Posted on: March 2, 2017
Every year, baseball fans travel to Tempe from all over the country to see Cactus League Spring Training baseball games. In between games, there are lots of fun things to do in Tempe during spring training season. From family activities to festivals to shopping and dining, there’s something to keep every fan entertained. This year’s Cactus League schedule, with games from February 24 – April 1, coincides with all kinds of things to do in Tempe for all ages. Visit www.tempebaseball.com to see game schedules, stadium maps and ticket information or call 800-283-6734.
Happy hour after the game: I love Tempe Diablo Stadium because it’s centrally located and because the views of the mountains from here really remind you why Arizona is such a beautiful place. And, if you want to bypass the traffic after the game, take a quick drive up those mountains to Top of the Rock at the Phoenix Marriott Tempe at The Buttes. They have a terrific happy hour.
Downtown Tempe: Tempe’s downtown is a natural gathering spots for baseball fans. Here, along tree-lined streets, you’ll find local shops, tempting restaurants and fun nightlife options. You can also hike up “A” Mountain, check out Tempe Town Lake and see public art. Visit the Downtown Tempe spring training page to learn about special offers for baseball fans, photo opportunities and other fun activities this spring.
Tempe Marketplace: Shop, dine and listen to live music every Friday and Saturday evening at Tempe Marketplace. This is a fun spot to walk around, browse the shops and grab a bite to eat. Some of my favorite restaurants include Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill and Smashburger. There are lots and lots of options for shopping including H&M, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy and DSW – just to name a few! And, see below for information about their free trolley to Cubs games at Sloan Park.
Arizona Aloha Festival: For a taste of the Hawaiian Islands, visitors can hula over to the Arizona Aloha Festival March 11-12 at Tempe Town Lake. Discover the islands through a variety of activities providing glimpses into the rich cultures of the South Pacific. Sample some of the cuisines and local favorites, shop in the Island Marketplace, and watch performers such as storytellers, Tahitian drummers, slack key guitar and more.
Hiking: Get your hiking boots on and enjoy the great outdoors. South Mountain Park/Preserve provides never ending beautiful scenery and sometimes challenging, hiking and mountain bike trails. For a shorter hike that can prove to be just as challenging, try Tempe’s own Hayden Butte, more popularly known as “A” Mountain. This short hike is located in the heart of Downtown Tempe and offers amazing views of Tempe and Phoenix. Or head north about 5 minutes of Downtown Tempe to Papago Park and hike the local favorite spot called “Hole in the Rock.”
Patio dining: There’s a good reason why so many restaurants in town invest in patios. Eating tasty food and enjoying Arizona’s warm temps are two of my favorite things. Put them together and you’ve got a slice of heaven. My favorites are House of Tricks, Handlebar Tempe, Postino Annex and Culinary Dropout at the Yard Tempe. But, really it’s hard to go wrong in Tempe.
Desert Botanical Garden: The Desert Botanical Garden is always gorgeous, but spring is when it really comes to life. Wildflowers will be in bloom, there’s a delicious on-site restaurant to try called Gertrude’s and they are hosting their annual Spring Music in the Garden concert series every Friday evening through June. Also not to be missed is their new Butterfly Pavilion, opening on March 4, 2017. You’ll be able to step inside to see their Spring Butterfly Exhibit, where you can learn all about these amazing creatures through May 14, 2017.
The Phoenix Zoo: Springtime is one of the best times of year to visit The Phoenix Zoo. The weather is perfect for being outside, and the animals like it too! The Isle of the Tiger, one of the newest additions to the zoo, offers visitors a chance to see tigers up close — really close! And my visits always include a stop at Orang-Hutan, the Orangutan habitat, and Monkey Village, where the visitors can walk right into the monkeys’ habitat itself! There are splash pad areas for the little ones to cool off during the warm afternoons, and the adults can relax while watching the kids have a blast.
Cubs Baseball Spring Training Trolley: Fans can also hop on a free trolley at Tempe Marketplace that goes to Sloan Park for the Cubs’ home games. The trolley stop will be located on the west side of The District, between Kabuki and Thirsty Lion. For daytime games, trolley service will start at 11 a.m. and run every half hour to and from the ballpark. Trolley service will begin at 5 p.m. for the night games on March 15 and March 19. Check out their website for more information, including a link to the special deals for baseball fans throughout the season.
Plan your next vacation with the Tempe Visitor's Guide.