Located about 20 miles east of Phoenix, Mesa could be described as a suburb that just keeps growing. But with it’s own lifestyle, culture, shopping, and dining options, Mesa is a whole lot more than a suburb.
If you are looking for a great collection of big city amenities in a small town atmosphere that is really close to even more big city amenities, Mesa is a perfect place to start your search for the perfect retirement community.
The area that became Mesa was originally settled by a group of people known as the Hohokam. By the time Christopher Columbus landed on the East Coast of North America, the Hohokam had already dug many miles of canals through the area that would eventually become Mesa, some of which are still being used today.
The next wave of settlers move into the area during the late 1800s, when three different groups of people moved to Arizona and took up residence in the areas that would eventually fall within the city limits. The city was incorporated in 1883, and shortly after there were schools and utilities up and running.
Like most of Arizona, Mesa became a popular destination for military personnel in the 1940s, and then saw an even larger population influx during the 1950s and 1960s, thanks in large part to the invention of air conditioning.
After logging multiple decades of growth in excess of 100% during the late 1900s, there were a total of 439,041 people who called Mesa home during that 2010 census. That number was estimated to have grown to over 470,000 in 2015.
Of the 146,643 households in Mesa, 33.4% reported having young children and only 9.1% had someone 65 years old or more. The median income for a household in Mesa is $42,817.
With it’s location in the middle of the desert, you might not expect there to be much to do outside in and around Mesa, but there are actually dozens of local parks as well as some great sights and adventures you can find if you travel a bit outside of town.
One of the most popular nearby places for hiking is Usery Mountain Regional Park. Here you will find the amazing Wind Cave Trail that features a stunning hanging garden known as Rock Daisy.
Because there is a rich military history in the area, one of the most popular museums in Mesa is the Commemorative Air Force Museum. The museum maintains an incredible collection of World War II planes and a huge collection of other aviation history.
On the artistic side, the Mesa Arts Center is the hub of the cultural community in Mesa. Here you will find a bright and lively art museum, as well as a first-class theater that hosts everything from Broadway musicals to local comedy shows.
If you are looking for a modern shopping experience, you can find more than 150 stores to pick from at the Superstition Springs Center. There is also upscale shopping at Village Square at Dana Park, and outlet shopping at Phoenix Premium Outlets.
For those who prefer a more boutique shopping experience, you can find all kinds of interesting independent shops by strolling the streets of downtown Mesa. And bargain shoppers will love the experience of heading out to explore the 55 acres of booths at the Mesa Marketplace & Swap Meet.
You can’t live this close to the border and not have a ton of Mexican restaurants to choose from, and there are definitely some great ones in Mesa. Two of the most popular places to grab an authentic burrito are Adrian’s and Backyard Taco.
Another popular lunch spot is Worth Takeaway, where you will find some of the most amazing craft sandwiches you have ever seen. On your first trip here, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t start with either their Reuben or their Crispy Chicken Sandwich.
One final place that you will want to try for a classy lunch option is Bistro a la Mode. The is the perfect American take on a classic French bistro because while it feels kind of fancy, you can still pronounce everything on the menu!
Because it is located right in the heart of Arizona, and just a few miles east of Phoenix, the entire Mesa area is surrounded by options when it comes to active adult communities. There are community options for just about every type of personality and budget.
Encore at Eastmark, by Taylor Morrison, offers an active, resort-style community for the 55-Plus crowd. Encore is being planned for approximately 900 single story homes upon completion and has its own clubhouse, The Encore Club which boasts and exciting list of exclusive features: fitness center, pickleball courts, locker rooms, billiards room, arts & crafts center, resort-style outdoor pool, and much more.
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Mesa offers the perfect combination of modern living with classic culture that is sure you keep you feeling young all year round. Between the great lunch options at local restaurants, the modern shopping destinations, and the budding cultural scene, there is nothing that isn’t available here in Mesa!