In Arizona, baseball season is never far away. As soon as the World Series ends, fans start their countdown to Cactus League Spring Training.
For those who love Spring Training’s intimate stadiums, it’s a chance to escape snow-covered sidewalks, grab a bag of peanuts and listen for the crack of the bat that means it is springtime.
Cactus League Spring Training starts on February 22, 2013. If you’re a true fan, you won’t want to miss being in Arizona.
The state is the hub of baseball, with 15 Major League Baseball teams playing in 11 stadiums throughout the Valley of the Sun – known for its 330 days of sunshine each year. You’ll want to bring your sunscreen and soak up the warmth.
You’ll be minutes away from the best Spring Training venues. Plus you’ll also have access to world-class golf and family fun.
Afternoon games generally start at 1 p.m., leaving you time in the mornings and evenings to see the sights and do a variety of activities. Here’s a guide to things to do while you stay in Chandler.
With 60 regional, community and neighborhood parks, Chandler has loads of family fun. Kids have energy to burn, and Chandler gives them plenty of space to play.
Chandler parks include standard playground amenities, plus the unique Playtopia at Tumbleweed Park. This free, 2.5-acre playground and picnic section features several play zones with themes based on Chandler’s heritage.
In addition, you can take the little ones on a train ride on Desert Breeze Park Railroad, play a round of disc golf and watch hummingbirds at one of Chandler’s parks.
Take a day to check out one of Chandler’s family fun centers too. Kids can literally bounce off the walls at Jumpstreet, an indoor trampoline park. The trampolines angle up the wall (similar to the walls at a skate park, but springy!).
You’ll also find four distinct play areas at Makutu’s Island family center. At the heart is a 25-foot “tree” filled with tunnels and slides at every turn, as well as the 35-foot Banana Slide.
You can even visit an Old West theme park at Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse.
Events: Science, Classic Cars, Ostrich Races and Barbeque – Oh My!
This spring, the city is buzzing with incredible art, sporting spectacles, outdoor experiences and other unique Chandler events.
From the annual Chandler Science Spectacular and Classic Car and Hot Rod Show in February to the 25th Annual Ostrich Festival and the Great American Barbeque & Beer Festival, both in March – there are plenty of events to help make sure you and the family have fun in the sun.
Shopping: Vibrant, Historic Downtown Chandler
If you want to bring a memento of Arizona home with you, plan an afternoon of shopping at Chandler Fashion Center or in downtown Chandler.
Chandler Fashion Center has internationally known shops like Nordstrom and Macy’s, as well as a variety of entertainment and restaurant choices.
In downtown Chandler, visit unique shops and galleries like Sibley’s West, a gift shop with items made only in Arizona, and Xico, Inc. or Tryst @ Inspirador, two galleries featuring world-class artists.
Downtown restaurants offer a variety of options, including American, Italian, Mexican and Thai, to name a few. Room for dessert? Why not! At Paletas Betty you can get whimsical ice cream creations made on-site.
Morning tee times fill up fast, so plan ahead. Chandler was home to Arizona’s first grass links, so you might want to start your day playing 18 holes on one of the city’s eight golf courses.
The fairways in Chandler offer great values. Find all your golf options on the golf page of the Chandler Office of Tourism website.
If you’re in Chandler without kids, you might want to enjoy an “adult beverage” with a meal or for happy hour. Restaurants and bars are plentiful throughout Chandler. You’ll find a complete list at the city’s website.
You can also make beer tasting an event. Tours on Tap is a local business that gives you the chance to learn more about beer and brewing. The tours offer an in-depth look at brewery facilities, where you’ll hear explanations by brewery personnel and find out more about the processes and equipment used in brewing beer. Plus you get to sample beers and pair them with different foods.
If wine is more your style, downtown Chandler is home to Kokopelli Winery, a bistro that is Arizona’s largest winery. Operated by fifth- and sixth-generation winemakers, the bistro pairs its food and wines for a delicious take on Arizona-grown grapes.
Wine bars in Chandler are a unique culinary experience to add to your adventure at the baseball park. AAA awarded its Four-diamond award for 2011, 2012 and 2013 to Chandler-based restaurant, Cork, where you’ll find a wall of wines and delicious local menu items.
Whether you’re planning a family outing or a week with friends, you’ll find Chandler is a great place to take in all the action. Chandler, Arizona…where trips feel more like vacations!
(Brought to you by Chandler Office of Tourism, (888) 663-2489, www.visitchandler.com.)