A few weeks ago I was listening to the ‘Happier with Gretchen Rubin’ podcast and one of the happiness tips was to be a tourist in your own town. So a couple Saturdays ago Adam and I decided to play tourist.
For those of you who don’t know, we live in Mesa, AZ. There’s a historic downtown area on Main Street that is lined with local shops and restaurants. We actually go downtown pretty often because we love Desert Eagle Brewing Company and I’ve been to the antique mall down there before (I even wrote a shopping trip post about it). However, those are the only 2 places we’ve been and there’s so much more to do/see/eat.
We started our day with lunch at Mangos Mexican Café. I LOVE Mexican food and this place has a lot of positive reviews, so we had to try it out. I ordered a shrimp taco, chicken taco and side of beans and Adam had a shrimp burrito…and it was all really good! We also really liked their salsa. Although my favorite part of the meal was the strawberry agua fresca. Seriously, I could have chugged the entire jug…SO good! We also lucked out with beautiful weather so we were able to sit outside. It was definitely a good start to our day.
Next we went to the Arizona Museum of Natural History. Neither of us had been to the museum before, so it was a fun adventure.
We started in the dinosaur area and worked out way around. We really enjoyed the museum because it focused mainly on Arizona and the surrounding areas. The dinosaurs and cultures featured were mostly from the Southwest.
We don’t have kids, but there seemed to be a lot of activities to keep them interested. There were giant puzzles, a “fossil” dig pit, and gold panning (which we tried and Adam was a panning pro).
Our last stop was the movie room to watch a video about wooly mammoths. It was so interesting to hear about how they lived and see footage of a frozen one that was found in Siberia. The ice had preserved it so well that some of the fur was still intact! Of course after watching that, we had to take a picture of the wooly mammoth on our way out.
After the museum, we checked out a few of the shops. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures, but they have everything from jewelry and artwork to records and comic books. You can see the full directory here.
Our last stop was Sweet Cakes Café for a white chocolate cranberry cookie. I was so excited about the cookie that I forgot to take a picture, but trust me, it was delicious!
We had such a fun afternoon touring our city and there’s still so many other places for us to check out. Like the podcast said, most of us are great about making plans to explore other places on vacation, but we don’t think to explore our own cities unless we have company. If you have a downtown area or local museum/site, I’d highly recommend checking them out one weekend. It’s a great way to get to know your city better and support your local shops and restaurants.
P.S. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!