Mesa Arizona caters to residents and tourists alike with its great attractions and its delightful ambiance. The third largest city in Arizona, Mesa is located to the near east of Phoenix, separated from the capital by the 101 Loop and the other notable cities of Scottsdale and Tempe. On a vacation to Mesa, any number of side trips into the neighboring cities can be enjoyed. Back in town, Mesa attractions such as the dazzling Mesa Arts Center and the fascinating Arizona Museum of Natural History can make excellent places to spend some quality time. Often labeled as a bedroom community, Mesa Arizona offers more than you might think, and when it comes down to it, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this desert hot spot.
Mesa Arizona once served as settlement for the Hohokam people, and almost 3,000 years ago, these Native Americans built impressive canals that were the largest in the New World at the time. The Sonoran Desert can be a very difficult place to live without a dependable source of water, and the canals helped to make it more agreeable for human settlement. Mesa visitors can learn more about the Hohokam Indian canals, as well as see some remnants of them at the Park of the Canals. This park also boasts a playground for kids and a desert botanical garden that can be a good complement to the more complete Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix's Papago Park.
Some of the best Mesa attractions offer insight into the city's and region's past, and they include the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the Mesa Historical Museum. The former is one of the best Phoenix area museums, partly because of its wonderful dinosaur exhibits, some of which feature intriguing fossils. Other highlights at the Arizona Museum of Natural History include a replica Hohokam village, a courtyard exhibit where visitors can pan for gold, and a large cliff and waterfall exhibit that is a hit with visitors of all ages. At the Mesa Historical Museum, the various exhibits touch on all aspects of the city's history, including its longstanding role as a Cactus League hot spot.
The Cactus League is the spring training league for the Major League teams that have their spring training facilities in Arizona. Mesa is where the Chicago Cubs choose to get ready for the upcoming regular season, and every spring, the city swells with baseball fans who want to see some practices and Cactus League games at Hohokam Park. The Cubs have trained in Mesa since 1979, and the attractive Hohokam Park Stadium was built in 1997 to make for a more enjoyable experience for players and fans alike. The Mesa hotels fill up fast when baseball fans are in town to see some Cactus League games. This is true of the area hotels in general, thanks to the fact that more than a dozen major league teams have their spring training facilities in the Phoenix region.
Enjoying the arts is one of the top things to do in Mesa Arizona, and this has a lot to do with the impressive Mesa Arts Center, or MAC as it is commonly known. This largest art facility in the state boasts more than 200,000 square feet of space, some of which is dedicated to the center's four performance venues, its five art galleries, and its numerous classroom studios. There's always something going on at the fabulous Mesa Arts Center, and visitors to the Phoenix area are encouraged to consult the center's events schedule when looking for things to do. Free concerts and fun arts and crafts days are just two examples of the events that are held at MAC.
The Mesa attractions offer something for everyone, and for families with kids, a stop at the Arizona Museum for Youth can make a good addition to the agenda. The Arizona Museum for Youth offers a fine collection of interactive exhibits that kids of all ages can enjoy, and many of these exhibits revolve around fostering creativity through the arts. In addition to visiting museums, more of the best things to do in Mesa Arizona include the city's two municipal golf courses in mind. These courses include the Dobson Ranch Golf Course and the Riverview Golf Course. Both are relatively affordable, and for golfers who are short on time, the latter offers just nine holes as opposed to the more standard eighteen.
The Dobson Ranch Golf Course and the Riverview Golf Course aren't the only golf courses in Mesa Arizona that residents and visitors can enjoy. The list of public courses in the city is a relatively long one, and there is no shortage of tantalizing courses throughout the Phoenix region. Arizona is one of the world's best golf vacation destinations, and Mesa has little trouble satisfying those who are looking to make golf the focus of their getaways.
As for some of the other fun things to do in Mesa Arizona, spending some time at Golfland Sunplash is always an option, as is taking to the skies at Fighter Combat International. At Golfland Sunplash visitors can beat the Arizona heat at the water park area, play some laser tag or video games at King Ben's Castle, or hop in a go-kart for a zippy ride, among other things. At Fighter Combat International, visitors can get the thrill of their lives riding in a fighter jet or a stunt plane. A number of different flying packages are available at Fighter Combat International, with the shortest flights lasting half an hour.