Families and Kids

Things To Do During Spring Training Season

Enjoy sunny skies and all the spring vibes at this year’s Cactus League Spring Training games, February 21 through March 26, 2019. Catch a fly ball, a tan and hopefully a few attractions while you’re in town as Arizona’s warmer temperatures are the perfect backdrop for festivals, patio dining and other outdoor activities.

Festivals: Festivals are plentiful in Tempe this time of year. Plan your visit to Tempe to coincide with any and all of these  five colorful and cultural festivals taking place in Tempe this March:

  • Innings Festival combines music and baseball – March 2 and 3
  • Aloha Festival brings island culture to Tempe – March 9 and 10
  • Arizona Dragon Boat Festival showcases the pageantry and customs of an ancient Chinese folk tradition – March 30 and 31
  • The new African Fest will celebrate African music, art, story, fashion and food – March 30
  • The annual Spring Tempe Festival of the Arts will bring as many as 400 artists, live entertainment, wine and beer gardens, food vendors and activities for kids to Downtown Tempe – March 29-31

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, Bar Louie and Dave & Buster’s. There are lots of options for shopping including H&M, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy and DSW – just to name a few! And, you can catch the free trolley from Tempe Marketplace to Cubs spring training games at Sloan Park.

Hiking: Put on your hiking boots 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 five minutes from Downtown Tempe, to Papago Park and hike to a 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, Pedal Haus Brewery, Postino Annex and Culinary Dropout at the Yard Tempe. But, really it’s hard to go wrong in Tempe. Check out a full list of restaurants with great patios.

Desert Botanical Garden:  Desert Botanical Garden is always gorgeous, but spring is when it really comes to life. Wildflowers will be in bloom and there’s a great on-site restaurant to try called Gertrude’s where you can enjoy a delicious meal on their lovely patio. Another favorite spring activity is the  Spring Music in the Garden concert series every Sunday evening through April. Also, not to be missed is the gorgeous installation “Electric Desert.” Come and experience this light and sound experience by Klip Collective through May 12, 2019. Savor a cocktail as you stroll through “Electric Desert” on March 21 at Lit & Sip.

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! Don’t miss the latest exhibit, “Bugs. Big Bugs!,” that features twenty-one gigantic bugs, encounters with real live bugs and tons of activities for the entire family now through April 28.  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 ! There are splash pad areas where the the little ones can cool off during the warm afternoons, and the adults can relax while watching the kids have a blast.

Shopping for Spring Training Gear: Whether you are a fan for life or just for the day, MLB gear is out on display all month long! Cactus Sports on Mill Avenue is the spring training go to in Downtown Tempe. For more than 25 years, Cactus Sports has been proud to bring the finest selection of ASU gear and official Cactus League Spring Training mementos. Take your fandom to a whole new level at Just Sports located at Tempe Marketplace. Just Sports offers a full selection of memorabilia and gear for collegiate and professional teams including every MLB team participating in Cactus League Spring Training.

Craft Beer: One way to experience the unique culture and relaxed vibe in Tempe, Arizona is to visit  some of the city’s beloved breweries. Tempe is home to multiple local breweries that are creating extremely popular and even award-winning beers. Check out our craft beer video for breweries you will want to sip and see in Tempe.

Downtown Tempe: Tempe’s downtown is a natural gathering spot 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. Every Sunday, visit the 6th Street Market  from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and meet local artisans, enjoy live music and the food trucks and take advantage of the fantastic brunch offers nearby.

Try Something new: Looking to do something out of the ordinary and try something extraordinary while you’re in town? Then Tempe is perfect for you! From wielding an axe at Lumberjaxes Axe Throwing to releasing your aggression at the Simply Smashing Rage Release Room, there is something for everyone. For a full list of unique things to do, visit our blog.

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, February 23 through March 26. 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 12 and March 20 and at 4 p.m. on March 25. Get the game day trolley schedules at the Tempe Marketplace website.

Amy Griglak
Written Amy Griglak

Originally from California, Amy loves to travel, go for runs, read all kinds of books, enjoy all things Disney, drink caramel macchiatos and explore new places and old favorites with her husband and two kiddos.