Enjoy sunny skies and all the spring vibes at this year’s Cactus League Spring Training games, February 21 through March 24, 2020. 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.
Enjoy this list of our favorites this to do during Spring Training season:
Go to a Spring Training game, of course!
Cactus League Spring Training brings 15 MLB teams to 10 stadiums to play more than 200 games. So, that’s a lot of games to choose from! Tempe is in the middle of all the stadiums in the Phoenix Metro Valley, which works out great if you’re looking to check out several stadiums to see your favorites team(s) play ball. For those of us that are along for the ride, but not necessarily a big baseball fan, there’s time to soak in some sunshine, eat a freshly grilled burger and chat with friends on a casual afternoon outside.
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 skip the traffic after the game, take a quick drive up the adjacent mountain to Top of the Rock at the Phoenix Marriott Resort Tempe at The Buttes. They have a terrific happy hour.
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 – February 29-March 1, 2020
- Aloha Festival brings island culture to Tempe – March 14-15, 2020
- Arizona Dragon Boat Festival showcases the pageantry and customs of an ancient Chinese folk tradition – March 28-29, 2020
- The new African Fest will celebrate African music, art, story, fashion and food – March 28, 2020
- The annual Spring Tempe Festival of the Arts will bring as many as 400 artists, live entertainment and wine and beer gardens to Downtown Tempe – March 27-29, 2020
Now is the perfect time to dust off those hiking boots. Spring brings lots of color to the desert making a perfect backdrop for exercise. I love the ease of the quick hike up “A” Mountain in Downtown Tempe. You’ll find a trail head located at Third St. and Mill Ave, just behind the light rail tracks. And, I also love the variety of scenic trails at South Mountain Park and Preserve. There are hikes that last 20 minutes and hikes that will take you all day. And, you’ll love every minute, with the exception of a few tough uphill climbs. The views of the city from the top will be your well-deserved reward. If you’re looking for an awesome place to catch a sunrise or sunset, you can’t go wrong with a hike to Hole in the Rock. The hike to the top will only take you about 5 or 10 minutes. You can get to the trail head by entering the Phoenix Zoo parking lot off of Galvin Parkway. Go left at the fork and then turn left into one of the open gates.
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.
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.
Arizona Mills: Discover some amazing deals, grab a meal and have some fun at Arizona Mills, located just minutes away from Tempe Diablo Stadium. This outlet shopping destination offers more than 185 stores, a variety of dining options and lots of attractions including SEA LIFE Arizona Aquarium, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Arizona, Harkins IMAX Theater and Tilt Studio.
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 Wild Rising by Cracking Art exhibition, now through May 10, 2020.
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! 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.
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.
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.
Paddleboarding on Tempe Town Lake
I am absolutely obsessed with paddleboarding and if you try it, you’ll be hooked too. It seems difficult, but really it isn’t. And, gently paddling around the lake without a care in the world is one of my moments of zen. Check out Boat Rentals of America – Tempe Town Lake for pricing and details about their other watercraft options. They also offer swan pedal boats (so perfect for Instagram), electric boats and kayaks. You can also visit the Boat Rentals of America – Kiwanis Lake location for pedal boating and kayaks in another picturesque setting.