The crack of the bat and cheers from the crowd are all sounds of springtime in Arizona. Whether you are a die-hard baseball fan or you just enjoy a day in the sun, Tempe, Arizona, is the perfect home base for a spring getaway filled with Cactus League baseball games, outdoor recreation, patio dining, family fun and cultural events.
Cactus League Spring Training brings 15 Major League Baseball teams to 10 Arizona stadiums to play more than 200 games throughout the month of March. Tempe Diablo Stadium is home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who play such rivals as the Giants, Cubs, Dodgers and the defending World Series Champions, the Royals. Tempe is centrally located, providing easy access to all of the Spring Training fields. Visitors can also take a free trolley from Downtown Tempe to Cubs’ and Angels’ home games.
Before and after watching the boys of summer on the field, be sure to make time to take in the sights around this exciting college town.
Take a Hike or Ride a Bike
There are many hiking trails located within minutes of hotels in Tempe, making it easy to experience the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Explore the rolling hills of Papago Park, escape from the city at South Mountain Park and Preserve or take a quick hike for a bird’s-eye view of Tempe at “A” Mountain in Downtown Tempe. Or rent a bike and take a leisurely cruise along the city’s endless bike paths – 175 miles total – which traverse desert trails, canals and parks.
Bring the Kids
Even the youngest travelers will find lots to do in Tempe. Arizona Mills and Tempe Marketplace are destinations for both shopping and entertainment.
At Arizona Mills, families can explore a mile of outlet and specialty stores, meet thousands of sea creatures at SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium, play thrilling video games at GameWorks, dine at the Rainforest Cafe and see a movie at the IMAX theater. And, in late spring 2016, Arizona Mills will be home to a new LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, the ultimate indoor LEGO playground that’s perfect for kids ages 3 to 10 years old.
Among the boutiques, national retailers and restaurants at Tempe Marketplace, kids can cool off in the splash pad, play games at Dave & Buster’s and dance to live music on Friday and Saturday nights on the outdoor stages.
Main Event Entertainment has fun for everyone, with bowling lanes, laser tag, an arcade, delicious food and beverage options, billiards and an exhilarating gravity ropes course.
At the Phoenix Zoo, visitors can see more than 1,000 animals, go to Harmony Farm, feed giraffes, pet stingrays and take a ride on the Safari Train.
Brew Pubs and Tasty Grub
When it comes to great eats, Tempe hits a home run every time. Chicago fans will be happy to find hometown favorite Portillo’s at Tempe Marketplace, just a quick drive from Cubs’ games at Sloan Park. The delicious burgers, hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches at Portillo’s are some of the best in town.
Tempe also scores big with some local favorites. Four Peaks Brewing Company is famous for craft brews made on-site, such as Kilt Lifter and 8th Street Ale. Located in a historic, red-brick building, Four Peaks features a sunny outdoor patio and a variety of delicious food options, including fish and chips, pizza, enchiladas and its famous beer-battered 7 Barrel Fries. It also offers brewery tours so craft-beer aficionados can learn more about how their favorites are made.
Pedal Haus Brewery is the newest brewpub in Tempe. Pedal Haus features handcrafted European-style beers, a Belgian-American gastropub food menu, downtown Tempe’s largest patio, outdoor games and a live-music stage.
If breakfast is your favorite meal of the day, don’t miss NCounter. Also located in downtown Tempe, NCounter features delicious omelettes and Benedicts, mouthwatering pancakes, smoothies and breakfast cocktails.
Experience Arts and Culture
Baseball games are just one of the ways to enjoy the spring in Tempe. This fun-loving college town has a full calendar of special events, with an emphasis on unique arts and cultural experiences.
See the Desert Botanical Garden in a whole new light. Bruce Munro: Sonoran Light at Desert Botanical Garden is an outdoor art exhibition with eight large-scale, light-based installations. British artist Bruce Munro uses unique materials such as fluorescent tubes and LED-lit water bottles and hundreds of miles of glowing fiber optic. Visitors will be able to see these illuminated installations, created just for the garden, along the cactus-lined trails through May 8, 2016.
Downtown Tempe will be filled with more than 350 artists selling their original works at the Tempe Festival of the Arts, April 8–10, 2016. Non-stop live entertainment, wine and beer gardens, food vendors and activities for kids add to the festive atmosphere.
The best of Broadway comes to Tempe every year. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed ASU Gammage is home to stellar shows such as The Bridges of Madison County (February 16–21, 2016), A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (March 15–20, 2016) and 42nd Street (April 5–10, 2016).
For more information about planning your dream spring vacation, visit tempebaseball.com] or call (800) 283-6734.
(Brought to you by Tempe Tourism Office, (800) 283-6734, www.tempetourism.com.)