Spring training in Arizona is an old tradition when it comes to baseball. Although its origins are from a little over a hundred years, Arizona spring training gained full traction over the course of the 20th century.
This is the time of the year when 30 baseball teams practice for the upcoming season. Half the teams spend their spring training in Florida in the Grapefruit League, while the other half is in Arizona in the Grapefruit League. There are 10 stadiums overall where the games are played, and they’re all very close to each other. The largest distance between stadiums is 50 miles.
History of Spring Training in Arizona
Spring training in Arizona first started around 1890, at least unofficially. By the early 20th century, Hot Springs had already become a baseball hub, which is why it’s considered as the birthplace of the Cactus League spring training.
Over a hundred Major League Baseball Hall of Famers have practiced in Arizona spring training. Although the training was first spread out across several parts of Arizona, today it’s only in Maricopa County. These stadiums are the pride and joy of baseball fans, especially those of the Cactus League spring training.
They represent the way baseball was meant to be played in Arizona – out in the open and under the sun. This year, the Cactus League spring training is from February 21st to March 2th. Here is everything you need to know about spring training in Arizona so you know where to go to see your favorite team play.
Where to Watch Arizona Spring Training
Teams That Play There: Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers
This stadium first opened in 2009. It’s designed in a way to feel more than a simple stadium. In fact, a two-acre lake and a few walking trails are in the stadium complex. That’s because this stadium is designed to have a feel of a park and also to feel a lot more accessible.
Entry to the stadium is a bit different than most, as entry is in center field. The White Sox’ bullpen is to the right of the field. It’s very easily accessible to fans. The Dodgers’ pen is to the left and is not accessible as much, and there is no seating directly above it.
There are also two souvenir shops available to buy merchandise at. One is close to the center field, and the other is close to the home plate where you can find a second, but much smaller, entrance. Each shop carries a great selection of merchandise.
Where to Stay
- The Wigwam – The hotel is only 2 miles away from the stadium. This is a luxury resort with three outdoor pools, a picnic area, and rooms equipped with plenty of different appliances. Book your room here
- Comfort Suites Phoenix-Glendale – This hotel is less than a mile away from the stadium. A decent hotel with free breakfast and fitness facilities. Book your room here
Team That Plays There: Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are the proud home team of the newest stadium in Cactus League spring training. It was opened in 2014, and it has a great location because plenty of Mesa’s best attractions are found very close. This stadium is located on the spot where a golf course used to be and is now a 140-acre complex.
There are 15,000 total seats where 9,200 of them are permanent. Additional seating is found in the patio areas and outfield lawn. The entire stadium has a feel like Wrigley Field, which includes the dark green light towers and metalwork on the upper deck.
It’s considered a state of the art ballpark, and one which many Cactus League spring training fans love. There are four practice fields, two major league diamonds, one half-sized field, and a lot of clubhouse space.
Where to Stay
- 3 Palms –This hotel is located around 2 miles from the stadium. They help with tours and tickets for events in case you plan on seeing something extra, and they also have fitness facilities and a spa tub. Book your room here
- Temple Mission Palms – Located less than 2 miles from the stadium, this is a very luxurious yet homely hotel. It offers free airport transport, as well as a tennis court, and it has a great restaurant and bar. Book your room here
- Rent an RV – While many people choose to stay in a hotel, an RV is a unique way to see spring training as well. You can drive around Arizona as you please and turn it into a road trip. There are many RV parks to stay at around the state, including a Sedona RV park to visit after spring training.
Teams Who Play There: Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians
As one of the most natural feeling and beautiful stadiums, Goodyear Ballpark perfectly blends in with the southern atmosphere. There’s a rich earth-based color palette around. Many of the seated visitors can enjoy splendid views of the Estrella and White Tank Mountains.
This park can seat up to 10,300 fans. It’s overall one of the most ideal parks to enjoy spring training in Arizona. There are four entry gates into the stadium, and each is named after their location near the field.
There’s even a pictorial and written display of the history of the Cactus League very close to the main entrance. Here you’ll also find a beautiful baseball spire, which is a fiberglass and steel sculpture, as well as a Kids Zone. A large gift shop for team merchandise is near the main entrance, but there are usually plenty of souvenir and gift stands scattered around the stadium.
Where to Stay
- Best Western Phoenix Goodyear Inn – This hotel is found 1.5 miles away from the stadium. Staying here includes free breakfast, and the hotel also has fitness facilities, as well as dry cleaning. Book your room here
- Red Lion Inn & Suites – Located 2.5 miles away from the stadium, this is a family-friendly hotel with plenty of amenities like a spa tub, pool, and a fitness center. The rooms can come with baby cribs free of charge. Book your room here
Maryvale Baseball Park
Team That Plays There: Milwaukee Brewers
This ballpark is one of the most fan-friendly stadiums in the entire wider region. It’s great for fans of Arizona spring training due to its welcoming nature. It doesn’t really have a true exterior façade, which is what leads to a feeling of openness and comfort. There are several entrances at the street level, although the most used one is Gate A.
Currently, it’s one of the older stadiums in use for Arizona spring training. That’s why the Brewers announced a sizeable renovation project in 2018, which they’ll finance together with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority.
The renovation will include a new and improved clubhouse, even more parking space, a new agility field, a new major league practice field, and much more. Everything’s expected to be finished by spring training this season.
Where to Stay
- WoodSpring Suites Phoenix –Located 2 miles away from the stadium, this is a minimalistic hotel with free parking, laundry facilities, and express check-out. It’s reasonably priced, too. Book your room here
- Baymont by Wyndham Phoenix – This hotel is situated 2 miles away from the stadium. It’s a family-friendly hotel with an outdoor pool, free breakfast, and sizeable rooms. Cribs are complementary in case you’re traveling with babies or young children. Book your room here
Team That Plays There: Oakland Athletics
As the oldest stadium in Arizona spring training, this stadium used to attract the largest crowds for a very long time. The stadium was built in 1964. Over time, the stadium began to look quite outdated. That all changed in 2014, however, when the stadium was renovated and redesigned. The most notable difference is not considered the most positive, as the seating changed from 13,000 to 10,000.
However, everything else is a notable improvement. From the entrance gates to the new flashy scoreboard, the Oakland A’s feel at home now. The entrance is still from the street level. There are a few gift shops in the stadium, too, with the main one for athletics.
Where to Stay
- Best Western Plus –Located 3.5 miles away from the stadium, this luxurious resort is equipped with a fitness center, a pool, and free parking. Their rooms are top notch, and they have extensive options for those with allergies. Book your room here
- La Quinta Inn – This hotel is located 3.5 miles from the stadium. It’s a charming hotel with fitness facilities, a spa tub, and free breakfast. The rooms are well equipped with appliances. Book your room here
Read More: 10 Reasons to Visit Arizona in the Spring
Peoria Sports Complex
Teams That Play There: San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners
This is a historical sports complex in that it’s the first spring training facility that was designed to be used by two teams. It has a unique and modern look, even though it was built in 1994. It was renovated in 2015, however, so it now feels fully updated.
Before Camelback Ranch opened, this was the only sports facility in use for spring training in Arizona that wasn’t named Park, Ballpark, Stadium, or field. However, its original two-team design and dedication to keep things fresh have persuaded both teams to extend their lease for another 20 years.
Where to Stay
- Thunderbird Executive Inn –Located 2 miles away from the stadium. This hotel has a picnic area and barbeque grills, as well as an outdoor pool. The hotel’s services are aimed at families. Book your room here
- Comfort Suites Peoria Sports Complex – Located half a mile from the stadium. It has free breakfast, a snack bar, and deli, as well as fitness facilities. There is also a safe-deposit box. Book your room here
Salt River Fields
Teams That Play There: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies
Salt River Fields is originally modeled after Camelback Ranch. It makes sense considering that it’s been designed by the same group. However, there is one notable difference between the two – there’s a lot more shade at Salt River Fields.
That’s because Salt River Fields uses much more traditional roofing over the grandstand, unlike Camelback Ranch. Both stadiums are similar in size and feel, and there is a similar small lake here, too. It’s placed very close to the main entrance which is used the most. There are a few other entry gates, although they’re not as used due to them being further away from the parking lots.
Where to Stay
- Talking Stick Resort –Located 1 mile away from the stadium. This is a family-friendly resort with excellent service and plenty of amenities such as a spa, pools, and a golf course. Book your room here
- Meridian Condo Resorts – Located half a mile from the resort. An upscale resort with terraces, 24h fitness service, a spa tub, and an outdoor pool. The rooms come equipped with plenty of appliances, and they also have a furnished terrace. Book your room here
Team That Plays There: San Francisco Giants
There was a different stadium around the field in 1955 up until 1992 when the newer, more modern Scottsdale Stadium was constructed. It’s a very comfortable stadium lined by hundreds of trees around its complex.
It’s one of the most pleasant stadiums to watch spring training in Arizona. There are six total entryways to the stadium. There are also plenty of souvenir stands. Few other stadiums offer this volume of quality team merchandise.
Where to Stay
- Saguaro Scottsdale – Located half a mile from the stadium. It’s a luxurious hotel with a fully-equipped spa, a pool, and fitness facilities. The rooms are sizeable and fully equipped too. Book your room here
- Bespoke Inn Scottsdale – Located half a mile from the stadium. A charming B&B with a bar, restaurant, and free parking. Book your room here
Teams That Play There: Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers
The best thing about Surprise Stadium is that it was built to be very fan-friendly. Everything is neatly organized and the atmosphere is incredibly comfortable. The two teams are almost perfectly separated from each other.
The Royals are found on the left side at the third base while the Rangers are on the right side. A unique aspect of this stadium is that the playing field is 19 feet below street level. There are two souvenir shops, one for each team, but they carry only a limited selection of stock.
Where to Stay
- Holiday Inn Express Surprise –Located half a mile from the stadium, this hotel offers free breakfast. They also have an outdoor pool, free parking, and express check-out. Book your room here
- Windmill Suites Surprise – This hotel is located 2 miles from the stadium. This hotel offers free continental breakfast, a picnic area, and barbeque grills, and it also comes equipped with a library. Book your room here
Tempe Diablo Stadium
Team That Plays There: Los Angeles Angels
This stadium is the only one in the Cactus League that is not found on street level. It has a unique design and is considered aesthetically pleasing. It’s designed to have a very specific wow effect, mostly due to the Angels’ logo with a halo.
Access to this stadium is only by stairs and ramp. The stadium has seen two major renovations since its construction in 1969. Once, it was renovated in 1993 in order to lure the Angels.
It was renovated again in 2006 to finish the entire complex around it. However, a negative aspect is that the seating is still not fully modernized, so some spots are not as comfortable as they should be.
Where to Stay
- Red Roof Inn –This hotel is located 1 mile from the stadium. It is a family-friendly hotel with free parking, an outdoor pool, and fully equipped rooms. Book your room here
- Arizona Grand Resort –This hotel is located 1.5 miles from the museum. It comes equipped with a full-service spa, fitness facilities, a pool, and a poolside bar. The resort also a lazy river and waterslide, and it’s very family-friendly. Book your room here