I’m not sure that baseball is my favorite sport (I’m looking at you, college football), but hands down my favorite season is spring training.
It’s a great reason to escape Kansas for Arizona to enjoy temperatures in the 70s and see Major League Baseball players in small venues without spending a fortune on tickets—and there’s plenty of time to visit nearby attractions or enjoy resort amenities because all of the Cactus League’s ballparks are concentrated in the greater Phoenix area.
Half the stadiums are in the west valley and half in the east valley. You can choose to fly in to the airport closest to your favorite team’s home field and base yourself at one stadium, or you can stay in a central location and visit as many of the 10 stadiums as you can manage.
On our last two spring training pilgrimages, we’ve stayed at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort and the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, sister properties that make it easy to traverse the valley by car. I like visiting different ballparks so that I can enjoy fish tacos and craft beer from the Pacific Northwest while watching a Seattle Mariners game at the Peoria Sports Complex one day then enjoy barbecue and a Boulevard beer while catching a Kansas City Royals game at the Surprise Stadium the next day.
Lawn seating at most parks starts around $10 per ticket, and reserved seating varies by team and whether you’re seeing a standard or premium matchup. Tickets are already on sale online or you can purchase at the gate, but keep in mind that rivalries, and many Chicago Cubs games, sell out. Visit the websites below for each team to see schedules and promotions, find out which seats offer shade, when open practices take place, where to line up for autographs, and any special fan experiences available.
Fly in: American Family Fields of Phoenix is 10 miles southeast of Glendale Municipal Airport, 12 miles northwest of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 15 miles northeast of Phoenix Goodyear Airport, and 18 miles south of Phoenix Deer Valley Airport.
Near: Renovations to transform Maryvale Baseball Park into American Family Fields of Phoenix earned Ballpark Digest’s 2019 Ballpark Renovation of the Year. You can see displays outside the park honoring players with retired numbers (added during the renovation), but otherwise you’ll need to head back to Phoenix (downtown is 8 miles away) or one of the other suburbs for attractions.
More information: Brewers spring training, Phoenix
Fly in: Camelback Ranch-Glendale is 6 miles south of Glendale Municipal Airport, 10 miles northeast of Phoenix Goodyear Airport, 21 miles northwest of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and 23 miles southwest of Phoenix Deer Valley Airport.
Near: The new Ballpark Boulevard connects the stadium complex to Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District, Tanger Outlets, the National Hockey League’s Arizona Coyotes’ arena (their season coincides with spring training), and Topgolf.
More information: White Sox spring training, Dodgers spring training, Glendale
Fly in: Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear is 3 miles west of Phoenix Goodyear Airport, 13 miles southwest of Glendale Municipal Airport, 21 miles east of Buckeye Municipal Airport, and 25 miles west of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Near: Explore mountains and desert at Estrella Mountain Regional Park; go horseback riding; and peruse public art exhibits.
More information: Indians spring training, Reds spring training, Goodyear
Fly in: Hohokam Stadium in Mesa is 11 miles east of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 13 miles north of Chandler Municipal Airport, 19 miles south of Scottsdale Airport, and 22 miles northwest of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
Near: Mesa is the third largest city in Arizona, with a mix of outdoor activities and museums. Aviation enthusiasts might enjoy the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum, less than 10 miles east of the stadium.
More information: A’s spring training, Mesa
Fly in: Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria is 10 miles northeast of Glendale Municipal Airport, 12 miles west of Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, and 20 miles northeast of Phoenix Goodyear Airport.
Near: Across the street is P83, an entertainment district with more than 20 restaurants and bars as well as entertainment like Modern Round, a virtual shooting lounge; golf; and land and water activities at Lake Pleasant.
More information: Mariners spring training, Padres spring training, Peoria
Fly in: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale is 8 miles south of Scottsdale Airport and 14 miles northeast of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Near: Take in the Great Wolf Lodge; Talking Stick Resort, featuring a casino and golf club; Topgolf; OdySea Aquarium; and Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament.
More information: Diamondbacks spring training, Rockies spring training, Scottsdale
Fly in: Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale is 7 miles northeast of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and 10 miles south of Scottsdale Airport.
Near: You’ll be within walking distance of Old Town Scottsdale, full of restaurants, shops, and hotels. Also enjoy Camelback Mountain and Desert Botanical Garden and other attractions at Papago Park.
More information: Giants spring training, Scottsdale
Fly in: Sloan Park in Mesa is 7 miles east of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 17 miles south of Scottsdale Airport, and 25 miles northwest of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
Near: The stadium is adjacent to Riverview Park complex with rock-climbing walls, water features, and play equipment; Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West; and Mesa Riverview open-air shopping center featuring dining, shopping, and entertainment.
More information: Cubs spring training, Mesa
Fly in: Surprise Stadium in Surprise is 11 miles northwest of Glendale Municipal Airport, 15 miles north of Phoenix Goodyear Airport, and 21 miles west of Phoenix Deer Valley Airport.
Near: Surprise is the farthest northwest of the stadiums (Peoria is 10 miles to the east). The town has golf courses, shopping, art galleries, and a performing arts venue.
More information: Royals spring training, Rangers spring training, Surprise
Fly in: Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe is 4 miles southeast of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 20 miles northwest of Chandler Municipal Airport, and 25 miles south of Scottsdale Airport.
Near: Tempe is one of the most centrally located parks in the valley, and the city hosts the Innings Festival February 29 through March 1 at Tempe Beach Park and Arts Park with national headlining bands and appearances by MLB legends.
More information: Angels spring training, Tempe