Is Mesa, AZ a Good Place to Live? 10 Pros and Cons of Living in Mesa

Mesa, AZ, is known for its character and diverse attractions, from breathtaking desert vistas to a vibrant arts scene and deep cultural roots. Yet, is Mesa a good place to live? While the city is filled with abundant outdoor opportunities and a tight-knit community, it also presents its own set of hurdles. In this Redfin article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of living in Mesa to help you decide if it’s the right place for you.

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mesa arizona mountain view at sunset

Quick Facts about Mesa

Median home sale price $449,000
Average monthly rent $1,425
Walk Score 38/100
Transit Score 27/100
Bike Score 60/100

1. Pro: Abundant sunshine

Mesa enjoys over 300 days of sunshine each year, making it a haven for those who love warm weather and outdoor activities. The consistent sunny weather allows residents to enjoy year-round golfing, hiking, and other outdoor pursuits. For example, the Usery Mountain Regional Park offers excellent hiking trails with stunning desert views. Although constant sunshine is definitely a pro to living in this city, it does come with extreme heat in the summer months. More on this below.

2. Con: Extreme summer heat

While the sunshine is a significant advantage, the extreme summer heat can be a drawback. Temperatures in Mesa can soar above 110°F during the peak summer months, making outdoor activities challenging and sometimes dangerous. Residents often have to rely heavily on air conditioning, which can lead to higher energy bills. Additionally, you’ll want to learn how extreme heat could impact your home, so you can stay safe.

3. Pro: Great museums and festivals

With numerous museums and cultural centers, Mesa has many opportunities that celebrate history and diversity. The Mesa Arts Center, for instance, is the largest comprehensive arts campus in the state and offers a variety of performances, exhibitions, and educational programs. The city also hosts several annual cultural festivals, such as the Mesa Music Festival, which attracts artists and visitors from all over the country.

4. Con: Minimal transit options

One of the downsides of living in Mesa is the limited public transportation options. While there are some bus routes and a light rail system, the transit score is 27, meaning they may not be as extensive or convenient as those in larger metropolitan areas. This can make commuting without a car challenging, especially for those who live in more suburban parts of the city. As a result, many residents find themselves relying on personal vehicles.

tonto national forest mesa

5. Pro: Bike-friendly downtown

Mesa stands out as one of Arizona’s most bikeable cities, boasting a network of well-maintained bike lanes and scenic trails that cater to cyclists of all skill levels. From leisurely rides along the Salt River to challenging mountain bike excursions in Usery Mountain Regional Park, Mesa offers abundant opportunities for cyclists to explore its diverse terrain.

6. Con: Limited nightlife

For those who enjoy a vibrant nightlife, Mesa might feel somewhat lacking. The city has fewer bars, clubs, and late-night entertainment options compared to neighboring cities like Tempe or Phoenix. While there are some local spots to enjoy, the options are more limited, and residents often have to travel to nearby cities for a more lively nightlife experience.

7. Pro: Abundant recreational activities

Mesa is a haven for outdoor recreation, offering a plethora of  activities amidst its stunning desert landscape. Residents can hike through the rugged trails of the Superstition Mountains, kayak along the serene waters of Saguaro Lake, or enjoy a round of golf at one of the city’s championship courses like Las Sendas Golf Club. With its year-round sunshine and diverse outdoor amenities, Mesa is a good place to live.

8. Con: Air quality issues

Air quality can be a concern in Mesa, particularly during the summer months when ozone levels tend to rise. The city’s location in a desert valley can lead to the accumulation of pollutants, which can affect residents’ health, especially those with respiratory conditions. Dust storms, known as haboobs, are also common and can temporarily worsen air quality.

9. Pro: Proximity to natural attractions

Mesa’s location provides easy access to a variety of natural attractions, making it a great base for adventure. The city is just a short drive from the Tonto National Forest, where residents can enjoy hiking, camping, and fishing. Additionally, the nearby Salt River offers opportunities for tubing and kayaking. This proximity to nature allows residents to escape the urban environment and enjoy the beauty of the Arizona landscape.

10. Con: Urban sprawl

Mesa has experienced significant growth over the years, leading to urban sprawl. This expansion can result in longer commutes and increased traffic congestion, particularly during peak hours. The spread-out nature of the city can also make it challenging to access amenities and services without a car. While the growth has brought new opportunities and developments, it has also created challenges related to infrastructure and transportation.


Methodology: The median home sale price and average monthly rental data is from the Redfin Data Center. The Walk Score, Transit Score and Bike Score data is from Walk Score.

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