Although ancient peoples lived in the area for a couple of thousand years, starting with the Hohokam, the city itself was founded in 1878. Mormon pioneers built their settlement on a mesa that stands about one hundred feet higher than the surrounding land.
Despite a population in excess of half a million people, it is often considered a bedroom community. That explains why there are many smaller US cities with bigger reputations, but that is changing. Mesa’s largest employers include The Boeing Company and the Banner Health System which employ about 12,000 people between them. The arrival and subsequent expansion of the Valley Metro Light Rail System into the city and the evolution of the historic downtown area in recent years is key to that change. Grab a map and explore the 60+ sculptures and murals on the Mesa Art Walk while you’re exploring downtown.
The light rail system is a positive addition to the city. It has provided easier travel options for commuters to get into Tempe or downtown Phoenix and beyond, as well as boosting the profits of local businesses along the line. Phoenix Mesa Gateway airport is also booming, making out of state travel more accessible, even though Sky Harbor airport is only 15 to 35 minutes’ away depending on where you buy your new home.
When you buy a home in Mesa, there’s plenty to keep your family busy. There’s a range of educational, cultural, and outdoor activities to keep everyone happy. Visit interactive museums with the kids or take in a Broadway musical at the Arts Center. If you’re a baseball fan, you have two Spring Training stadia on your doorstep – Mesa is the offseason home of the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland A’s.
Residents have easy access to the area’s most popular natural attractions, including the mysterious Superstition Mountains, the Apache Trail, the Salt and Verde Rivers, Usery Mountain Regional Park. When the temperature rises, get out on the water and cruise Saguaro Lake aboard the Desert Belle or Canyon Lake on the Dolly Steamboat. As you’d expect in a city of this size, there is so much for the family to do within the city limits and the surrounding area that you should look at the Visit Mesa website for more ideas.