Why We Live Here
Mesa is a thriving metropolis in the southwest, with lifestyle and leisure pursuits in high demand by visitors. Surrounded by the Sonoran Desert, Mesa is a playground for outdoor recreation, with convenient access to three lakes, two rivers and endless hiking trails. The city’s downtown is a vibrant epicenter with boutiques, antique shops, museums, studios and cafes – all anchored by Mesa Arts Center. Mesa is home to a stunning collection of golf courses, superb dining and upscale shopping.
- Incorporated 1883
- Area 138.1 sq. mi.
- Elevation 1,240’
- County Maricopa
- Website https://www.mesaaz.gov
- Population 538,146 (2021 est.)
- Population Density 3,897 per sq. mi.
- Median Age 36.1
- Families with Kids Under 18 43%
- Average Household Income $77,738
- Overall Cost of Living 104.2
Mesa was first inhabited by the Hohokam people thousands of years ago. During its early history, the people built a canal system that was one of the most sophisticated of its time. By the year 1450, hundreds of miles of canals were built, and many of them are still used in modern times.
The US Army came to the area in the late 19th century. At that time, it was opened for settlement. Daniel Webster Jones came from Utah to Arizona to found a Mormon settlement and arrived along the north edge of the city. This settlement was known as Lehi in 1883. The First Mesa Company came to the area to develop canals, followed by the Second Mesa Company who settled west of the First Mesa Company. It was during 1878 that Mesa City was designated as a town. Shortly after that, the first school was built and in 1883, the city was incorporated.
During the 1800s, the Mesa Canal was widened to construct a power plant. The city later purchased the plant and used funds to pave roads and build new buildings, including a hospital and library. During the 1940s, the city saw an increase in tourism, which led to population growth. Until the 1960s, agriculture was a significant contributor to the economy, until the city became more industrialized.
Mesa has seen an increase in population in every census taken since the early 1900s. The most substantial increase was recorded between the poll taken in 1970 and 1980, reflecting a 141.7% increase. While recent numbers haven’t been quite that high, the city most recently has seen 10.4% growth since the last census taken in 2010, indicating that this city still has more growth in its future.
Major Attractions and Events
- Arizona Museum of Natural History
- Mesa Arts Center
- Riverview Park
- Silver Star Playhouse
- Blue Adobe Sante Fe Grill
- India Oven
- Red, White & Brew
- T.C. Eggington’s