Go big in Mesa, Arizona's third-largest city, where fan-favorite sports, art attractions, and outdoor adventure attract visitors on a large scale.

Mesa's low profile can be deceiving, but the third-largest city in Arizona is no sleepy suburb: Ask the legion of baseball fans who flock to the city during spring training or the arts community who visit the abundant galleries and theaters. Hikers and bikers also take to the hills (and mountains!) to enjoy incredible outdoor opportunities. Here are just a few reasons to check out this East Valley destination:

Go green and grab a meal

Mesa's bountiful harvest is proudly shared with visitors throughout the year. Serving as the culinary gateway to Greater Phoenix, the neighboring farms and Agritourism attractions in and around Mesa provide a continuous bounty of seasonal goods for visitors to enjoy. Here, fresh experiences and a treasured heritage of family farms and long-standing festivals combine to create the Fresh Foodie Trail®. Download the Arizona Agritourism Guide (PDF) to see the stops along the trail and plan your tour now.

Celebrate a diamond anniversary

For more than 70 years, baseball fans have converged upon Mesa each spring to catch a glimpse of their favorite players and scout the newest rookies during Major League Baseball Spring Training. The Chicago Cubs, who play at Sloan Park, and the Oakland A's, at Hohokam Stadium, host more than 200 Cactus League practice games during the month-long season.

Exercise your street cred

Wide, shaded breezeways and misting systems make downtown Mesa particularly refreshing to visit even in the summertime. Here, you'll find an eclectic mix of must-sees: The movie theater that opened in 1924, for example, is now a vegan café and coffee shop by day, and a punk and rock music venue by night. Nearby businesses include a typewriter repair shop, a craft cider brewery and Mangos, where the de la Cruz family has been serving Mexican fare for more than 25 years.

Down Main Street, the gorgeous Mesa Arts Center campus includes four theaters, five art galleries and 14 art studios, in which visitors can watch, admire, buy and even create their own works of fine and practical art. At the nearby Mesa Amphitheatre's tiered lawn, visitors can enjoy music events in Mesa, including rock, hip-hop, jazz and other concerts from national touring acts year-round.

Engage in a flight of fancy

Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum hosts a unique thing to do in Mesa. Here, visitors can get an up-close look at—and inside—vintage warplanes and copters from World War I onward. Inside the museum's maintenance hangar, mechanics recondition the working aircraft—and at certain times of the year, guests can book flight experiences inside one of seven historic planes, including a B-17 and B-25 bomber.

Wet and wilds

Northeast Mesa is the gateway to several outdoor adventures. The most popular trek among Usery Mountain Regional Park's 29 miles of hiking and biking trails is a 1½-mile trip to a cliff hollow that gives the Wind Cave Trail its name. The park also houses one of the top archery ranges in the state, with nearly 100 targets on six separate courses.

A few miles up the Bush Highway lies Saguaro Lake, part of Tonto National Forest, where visitors can bring or rent kayaks and paddleboards, or board a double-decker cruise boat for an 80-minute tour with live music, wine or craft beers. Be on the lookout for wild horses during the tour. Downriver is the launch point for busloads of tubers who hop into the Salt River and let the currents carry them for family-friendly float trips that can last up to four hours.

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