The Cactus League aka Baseball Spring training has long been a cherished Arizona tradition for locals, tourists and of course, baseball fans… Hundreds of folks of all ages visit the Valley of the Sun to experience spring training also called the Cactus League. Pleasant temperatures and beautiful sunshine complement the intimate experience that only spring training offers, from meeting favorite players to enjoying some time family and friends in the many luxe properties in the Phoenix, Scottsdale area. Scoring some autographs and meeting baseball players at the Cactus League has been on our little leaguer’s wish list for a while.
We are from Dallas and knew that the Texas Rangers practice at the Surprise Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Did you know – Currently, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers all call Arizona their spring training home. With ten facilities hosting 15 teams, the Phoenix metropolitan area holds claim to the greatest concentration of professional baseball facilities found anywhere in the United States. Here are a few of our favorite properties in the area to base yourself for a week or a weekend to enjoy some baseball, all of them are with a 30 to 45 minute driving range. This way you take turns going to the games and getting some R&R
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The Phoenician has long set the standard for luxury in the Valley of the Sun. It’s not hard to see why. For one thing, the setting is unbelievable, when reserving your room, ask for accommodations with views of Camelback Mountain. All rooms feature elegant furnishings, Italian marble bathrooms and private balconies or patios. If you’re looking for a little more space, you can stay in one of the elegant Canyon Suites. This 250-acre Luxury Collection property also boasts a 27-hole championship golf course, a tennis complex, a full-service spa and plenty of restaurants, lounges and snack bars. And did we mention the $25 million art collection on-site. So while the boys are catching a few games, you can be enjoying afternoon tea or drinks with the view of Camelback Mountain, The Phoenician offers spectacular views at every turn. They have a 27-hole championship golf course that is not to be missed. In addition to a golf course, there are a plethora of other facilities that can be found on grounds, such as 10 tennis courts, a full-service spa and an infinity pool with Camelback vistas. When you need to refuel after a full day of activity, you’ll have your choice between seven fine and casual dining options as well as an ice cream parlor.
Going to Arizona : Don’t miss a hot air balloon ride over the Sonoran desert
Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
Mixing Spanish influences with the surrounding Sonoran Desert, the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia offers luxury befitting of any continent. Nestled in the heart of Paradise Valley, this member of the Omni hotels family resides at the base of the scenic Camelback Mountain. A stay here is certainly a break from the daily grind and sure to induce wanderlust for Spain and visiting the Alhambra. The resort boasts a wealth of activities, from yoga classes to happy hours to guided hikes on the Camelback mountain. When you need to unwind, soak up the rays by one of the resort’s three pools or book a treatment at the Joya Spa. Ask for a room with a private patio or balcony. We were on a girls trip to Scottsdale once and had a room overlooking the mountains and spent a couple of night chatting away soaking in the views. And though you may be far from the culinary hot spots of downtown Phoenix and Old Town Scottsdale, you’re sure to enjoy the contemporary Italian fare served at the resort’s AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant, Prado.
Going to Arizona: Don’t Miss a pink Jeep tour in Sedona
Perhaps the most historic hotel in Phoenix, the Arizona Biltmore has been welcoming Valley of the Sun visitors – including Presidents and notable names such as Marilyn Monroe since 1929. Although competing resorts keep springing up around it, this landmark property continues to shine. Rising above the Camelback Corridor, the Biltmore keeps guests busy with two exceptional golf courses, an award-winning spa, six tennis courts and multiple swimming pools. On the inside, the Biltmore maintains its Gilded Age feel, with the lobby encompassing hardwood floors and low lighting, and guest rooms sporting cozy furnishings and contemporary design elements. In addition to the beautiful grounds, the food served at the hotel’s four eateries receives a thumbs-up from previous visitors, especially the contemporary American cuisine dished up at Frank & Albert’s. Be sure to walk around the property or take a tour to see the famous Gold room, Aztec room and the million dollar paintings and gold leaf ceilings. We stopped by to tour the property, learned about the history and influence of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright and enjoy afternoon tea at the beautiful hotel lobby over looking the gardens.
Going to Arizona: Don’t Miss Afternoon Tea at the Arizona Biltmore
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
The Waste Management Phoenix Open, a popular PGA tournament, puts the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in the spotlight once a year, taking over the resort’s two golf courses. Yet guests believe this palatial resort deserves the fanfare year-round. They rave about the spacious guest rooms, which are adorned in earthy hues and equipped with soaking bath tubs, wet bars and private patios or balconies overlooking the desert landscape. This expansive property in North Scottsdale also boasts six pools, some of which include water slides, and a full-service spa. Meanwhile, the Fairmont’s multiple restaurants cater to a wide variety of tastes. Carnivores can get their fix at Bourbon Steak, while spicier palates can indulge in some of Arizona’s best Mexican fare at La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval.
Going to Arizona : Don’t miss the Butterfly Wonderland
JW Marriott’s Camelback Inn
Sandwiched between Mummy and Camelback mountains, JW Marriott’s Camelback Inn is a great place to catch a glimpse of the Valley of the Sun at its finest. Downtown Phoenix is an easy 14-mile drive away, and downtown Scottsdale and its of shops, bars and art galleries is 5 miles away. With numerous pools, two championship golf courses and tons of alfresco spaces, the hotel provides plenty of opportunities to kick back and enjoy the surrounding desert view. Meanwhile, the Spa at Camelback Inn attracts with its soothing skin treatments, and the various on-site eateries are appreciated for their convenience. As for lodging, you will love the Southwestern-style decor as well as the private patios and balconies that came with them.
Going to Arizona : Read a recap of our stay (and see tons of the images) at the Four Seasons Scottsdale
Four Seasons at Troon North
Nested into the foothills of Pinnacle Peak, amid towering saguaro cacti among other beautiful cacti and southwestern art works- this property is a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of Phoenix and Scottsdale. But that only means you get to have the magic of the Sonoran desert all to yourself. Designed to blend flawlessly with the surrounding environment, the adobe style casitas of the Four Seasons Resort are located in the posh area of North Scottsdale near Troon North. You can spend your days lounging by the pool, working up a sweat on the tennis courts, play a round or two at the property’s two championship golf courses or be pampered at the spa. As with any Four Seasons property, the service and accommodations are impeccable and the food at on-site restaurants Proof, Talavera and Saguaro Blossom are delicious. Don’t miss out on Sonoran sunset views and handcrafted cocktails at the Onyx Bar and lounge.
A few tips and pictures from our Spring Training trip to Arizona
Spring training typically runs from end of February to the end of March, you can find more details about game schedules, stadiums and maps at the Cactus League website. Plan to get the tickets to games early since they do sell out – lawn seats are an option too. Lawn tickets are inexpensive- almost half the price of any other ticket and you have space to spread out.
You can bring blankets and towels but no chairs are allowed. You can walk around the stadium, sampling traditional stadium food like hot dogs and burgers or candy cane, peanuts and lemon chill. Don’t forget the sunscreen and hats if you are going for the afternoon games – it gets pretty hot in the Phoenix even during Spring season.
Games are played at 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm and the teams practice from 9 am when they are playing at 1:00 pm and from around 2:00 pm when they are playing 7:00 pm games. This is the best time to go see the players practice and get some autographs.
You will also find team stores where you can buy tees, jerseys, hats and other souvenirs. If you’re a baseball fan, you won’t want to miss this.
Our little leaguer enjoyed watching the practices and seeing that the Major leaguers practice drills and routines the same way his team does… this trip helped instill in this young man that it is ok to dream big – but you have to work hard to make those dreams come true!
Have you been to the Spring training games at the Cactus League or the Grapefruit League in Florida?
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