Most Popular Things to Do in Mesa, Arizona

In Arizona to indulge in some amazing outdoor adventures? There’s one place that needs to be at the top of your Arizona bucket list and that’s Mesa. With plenty of things to do in Mesa, AZ, you’ll have your hands full in this outdoor desert playground.

From family favorites like Golfland Sun Splash to outdoorsy wonderlands like Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa offers tourist attractions and activities for a wide range of travelers. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a partner, or with the full brood, Mesa offers plenty to keep you entertained and inspired.

Not sure where to go? We’ve got you covered with our guide to the best places to visit in Mesa, AZ.

Must-see places to visit in Mesa, AZ

Arizona Museum of Natural History

Looking for a spot where the whole family can be entertained and inspired? Get everyone together at the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Don’t forget to bring your curiosity!

Arizona Museum of Natural History

With hundreds of exhibits and artifacts dating all the way back to the time of the dinosaurs, the Arizona Museum of Natural History is a hive of knowledge and inspiration. Traveling with kiddos in tow? Arizona Museum of Natural History has dedicated playrooms and slides to bring learning to life and make it fun.

Remember, the Arizona Museum of Natural History isn’t open on Mondays, so be sure to build your Mesa itinerary around that. Driving to the museum? You’ll be pleased to know that parking is completely free.

Mesa Arts Center

In the mood for some culture and arts? Visit one of the best art complexes in the country at the Mesa Arts Center. Carve out a full day for this massive Mesa tourist attraction.

Spanning a massive 210,000 square feet, the Mesa Arts Center is the largest comprehensive arts campus in the whole of Arizona. Catering to theater, visual media, and new media, Mesa Arts Center always has something new and exciting to tantalize your artsy tastebuds.

Take in a performance at the 1,500-seater theatre. Wander and ponder through the halls of the art gallery. Enjoy a class or seminar in the intimate studio. There are plenty of opportunities for inspiration at the Mesa Arts Center.

Riverview Park

Traveling with kiddos? At some point, you’ll need them to lose some of their energy. Bundle them up and send them out to run freely at Riverview Park.

Riverview Park

This highly interactive public park has a wide variety of kid-friendly activities, from getting wet on the splash pads to scaling new heights on the climbing frame. If you have kiddos who need to let off some steam, or you want them to get a little exercise and fresh air, Riverview Park is a great choice.

Once they’ve tuckered themselves out by playing, set up camp in the shaded picnic area and serve up a treat.

Golfland Sun Splash

In desperate need of a wet and wild family day out? Pack up your towels and get that adrenaline pumping at Golfland Sun Splash. Located in southern Mesa, this amusement park is full of fun and excitement and will create memories for years to come.

Separated into two parks, Golfland Sun Splash consists of a waterpark with 29 exhilarating rides and the Golfland side, where you can stay dry and still have a great time. Here, you can play on three different golf courses, unleash your inner Mario on the go-cart track, or rack up a high score in the amusement arcade.

Once you’ve had your fill of thrills, reconvene with your group at the park’s popular pizza joint. Relive your favorite parts of the day over a slice or five.

The Rose Garden at MCC

If you’re a gardener at heart and need a tranquil spot to reset, surround yourself with gorgeous flowers and chill out at The Rose Garden at MCC.

The Rose Garden at MCC

Located at the Mesa Community College, The Rose Garden at MCC features over 9,000 rose bushes covering 300 different varietals. It’s the largest garden of its kind in the Southwest.

Wander along the rose garden’s many sprawling paths, sit and watch the world go by, or take part in one of the service projects that help maintain this beautiful space.

The Rose Garden at MCC is open daily from 6 am. If you want a tranquil and serene start to your day in Mesa, this might be just the ticket!

Mesa Historical Museum

For a small museum that packs a big punch (and educates at the same time!), bring your curious side over to the Mesa Historical Museum.

Located in an old Mission Revival-style building from 1913, the Mesa Historical Museum has welcomed curious minds since 1987. The museum is dedicated to sharing the history of Mesa and the surrounding area. It’s run by the local historical society and even includes a replica schoolhouse.

With rotating exhibitions, including a baseball-themed Spring Training exhibit and community events like arts and crafts markets, Mesa Historical Museum truly is a delight for locals and tourists alike.

Park of Canals

It can be rare in the Arizona desert landscape to find a park with a ton of water. Luckily, right here in Mesa, you can visit the Park of Canals. It’s a beautiful and historic spot to spend a few hours.

A tribute to Native American engineering, the Park of Canals is a park that’s full of prehistoric canals winding through the landscape. Created by the Hohokam people and covering 11 hectares of land, this park is as much a historic and cultural monument as it is a recreational space.

Hike the trails, let your imagination run wild on the playground, or find a bench in the shaded picnic ramada to while away the hours.

Mesa Arizona Temple

If you’re an architecture fan and love visiting interesting places of worship on your travels, take a wander over to the beautiful and reverent Mesa Arizona Temple.

Mesa Arizona Temple

Designed in the Neoclassical architectural style, this 1920s Mormon church has a striking appearance. Today, the temple is managed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thinking of visiting Mesa at Christmas time? The Mesa Arizona Temple always puts on an elaborate light display during the lead-up to the holidays. It’s sure to bring a smile to visitors, both young and old!

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

If you’re a contemporary art enthusiast and in the mood to be inspired, bring your critical eye over to the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.

Located in the massive Mesa Arts Center, the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum comprises five gorgeous gallery spaces. These rotate between 15 exhibits over the course of each year, so there’s always something new to see, even on repeat visits.

Looking for more local contemporary art? The Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum also features The Store, an artist’s cooperative gallery where local artists can display and sell their pieces. Take a piece of Mesa back home with you!

Pioneer Park

Looking for a fun and entertaining city park in the heart of downtown Mesa? Round up your family and take a trip to the exciting and bustling Pioneer Park. If you’re not traveling with kids, you might want to steer clear of this often noisy place.

Pioneer Park

From the 15-foot water wall to the treehouse structures, to the splash pad, to the giant playground, Pioneer Park is a wonderland for any adventurous kid. For the adults, learn something new at the historic train area.

All this play building an appetite? Luckily Pioneer Park is home to a ton of food trucks, including one selling that iconic funfair food, funnel cakes. Perfect for picky eaters, wander around the vendors and reconvene at one of the many picnic tables.

Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

Interested in all things aviation? Fly down to the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum. Learn more about planes and the wider American Air Force at this specialty museum.

Located in Falcon Field, the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum includes exhibits that hark back over 100 years. Come face-to-face with a 1944 B-17G bomber & an F4 Phantom from World War II. Learn more about the role of the Air Force in different wars. Read the personal stories of those who’ve served over the years.

If you’re lucky, you may be able to time your visit with days when the museum offers living history flights, where you can go up in an old plane and have a guided tour experience!

Desert Trails Bike Park

Want to test your skills at one of Arizona’s best bike parks? Ready to unleash your inner X-Games athlete? Grab your helmet and ride over to the Desert Trails Bike Park.

Spanning over 35 acres, the Desert Trails Bike Park is a trick cyclist or BMX rider’s paradise. Test out your mountain biking skills along the expansive trail network. Get that adrenaline pumping on a series of desert jumps; they get increasingly bigger until you catch some serious air!

As it’s open from 5 am til 10 pm every single day, you can spend all day here or even go for a sunrise or sunset session. Surrounded by gorgeous scenic desert views, Desert Trails Bike Park is a must-visit for any two-wheel enthusiast.

Usery Mountain Regional Park

Looking to work up a sweat on the trails? Lace-up your hiking boots at Usery Mountain Regional Park. Get some fresh air, experience the views, and embrace the natural beauty of Mesa.

Usery Mountain Regional Park

Covering 3,658 acres of wild and protected mountainous land, Usery Mountain Regional Park is a fantastic spot for outdoor recreation. It offers plenty of variety, too, with 29 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails to explore.

The trails at Usery Mountain Regional Park range from 0.2 miles long all the way up to seven miles long and in varying intensity, so there’s something to suit all fitness times and timescales.

Make sure to check out the scenic wind caves along the Wind Cave Trail, one of the most popular trails and just under three miles long.

Granite Reef Recreational Area

Prefer to hit the water rather than the trails? Want to spend your vacation fishing? Bring your paddles and fishing rods to the Granite Reef Recreational Area.

Located along the Lower Salt River, the Granite Reef Recreational Area is the perfect spot to spend a day on the water. It’s a popular spot among paddleboarders, kayakers, and other non-motorized craft enthusiasts and a relaxing and tranquil spot to spend a day in Mesa.

Looking to cast a line on your trip to Arizona? The Granite Reef Recreational Area allows and encourages fishing from the shoreline. Bring all your gear and set up camp at this scenic spot.

Barrio Brewing Co.

All this adventuring has probably made you thirsty, right? Treat yourself to a well-earned pint at Arizona’s oldest brewery, Barrio Brewing Co. (Remember to carb up before you visit!)

At their rustic brewpub base south of Mesa, you can enjoy 12 brews on tap ranging from their Barrio Rojo red ale to their popular Blonde beer. Have a pint or three, order a big plate of house wings, and relax in their high-ceiling brewery bar.

Got a competitive streak? Invite your friends for a friendly game of shuffleboard; the loser has to buy the next round! It’ll make things interesting pretty quickly…

SoZo Coffee House

Looking for a spot to kick back and relax with a big cup of Joe on your trip to Arizona? Want to share your voice with the masses? Get your caffeine fill and live music hit at SoZo Coffee House in Chandler, AZ.

Specializing in locally roasted coffee beans, SoZo Coffee House has a laidback vibe, making it perfect for chilling out, remote working, or grabbing a cup to go. It’s a coffee shop with a conscience too. All the proceeds from SoZo Coffee House go to charity. (How’s that for feel-good coffee?)

SoZo Coffee House also hosts live music events, including a weekly open-mic night. So, if you can hold a tune and are feeling brave, visit this wonderful coffee shop and put your name down.

Bobby-Q BBQ Restaurant and Steakhouse

Have you spent your trip to Mesa running around tourist attractions or hiking up and down every trail in the area? If so, you’re going to need some filling, delicious food. Don’t worry: Bobby-Q BBQ Restaurant and Steakhouse have you covered!

An Arizona institution with locations in Mesa and Phoenix, Bobby-Q BBQ Restaurant and Steakhouse has a huge range of barbecue favorites, including brisket, ribs, mac and cheese, pit beans, and more. Too tired to go out to eat after tackling all the best things to do in Mesa, AZ? Bobby-Q BBQ Restaurant and Steakhouse offer delivery straight to your hotel room door.

Running an event in the Mesa area? Bobby-Q BBQ Restaurant and Steakhouse also offers catering services and will surely be a hit with any meat-loving guest list. (Vegans, however, will probably want to skip this one!)


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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