The stunning Tonto National Forest, in Mesa's backyard. (Photo courtesy of Miguel Vieira)
Mesa is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona. Fifteen miles east of Phoenix, in the Valley of the Sun, Mesa combines the best of modern and ancient culture.
Mesa features a number of distinct neighborhoods. The downtown area is a hub for art lovers and boasts hundreds of unique shops and restaurants. There are museums, galleries, more than 200 street sculptures, and the seven-acre Mesa Arts Center, which includes theaters, exhibition space, visual and performing arts studios, and outdoor space. As a "culinary gateway" to Greater Phoenix, Mesa also showcases local flavor, with independent restaurants and craft breweries offering creations born on local farms. This area also is wrapped in the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert, so those renting in Mesa can explore endless canyon and desert landscapes in a variety of ways, including on horseback or by kayaking and hiking. Despite being the third-largest city in Arizona, Mesa maintains a suburban feel, with parks in easy walking distance and a range of sports facilities and golf courses.
Commuters in Mesa use U.S. Route 60, which runs from Apache Junction to Phoenix, as well as State Route 87 and bypass loops 101 and 202. Valley Metro's light rail service will soon tie Mesa to Phoenix and Tempe, which sits to the west. Long-distance travelers use Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport, which is about 12 miles away from downtown Mesa, and the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, which is about 17 miles away.
Studio in the Mesa Arts Center. (Photo courtesy of David Crummey) Renting in Mesa, AZ
Apartments for rent in Mesa are in high demand. Rent prices have increased recently, but at a lower rate than the county and state averages.
Mesa Attractions Tonto National Forest ? The fifth-largest forest in the United States has nearly 3 million rugged acres that include cactus-studded desert and pine tree-covered mountains.
Fort McDowell Adventures ? From cattle drives to trail rides, the Wild West activities offered here let you live out your cowboy adventures.
Arizona Museum of Natural History ? Take in the largest dinosaur exhibit west of the Mississippi, re-creations of Hohokam Indian dwellings, and the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine.
Mesa Arts Center ? This is the largest arts and cultural complex in the Southwest.
Rockin' R' Ranch ?Take in a Western-themed attraction and dinner show, enjoy some gold panning, and go for a ride in a horse drawn wagon.
I.D.E.A. Museum ? This youth-oriented museum offers multi-sensory art experiences that incorporate science, engineering, design and technology.
Park of the Canals ? About 4,500 feet of ancient canals, built by Hohokam Indians and refurbished by Mormon settlers, are preserved here.