Aerial Photo of Downtown Mesa, AZ

16 Things to Know About Living in Mesa

Thinking of moving to Mesa? Located just outside of Phoenix and Tempe, Mesa is Arizona’s third largest city and offers an affordable cost of living, top-rated schools, and amazing outdoor recreation. Here are 16 things to know about living in Mesa!

Affordable Arizona Living

Drone Photo of Downtown Mesa. Photo by Instagram user @m44photography
Photo via @m44photography

Wondering what makes Mesa so great? For starters, Mesa makes the list for top places to live, and for good reason! This Phoenix suburb offers reasonably priced real estate with a median home price of $168,500 and average monthly rent of $907, so you’ll be able to find the perfect budget-friendly home, condo, or apartment. Nearby Phoenix suburbs Gilbert, Tempe, and Chandler have average home prices over $200,000, making Mesa the more affordable option with many of the same amenities. On top of that, the overall cost of living in Mesa is 5% lower than the national average, so you won’t have to break the bank to live here!

Find Your Dream Job

Man Working on Fixing a CAT Backhoe. Photo by Instagram user @empirecat
Photo via @empirecat

Moving to Mesa opens the door to employment opportunities in many popular job sectors! One of the largest industries in the area is aerospace, with companies like Marsh Aviation headquartered in the city. The Boeing Company has an impressive presence here, too, and has plans to expand. Other large employers include Banner Health, which has multiple healthcare facilities and a corporate center, and Mesa Unified School District, the largest school district in Arizona. Bingham Equipment Company and Empire are also headquartered in Mesa and provide plenty of job opportunities for anyone seeking employment!

Take in Warm Weather Year-Round

Photo of Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch with a Double Rainbow Visible. Photo by Instagram user @saguarolakeranch
Photo via @saguarolakeranch

One of the best things about living in Mesa is the weather! The city is known for its desert climate, and with the annual temperature high being 86 degrees and no snow in the winter, you can enjoy warm weather and outdoor activities all year long! Since Mesa is surrounded by the Sonoran Desert, summers do get extremely hot with average temperatures of about 105 degrees, so be sure to have plenty of water and sunscreen on hand!

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It’s a Great Place to Retire

Drone Photo of a Residential Area in Mesa. Photo by Instagram user @nickgiles_realtor
Photo via @nickgiles_realtor

Looking for somewhere warm and sunny to retire? Mesa is one of the best cities to retire in because of many of the same reasons it draws snowbirds to the area—the amazing weather and active lifestyle you can have golfing, hiking, or horseback riding! Its close proximity to Phoenix also allows retirees to enjoy the big city but live more comfortably in the suburbs. Housing is more affordable than surrounding areas, too, and there are many resort-style 55+ communities in the Mesa area for residents ready to enjoy the perks of retirement. Plus, Mesa’s a great place to retire for your health because it’s home to Banner Desert Medical Center, one of the most comprehensive healthcare facilities in Arizona!

Mesa Has Great Schools

Benedictine University Mesa Main Campus. Photo by Instagram user @benumesa
Photo via @benumesa

If you’re thinking of raising a family in Mesa, you’re in luck because there are some great schools here. Since Mesa has the largest school district in Arizona, there are plenty of choices for families, including a Distance Learning Program. There are also amazing higher education opportunities throughout the area. Check out Mesa Community College, the largest community college in the Maricopa Community College District, or Benedictine University Mesa, which is an extension of the university’s main campus in Lisle, IL. For those hoping to pursue engineering, management, technology, or education, you can attend a four-year program at Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus—or there’s ASU’s main campus in Tempe, which is just 15 minutes away!

Utilize the Local Public Transportation

Mesa's Light Rail Running in Downtown Mesa. Photo by Instagram user @visitmesa
Photo via @visitmesa

Public transportation in Mesa makes it easy to get around the city and nearby Phoenix suburbs! The Valley Metro Rail runs from northwest Phoenix, through Tempe, and all the way to east Mesa, making commuting a breeze. Want to conveniently travel around the city? The Mesa Downtown BUZZ is a free neighborhood bus that transports passengers to major bus routes, as well as attractions like the Mesa Arts Center, Downtown Mesa, Mesa Public Library, and more. If you have a farther trip, hop on a flight at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport or make your way to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is only a 20-minute drive away!

Cycle Through the City

Group of Cyclists Riding on the Street. Photo by Instagram user @jetsetracing
Photo via @jetsetracing

One thing to know about the people of Mesa—they love to bike! Not only is it one of the most bike-friendly cities, but there are several cycling opportunities for all kinds of riders! Mesa offers 40 miles of bike lanes, so it’s easy to get around town without a car. You can also hop on the bike-sharing program, Grid Bikes, in Downtown Mesa. Want a more adventurous ride? Cycle through the Superstition Mountains on the Tortilla Flats Road Bike Ride. Trek the many top-notch mountain biking trails throughout Mesa or safely explore Tonto National Forest‘s trails! And if you’re looking for a challenge, you can put your skills to the test in the El Tour de Mesa, a 70-mile race through Arizona!

Spend Some Time Outside

People Kayaking along the River at Saguaro Lake Ranch. Photo by Instagram user @People Kayaking along the River at Saguaro Lake Ranch. Photo by Instagram user @maviedaventures
Photo via @maviedaventures

Some of the best things to do in Mesa involve getting outside! With hiking, kayaking, and more, you won’t want to miss the outdoor recreation here. Usery Mountain Regional Park is the perfect spot for nature walks, outdoor picnics, and horseback riding. Head out on the water at Saguaro Lake for kayaking, paddle boarding, and whitewater rafting. Make a weekend trip to do it all and stay in the cabins at Saguaro Lake Ranch. Travel 40 minutes northeast to Butcher Jones to have a family beach day full of relaxation and picnicking. Tune your mountain bike before cranking through Hawes Trail in Tonto National Forest. Want an adrenaline rush? Rent an ATV with Stellar Adventures and explore the desert on wheels!

Hike Mesa’s Best Trails

Man and Child Hiking in Usery Pass Mountain. Photo by Instagram user @anywherethatiswild
Photo via @anywherethatiswild

One of the best ways to explore Mesa is by hiking its amazing trails. Grab your hiking boots for time in the Superstition Mountains. Hop in the car and journey down the Apache Trail Scenic Drive, which has some great stops for hiking like Lost Dutchman State Park, Canyon Lake, Apache Lake, and more! For a shorter hike that still offers incredible views, walk the Merkle Trail. See more nature in the Ursery Mountains on the Pass Mountain Trail. Are you a beginner hiker? Cat’s Peak Loop is a good trail for explorers of all skill levels!

Watch MLB Spring Training

Mike Fiers of the Oakland A's Pitching at HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa. Photo by Instagram user @photosalad
Photo via @photosalad

Baseball fans will love living in Mesa, as the city hosts two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams for spring training as part of the Cactus League. With over 200 MLB games played in 30 days, fans from all over the country come to see their favorite teams play, and tickets often sell out weeks in advance! Watch the Chicago Cubs (MLB) train at Sloan Park. Or head to Hohokam Stadium and enjoy America’s favorite pastime watching the Oakland Athletics (MLB). Want more baseball? Other Phoenix suburbs like Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Goodyear, Surprise, and Peoria also host teams for MLB Spring Training!

Mesa Is a Hot Spot for Golfers

Drone Photo of the 18th Hole at Mesa Country Club. Photo by Instagram user @golfcreative
Photo via @golfcreative

If you love to golf, you’re in luck because Mesa has plenty of it! With 25 golf courses and great weather year-round, you can golf in Mesa anytime you want! Test your skills on the nine-hole Royal Palms Golf Course. Play an afternoon round of golf at Augusta Ranch Golf Club or try your hand at Foot Golf! Become a member at Mesa Country Club and play the course or take a golf lesson from an expert. Join the Alta Mesa Golf Club and master their 18-hole golf course. Or get a membership at Red Mountain Ranch Country Club and bring the whole family for golfing, swimming, dining, and tennis! Want to play a round with an amazing view? Book a tee time at Las Sendas Golf Club and enjoy the stunning desert landscape while you golf.

Explore Mesa Museums

Retired Planes Parked at the CAF Airbase Museum. Photo by Instagram user @cafairbasearizona
Photo via @cafairbasearizona

Get to know Mesa a little better by visiting the city’s museums! Head to Arizona Museum of Natural History to see the natural and cultural history of the Southwest and explore exhibits like Dinosaur Hall, Cultures of the Ancient Americas, and Arizona Through Time. See the prehistoric structures of the Hohokam civilization at Mesa Grande Cultural Park. Or walk through preserved ruins and canals of the Hohokam at Park of the Canals—and don’t forget to check out the local plants and flowers there. Get up close and personal with war planes or even fly in some of them at Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum. Learn more about Mesa’s regional history at Mesa Historical Museum. Or spend the day at i.d.e.a. Museum, Arizona’s museum for little ones, where you can explore the different areas like ArtVille, the Tech Table, Black Light Room, Zen Den, and more.

Be Part of the Arts Scene

Exterior Photo of the Mesa Arts Center. Photo by Instagram user @dmotes25
Photo via @dmotes25

Mesa has a lot to offer when it comes to local arts. Attend a local Broadway production or take an art class for yourself at Mesa Arts Center. Love classical music? Symphony of the Southwest is a local orchestra that performs throughout the year. Have a laugh at National Comedy Theatre Phoenix or participate in an improv workshop. See art from local and international artists in one of the rotating exhibits at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. Grab your lawn chair and head to the Mesa Amphitheater to catch live music concerts from acts both big and small. Or explore art in Downtown Mesa by going on a walking sculpture tour to see the 36 unique pieces of art.

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There’s Fun for the Whole Family

Family on an Innertube at Golfland Sun Splash. Photo by Instagram user @golflandsunsplash
Photo via @golflandsunsplash

Parents will love all of the things to do with their kids in Mesa! Beat the Arizona heat at Golfland Sunsplash, a waterpark with 30 slides and a mini golf course. Have some fun in the sun at one of Mesa’s splash pads at Riverview Park, Eastmark Great Park, or Pioneer Park. Play on the space-themed playground at Signal Butte Park. Attend the Mesa Feastival Forest and try food from gourmet food trucks, enjoy live music, and play on the playgrounds. Take the family to the Mesa Arts Festival to shop local homemade goods and participate in hands-on activities. Spend family game night at Jake’s Unlimited for bowling, laser tag, arcade games, then snack on the Unicorn Cotton Candy Tacos. Or visit the indoor playground at Kids That Rip, which has a skate park, Ninja Warrior course, gymnastics floor, and more.

Eat Your Way Through Mesa

Cross Section of a Beef Bulgogi Burrito from Katsu in Mesa. Photo by Instagram user @panthereats
Photo via @panthereats

Foodies will love exploring all the restaurants in Mesa. Here, you can find everything from Mexican eats to mouth-watering barbecue and more! Eat delicious brunch dishes like Sonoran Crepes, Brave Banana Pancakes, and Chorizo Benedict at Sunnyside Breakfast Lounge. Visit Taquitos Jalisco for the Grande Breakfast Burrito, Lengua Tacos, or Carne Asada Fries. Stop for lunch at Worth Takeaway and try the Italian Grinder Sandwich or Buffalo Mac & Cheese. Enjoy date night over small plates like Spicy Ahi Tuna Poke, Veggie Alfredo, or Tucked Chimichangas at Tucked Away Craft Kitchen & Bar. Enjoy Hawaiian eats like the Chicken Katsu Plate, Big Island Shrimp Plate, or Spam Musabi at Aloha Kitchen. Chow down on homemade barbecue like the Pulled Pork Sandwich, Smoked Jumbo Texas Beef Ribs, or Smoked Wings at Bobby-Q BBQ. Or try some Korean fusion bites like K-Burrito and Kimchi & Spam Fried Rice at Katsu.

Get Some Weekend Plans Brewing

Flight of Hard Ciders at Cider Corps in Mesa. Photo by Instagram user @natashasherrets
Photo via @natashasherrets

Relax on the weekends at one of the many taprooms and breweries in Mesa! Order a flight at The Beer Research Institute to try the Boom Box Sour, Urban Art IPA, or Mesa City Limits Pale Ale. Savor brews perfected over nine generations at Lochiel Brewing, where old-time Scottish ale is crafted in modern, top-of-the-line equipment. Drink handcrafted Arizona brews like the Main Street Blonde, ​Pomegranate Wheat, and Buzz Bomb IPA at Desert Eagle Brewery. Enjoy a night on the town at Chupacabra Taproom and sample their long list of local beers and wines. Sip on the Mijo IPA, Oktoberwest Fest Bier, or Onza Mexican Lager at 12 West Brewing all while enjoying the Mesa weather on the patio. Crack open handcrafted brews like the Hopiphany, Cafe Oro, or Inside the Park at Oro Brewing Company. Looking for a good hard cider? Work your way through a flight of ciders like the Mango Foxtrot, Sailor Cherry, Tropic Lightning, and more at Cider Corps.

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PINTEREST: Mesa, AZ: 16 Things to Know

With an affordable cost of living, fantastic outdoor recreation, and a unique culture, Mesa is a great Arizona city to call home. Here are 16 things to know about Mesa! via @extraspace

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