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I’ve had Arizona on my mind lately! Aside from the fact that cacti and succulents are so popular right now, baseball’s spring training season brings me right back to our days in Phoenix. While living in Arizona, I learned how spring training was a huge part of the city’s overall culture. The Phoenix metro is one of the two spring training hubs in the country, with half the teams spending February and March training in its Cactus League. The other half practices here in Florida! Because they all practice within an hour of one another and the weather is glorious, people from all over the country flock to the desert to catch their favorite team in action. They also get to enjoy amazing restaurants, mountains, golf, art, and shopping to boot. According to the Arizona Republic, the Cactus League generates more than $300 million a year in economic impact to the greater Phoenix metropolitan area economy.
I put together a quick guide to visiting Phoenix during spring training, and I hope you enjoy it!
The teams that “spring train” in Arizona are the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, LA Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Anaheim Angels, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, and San Francisco Giants. Phew.
|Arizona Diamondbacks Stadium|
Since spring training is such a big deal in the area, some locals choose to stay with friends or family for the month and rent out their homes to visiting fans. Because of the high demand, prices can be kind of steep. If you’re not staying for too long, it might be a good idea to look into hotels. Teams play in Mesa, Scottsdale, Goodyear, Peoria, and Surprise. All games are within an hour of each other, so either staying close to your team or in a central location is a good idea. Here is a good place to start your hotel search.
Arizona summers are so brutal, with triple digits and no humidity, that people compare it to the deep winters of the northern states. Many people leave town, and if you have to stay, you remain indoors as much as you can. During spring, fall, and winter, though, Phoenix residents flock outside to the mountains, trails, lakes, and parks. No one wants to stay inside, with average temperatures in the 60s and 70s and sunny skies. My favorite adventure spots in the area are:
● Camelback Mountain: This mountain chain is smack dab in the middle of town, so you see equal numbers of local hikers and tourists. It rises 2,704 feet high, so you can imagine the views. There are two challenging trails, so pack water, take breaks, and know your limits.
● Papago Park: Also located in Central Phoenix, this park has a beautiful lake, a desert landscape, and one of the best sunset spots in town, Hole-in-the-Rock. Within Papago Park are also the Phoenix Zoo and Botanical Gardens, which are both great outdoors activities for kids and adults alike.
● Old Town Scottsdale: For those who are less outdoorsy but still want to be outside, downtown Scottsdale has a great shopping and restaurant area full of Native American art, upscale boutiques, bars, and concert squares.
The Phoenix restaurant industry is beyond booming! We ate out often and tried different places all the time, but we still missed so many. Here are our top five picks:
● Barrio Cafe: This was the best Mexican food we had in town. It’s small, unassuming, and always packed. It’s worth the long wait.
● Tuck Shop: This was the first restaurant I tried in Phoenix. It’s a house converted into an intimate restaurant serving the best comfort food I had in the Southwest.
● Chelsea’s Kitchen: This is a trendy restaurant serving American food, with lots of outdoor seating, string lights, an outdoor fireplace, and a great vibe.
● Oregano’s: This is the best pizza chain in Phoenix. It’s also very kid-friendly.
● Culinary Dropout: This is one of the coolest spots to eat and socialize, with lawn games and big screen TVs.
Have you been to Phoenix? What was your favorite part?
|Old Town Scottsdale|