While modern takes on the Adobe and Spanish Colonial styles are prevalent in Mesa, the Historic Preservation Board has worked to maintain the diverse appearance of its downtown core. Familiar landmarks include the Pueblo Revival-style Buckhorn Baths Motel on Main Street and Chandler Court, which was the city’s first business complex, crafted in the Mission Revival style in 1907. The Library Building in City Plaza is representative of the post-World War II Formalism style which permeated Mesa during its first growth spurt in the mid-1900s. The Lehi School and Alhambra Hotel are reconstructions from Mesa’s pioneer days.
Williams Field Air Force Base was a cornerstone of the community from 1941 until 1993 and Boeing Aviation remains Mesa’s third-largest employer. Now a city-owned historic site, landmark structures at Williams include the iconic Base Flagpole, ammo bunkers and airplane hangars. The Mesa Grande Cultural Park on Date Street preserves religious mounds and ancient canals dug by the Hohokam peoples a millennium ago.
The Mesa housing market evolved with significant developments of single family homes for sale – today there are 125,699 single family homes. Much of the real estate market’s growth was spurred by downsizing empty nester transplants. Apartments for sale emerged to meet the demand – there are 17,466 condo units in Mesa. The housing stock includes 2,043 multi-family properties and 380 apartment buildings.
The Mesa real estate market supports 7,176 commercial properties and another 1,229 are zoned for mixed use. There are 797 industrial properties in Mesa and still plenty of opportunity in undeveloped desert land with 8,138 vacant lots.
The Regional Public Transportation Authority runs routes for Mesa and the other satellite cities of Phoenix. Metro Valley Rail is one of the nation’s busiest light rail systems with five stops in Mesa. The city operates two limited service airports and has created 40 miles of bike lanes on its streets.
Mesa Public Schools is the largest public school district in Arizona, educating over 60,000 students in more than 70 schools. Post-graduate study is common in Mesa with Mesa Community College enrolling over 25,000 students and the Polytechnic branch of Arizona State University educating another 6,000 every year.
The non-profit Banner Health is the city’s largest employer and its Banner Desert Medical Center is ranked #50 in America for gynecological services. Both Desert Medical and Banner Baywood Medical Center are ranked among the ten best hospitals in Arizona.
Violent crimes reported in Mesa are about the same as the national average and the Arizona average –1 in 239. Property crime is also about as prevalent as in America as a whole with an incidence of 1 in 40.
Parts of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure were filmed in Mesa and Mesans can understand why. Adventure time in Mesa begins with 2,280 acres of city parkland and not all of that is desert real estate – there are three lakes and two rivers offering a refreshing break from the Southwestern sun. Hikers hit the trail at Usery Mountain Regional Park. Mesa menus have expanded beyond traditional Tex-Mex fare but the chili-based cuisine of New Mexico at the Original Blue Adobe is still a Mesan tradition.
Mesa is proud of its Hohokam Stadium, which hosts Cactus League spring training each March. Another source of civic pride is the city culture on display downtown in the Mesa Arts Center, the Arizona Museum of Natural History, and the Arizona Museum of Youth. While downtown, residents check in on the 38 pieces (and counting) in Mesa’s Permanent Sculpture Collection of public art. The First Friday of every month is Bike Night, featuring family-friendly activities with over 3,000 motorcycle enthusiasts.
Even if snow is never in the Mesa forecast, the Arizona Temple Gardens Christmas Lights display draws over one million admirers every holiday season.