Moving to Mesa, Arizona? Here’s Your Go to Guide
Welcome to Mesa! We think you’ll love it here as much as we do. It’s got all the charm of a big city minus many of the associated problems. Mesa is big and getting bigger. In 2015, the city’s population was over 462,000. By 2030, that’s expected to grow to almost half a million.
On the heels of Phoenix and Tucson, Mesa is the third-largest city in Arizona. That makes it the 38th largest city in the entire United States. Its population is greater than Atlanta, Miami, and St. Louis. But people aren’t squashed together. There’s room to breathe. Mesa spreads out over 133 square miles.
Money goes a long way here. Mesa has a relatively low cost of living. On top of this, the average household income was over $64,000 in 2015… more than $10,000 above the national average. No wonder the area is growing.
But it’s not all about money. If you’re not a fan of cold weather, Mesa’s your place. The closest we usually get are some “very cool” winter nights. Even during December, people might wear a light jacket or sweater outside, but that’s optional. The area gets little annual rain. If you’re a fan of the sun, you’ve come to the right place. (We do get the stray cloud now and then.)
There’s so much to tell you about Mesa. That’s why our movers in Mesa, Arizona have compiled this guide. It’ll walk you through the city, giving you a good feel for the area. In addition to climate, you’ll learn about the residents, economy, food, transportation, neighborhoods, activities, transportation, and history.
There’s a lot of information here, so take your time. Mesa is here waiting for you. Clearly, it’s not going anywhere. Once you find out more about the city, we’re sure you’ll stick around for a long time, too.
Chapter 2: What’s The Weather in Mesa, Arizona Like
Chapter 3: How’s The Food in Mesa
Chapter 4: Employment and the Local Economy
Chapter 5: Transportation and Local Driving in Mesa
Chapter 6: Best Areas and Places to Live in Mesa
Chapter 7: Local People
Chapter 8: Things to Do in Mesa
Chapter 9: Required Reading Before Moving to Mesa
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Things to Know About Living in Mesa, Arizona
Arizona is attracting huge numbers of new residents. Ten of thousands of people move here every year. And Mesa is one of the state’s most popular cities. Just ask Time, Inc.’s “Money” magazine. In 2015, it named Mesa the best Southwest big city to live in. Mesa has all the advantages of a large city. Its school district is outstanding. The area is also surprisingly affordable. These features make it an attractive destination, especially for folks raising families.
When assessing cities with over 300,000 residents, “Money” considered a lot of variables: the economy, housing affordability, education, health, crime, culture and leisure activities, and overall convenience. As you read through this guide, you’ll see why Mesa soared to the top of the list.
These sites will start familiarizing you with your new home:
- City of Mesa Home Page
- The 5 Best Big Cities
- New US Census data: People really want to move to Arizona
- Mesa, Arizona, Downtown Edition
- Mesa Chamber of Commerce
- Maricopa County, Arizona
- Mesa PD: FBI Figures Rate City 3rd-safest for Violent, Property Crimes
What’s The Weather Like in Mesa
Welcome to Mesa. Hope you like warm weather. Early winter is on the cool side, and downright chilly at night. As the area moves toward spring, temperatures begin to climb. And climb. And climb. In July, the average high temp is over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. As might approaches, it usually doesn’t drop down below 74 degrees.
Mesa is also pretty darn dry. It gets about 9 inches of rain annually. April, May, and June are especially arid months. All this dry, sunny weather year-round makes outdoor activities popular…but so is air conditioning. Residents need to be sure to drink enough fluids when temperatures soar. Heat-related illnesses, such as sunstroke, happen when people are lax about preventative measures.
Read up on Mesa’s weather so you won’t be taken by surprise:
- Visit Mesa: Weather
- Mesa, Arizona, Monthly Weather
- Rainfall Data, Maricopa County, Arizona
- Mesa, Arizona, Period of Record Monthly Climate Summary
- Phoenix’s Too Hot Future
- How to Stay Safe From Arizona’s Summer Heat and Sun
What Type of Food is Popular
Do you like Mexican food? It’s a theme at many Mesa restaurants. However, you can also get Japanese, Greek, Vietnamese, Italian, Indian, and Cajun cuisine. In fact, Mesa has so many restaurants you’d be hard-pressed to name a food you can’t find. Barbecue, pizza, steak, burgers, salads, sandwiches, pasta, seafood, vegetarian, vegan… the list goes on and on.
Want to do some cooking yourself? Mesa has a 12-month farmers’ market. You can pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, baked goods, and condiments. There are also many grocery stores, but Bashas’ is an Arizona-based chain, with more than 130 stores throughout the state.
Check out Mesa’s eclectic food scene on these sites:
- Eating Out in Mesa, Arizona: The 10 Best Restaurants
- Best of the Valley: Food and Drink
- 9 Best Burger Joints in Mesa, AZ!
- Visit Mesa: Restaurants in Mesa
- Recent Mesa Restaurant Reviews
- Downtown Mesa Dining
- Health Food, Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants in Mesa, AZ
- Mesa Community Farmers’ Market
- Local and Organic Food
Employment and The Economy in Mesa, AZ
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the city’s unemployment rate was 4.6 percent during February 2016. That’s slightly less than the national average, and things are looking up. The entire state is expected to lead the U.S. in job growth during the next several years. Mesa’s cost of living, though, is already lower than the U.S. average.
The city government encourages business startups, expansion and relocation to the area. Apple, Bridgestone, FUJIFILM, and Mitsubishi are among many large companies that are active in Mesa. Also, Arizona is one of the country’s largest aerospace and defense manufacturing locations. Boeing has been making Apache helicopters in Mesa for decades.
Find out more about Mesa’s economy and job prospects:
- Economy at a Glance: Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale AZ
- Why Forbes Projects Arizona to Lead U.S. in Job Growth
- How the Aerospace Industry Impacts Arizona’s Economy
- City of Mesa Economic Development
- Mesa, AZ, Cost of Living
- City of Mesa Embracing “Creative Economy”
Driving and Transportation in Mesa
Residents of Mesa have access to Valley Metro’s regional public transportation. Both bus and light rail options are available, with several park-and-ride locations. The system is bike-friendly. Folks who want to combine biking and mass transit can secure their bikes to buses or bring them on trains. Cyclists can also take advantage of Mesa’s bike lanes, bike routes, multiuse paths, and canal paths.
Valley Metro’s public transportation goes directly to nearby Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. A smaller airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport, is located in Mesa. The city also has a Greyhound bus terminal. For train travelers, Amtrak stations are close by.
Learn how to get around Mesa from these sites:
- Valley Metro
- Amtrak: Phoenix, AZ
- Amtrak: Maricopa, AZ
- Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
- Greyhound: Mesa Bus Station
- City of Mesa: Bike and Pedestrian Program
Best Areas and Neighborhoods in Mesa
Mesa’s sprawl is divided up into many, many neighborhoods. Each is distinctive. For instance, the Robson Historic District has small bungalows from the ‘20s and ‘30s. Houses these are some of the most affordable in the city. The Las Sendas neighborhood contains primarily new homes, and prices vary significantly. Parks, hiking and biking trails, and a golf course are handy.
Downtown Mesa features historic buildings. House styles include Craftsman bungalows, and Spanish Eclectic, Tudor, and adobe homes. Property values are expected to go up in this area.
Mesa’s city government encourages residents to become involved in their neighborhoods to make them safer and friendlier. For example, the Love Your Block program supports community members who want to assist neighbors with home upkeep.
Discover more about Mesa’s neighborhoods and outreach programs:
- City of Mesa Neighborhood Outreach
- Visit Mesa: Neighborhoods
- City of Mesa Tool Lending Program
- Neighborhoods We Love
- Best Old House Neighborhoods 2011: The Southwest
- Discover Your Mesa Neighborhood
- Cities of Service: Mesa, AZ
Locals in Mesa, AZ
Who lives in Mesa? Check out some characteristics:
- The median age is 35.5 years old. (Half the residents are older, and half are younger.)
- The largest age group contains 25- to 44-year-olds, followed by the 14-and-under category.
- Over 75 percent of the population is white.
- Almost 35 percent have at least an Associates degree.
Mesa has many students, as well. The city is home to several educational institutions, including Mesa Community College and Arizona State Polytech campus.
Uncover more information about your neighbors from these sites:
- Quick Facts: Mesa, Arizona
- City of Mesa: Demographics
- Mesa Speaks, Mesa Listens: Inclusion & Diversity Report
- Helping Hands Build a Better Mesa
- Mesa Public Schools
- Arizona State University Polytech Campus
- Mesa Community College
Things to Do in Mesa
The fine weather makes parks and pools popular places in Mesa. (Just remember to protect yourself from the sun and stay hydrated!) Another popular outdoor activity that’s less tiring — for spectators, at least — is watching preseason baseball at Hohokam Stadium. The Oakland A’s hold spring training in Mesa.
If you’d rather be inside, check out Mesa’s Museum of Natural History, with its archeology and paleontology displays. The Arizona wing of the Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum is in Mesa. Exhibits examine topics such as enemy artifacts, historic plane Women Airforce Service Pilots. You can also relax and enjoy one of the many cultural events at the Mesa Arts Center.
You’ll find lots of things to keep you busy in this list:
- City of Mesa: Parks
- City of Mesa: Pools
- City of Mesa: Hohokum Stadium
- Mesa Arts Center
- Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum
- Mesa Market Place Swap Meet
- Arizona Museum of Natural History
- Mesa Public Library
- Fun Activities to Do With Children in Mesa, Arizona
- Visit Mesa: Things to Do in Mesa
Curious about Mesa’s history? In 1878, a group of Mormons — the Mesa Company — formed a settlement in the Salt River Valley. The original town had an area of one square mile. Four years later, the community numbered 300.
Jump forward a century, and the population of Mesa had grown to over 150,000. Within another 10 years, the city was closing in on 300,000 people. By that point, Mesa was one of the fastest-growing large cities in the United States.
This wasn’t an unusual increase. Between 1930 and 1990, the city’s population almost doubled each decade. Clearly, Mesa has been a popular place for a long time.
These sites will give you more info about many aspects of Mesa:
You’re all set now. Read through this guide, and you’ll get a handle on Mesa, your new home. Welcome to the neighborhood!
Be sure to check out our guide on moving to Scottsdale, Arizona.