Planning a trip to Cactus League Spring Training in Arizona? Here's everything you need to know for an awesome trip!
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My husband and I just returned from baseball spring training in Phoenix, Arizona, and it was such a fun trip.
This is the third time we've been to Cactus League spring training (our first time was during our El Paso to Phoenix road trip), and I'm already thinking about visiting again next year!
A spring training trip is the perfect excuse to watch your favorite baseball team play a few no-stress games ... while escaping somewhere warm and sunny while you're at it. Sounds pretty awesome, right?
This relaxed vacation is any baseball lovers dream, and my detailed Arizona Spring Training Guide will help you plan your getaway to sunny Phoenix without a hitch. Keep reading for lots of spring training travel tips, and as always, scroll to the end of the post for all my tips in one spot if you're in a hurry.
Cactus League Spring Training in Arizona
Are you familiar with the Cactus League? Start by watching my video for a quick overview (turn on the sound), then keep reading for lots of Spring Training tips!
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 that form the metropolitan area (Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, etc.), are home to the Cactus League. Within a 50-mile radius, 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.
Which baseball teams have spring training in Arizona?
Cactus League spring training is home to 15 MLB teams:
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Salt River Fields||Scottsdale|
|Chicago Cubs||Sloan Park||Mesa|
|Chicago White Sox||Camelback Ranch||Glendale|
|Cincinnati Reds||Goodyear Ballpark||Goodyear|
|Cleveland Indians||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|
As you can see, a number of the teams share stadiums. And they all play each other, so you have lots of chances to see great match ups.
What is the best Cactus League stadium?
When it comes to determining the best Cactus League stadium, that's a tough call ... most fans might go with their home team!
Each stadium has its pros and cons, and the stadiums you hit will probably depend on where your fave teams are playing. On the Road Arizona has a good recap of the best Cactus League stadiums, but Salt River Fields, Scottsdale Stadium, and Sloan Park are all very popular with fans.
We are Brewers fans, and their home base is American Family Fields of Phoenix (formerly called Maryvale Stadium). They've made some big upgrades here in the past couple years, and the stadium has a great open air feel and a chill atmosphere that I love.
The main problem with this stadium is that there really isn't a lot around it. So if you're looking for somewhere to eat or drink near the stadium you'll need to travel quite a few blocks to get there (and then the options are pretty basic).
So which stadium is my fave? We try to go to a few different stadiums each year, and to be honest, they all kind of blend together! I have to go with my Brewers, my Scottsdale Stadium is great in terms of location. There's tons of great restaurants and things to go in the area once the game is over.
How much does it cost to go to a spring training game?
Spring training ticket prices vary a lot depending on how popular a team is, who they're playing, and what day of the week the game falls on. Expect to spend anywhere from a few bucks (walk-up on game day) to $60+ (marquee games on the weekend) ... most tickets fall in the $10 to $20 range though.
We saw the Brewers during the week and sat behind home plate. My husband paid $24 a ticket ahead of time. The stadium was fairly empty when we got there though, and they were selling tickets for $3 on game day.
The last time we saw the Brewers during baseball spring training it was a weekend game, and the stadium was almost full. So you never know.
Of course, 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! TickPick has a helpful overview of average MLB spring training ticket prices to give you an idea of what you might spend.
If you live in the Phoenix area or spend a lot of time there, you can also buy spring training season tickets.
Why You'll Love Cactus League 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!
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 it was quite a bit cooler (60s). 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.
I'd recommend bringing layers to wear in any case, because it cools off quite a bit at night.
Fun Ballpark Atmosphere
There's also a great relaxed atmosphere at baseball spring training in Arizona.
Game 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.
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 for 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.
Catch Lots of Games / Visit Many Stadiums
Since all Cactus League teams play at stadiums within a 50-mile radius, going to spring training gives you 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) at spring training, you'll have the opportunity to see many of games in a short amount of time.
One thing to keep in mind? The Phoenix are is huge, spread out, and traffic is heavy. Give yourself plenty of time to get to games.
Fun Family Atmosphere
Cactus League spring training also has a great 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 to!).
You can buy lawn seats so your kids can run around a bit if they get bored, too. If they're lucky, they might even catch a home run!
Indulge in Ballpark Food
And then there's the food! Last year, I had a pretzel that had the texture and taste of cardboard. So this year, I explored my options a little more carefully.
You can't go to a Brewer's game without getting cheese curds, right? They're hard to come by here in Texas, and they came in a cute mini souvenir helmet.
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!
I also tried some noodles that were delish. I'd definitely get those again next year.
The best part is that you don't have to wait in long lines to order food and drinks. Just walk right up!
And last but not least, if you're a Brewer's fan, you'll probably see a sausage race or two. You can't go to a Brewers game without one of those.
As my husband would say, "Go Bratwurst!"
Of course, if you're not a Brewers fan, you'll be able to catch your team's favorite traditions. All in a more intimate atmosphere than you'd experience during regular season.
Cactus League Spring Training ... How to Plan a Spring Training Trip
I hope you enjoyed reading about MLB spring training in Arizona! Here are some tips to help plan your visit:
Buying Tickets: You can buy 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.
Getting Around: 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 or as centrally located as possible. We usually stay at an IHG Hotel (gotta collect those points!), and they have tons of great options in and around Phoenix. My favorite area is downtown Phoenix, which has lots of great restaurants, cool murals, and more ... all within walking distance!
- Hotels: I recommend checking Booking.com for the best rates on hotels in Phoenix. They have everything, and it's easy to narrow your search down by area. You can also check reviews on TripAdvisor ... they're always so helpful!
- Airbnb: This is another great option, and there are tons of awesome Airbnb options in Phoenix! If you've never used Airbnb before, sign up for Airbnb here and you'll get up to $40 off your first stay + a $15 experiences credit!
Weather: 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: You don't need to dress up for a Cactus League 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. We loved visiting South Mountain Park (so many beautiful, towering saguaro cacti + amazing panoramic views of the valley) on our El Paso to Phoenix road trip. We've also enjoyed visiting downtown Phoenix which has dozens of colorful murals, checking out the state capitol, shopping the Nordstrom outlet (!!!), visiting the stunning Desert Botanical Garden, climbing up to Hole-in-the-Rock, and more. There are a number of National Parks within a few hours, too, including gorgeous Saguaro National Park. Check out Trip Advisor for more things to do (the traveler reviews are so helpful), plus find info on hotels, flights, restaurants, and more!
What is your favorite MLB team?