the same time.
The extensive collection covers paleontology, natural history, archaeology, and many more. All these thousands of objects will keep you entertained for the whole duration of your visit.
When visiting, be sure to explore and check out the dinosaur exhibit in the paleontology section of the Museum.
Here, you will learn about the fossil resources the Museum curated. This visit is also the perfect time for you to learn more about the Native Americans. Go to the ethnology section of the Museum to find out more.
If you love history, I recommend spending a day at the Museum.
7. Organ Stop Pizza
If you are into unique experiences while traveling, you might want to consider swinging by the Organ Stop Pizza.
You can make a quick stop on your way to another destination.
And judging by the name itself, I believe you already know what is in store.
The place serves pizzas and a horde of other Italian favorites. But why should you drop by here instead of another Italian restaurant?
The twist is that the restaurant boasts of a working Wurlitzer organ. It was the type of musical instrument you would see in cinemas. The device is perfect for providing films with a musical background.
And what is unique about the instrument is that it was common during the silent films era. The organ at the restaurant still works to this day which makes it more remarkable.
The owners rescued and lovingly restored the musician instrument in the 1970s. You can also see musicians playing the device at the restaurant every night.
And so, while getting that bite of your pizza, imagine yourself in the silent film era just having your dinner.
And oh, the food is also delicious.
8. Mesa Historical Museum
Established in 1987 by the Mesa Historical Society, the Mesa Historical Museum is another destination you should not miss.
Located in a building that dates back to 1913, the Museum provides vintage vibes to its visitors.
The building used to be a school. The local government added an auditorium in 1930.
As of this time, the museum building and the added auditorium are parts of the National Register of Historic Places list.
The Museum has a permanent collection that includes a large number of objects. The objects show the history of Mesa.
One of the highlighted displays is a good replica of an early adobe school.
Aside from that, the Museum also houses a comprehensive collection of agricultural tools from the industry’s earliest years.
There are three galleries that house rotating exhibits like the Hidden Mesa: Rediscovering the West. You can also find the display of Come Fly With Us! (Celebrating 30 Years of the Boeing Company in Mesa).
Overall, visiting the Museum is an excellent activity for you and your family.
9. Riverview Park
Considered a perfect recreation destination, Riverview Park provides visitors with some of the most exciting recreational activities.
These activities include climbing, fishing, and many more.
While I love learning about history, I also love the outdoors.
I enjoyed my visit to Riverview Park, especially with the many recreational types of equipment that you can find within the park.
Here, you can try climbing the 60-foot-long mesh equipment. The park also features a 50-foot-tall Genesis climbing tower.
Some surroundings provide its visitors with a more relaxed afternoon.
You can bring your snacks here and spend the rest of the afternoon picnicking by the river.
10. Mesa Arizona Temple
The Mesa Arizona Temple is the property of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints.
It is a famous landmark in Mesa. The holiday lights give the city a light show that makes everybody always excited. The highlight is always the holiday lights that happen at the end of each year.
Outside the holidays, the temple is still an educational destination.
Visiting here, you will find a comprehensive visitor’s center. The center provides its visitors with historical and educational information relating to the development of the church.
There are videos, exhibitions, artworks, and a sculpture of Jesus Christ.
Aside from the displays, you can also visit and enjoy the temple gardens.
Ensure that you can only go to the grounds manned by volunteers when you are on the property.
11. Desert Belle Cruises
The Desert Belle offers its guests narrated guided tours on North Bush Highway. The focus of the tour is on Saguaro Lake.
Established in 1964, the Desert Belle prides itself on being the only air-conditioned ship that brings guests a 90-minute tour around the lake.
The ship can accommodate 143 passengers. It is a two-level boat with an outside covered seating that you can find on the upper level. A partial lower level comes with air conditioning and a snack bar for hungry passengers.
During the tour, you can enjoy some of the most magnificent views of the desert and the high canyon walls. You can also take pictures of the Arizona wildlife, including birds, eagles, falcons, and other mammals.
Have you seen a bobcat yet? You can see them during the tour.
During the tour, other mammals that you can see are mountain lions, coyotes, and more.
12. i.d.e.a. Museum
It used to be the Arizona Museum for Youth.
The i.d.e.a. Museum gives its guests a fun learning experience during their visit.
The Museum is popular with the young locals and visitors. There is art, play, and many interactive exhibits accessible inside the Museum.
I especially love the Artville section of the Museum. Here, your kids can unleash their imagination. The Artville Cafe, the Artville RV, and many more.
The Color, Your World Section of the Museum, is also popular with kids.
Be sure to swing by when you are here.
Mesa is the third-largest city in Arizona.
While you can only think of deserts when you are here, there is more to Mesa than that.
There are museums, parks, and several activities for visitors of all ages.
I adore this city because of the proximity of one attraction to the other.
It is almost as if you do not need to bring your car with you when you visit.
Have you been to Mesa?
Let me know if you have an attraction in mind that you would like added to the list.
We can talk about it.