Mesa Among Best in the Southwest
Home in Las Sendas, Mesa (Photo by Ed/Flickr Commons)

When it comes to places to live, work and play in the Southwest, Mesa is a Big City Best. Money Magazine recently ranked the East Valley city the Best Big City in the region citing Mesa’s strong job market, affordable housing and other factors such as accessibility to health care, culture and open space.

With a population of just over 460,000, Mesa is the third largest city in Arizona, and the 38th largest city in the nation. Located in the Sonoran Desert, Mesa is surrounded by natural beauty with the Superstition Mountains just east of the city, close to lakes and the Salt River. The municipality offers more than 60 parks, four recreation centers, 11 aquatic and splash centers, a community fishing program, and numerous sports facilities for baseball/softball games, skateboard and bike enthusiast and tennis lovers.

The median home price is Mesa is $172,000 with property taxes averaging $1,200. Mesa’s unemployment rate is 4.5 percent, lower than the state average of 6 percent. Most common industries found in Mesa are construction, retail trade, manufacturing, administrative and support and waste management services, accommodation and food services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care and social assistance.

While there is an extensive list of golf courses in Mesa, including Las Sendas Golf Course, Augusta Ranch Golf Club, and Sunland Village Golf Club, spectator sports also have a place in Mesa. The Oakland A’s returned to Hohokam Field for Spring Training after a 37-year hiatus, and the Chicago Cubs moved to Sloan Park.

Boasting cultural centers like the Mesa Historical Museum, the I.d.e.a. Museum (formerly the Arizona Museum for Youth), Mesa Convention Center and the Mesa Arts Center (the largest art center in Arizona), Mesa’s enriching arts and historical venues offer a variety of educational and entertaining opportunities for residents and visitors.

Mesa also got Money Magazine’s nod for its great schools and golf courses. Of the 51 schools achieving an A+ designation from the Arizona Educational Foundation, nine were in Mesa.

– Tracy House / Edited for