It’s almost time for another year of Cactus League baseball in Arizona. Whether you are a die-hard fan or you just enjoy a day in the sun, Tempe, Arizona, is a grand slam for a spring getaway filled with baseball games, outdoor recreation, patio dining, family fun and cultural events.
Cactus League Spring Training brings 15 Major League Baseball teams to 10 Greater Phoenix stadiums to play more than 200 games in Arizona throughout the month of March. Tempe Diablo Stadium is home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who play such rivals as the Cubs, Giants, Dodgers and Royals.
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. Tempe is centrally located, providing easy access to all of Arizona’s spring training fields. Visitors can also take a free trolley from Tempe Marketplace to Cubs home games.
Take a hike or ride a bike
There are many hiking trails located within minutes of Tempe’s hotels, making it easy to experience the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Try 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. GRID Bike stations are located throughout downtown and make it easy to rent a bicycle for a leisurely cruise along the city’s endless bike paths – 175 miles total – that traverse desert trails, canals and parks.
Bring the kids
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 Tilt Studio, dine at the Rainforest Cafe and see a movie at Harkins IMAX theater. Arizona Mills is also home to 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 play in the splash pad, enjoy video games and food at Dave and Buster’s and dance to live music on Friday and Saturday nights at 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 wildlife from around the world and participate in interactive experiences, such as Stingray Bay, Giraffe Encounter, Monkey Village and the 4-D Theater.
Brew pubs and tasty grub
Give your taste buds something to cheer about by dining at some of Tempe’s best restaurants. Culinary Dropout at The Yard Tempe is one of the most popular eateries in Greater Phoenix. Located at First Street and Farmer Avenue in downtown Tempe, the unique gastropub fare and craft cocktails are just a few of the things people love about this restaurant. The Yard concept mimics a backyard, which allows diners to play games like corn hole, shuffleboard or ping-pong. Culinary Dropout at The Yard Tempe also has free live music every Friday and Saturday night.
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.
Tempe also scores big with local microbreweries. Four Peaks Brewing Company is famous for craft beers 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 their famous beer-battered 7 Barrel Fries. They also offer brewery tours so beer aficionados can learn more about how their favorites are made.
Pedal Haus Brewery in downtown Tempe features handcrafted European-style beers, a delicious gastropub food menu and outdoor games on downtown’s largest patio.
Catch a concert or two
New in 2018, Innings Festival is an exciting addition to Tempe’s spring events. At this three-day event located at Tempe Beach Park, music lovers and baseball fans will enjoy three stages with more than 35 rock, pop and alt-country artists. The musical lineup this year includes Chris Stapleton, Queens of the Stone Age, The Avett Brothers, Counting Crows and The Decemberists. In addition to music, foodies will love curated chef demos by Chef Beau MacMillan, along with some of your favorite baseball players. The Innings Festival will be March 23–25, 2018.
Experience arts and culture
Baseball games are just one of the ways to enjoy spring in Tempe. This fun-loving college town has a full calendar of special events, with an emphasis on unique arts and cultural experiences.
Experience the bold, monumental sculptures of internationally renowned Japanese-American artist Jun Kaneko at the Desert Botanical Garden through May 13, 2018. This exhibition includes approximately 20 large-scale ceramic and bronze sculptures mingled with the garden’s flora and fauna.
Downtown Tempe will be filled with more than 300 artists selling their original works at the Tempe Festival of the Arts, March 23–25, 2018. Non-stop live entertainment, wine and beer gardens, food vendors and activities for kids add to the festive atmosphere.
The 6th Street Market is every Sunday through April at 6th Street and Mill Avenue. Held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., this fun community market brings more than 30 artisans plus food booths and live music to downtown Tempe.
The best of Broadway comes to Tempe every year. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed ASU Gammage is home to stellar shows such as Hamilton (January 30-February 25, 2018), The King and I (March 20-25, 2018) and The Color Purple (April 17-22, 2018).
For more information about planning your dream spring vacation, visit www.tempebaseball.com or call (800) 283-6734.
Brought to you by the Tempe Tourism Office, (800) 283-6734, www.tempetrip.com.