Tempe Diablo Stadium, the spring home of the Angels.
Cactus League stadium guide: Everything you need to know to attend spring training
Spring training is often a time baseball fans can maintain unbridled optimism about their favorite teams before the reality and the grind of the 162-game regular season sets in. The sun is shining, the players look refreshed, and the games don’t count yet.
But if you’re a fan who wants to soak all of this up in person in the greater Phoenix metro area — where the Dodgers, Angels and 13 other major league teams train in 10 stadiums and complexes — what do you need to know? How do ticket prices and parking situations vary?
What are the stadiums worth seeing — and avoiding entirely? How do the food options shape up in and out of a given stadium? We asked our baseball reporters and columnists, some of whom have been covering spring training for nearly 30 years, for their insights on all 10 Cactus League facilities.
Much like with any baseball team’s fortunes, results may vary.
Camelback Ranch (Dodgers, Chicago White Sox)
The practice fields on the Dodgers’ side of the complex could be the most accessible to fans in the Cactus League, so it’s a great place to watch morning workouts and get autographs or selfies. As for the stadium itself, because of the way it is positioned and its limited shade, the sun is a major nuisance. Bring lots of sunblock and drink plenty of water. The parking is free, however.
Also, make sure to plan ahead when it comes to food. There aren’t many dining options in the immediate area and in-stadium options are limited.
Ticket prices vary depending on which home team you’re going to see, which game you’re going to and whether you get your tickets before the day of the game — there’s a $5 discount if you buy ahead of time. General admission tickets give you access to the lawn area, so don’t forget your picnic blanket.
Tempe Diablo Stadium (Angels)
Parking: $10 (Note: cashless, so have credit card handy)
It is one of the oldest facilities in the Cactus League — first opened in 1968 — and will have a major renovation completed by 2026 that will feature an expansion of the concourses, new seats and more lawn seating.
In the meantime, enjoy seating that is close to the action and the view of the Buttes looming beyond left field. There’s a hotel built into that hillside; stay there and you can walk down the hill to the ballpark.
Potential dining spots for before and after the game: the Farm at South Mountain, a short drive from the stadium. Tasty sandwiches, salads and desserts (be sure to get the chocolate chip cherry walnut cookie) and served in a serene, farm-like, picnic-table-filled, bird-chirping setting. There’s also Oregano’s, which offers a witty menu and generous portions of Italian favorites and is also a short drive from the stadium.
Goodyear Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians)
Parking: Free when you buy a ticket to a game
Pro tip: If you’re driving back to Southern California, this is the best spot to catch a game on getaway day. It’s the farthest west of the Cactus League stadiums and close to Interstate 10, putting you a good hour — maybe more, depending on traffic — closer to home than you would be if you spent your last day in Scottsdale or Mesa.
Tickets for berm seating — the grassy areas in center and left field — can be had for as little as $10 if you buy before day of game.
Raul and Theresa’s Mexican Restaurant is a popular dining destination near the stadium.
Surprise Stadium (Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals)
The facility itself is nice, with all the modern amenities, but it’s closer to the 303 Loop than any of the major freeways — Interstate 10, Interstate 17, the 101 and 202 Loops and the 51 — that service the greater Phoenix area. So leave yourself some extra time to traverse the city streets required to get here. The stadium is part of a complex that includes community swimming pools and parks, which allows for plenty of parking.
Peoria Sports Complex (Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres)
Parking: $5 for personal vehicle; $10 for recreational vehicle
Opened in 1994, the first two-team spring training facility features plenty of shaded seating and is located in a well-trafficked area. As far as dining options located nearby, we recommend the Sicilian Butcher. It’s close enough to Surprise Stadium and Camelback Ranch for fans visiting those venues as well. In a Peoria/Glendale 101 corridor littered with every conceivable chain restaurant, this chef-driven oasis stands out.
American Family Fields of Phoenix (Milwaukee Brewers)
Parking can be a challenge at this facility located in the Maryvale community of Phoenix, so arriving early is recommended. Dining options are limited around the stadium, but a brisk 10-mile drive from Maryvale is a four-restaurant compound of flavorful and classy New Mexico-tinged cuisine. Diners can choose from Dick’s Hideaway, Richardson’s, Rosie’s and the Rokerij, all under the same ownership and on the same block.
Scottsdale Stadium (San Francisco Giants)
Parking: Free at nearby Scottsdale Library and Civic Center parking garage (Note: different levels have different time restrictions)
In a Cactus League where stadiums can skew sterile, Scottsdale Stadium stands out for its old-school charm, cozy atmosphere and its location in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. The stadium is surrounded by a plethora of great restaurants, bars and shops. There is also a trolley system, which is free, that can take from the parking garage listed above to the stadium if you’re so inclined.
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies)
Parking: $7-$20, depending on lot; $40 for valet parking
The last two teams to have spring training in Tucson, the Diamondbacks and Rockies now have the best stadium in the Cactus League. A sunken field, which has a stunning visual effect. Wide concourses. Good food options. If you’re going to venture beyond Camelback and Tempe Diablo, make sure this is atop your list.
Dining options abound, too. Andreoli Italian Grocer, Fire at Will, and Butters Pancakes & Cafe are among the recommended choices if you’re looking to make a day of it.
Speaking of which, there are plenty of attractions nearby, including the name sponsor casino, a Top Golf, the OdySea Aquarium, the Octane Raceway (kart racing), a Great Wolf Lodge and an indoor skydiving facility.
Sloan Park (Chicago Cubs)
Parking: $10 (Note: cashless, so have credit card handy)
This is a near-replica of Chicago’s Wrigley Field, minus the ivy-covered walls, giving it a little more charm, and it reminded us of JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox that is known as “Fenway Park South.” With a seating capacity of 15,000, it’s the largest spring-training facility in baseball. And if you can get a room at the recently opened Marriott Courtyard next door, you can walk to the park.
There are plenty of food options nearby, including Portillo’s Tempe, which is about a five-minute drive from the ballpark.
Hohokam Stadium (Oakland Athletics)
Parking: $5 (Note: cashless, so have credit card handy)
The upgrade from the A’s previous home, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, to their current location felt marginal at best. The stadium is functional but pretty bland and nondescript.
But if you’re a country music fan, you can visit the grave of Waylon Jennings, who is buried in the City of Mesa Cemetery across the street from the facility. And the Phoenix Zoo is about 10 miles away.
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