From March 2 to April 4, 2012, Cactus League Spring Training brings 15 Major League Baseball teams to 10 Arizona stadiums to play more than 200 games. That’s a lot of baseball.
If you’re coming to Arizona to get a spring preview of the Boys of Summer, be sure to also make plans for your time before and after the games. After all, man does not live by baseball alone.
Tempe is a perfect home base for spring baseball.
Tempe Diablo Stadium is home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Plus, Tempe is centrally located, providing easy access to all of the spring training fields.
Here’s a guide to what you should see and do in Tempe when you’re not busy cheering for your favorite team. You just might decide to extend your trip.
Start Your Day Off Right
Your parents always told you to start your day with a good breakfast. Take that advice in Tempe.
Go to Chompie’s, where you can have an authentic New York deli-style breakfast, complete with one of tastiest bagels you’ve ever had.
Or try the hearty omelets, eggs Benedict or mountainous French toast at NCounter.
The casual atmosphere at Harlow’s, a favorite Tempe breakfast stop for decades, will make you feel right at home.
Take a Hike
Since eating hot dogs and Cracker Jacks at the ballpark is a must, it’s probably a good idea to get a bit of exercise during your spring training trip.
There are many hiking trails located within minutes of hotels in Tempe, making it easy to experience the beautiful Sonoran Desert.
Try the rolling hills of Papago Park; escape from the city at South Mountain Park/Preserve; or take a quick hike for a bird’s eye view of Tempe at “A” Mountain in the Mill Avenue District.
Grab a Brew
Kilt Lifter, Old Frog Grog, Blonde Bock and Tail Chaser aren’t names of cool local bands. These are just a few of the tasty microbrews that you can sample in Tempe at Four Peaks Brewery, Dave’s Electric Brew Pub, Gordon Biersch Brewery and Sleepy Dog Brewery.
These pubs are known for their variety of beers and great food – perfect for discussing the best plays of the day.
Go to a Festival
Baseball games are just one of the ways to soak up the sun in Tempe. Plan your trip around some of our fun-filled annual festivals.
If you love a good pint, you’ll really love the Great Arizona Beer Festival at Tempe Beach Park on Sunday, March 3, 2012.
This craft-beer tasting extravaganza will showcase more than 200 brews from more than 50 breweries from Arizona, across the country and around the globe. Food booths and live music add to the fun.
Tempe’s charming Mill Avenue District will be filled with more than 400 artists selling their original works at the Tempe Festival of the Arts, March 30–April 1, 2012.
Nonstop live entertainment, wine and beer tasting, food vendors and activities for kids add to the festive atmosphere. Admission is free.
Celebrate Asian culture in the Wild West at the 9th Annual Arizona Dragon Boat Festival at Tempe Town Lake, March 30–April 1, 2012.
Dragon boat races, activities for kids, food booths and performances by martial artists, musicians and dancers are all part of the fun.
If you’re bringing the family along, check out the Phoenix Zoo and Sea Life Arizona Aquarium.
The Phoenix Zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals and features an Arizona Trail where you can see desert-dwelling critters.
Sea Life Arizona Aquarium features more than 5,000 sea creatures in display tanks that are perfectly sized for kids’ viewing.
Fill Up Your Suitcase
In Arizona, you can never have too many shorts and flip-flops. If your wardrobe is a bit lacking in that department, you’re in luck in Tempe.
Arizona Mills and Tempe Marketplace are the best places to find some new warm-weather duds so you can dress like a local.
Be sure to plan your shopping trip around a meal – there are excellent dining options at both destinations.
Don’t forget to check out the free live music performances on Friday and Saturday nights at Tempe Marketplace. And relive your childhood by playing arcade games at GameWorks at Arizona Mills.
For more information about planning your dream spring training vacation, visit www.tempebaseball.com or call (800) 283-6734.
(Brought to you by Tempe Tourism Office, (800) 283-6734, www.tempetourism.com.)