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Your guide to Mesa
All About Mesa
Mesa, 20 miles east of Phoenix, is Arizona’s third-largest city. It was once home to the prehistoric Hohokam people, and today the Mesa Grande Cultural Park protects and preserves the ancient ruins of their village. Mesa’s downtown is vibrant, with a renowned food scene and spectacular landscapes on its doorstep.
Although it’s surrounded by desert, Mesa has three lakes and two rivers for boating, kayaking, water skiing, and tubing. There’s even a beach on Saguaro Lake in the nearby Tonto National Forest. Usery Mountain Regional Park is threaded with multi-use trails through the Sonoran Desert, with its rugged landscape abundant in saguaro and dramatic views.
The city’s main street is full of restaurants and bars, many with outdoor seating for those warm Mesa nights. You could also choose to snack directly from the source by following the Fresh Foodie Trail. Depending on the season, being on the trail could mean grabbing peaches from an orchard, sampling the harvest at the local olive oil farm, enjoying fresh jams and preserves, or tasting local wines and ciders.
You’ll also find a mini-golf course in Mesa, and an outdoor amphitheatre that stages regular free concerts.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Mesa?
Mesa enjoys a mild climate, with more than 300 days of sunshine every year. If you secure a vacation rental in the summer, note that Mesa temperatures can get really hot, although you’ll often get a desert breeze at night. In spring and autumn, you can enjoy milder sunny days and little chance of rain. The famous Dia de los Muertos Festival takes place in October. In winter, temperatures can drop slightly, but you won’t need to bundle up too much. The days will still be mild and mostly sunny, but the nights can get cooler, so it’s a good idea to pack a warm layer just in case.
What are the top things to do in Mesa?
Usery Mountain Regional Park
There are 30 hiking trails to explore in this 3,500-acre park, including the popular Wind Cave Trail. The three-mile round trip takes you through varying desert landscapes and lines of cacti with Southwestern vistas. At the end, you’ll reach the cave that gives the trail its name, which has been formed over thousands of years by wind and rain. Consider enjoying a picnic lunch in this shady spot before heading back.
Mesa Grande Cultural Park
This park allows you to explore what life was like for the Hohokam, Mesa’s original people, who lived here a thousand years ago. You can walk among the excavated ruins of a prehistoric village, including adobe walls and irrigation canals, and learn about the Hohokam way of life and how they mysteriously disappeared around 1450.
The Mesa Market Place & Swap Meet
Just outside the city, you’ll find one of the largest outdoor markets in Arizona, attracting bargain hunters looking for treasures. More than 900 sellers and 1,600 stalls sell homewares, antiques, jewellery, and crafts. You can also grab a bite to eat in the food court while you enjoy live music and entertainment. The market is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.