Going to spring training is a rite of passage for any baseball fan, and for great reason. Where else can you find half of the teams in Major League Baseball all within a roughly one hour drive of each other and playing every single day in amazing weather? If you’re taking your next Xplorco trip to spring training (or you’re on it now), make sure you know all the tips and tricks to get the most out of your vacation.
Spring Training Locations
We mentioned the 15 teams, and they’re scattered all over the valley, but much of the convenience comes from teams sharing ballparks. There are 10 stadiums to visit, from as far south as Tempe to as far North as Peoria, and as far west as Goodyear and as far east as Mesa. This map from CactusLeague.com gives you all the details of the Cactus League locations.
Spring Training Primer
Teams and Locations
Arizona Diamondbacks, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale
Chicago Cubs: Sloan Park, Mesa
Chicago White Sox: Camelback Ranch, Glendale
Cincinnati Reds: Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear
Cleveland Indians: Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear
Colorado Royals: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale
Kansas City Royals: Surprise Stadium, Surprise
Los Angeles Angels: Tempe Diablo Stadium, Tempe
Los Angeles Dodgers: Camelback Ranch, Glendale
Milwaukee Brewers: Maryvale Stadium, Maryvale
Oakland Athletics: HoHoKam Stadium, Mesa
San Diego Padres: Peoria Sports Complex, Peoria
San Francisco Giants: Scottsdale Stadium, Scottsdale
Seattle Mariners, Peoria Sports Complex, Peoria
Texas Rangers: Surprise Stadium, Surprise
Visit CactusLeague.com for details on every team and stadium.
Spring Training Tips
Many follow their favorite teams around, which is so easy to do with every team a relatively short distance from each other, but sometimes it’s fun just to catch some sun and a ballgame and not care about the outcome at all.
Some general tips:
- Get there early. Especially if you’re traveling over typical spring break weeks, the crowds can fill up fast. It’s advisable to buy tickets in advance for Cubs, Giants and the hometown Diamondbacks games as they tend to fill up really fast. Cubs tickets at Sloan Park are some of the hottest around.
- Eat at the ballpark. For the most part, food is great around the Cactus League with amazing nachos at Talking Stick, Dodger Dogs in Glendale, a Ruthian dog in Peoria and even some healthy options around the parks, but what fun is that?
- Scratch that autograph itch. Players are never more accessible than during spring training. Sometimes as they leave the field in the middle innings (no, the starters don’t typically play full games in spring), they’ll even stop along the fence and sign autographs while the game is still going on. It’s a fun chance to talk with the players.
- Get there really early. The backfields are open at most complexes where you can watch minor leaguers practice or even watch the big leaguers before games. It’s amazing that they’re basically doing the same drills many remember from Little League days. They just do it a little better than we might remember from back in the day.
What To Do Outside of Spring Training
The Phoenix area in March is amazing. If you’re coming from somewhere cold and are leaving a tough winter like this one across much of the country, just being outside without a coat is an adventure in itself. But once you get over the euphoria of that, being in Arizona has so much to offer. There is great nightlife, live shows, tons and tons and tons of golf, the Arizona Coyotes, the Phoenix Suns and so much more.
Some non-Spring Training Baseball Favorites
- Head to the Roaring Fork Happy Hour. It’s located in Scottsdale in an office building and from 4pm to 7pm every day (4-10 on Sundays actually), Roaring Fork offers some great deals on some of their more popular items. You have to stake out a table, but it’s worth it to do it at least once.
- Old Town Scottsdale is a must visit for anyone who wants to get the touristy feel of the area. There are about a million jewelry stores featuring some of the best of the southwest as well as great eateries and while you’re there, you can stop by the Sugar Bowl, which was made famous by the cartoon, Family Circus.
- The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is simply gorgeous with some of the best garden-life you’ll find in the southwest. With multiple trails to walk through, you can spend the better part of a day there easily. Just bring sunscreen!
- Hike Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. It offers two trails, one a little easier than the other, but both offer spectacular views. At 2,704 feet in elevation, you can’t beat it.
- Visit the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale. They have special exhibits rotating all the time, but just to be able to see the history on some of the instruments and the ability to even play some of them is an incredible experience.
- We said it before, but go golfing if you’re a golfer. There are so many to choose from, we couldn’t list them all here, but Visit Phoenix has you covered.
Where to Stay
There are so many options for where to stay, but we recommend being centrally located because there’s just so much to do that it becomes easier to stay where you’re spending your evenings and driving to the parks. We have two awesome resorts in Scottsdale you can read about here that make for the perfect location to be near all the fun activities of the area and never too far from a game.
There’s obviously so much more, but it’s hard to fit it all in to one or even two weeks when you’re out there watching baseball all the time. But we’ll stress it again. Make sure you get that sunscreen on because it feels real good the first day and not as good the second if you don’t! Have a great spring training vacation!
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