Fun Things to Do in Mesa, Arizona at Any Age

Neighboring Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and more, learn what to do on your Mesa, AZ, vacation.

Like a mirage in a desert, Mesa, Arizona, is a sunny oasis for anyone looking for a warm-weather getaway in spring and beyond.

This hub of adventure is only about a 13-mile drive east from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and has something to offer travelers of all ages. Less crowded than Phoenix and more budget-friendly than Scottsdale, Mesa is an ideal Arizona vacation destination for families. Kids can explore the world of pioneers by panning for gold, families can partake in the age-old tradition of catching a game during Cactus League baseball exhibitions, and adults looking to relax and unwind can enjoy wine tastings and spa treatments.

So grab some sunscreen, your trusty mitt and a handful of autograph pens, and get ready for a vacation to the Grand Canyon State.

  1. Things to Do in Mesa, Arizona, with Kids
  2. Things to Do in Mesa, Arizona, with Teenagers
  3. Adults-Only Things to Do in Mesa, Arizona

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Things to Do in Mesa, Arizona, with Kids

Quick Hits

If you’re heading to Mesa with kids:

  • See dinosaurs with your own eyes at the Arizona Museum of Natural History.
  • Pan for gold at Goldfield Ghost Town.

Catch a ballgame at Peoria Stadium, which is just 40 miles northwest of town and features a splash pad, or in town at Sloan Park.

It’s a treat to visit one of the 10 Cactus League ballparks that host 15 MLB teams during spring training in and around Mesa, Arizona, but the real bonus comes from the spring training price tag. Fans can sit on the outfield terrace and soak up the grand old game with tickets that are far cheaper than in the regular season. Most of the Cactus League stadiums are filled with activities for kids, as well as carnival-like games, souvenir shops and autograph opportunities galore. Be sure to save your ticket stubs for discounts on activities around town.

While Jurassic Park might not be a reality yet, the animatronic dinosaurs at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa’s city center provide a close second for kids looking to meet a dinosaur in the flesh. Dinosaur Mountain, one of several paleontology exhibits at the museum, also offers a simulated flash flood that shows how the Arizona landscape was shaped over millions of years.

After spending a morning in downtown Mesa, families can drive about 25 miles northeast to Apache Junction to experience the Wild West at Goldfield Ghost Town. Staged gunfights, mine tours and an authentic saloon offer a glimpse of life as a prospector in the 1890s. Horseback riding, gold panning, target shooting and, zip lining and more make this gold rush ghost town a jackpot for families.


Things to Do in Mesa, Arizona, Spring Break With Teenagers

Quick Hits

If you’re heading to Mesa with teenagers:

  • Catch a ballgame at Mesa’s Sloan Park, home to the Chicago Cubs.
  • Zip line at Rappel Arizona.
  • Play miniature golf at Golfland Sunsplash.

Fans need not venture to the Windy City to experience Chicago Cubs baseball. Just visit Sloan Park — aka Wrigleyville West —– nestled in Mesa. The layout of Sloan Park, which opened in 2014, is great for teens, as well as the rest of the family, to explore. Upon entering, a replica of the Wrigley Field marquee offers visitors the opportunity to snap photos and create a custom shout-out to friends and family. After the game, head down the street to Portillo’s for one of its Chicago-style hot dogs or a dripping Italian beef sandwich.

If you can't find tickets for a game at Sloan, don't fret. Just check out one of the seven side fields where players practice and warm up. Watch your favorite players up close as they go through their workouts. As an added bonus, autographs, photo ops and candid meetings are easy to come by as you roam the fields alongside some of baseball’s rising stars. Also, if your teens are already itching for a college experience, drive 5 miles northwest to nearby Phoenix to see the Arizona State Sun Devils, a perennial college baseball powerhouse, play at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Though baseball takes the spotlight in Mesa in March, the nearby mountains offer some extreme outdoor adventure. Try Rappel Arizona for zip lines, ropes courses and high-altitude challenges.

If you are looking for thrills that are a little less rocky in Mesa, consider Golfland Sunsplash, one of the most popular water parks near Phoenix. Start your visit with a round of miniature golf and then cool off in the lazy river, in the wave pool or on one of many exciting rides like Thunder Falls, a family raft ride that drops nearly seven stories.   


Adults-Only Things to Do in Mesa, Arizona

Quick Hits

If you’re heading to Mesa with other adults:

  • Catch a Los Angeles Angels ballgame at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
  • Hike at Camelback Mountain.
  • Enjoy wine and chocolate tastings at Su Vino Winery.

With a rental car and a full tank of gas, you can catch a Cubs morning workout at Mesa's Sloan Park and then drive about 9 miles 15 minutes southwest for a brew and a ballgame at Tempe Diablo Stadium, where the Los Angeles Angels train. From the ballpark, drive just over 16 miles northeast to conclude your day with a game of golf, blackjack or a live concert at Scottsdale'’s Talking Stick Resort. The resort and casino are just a hop, skip and jump from the Colorado Rockies' and Arizona Diamondbacks’ shared spring training complex at Salt River Fields. The next day, your crew can grab some hiking shoes (and climbing gear, if you feel adventurous) for exploring Camelback Mountain –— just about a 15-mile drive from Mesa.

Prefer a more laid-back vacation? Start off with an 11-mile drive northwest to Su Vino Winery in Scottsdale. Located in the city’s downtown arts district, Su Vino offers travelers wine tastings, chocolates and a light menu. Buy a bottle or two of wine to enjoy later on your vacation, then load up the car and head back to Phoenix for some rest and relaxation at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa. Its tranquil Alvadora Spa is situated in the rocky terrain of the surrounding mountains. (Bonus tip: Love mixing wellness with your travel? Head about 130 miles north to Enchantment Resort in Sedona at the end of your Arizona vacation for stargazing, yoga and nature walks.) If you’re looking for more of a rousing finish to your day, head to Casino Arizona in Scottsdale. Choose from the casino’s diverse nightlife activities, ranging from dancing to weekly music concerts.

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About the Author

Marcus Murphree is a Chicago-based writer, former reporter and editor for The Dallas Morning News, and lifelong baseball fan. He has made the spring training trek three times to Arizona's Cactus League. His favorite spring training memory was getting Don Mattingly to acknowledge his Simpsons heckling in 2012.