Planning a trip to Cactus League Spring Training in Arizona? This helpful guide covers everything a baseball lover needs to know for an awesome vacation!
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Are you a baseball fan who is craving a warm weather vacation? Then you have to check out spring training in Arizona ... AKA, the Cactus League!
A spring training trip is the perfect excuse to watch your favorite baseball team play a few no-stress games ... all while enjoying an amazing vacation somewhere warm and sunny while you're at it. Sounds pretty awesome, right?
It's every baseball lover's dream, and this detailed Arizona Spring Training Guide will help you plan the perfect getaway to sunny Phoenix without a hitch!
Ready to get started? Keep reading for all my helpful tips!
About the Cactus League
During spring training, Major League Baseball teams hold a series of practices and exhibition games, which allows them to try out new players and practice existing players before the regular season starts.
The Cactus League is one of two spring training leagues (the other is the Grapefruit League in Florida) that are home to the MLB during the baseball spring training season.
Phoenix and the cities in its metropolitan area (Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, etc.) are home to the Cactus League. Within a 50-mile radius of the city, you'll find 10 facilities that host 15 major league baseball teams during spring training (which typically runs mid-February through March).
It’s the greatest concentration of professional baseball facilities found anywhere in the United States! And because the teams play so close together, you can visit multiple stadiums on one trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Spring Training typically starts in late February. In 2023, this first Cactus League games are on Friday, February 24 with the Mariners vs. the Padres, and the Rangers vs. the Royals. The Grapefruit League starts on February 25.
15 MLB teams have spring training in Arizona: the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angelos Angels, Los Angelos Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers.
15 MLB teams have spring training in Florida: the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Washington Nationals.
Of course this is totally subjective, and most fans would probably pick their home team's stadium! Each stadium has its pros and cons, but Salt River Fields, Scottsdale Stadium, and Sloan Park tend to be most popular with fans. In terms of location, I like Scottsdale Stadium, because there are tons of great restaurants and things to go in the area once the game is over.
Spring training ticket prices vary a lot depending on how popular your team is, who they're playing, and what day of the week the game falls on. Expect to spend anywhere from a few bucks (cheap seats / walk-up on game day) to $60+ (marquee games on the weekend) ... most tickets fall in the $10 to $20 range though. If you want to see a popular team (like the Cubs), you may pay a premium, and you'll definitely want to buy your tickets ahead of time! If you live in the Phoenix area or spend a lot of time there, you can also buy spring training season tickets.
There are 10 stadiums in the Cactus League. Because there are 10 stadiums and 15 teams playing in Arizona, a number of teams share stadiums. You can find more info on that below.
Cactus League Stadiums
There are 15 MLB teams in the Cactus League and 10 stadiums, which means that a number of the teams share stadiums. The teams all play each other, so you have lots of chances to see great match ups.
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Salt River Fields||Scottsdale|
|Chicago Cubs||Sloan Park||Mesa|
|Chicago White Sox||Camelback Ranch||Glendale|
|Cincinnati Reds||Goodyear Ballpark||Goodyear|
|Cleveland Guardians||Goodyear Ballpark||Goodyear|
|Colorado Rockies||Salt River Fields||Scottsdale|
|Kansas City Royals||Surprise Stadium||Surprise|
|Los Angeles Angels||Tempe Diablo Stadium||Tempe|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Camelback Ranch||Glendale|
|Milwaukee Brewers||American Family Fields||Phoenix|
|Oakland A's||Hohokam Stadium||Mesa|
|San Diego Padres||Peoria Sports Complex||Peoria|
|San Francisco Giants||Scottsdale Stadium||Scottsdale|
|Seattle Mariners||Peoria Sports Complex||Peoria|
|Texas Rangers||Surprise Stadium||Surprise|
Tip: My advice is to see as many different games in as many different stadiums as possible during your visit!
7 Reasons You'll Love Spring Training in Arizona
Okay, now that we've gone over the basics, let's talk about the fun stuff ... all the reasons you're going to love MLB spring training!
1. The Amazing Phoenix Weather
I have to start with the obvious: the weather. With average highs hitting the mid-seventies in February and March, you're almost guaranteed beautiful, sunny weather in the Phoenix area!
Make sure to check the weather forecast before your trip though, because it's hard to know what to expect. The first year I went to spring training, temps were in the 90's, but the next year they were in the 60s and quite a bit cooler. This year, the opening day was rained out in a fluke storm. That's pretty rare though, and the weather during the rest of our trip was beautiful.
Whatever the weather, I'd recommend bringing layers, because it cools off quite a bit at night. You're in the desert after all!
2. Fun Ballpark Atmosphere
There's also a great relaxed atmosphere at the games! Results don't really matter (except for fan/team pride), the fans are a little older (all those snow birds), and if you go on a weekday, the crowds are a little thinner.
Plenty of room to spread out, meet a few fellow fans, walk around the stadium, and just chillax.
3. The Chance to See Your Favorite Players ... Up Close!
MLB spring training is also a great way to get up close and personal with your favorite players. And of course, it's fun to check out the new players, too. And maybe place a bet on who will make the team roster!
Cactus League stadiums are much smaller than those you'll visit during regular reason games. You'll only be a few rows back from the field, even if you purchase the cheap seats.
You may even be able to snag a few autographs! Here's how to do it:
- Attend an open public practice. Check out the schedule for your team here.
- Find out where players exit the stadium after games. You may be able to get an autograph after the game ends (or toward the end of the game).
- Come to a game extra early and hang out near the section of field where the team is warming up.
- Be polite! A please and thank you is definitely appreciated by the players.
4. You Can Catch Lots of Games + Visit Many Stadiums
Since all Cactus League teams play at stadiums within a 50-mile radius, you have the opportunity to see lots of games and teams.
Why not follow your fave team from stadium to stadium? If you spend a week (or even just a weekend), you'll have the opportunity to see multiple games in a short amount of time.
One thing to keep in mind? The Phoenix area is huge, spread out, and traffic is heavy. Give yourself plenty of time to get to games.
5. Fun Family Atmosphere
If you're a family of baseball lovers who likes warm weather, then this is the vacation for you! Tickets are affordable, and the older crowds are filled with true baseball fans who aren't that rowdy (not that you can't enjoy buy a beer (or three), if you want!).
If your kids get bored easily, buy lawn seats so they can run around when they get antsy. If they're lucky, they might even catch a home run!
6. Lots of Amazing Ballpark Food to Indulge In
There's just something about ballpark food, amiright?
You can't go to a Brewer's game without getting cheese curds. They're hard to come by here in Texas, and they came in a cute mini souvenir helmet. And I got some delicious noodles, too. My husband enjoyed a giant bowl of Bratchos, which is basically potato chips covered in cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, onions, and sliced up brats. Only in Wisconsin ... or Phoenix, I guess!
At other parks, I've sampled everything from mustache shaped pretzels to craft beers. The options are endless, and the best part is that you don't have to wait in long lines to order food and drinks. Just walk right up!
7. Enjoy All Your Fan Favorites in a Casual Atmosphere
And last but not least, most teams ship their favorite traditions out west, along with their players.
If you're a Brewer's fan like us, you'll probably see a sausage race or two. You might even hear my husband yelling out, "Go Bratwurst!" if you do.
Of course, if you're not a Brewers fan, you'll be able to catch your team's fan favorites, too. All in a more intimate atmosphere than you'd experience during regular season.
2023 Spring Training Trip Planning Tips
I hope you enjoyed reading about MLB spring training in Arizona! Here are some tips to help plan your visit:
Learn More about the Cactus League
You can purchase Cactus League tickets through the MLB, but the Cactus League website has links to all the teams and is a great place to start. Expect to spend anywhere from a few bucks to $60+, depending on the popularity of your team and location of your seats. For big games, check StubHub, if you don't find what you're looking for at the MLB. And of course, you can purchase tickets at the stadium on game day, too.
With Cactus League stadiums spread out over a 50-mile radius, you'll need a car to get around. If you're planning to drink, Uber is a great option for getting to and from the game safely. Make sure to check each stadium for parking info and for local transportation to the game, as well.
Where to Stay
The Phoenix metropolitan area is huge and sprawling. If you want to cut down on driving time, try to stay close to your team's stadium. However, if you're going to games at lots of different stadiums, you'll want to stay as centrally located as possible. I prefer to stay in downtown Phoenix, which is actually pretty cool! There are lots of great restaurants, beautiful murals, and more to explore (all within walking distance). The Kimpton Hotel Palomar is a favorite. Tip: You can also check hotel reviews on TripAdvisor ... they're always so helpful!
You can probably expect highs in the low to mid-70's during baseball spring training in February and March. However, make sure to check weather reports before you go! The first time we went to spring training in Arizona, temps were in the mid-90's. The next year, they were in the mid-60's, and this year, opening day was rained out ... you just never know.
What to Wear
Obviously, you don't need to dress up for a spring training game (a tee shirt and jeans/shorts is where it's at), but double check the weather before you pack your bag. Even if it's warm during the day, it will probably be cold at night ... bring a jacket. And you'll be spending lots of time in the sun, so make sure to wear a hat, sunglasses, and plenty of sunblock.
Other Things to Do in the Phoenix Area
If you love the outdoors, you are in luck! Phoenix and its environs are full of opportunities for exploring the great outdoors. South Mountain Park is amazing with so many beautiful, towering saguaro cacti + amazing panoramic views of the valley.
You can also check out downtown Phoenix, which has dozens of colorful murals, cute shops, and lots of restaurants, check out the state capitol, go shopping at the Nordstrom outlet (!!!), visit the stunning Desert Botanical Garden, climb up to Hole-in-the-Rock, and more. There are a number of National Parks within a few hours, too, including breathtaking Saguaro National Park.