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Although located in the East Valley portion of the Phoenix metropolitan area, Mesa is a unique and vibrant city in its own right. With a population of over 500,000 people, Mesa is the largest suburban city by population in the United States, and it is the third-largest city in Arizona, behind only Phoenix and Tucson. Offering beautiful scenery, a stunning desert landscape, and a diverse, warm, and welcoming community, Mesa is a sunny southwestern city that would truly make a great place to call home.
A Bit of Mesa History
Prior to its modern-day history, Mesa was occupied by the Hohokam native people, who built a canal system in the area that was known to be the most sophisticated such canal system in the prehistoric New World. By the late 19th century, modern-day settlers arrived in the area, and a settlement at the site that is now Mesa was initially founded by Mormon pioneer Daniel Webster Jones in 1877. Webster called the settlement Fort Utah, and the group remained there for a time and eventually, another ground called the First Mesa Company came and settled in the area along the mesa that later became its namesake. Mesa grew relatively slowly until the 1940s when an airport and Williams Air Force Base were constructed in the area. This, along with the eventual advent of air conditioning, caused a boom in the growth of the town. Today, Mesa is known for its scenic beauty, its unique southwestern heritage, its diverse and welcoming community, and for all that it offers to see it and do for visitors and residents alike.
A Few Fun Facts About Mesa
Read more fun facts about Mesa here.
The LGBTQ Community in Mesa
Mesa’s LGBTQ community is a bit smaller than those in some larger cities, but it is nevertheless a warm, welcoming, and thriving community that is well-supported by a variety of resources including:
PFLAG Phoenix is the Mesa area’s local chapter of the national PFLAG organization, and it serves the greater Phoenix area. PFLAG is the largest grassroots organization of its kind in the country, with 500 chapters and more than 200,000 members across the United States, PFLAG plays an important and necessary role in providing advocacy, resources, networking opportunities, and support to the LGBTQ community.
One n Ten is a center for LGBTQ youth and young adults serving the greater Phoenix area, including Mesa. Its mission is to serve LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 11-24 and to enhance the lives of the youth it serves by providing empowering and engaging social service programs that promote the development of leadership skills, self-expression, and healthy life choices.
A Look at Mesa’s Weather
When people think of Arizona weather, they typically think of an arid, desert-type climate, and the climate in Mesa fits this description. This means that Mesa residents can expect hot, dry summers, mild winters, and very little rainfall – only ten inches a year, on average. The average high temperature in July in Mesa is around 105°F, and the average low in January is usually 41°F. Mesa residents can also expect plenty of sunshine – an average of 301 sunny days per year, in fact.
The Best Events in Mesa
The Phoenix Pride Festival has been organizing marches, rallies, parades, educational events, and outreach projects to celebrate the Phoenix LGBTQ+ community for 40 years. The Pride festival is a two-day celebration designed to bring the LGBTQ+ and allied communities together in camaraderie and celebration while also raising funds for the Phoenix Pride Community all that the LGBTQ community adds to the city.
The Mesa Arts Festival is a yearly festival held at the Mesa Arts Center featuring a wide array of handmade offerings from local regional and national artists. Also offered are family-friendly activities, musical performances, delicious food, and fun for all.
Where to Live in Mesa
Unlike some larger cities, Mesa doesn’t have one neighborhood that is specifically known as the “gay” neighborhood in the city. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of wonderful places to live, though. It probably goes without saying that because Mesa is generally considered a suburb of Phoenix, it generally has a suburban feel. Northeast Mesa generally has a more upscale feel and features several golf communities and enclaves of custom homes, as well as some more affordable neighborhoods too. There are plenty of parks and green spaces in this area and a wide variety of home styles and price ranges. Southeast Mesa is a growing area that is attracting many new homebuyers and businesses. This area tends to attract a younger crowd, as well as plenty of families and retirees. It also has many golf courses and recreational areas close by.
Arts and Entertainment
The Mesa Arts Center is the largest comprehensive performing arts center in the state of Arizona. A wide variety of shows, performances, and visual arts displays are offered throughout the year, for audiences of all ages to enjoy.
Silverstar Dinner Show Theatre is a unique theater experience in Mesa offering audiences the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful meal and a live performance at the same time. A wide variety of shows are offered throughout the year so there is something for everyone here!
Parks and Recreation
Usery Mountain Regional Park is a beautiful 3,648-acre park in Mesa that offers camping, archery and 29 miles of multi-use trails, as well as a series of stunning scenic wind caves for visitors to explore and enjoy. It’s a wonderful place to spend a beautiful Mesa afternoon!
Located only a short drive away in Phoenix, The Phoenix Gay Flag Football League is a recreational league in the greater Phoenix area open to the LGBTQ community and its allies, regardless of experience level or ability. The mission of the league is to provide a safe space to grow, get some healthy exercise, have fun, and make friends. PGFFL also often hosts fundraisers and cultural events to raise awareness and support causes important to the LGBTQ community in the greater Phoenix area.
Organ Stop Pizza is a unique Mesa restaurant known for its unique menu of pizza and Italian fare as well as live music from a gigantic Wurlitzer organ. It’s a great spot for a delicious dinner on a night out.
Charlie’s is a staple of LGBTQ nightlife in the greater Phoenix area. Charlie’s regularly offers a wide variety of theme nights, fantastic drag shows, strong drinks, and a lively dance floor. It’s a great spot to hang with old friends – or make new ones!
Contact a Mesa Gay Realtor Today
If you think you would love living in Mesa and you’re ready to find the perfect home, your first step should be finding a realtor who loves the city and knows its neighborhoods well. It’s an essential step to a smooth and successful home-buying process. If you’re ready to do that, we’re ready to help. Contact a Mesa gay realtor today for a free, no-obligation consultation!