With a 2,000-year history stretching back to its indigenous cultures, it’s not surprising that Mesa, Arizona, today boasts an array of visitor experiences.
Among just a few of the many options available, you can catch baseball games at Hohokam Stadium or Sloan Park, check out the Mesa Community College Rose Garden, or visit the Sunsplash amusement park.
Read on for information on those activities and some of the many more things to do in Mesa.
Arts and Culture in Mesa
In recent years, the percentage of the Mesa population involved in creative-class enterprises has risen. That has made the city a magnet for the arts, and any list of things to do in Mesa should include a sampling of that culture.
1. Mesa Arts Center
The Mesa Arts Center on East Main Street is an architectural masterpiece comprising four theaters, five art galleries, and 14 art studios.
Visitors looking for things to do in Mesa can expect to see the best in live entertainment, top visual arts exhibitions, and more of the finest in the artistic arena in the Mesa Arts Center. A visit will, in fact, be more than entertaining and will challenge you to explore the diversity of artistic expression.
Exhibitions in the Mesa Arts Center include works by Ron English, the “godfather of street art,” and The Moleskine Project, sketchbooks from an array of artists from across the world.
2. Downtown Mesa Art Walk
For a less formal look at how Mesa has integrated art into the city’s fabric, one of the fun things to do in Mesa is the self-guided Downtown Mesa Art Walk.
The walk takes visitors to some of the many public art pieces in the city, from reality-inspired sculptures featuring scenes from everyday life to fanciful murals and other abstract works.
To fully enjoy the Art Walk, pick up a Downtown Guide & Art Walk at Visit Mesa at 1 N. Macdonald St. or at the Downtown Mesa Association, 100 N. Center St.
3. Mesa Amphitheatre
The Mesa Amphitheatre, where music lovers come together on a tiered lawn wrapping around a performance stage on North Center Street, is yet another example of the city government’s commitment to providing lots of great things to do in Mesa.
The 4,950-seat amphitheater hosts a variety of artists, in genres including country/folk, Latin, and techno/electronic music, so be sure to check out who’s playing during your visit.
4. Organ Stop Pizza
A pizza restaurant might seem an odd venue to include as a cultural asset, but Organ Stop Pizza is one of the don’t-miss things to do in Mesa.
Organ Stop Pizza, whose centerpiece is the largest Wurlitzer pipe organ on the planet, is one of just two “pizza and pipes” venues remaining in the United States after the popularity of such venues faded in the 1980s.
Performances on the organ begin 30 minutes after the restaurant opens each day, with each set running from a half-hour to 45 minutes between 10- to 15-minute breaks.
On the menu at Organ Stop Pizza are a full range of specialty pizzas, or you can choose your own ingredients. Pastas, sandwiches, and a salad bar are available, and there’s ice cream for dessert.
Places to Tour in Mesa
4. Commemorative Air Force Museum
The Commemorative Air Force Museum on Noth Greenfield Road offers a comprehensive look at US military aviation from World War I through Vietnam. A visit should be on your list of things to do in Mesa.
Generally, there will be more than a dozen aircraft on display at the museum. The six operational aircraft at the museum are the B-17 and B-25 bombers, a C-47 transport plane, a C-45 navigational and weapons training aircraft, an SNJ/AT-6 flight training plane, and an N2S Stearman military training biplane.
If the B-17 and C-47 are not on tour, they generally are open for visitors to get a look inside.
5. Arizona Museum of Natural History
With 60,000 objects depicting the history, anthropology, and art of Arizona, the Arizona Museum of Natural History on North Mcdonald Street is among the interesting things to do in Mesa.
Exhibitions include explorations of the native cultures of the western United States, a dinosaur hall and views of the sciences of anthropology and paleontology.
Admission to the museum is $13 for adults, $7 for children 3-12, and free for children up to 2 years old. Senior citizens’ admission is just $10. Detailed information on ticket purchases and other aspects of a museum visit are available online.
Exploring Nature in Mesa
One of the pleasures of visiting new places is exploring the natural world that unfolds around you. There are a couple of places in Mesa that are worth a visit to experience that sensation.
6. Rose Garden at Mesa Community College
If you’re looking for a touch of beauty on your travels, one of the things to do in Mesa is to visit the Rose Garden at Mesa Community College.
The Mesa-East Valley Rose Society partnered with Mesa Community College to make the rose garden a reality. Established in 1997, the Rose Garden at Mesa Community College is the only major public rose garden begun in the United States since 1974.
Open to the public at no charge every day of the year, the garden displays more than 9,000 roses, representing more than 300 varieties. To see the garden at its best, visit from April to June or from October to December.
7. Orange Patch
If you’d like to get your hands on some great citrus fruits, you’ll be in luck if your travels take you to Mesa anytime between December and April. Those are the months you can visit the Orange Patch on North Gilbert Road.
The Orange Patch, combining a farmers’ market and an old country store, is a great source of fresh oranges, along with sweet corn, squash, other vegetables, watermelons, and honey.
The farmers’ market is open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. in season, as just one of the fun things to do in Mesa.
Catching a Game in Mesa
If you want to get a real sense of a community’s culture, one of the best ways to do that is to catch local sports teams in action. In Mesa, there are two great sports venues.
8. Hohokam Stadium
The spring training home of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics, Hohokam Stadium at 1235 N. Center St. is a 10,500-seat ballpark named for the indigenous Hohokam people.
Hohokam Stadium is a decidedly kid-friendly option among the things to do in Mesa. It features a special area where kids 12 and under can play tee-ball and baseball skeeball. The children’s area is free, but parents must remain with their children.
Information for visiting Hohokam Stadium is available in this guide to the facility.
9. Sloan Park
Incredibly, Mesa has two Major League Baseball spring training facilities. Sloan Park, at 2330 W. Rio Salado Parkway, plays host to the Chicago Cubs for spring baseball.
At Sloan Park, you can also catch games of the Mesa Solar Sox, an Arizona Fall League team.
Solar Sox games are played through November, while Cubs’ spring training games begin in late February and continue through late March.
Ticket information for Sloan Park, just one of the great things to do in Mesa, is available online through the Cubs.
Shopping in Mesa
If you’re interested in taking home a memento of your visit, there are at least two places that need to be on your list of things to do in Mesa, offering swap-meet variety and quality antiques.
10. Mesa Market Place Swap Meet
If you see shopping as a recreational activity, the Mesa Market Place Swap Meet should be one of your things to do in Mesa.
From home decor to sporting equipment to clothing to whatever else you might be looking for, the market’s three long breezeways host 1,600 shops.
11. East Valley Antiques
Located on East University Drive, East Valley Antiques offers 9,000 square feet of furniture from antique to mid-century modern to contemporary.
East Valley Antiques also offers unique glassware and kitchenware to fit a variety of decorating styles at lifestyles.
Pop culture items, from old-time lunchboxes to vintage Christmas ornaments, are also among the treasures at East Valley Antiques as you enjoy one of the great things to do in Mesa.
Youthful Things to Do in Mesa
If you’re bringing young folks to Mesa, there’s lots more for them to do than going to baseball games or getting their dinosaur fix at the Arizona Museum of Natural History.
12. Golfland Sunsplash
Located on West Hampton Avenue, Golfland Sunsplash is advertised as Arizona’s premiere water park. The park includes 10 water slides and coasters, with names like “Double Dare,” “Stormrider” and “The Cauldron.”
There are height requirements for some of Golfland Sunsplash activity areas, but the water park hasn’t forgotten younger visitors. It offers zero-depth water play areas and age-appropriate water slides.
Golfland Sunsplash also offers miniature golf, and the complex also includes a video game arcade, bumper cars and laser tag, making the venue one of the most fun things to do in Mesa.
13. i.d.e.a. Museum
The i.d.e.a. Museum on West Pepper Place is another one of the best things to do in Mesa with children.
A joint venture of the City of Mesa and the i.d.e.a. Museum Foundation, the facility advocates a hands-on approach to learning that aims to involve whole families in the exploration of the world around them.
The HUB, a museum centerpiece, includes a puppet theatre, a place where young visitors can turn recyclable materials into pieces of art, and opportunities to work with digital art tools.
Wrapping Up Things to Do in Mesa
As this post has illustrated, there are lots of things to do in Mesa, Arizona, and lots of reasons to put Mesa on your travel itinerary.
While you’re visiting this part of the world, consider trying some New Mexican Cuisine.