DescriptionMesa (Spanish for “tabletop”) is in the center of the Salt River Valley on a plateau. The area has long been inhabited by Native Americans, including the Ancestral Desert People, or “the Departed Ones.” The resourceful tribe realized the need for water for irrigation and dug some 125 miles of canals around 700 B.C. Some of these irrigation ditches are still in use and can be seen at the Park of the Canals and Mesa Grande Ruins.
In 1883 the founding Mormon community discovered the ancient canal system and used it to irrigate the thousands of fertile acres of farmland above the Salt River. Alfalfa, cotton, wheat and grapes were the major crops; citrus was introduced in 1897. Agriculture carried the town into the 20th century; today, the aviation, education and health care industries play a big role in Mesa's economy.
Recreation areas, mostly east and north of the city, are easily accessible from bike-friendly Mesa. Rafting and other water sports on the Salt River are popular, as are varied activities available within the Apache Lake and Canyon Lake recreation areas and on Theodore Roosevelt Lake and Saguaro Lake.
Mesa also hosts major league baseball at two stadiums: Sloan Park, the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs, and Hohokam Stadium, home of the Oakland A's, which reopened in 2015 after a major renovation.
Visitor InfoVisit Mesa 120 N. Center St. MESA, AZ 85201. Phone:(480)827-4700 or (800)283-6372
ShoppingThe largest indoor shopping centers in the city are Fiesta Mall, US 60 and Alma School Road, which offers Dillard's Clearance Center and Sears; and Superstition Springs Center, at US 60 and Superstition Springs Boulevard, which offers Dillard's, JCPenney, Macy's and Sears. When it comes to open-air destination shopping, Village Square at Dana Park, at Val Vista Drive and Baseline Road, offers such stores as Ann Taylor Loft, Anthropologie, Chico's and Talbot's. Mesa Riverview, at Dobson Road and Loop 202 Freeway, includes Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and Marshalls.
Bargain hunters can find discounted name-brand merchandise at Power Square Mall, a half-mile south of US 60 at Power and Baseline roads. The Mesa Market Place Swap Meet boasts more than 1,500 vendors offering new and used merchandise at its shaded facility at 10550 E. Baseline Rd.
Things to SeeArizona Museum of Natural History