“Main Street” has become a folksy ideal politicians bandy about, but downtown Mesa has an actual Main Street, not a figurative one. Boosted by the city’s revitalization efforts over the past several years, it’s even started to live up to the romantic notion of a wide, walkable avenue lined with mom-and-pop shops in a bustling town core – made more bustling by the extension of Valley Metro Rail. Anchored by institutions including Mesa Arts Center and The Nile Theater, Main Street seems poised to lead Mesa’s cultural renaissance.
Photos by Sarandon Raboin, Samantha Chow
3 Places To Eat
A Worth Takeaway
Sandwiches are the bailiwick of this Best of the Valley honoree, from a zippy Italian grinder on a hoagie roll to luscious sweet potato and red pepper on sourdough. Other dishes – cheekily labeled “Not Sandwiches” – are also stellar: Buffalo mac and cheese and crispy chicken tender bites are worth a try.
218 W. Main St.
B 12 West Brewing Co.
You’ll find the usual brewpub suspects (pretzels, burgers, wings) here, but also interesting chef-y options, like a poke bowl, katsu chicken bento plate and flatbread with lemon-herb ricotta and forest mushrooms. All pair well with 12 West’s Zona Pils, winner of 2019’s Best of the Valley celebrity taste test.
12 W. Main St.
C República Empanada
Find the Valley’s best empanadas – and some of its best South American food, period – at this colorful, family-owned eatery just off Main Street. Our go-to order: yuca frita (cassava fries) with jalapeño-cilantro ranch and a pernil (slow-roasted pork) empanada, with a guava and cheese empanada for dessert.
204 E. First Ave.
3 Things To Do
D Pioneer Park
Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at this 17.8-acre park, which also boasts a treehouse-style playground, water wall, splash pad, basketball courts, food truck area (the recurring Mesa Feastival Forest food truck event is slated to return this fall) and a locomotive built in 1912.
526 E. Main St.
E Mesa Arts Center
At press time, theaters and galleries at this multimedia arts hub remained closed, but online classes taught by local artists are up and open. Art To Go boxes, each filled with supplies for two at-home art activities designed by Mesa Arts Center instructors, debuted over the summer.
1 E. Main St.
F Buckhorn Vintage
Hunt for rattan chairs, patterned rugs, midcentury buffets and other bohemian treasures at Cristin Clark’s 1960s- and 1970s-inspired vintage shop. She’s curated her wares from a lifetime of thrifting and antiquing.
138 W. Main St.
The Nile Theater
Strike a pose in front of the striking façade of this brick building, built in 1924. Support The Nile during its pandemic closure by visiting saveourstages.com and purchasing merch at nileshopstore.com
Historical Bungalow Airbnb
Main Street attractions are a short walk away from this adorable bungalow, built in 1920 as part of the Temple Court District. This neighborhood served as housing for the builders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Arizona Temple. bit.ly/3hrYSBI