Spring Training Guide for Arizona’s Cactus League
Every year, Major League Baseball (MLB) teams that make up the Cactus League travel to Arizona's Phoenix Metropolitan Area for spring training. Eight cities and 10 stadiums welcome 15 teams, including the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants, that escape the cold to play preseason games in this southwestern state.
About 60 percent of spring Cactus League attendees come from out of state, according to the Cactus League Association, and while baseball is the key draw this time of year, you (sadly) can't spend your entire time watching your favorite teams. It serves to plan ahead for those rare moments when you have to find something else to do in each participating city.
While all of these Arizona cities are located close to one another, they each happen to have their own, unique charm. Just see for yourself.
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Cactus League Stadiums
All of Arizona's spring training sites are part of Phoenix and its surroundings. Still, each stadium and city has something unique to offer.
Stadium: American Family Fields of Phoenix/Camelback Ranch
Teams: Milwaukee Brewers (American Family Fields)/Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers (Camelback Ranch)
Phoenix is the center of Arizona spring training. You can watch three teams play in two stadiums without leaving the city. But you'll also have access to every other stadium in the Cactus League. Spend your off time hiking Camelback Mountain, relaxing at one of the area's famed spas or visiting the Desert Botanical Gardens.
Go to Durant's for great steak or to the family-owned Rito's Mexican food.
Where to stay: GreenTree Hotel Phoenix West
Stadium: Peoria Sports Complex
Teams: San Diego Padres/Seattle Mariners
One of Phoenix's most exciting suburbs, Peoria offers tons of cool activities for those who like to keep active and enjoy the outdoors. Lake Pleasant Region Park is particularly favored since it provides 23,000 acres fit for doing everything from boating to skiing to camping. During the right times of the year, you can even go scuba diving on the lake. Another cool attraction is the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum, where you can see how early Western settlers lived. Alternatively, you can try your luck at the Desert Diamond Casino or walk the grounds of the Historic Sahuaro Ranch Park.
Where to stay: Comfort Suites Peoria Sports Complex
Stadium: Scottsdale Stadium
Team: San Francisco Giants
Known for spas and golf, Scottsdale has long overshadowed Phoenix as a top leisure destination. Walk around downtown to appreciate early 20th-century architecture, or head to Taliesin West, once the residence of Frank Lloyd Wright. Whatever you end up doing, don't skip out on a pampering treatment in the spa capital of the U.S.
Oh, and get excited to watch games in the second-best MLB spring training site.
Where to stay: Canopy by Hilton Scottsdale Old Town
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Stadium: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks/Colorado Rockies
Two indigenous communities live in this sovereign land, the O'odham (Pima) and the Piipaash (Maricopa). Shop for traditional handmade crafts, like woven baskets from the Pima or the Maricopa's red clay pottery works. There is also a casino, golf courses and racecars. And if you want to appreciate nature away from the heat, head to the Butterfly Wonderland, the largest in the U.S.
Where to stay: Staybridge Suites Scottsdale - Talking Stick, an IHG Hotel
Stadium: Tempe Diablo Stadium
Teams: Los Angeles Angels
Tempe Town Lake is, without a doubt, the most fun place to go in Tempe (outside of the stadium, of course). Rent a kayak, paddleboard or pedal boat and head out for some watery fun that will help you cool off. You can then go to Tempe Marketplace to dine and shop with views of Salt River. And definitely make time to hike up the famed Hayden Butte.
Where to stay: Marriott Phoenix Resort Tempe at The Buttes
Stadium: Goodyear Ballpark
Teams: Cincinnati Reds/Cleveland Guardians
Baseball is the major attraction of this Phoenix suburb. Hardcore fans of the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Guardians can enjoy the city by golfing or visiting the Estrella Mountain Regional Park. If the excitement from the games has you active at night, take it as an opportunity to go stargazing at the Estrella Star Tower.
Where to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix-Goodyear