The Best Arizona Venue for Your Tween’s First Concert


first concertI recently took Grandma Ginger on a mother/daughter date to see Andy Grammer at the Mesa Arts Center. It was a special night where we got to spend time with just each other, and I really enjoyed the time.

It made me feel nostalgic for the mother/daughter dates she’d plan for us growing up, just the two of us. 

Yeah, it’s easy to spend quality time with toddlers because they have no choice but to hang out with you, right? But as kids grow into tweens, it’s harder to compete with calendars, schedules and their own priorities.

Here’s three easy “date” ideas for parents and tweens/teens to make it easier to spend intentional time bonding over memorable activities that will help you grow closer and enjoy each other’s company, and why the Mesa Arts Center is the perfect venue for a kid’s first concert.



Take your tween to their first concert

The Mesa Arts Center is bringing major acts of all sorts (from Baby Shark Live to Andy Grammer) right to the East Valley. It’s not just classical art that performs live here, although they have that, too.

Andy Grammer performed in their largest theater (there’s four on the campus) and it was a stunning backdrop for a show. The Ikeda Theater design places an emphasis on bringing the audience close to the stage, making it great for kids.

If you’re planning your tween’s first concert, check the upcoming events here, it’s a very family friendly venue, in fact, there were so many families at the Andy Grammer show with homemade posters of it being their tween’s first concert (and Andy was so kind to have many of the posters sent up to the stage for him to sign).

The MAC is more family-friendly than other larger concert venues (and a much shorter drive).

They’ll announce their upcoming season in late summer/early fall which will have all the concerts coming for the next 10 months or so, giving you lots of time to plan ahead. (There’s also usually a season kickoff festival that’s free and open to the public that’s a fun family outing as well.)

Walk the museum

If you’re looking for something with less pre-planning, and a more affordable price tag, consider going to the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, which is always free! 

Located on the Mesa Arts Center campus, this museum rotates exhibits in five galleries a couple times every year. 

Even if you’re not an “arts family” this museum is stunning and offers nice conversation starters between kids, plus there’s lots of things for them to take pictures of! 

Our favorite pairing with the museum: a stop at Main Street Sweets for cookies. 

Take an art class together 

When I was younger, my dad and I did a summer clay class at the Mesa Arts Center, just the two of us. It was an incredible memory making experience for us–we ditched my mom once a week to do something creative and share a common goal. 

These weekly clay class sessions provided a lot of drive time conversations, plus dinner at Taco Bell was something that felt like we were sneaking one behind my mum’s back. 

The Mesa Arts Center offers painting, jewelry-making, pottery/clay, glass blowing and so much more that can be done with a tween/teen and parent that doesn’t feel like a kid’s class, because it isn’t! 


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