Winter Warm-up

Appears in the March 2021 issue.

With shiver-inducing temps here at home, an escape to 75-degree weather to cheer on the Chicago Cubs or White Sox as they warm up for the season certainly sounds tempting.

Both teams are a part of the 15-team Cactus League playing spring training games at 10 stadiums across the greater Phoenix area. Major League Baseball announced in mid-January that fans would be able to buy tickets for games, but not practices, with masks required and ticket groupings of two, four, or six, spaced six feet apart.

As of presstime, games were scheduled for February 27 through March 30; however, on January 25 officials from the Cactus League and Phoenix-area municipalities asked MLB to delay spring training’s start until COVID-19 cases decline. For some crosstown rivalry, the Sox play the Cubs on March 19 at Camelback Ranch stadium in Glendale and March 30 at Sloan Park in Mesa. For the latest on schedules, check

Because every stadium has its own rules, knowing the nuances can help make the most of your time. For example, some offer free admission after the sixth or seventh inning, says Sarah Boyd of Visit Phoenix, a nonprofit organization promoting tourism in the greater Phoenix area. “With how close certain stadiums are, you can hit one stadium and then hit another in the same day,” she says.

Spring training is traditionally high tourism season for Phoenix, with hotels and short-term rentals selling out in advance. One new-on-the-scene option to consider is Arrive Phoenix (400 W. Camelback Rd., 602.607.1243,, a boutique hotel with outdoor entry to
rooms and a hip poolside bar with fire pits and foosball tables.

Sports fans can make the most of the mild desert heat with hiking and water sports. “Camelback Mountain is plopped right in the middle of Scottsdale with some very renowned hikes that are easily accessible,” Boyd says. “You can be walking the streets of downtown Phoenix and a 40-minute drive later, you’re kayaking the lower Salt River.”

Photos Courtesy of Visit Phoenix/ Studio Alcott