Introduction to Mesa, Arizona
Mesa, located in south-central Arizona, is the third-largest city in the state and one of America's new breed of fast growing cities. A suburb of Phoenix, Mesa is the largest suburb in the country, with a population of 400,000 with 37% growth in the 1990s. Initially inhabited by Native Americans and Spanish explorers, the area became US territory after the Mexican American War. Mormon pioneers founded the city in 1878; a large Mormon population (25%) remains there today. During World War II, Mesa was a major Air Force training center at Falcon Field Airport and Williams Air Force Base. After the war, many military families decided to settle in Mesa permanently.
Today, Mesa is a prospering industrial area, with companies like Boeing and AT&T among its leading employers. The area's climate makes it an ideal tourist destination; a strong and growing economy lure top companies and young professionals.
In downtown Mesa, the Arts and Cultural District is home to the Mesa Arts Center, the Mesa Southwest Shakespeare Company, the Mesa Southwest Museum and several galleries, dance companies and theaters. The Mesa Amphitheatre is one of metro Phoenix's top places to see popular music's biggest acts. Other cultural attractions in Mesa include the Commemorative Air Force Museum and the Mesa Historical Society & Museum.
Mesa Sports and Leisure
With sunshine throughout the year, Mesa is an ideal location for the Chicago Cubs' spring training operations. For season-long minor league baseball, the Mesa Angels are an affiliate of the Anaheim Angels. Just 18 miles away, Phoenix is home to major league baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, the NFL's Phoenix Cardinals, the NBA's Phoenix Suns, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.
The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area is a golfer's paradise, with over 100 courses in the area. Desert Forest Golf Club in nearby Carefree and The Rim, an hour northwest in Payson, are among Golfweek Magazine's Best Courses in America list. For world-class hiking and rafting, the Grand Canyon is 3 hours away.
Mesa at Night
Mesa has an excellent nightlife, with many of the attractions of a larger city, but more of a small town personality. For big city action, Phoenix is just a short ride away.