PHOENIX — The temperatures are back in the 80s in the Valley of the Sun and with them, 15 major league teams have returned for spring training in the Cactus League.
Each of the 10 ballparks where they practice and play offer something special for fans who attend, from the delectable garlic fries imported from San Francisco to the opportunity to shag fly balls during batting practice.
Cronkite News went from ballpark to ballpark and gathered a list of the must-sees and must-dos while in and around these Cactus League venues.
Scroll through the list of stadiums below to plan your day at the ballpark.
Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies
Year opened: 2011
Feature: As the afternoon sun gets hotter, the seats get cooler. The main grandstand was designed so that as the game gets on, more of the seats are shaded. Oh, and it’s impossible to miss the stunning mountain view on the horizon.
Autographs: Make sure you get to the game early and park yourself on the left and right field railing to snag the players as they walk into the stadium. Or if you like the easy way, both teams set up pregame autograph sessions on their respective concourses: left field for the Diamondbacks, right field for the Rockies.
Signature food: Salty Senorita is a staple in Arizona, so don’t miss out on the margaritas and Mexican food while watching the Diamondbacks or Rockies play. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, Cold Stone Creamery, whose corporate headquarters sits just across the street from Salt River Fields, sells inside the stadium as well.
Don’t miss this: For the young ones, the Cold Stone Kids Fun Field is open an hour and 10 minutes before first pitch through the end of the seventh inning. Kids can play wiffle ball within sight of their heroes playing hardball.
Most expensive seat: Pick up a big win at the casino across the street? Sit in the Infield Box for $37.
Cheapest seat: What’s better than a spring training game on the lawn? Grab a ticket for $11.
Pregame hotspot: If you’re feeling brunch and baseball for your Sunday, you have to hit Butters Pancakes & Café, less than two miles away.
Postgame sports bar: Four Peaks Brewing Company opened an outpost in Scottsdale, a 15-minute drive from Salt River Fields.
Nearby attraction: The best part of being on Native American land? Talking Stick Resort is a world-class casino and staycation destination, and it’s less than 10 minutes away.
Feels like home: It’s right down the road, but if you want a slice of Chase Field, the world-famous churro dog is available before the regular season begins. Sadly, no D-Bat Dog. Also, the logo of the stadium is a Diamondback rattler in the shape of the Rocky Mountains. Get it?
Team: Chicago Cubs
Year Opened: 2014
Feature: If you’re bringing little ones with you, there’s a miniature Wrigley baseball field for the kiddos to play on during the game, as well as a beautiful park a couple hundred yards to the right of the ballpark if you’re facing the entrance gates. The park offers a small lake – a perfect destination for a relaxing picnic – and a bright blue jungle gym for the kids.
Autographs: The Cubs fill the path between the Under Armor practice facility and the player’s stadium entrance after the game to meet with fans and sign plenty of fan gear.
Signature food: There are two “Taste of Chicago” stands inside the ballpark offering a Chicago favorite – the famous and mouthwatering Italian beef sandwich, alongside Italian style hot dogs and pizza.
Don’t miss this: Sloan Park is one of the only stadiums to offer some healthy options along with all the regular ballpark food. Most concession stands offer salads, fruit and yogurt and a veggie and dip platter.
Most expensive seat: Going for a more lavish experience? Purchase an infield box seat to get up close and personal for $45.
Cheapest Seat: Want to save some cash for the team store? Buy a $15 lawn ticket.
Pregame hotspot: Fans can head to Tempe Marketplace for food and attractions, specifically to Chicago-import Portillo’s in the corner of the complex or to Thirsty Lion, where you can try the famous Kobe Beef Burger.
Postgame sports bar: Stats Sports Grill is just steps away from the park and offers beer, small-plates and pub food all surrounded by 20 flat screen TV’s.
Nearby attraction: The Bass Pro Shop offers attractions for all ages. From aquariums to a mini-shooting gallery to rides to a mouth-watering fudge shop, you’ll be occupied all day.
Feels like home: You’ll feel like you’re in the famous Wrigley Field with architecture that mimics that of the Chicagoan counterpart. The outfield berm matches the look of Wrigley’s bleachers while the iconic brick backstop is recreated in Sloan Park as well. Your experience will continue outside of the gates, with street signs that match the names of Chicago streets.
Team: San Francisco Giants
Year opened: 1992
Feature: Have a free morning during spring training? Come to the stadium because when the team is scheduled to play a road game, the gates are open and fans can see their favorite players up close as they prepare to head off to their game.
Autographs: Go to the area surrounding the Giants dugout before or after the game.
Signature food: Garlic fries at Giants games are known baseball wide but not everyone can travel all the way to the Bay Area for this ballpark delicacy. Good news is the legendary fries are available during Giants games at Scottsdale Stadium.
Most expensive seat/cheapest seat: Prices are dynamic so a lawn seat against a lower market team will be decently cheap, hovering around $10, according to the Giants ticketing website. But if you want Dodgers-Giants seats, the tickets, even lawn seats, will cost you a bit more.
Pregame and postgame hotspot: The RnR Restaurant and Bar is just around the block from the ballpark. The restaurant is not shy about showing it bleeds orange and black as Giants flags fly outside the establishment. Thousands of Giants fans flock to this restaurant every spring.
Nearby attraction: Keep walking from the RnR Restaurant and you will stroll right into the past at Old Town Scottsdale. The area features multiple restaurants and other shops selling knick-knacks and postcards.
Feels like home: What makes you feel more at home than constantly being reminded that you have won a World Series title three of the last six years. Plastered all over the ballpark are the championship logos celebrating the Giants dynasty.
Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox
Year opened: 2009
Feature: Camelback Ranch provides free parking for both teams. Also, save $3 by purchasing your tickets in advance.
Autographs: Fans can get autographs even on non-game days, right next to the practice fields (open from 9 a.m. to the end of workouts). If you are going to a game, get there early because you can head to your favorite team’s dugout (White Sox on the first-base side and the Dodgers on the third-base side) to get an autograph.
Signature food: Montejo Patio is the place to be inside the ballpark. Enjoy a frozen margarita and stay cool on the shaded patio.
Don’t miss this: Don’t miss the two-acre lake system with a river. It serves two purposes: irrigation for the fields and a physical, natural barrier between the two teams practice facilities. Also, two of the practice fields are replicas of Dodger Stadium and U.S. Cellular Field with the exact dimensions.
Most expensive seat: For the Dodgers, buy a seat behind home plate for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cost: $59. You can sit in the same seats at a White Sox game for $44 at certain games including the Indians (March 4), Padres (March 6), Diamondbacks (March 13) and Reds (March 26).
Cheapest seat: Grab a spot on the lawn or $9 against most teams ($14 for others).
Pregame hotspot: McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, located in the Westgate Entertainment District, about three miles from the stadium, features pub food.
Postgame sports bar: The Shout House has that name for a reason. This hotspot will keep the rowdiness and atmosphere of the game going. Hob Nob is in Chandler, a good hike, but is known as the Chicago sports bar of the Valley. If you’re a Chicagoan and are homesick, head that way.
Nearby attraction: If you just want a full day of sports, head over to Gila River Arena and catch a Coyotes game at night.
Feels like home: Camelback Ranch has a Tommy Lasorda bobblehead in the right field pavilion plaza. L.A. fans can also feel right at home with an 18-inch slice of pizza like the ones in Dodger Stadium. The Vienna Beef Chicago Dog is a hit with Chicagoans.
Teams: Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds
Year opened: 2009
Feature: The Ziz, a statue that is hard to miss right outside the ballpark, is sculpted to represent a bird in flight. The Ziz stands at 60 feet, 6 inches, exactly the same distance between home plate and the pitcher’s mound.
Autographs: Before every game the Reds and the Indians sign autographs in sections 106 and section 118.
Signature food: You can find Cleveland’s famous Bertman Ballpark Mustard. For Cincinnati lovers, you can find Skyline Chili right inside the park.
Don’t miss this: The Estrella Falls Kid’s Zone, which is free for all ages at every game and features a whiffle ball field and inflatable bounce houses.
Most expensive seat: For an up-close-and-personal experience with your favorite Ohio team. premium field box tickets are $29; it is the same price in Club level seating.
Least expensive: If you want to sit back and relax, you can get a spot in berm seating for $8 for adults and only $4 for children.
Pregame and postgame hotspot: In the nearby town of Goodyear, check out Saddle Mountain Brewing Company, which features food like corned beef or pastrami sandwiches – brined in house for at least 21 days.
Nearby attraction: For all of your hiking, fishing or camping needs, spend the day at the Estrella Mountain Regional Park, only a seven minute drive from the stadium.
Feels like home: Goodyear Stadium knows how to make an Ohio native feel welcome with walls decorated in Ohio memories and images of past Reds and Indians including Barry Larkin. Also don’t miss out on retired Indians and Reds players who show up to sign autographs and memorabilia.
Teams: Oakland Athletics
Year opened: 1977
Feature: You will have a cool experience in Hohokam Stadium, which has the most shaded seats compared to the rest of the Cactus League Stadiums, largest scoreboard and a kid’s zone.
Autographs: Arrive early to a game because the A’s are the only team that allows fans to shag balls and get autographs during batting practice.
Signature food: Ike’s Sandwiches are from the Bay Area. They are specialty deli sandwiches that will tickle your taste buds.
Don’t miss this: The Athletics are known for mustaches because in 1972 Owner Charlie O. Finley said he would give the players $300 if they could grow a mustache, so it is only fitting that the Mustache Pretzel food truck is stationed down the right field line.
Most expensive seat: If you want to feel like royalty, grab a ticket in the “Infield Box Gold” section for $35.
Cheapest seat: Grab a blanket and sit in the lawn for $10.
Pregame hotspot: Los Dos Molinos, a Mexican restaurant, is only a couple miles away. Try its famous Shrimp Veracruz, which features large shrimp in New Mexico red chili served over rice with beans and a flour tortilla. Wash it down with Sangria.
Postgame sports bar: The after party is at Diamond Sports Grill. Try The Bullpen menu or, if your Little Leaguer is with you, the For The Little Leaguers Menu.
Nearby attraction: Check out the Mesa Arts Center to see what events or concerts are playing. The March calendar includes Monty Python’s Spamalot and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Another alternative is Old Town Gilbert. Only a few miles away, it features the up-and-coming Heritage District, a center for restaurants, retail and arts.
Feels like home: With food straight from the Bay Area at Hohokam, fans can enjoy a Dutch Crunch deli sandwich, the crunchiest bread with delicious deli inside.
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Year opened: 1998
Feature: A lot of Cactus League teams have started a trend of playing college baseball teams and the Brewers will be joining in on the fun this year. They will be playing the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to kick off spring training.
Autographs: Fans can grab Brewers autographs after their pregame stretching down the right field line, lawn and behind their dugout.
Signature food: Sink your teeth into some true Milwaukee flair with a juicy bratwurst.
Don’t miss this: If you love to collect baseball memorabilia, then don’t miss the six games the Brewers are giving away bobbleheads.
Most expensive seat: For those who want to feel like they’re part of the action and close to the players, pay $27 to sit anywhere behind the third base to first base line.
Cheapest seat: A popular destination to soak up the sun: lounge out in the lawn for $8.
Pregame hotspot: While in Maryvale, to get that true Miller Park experience, join Brewers fans who tailgate in the parking lots before the game.
Nearby attraction: Recently renovated and re-opened just last month is GCU Golf Course, formerly known as the Maryvale Golf Course. Just down the street, it is open to the public from 8-5.
Feels like home: Just like Miller Park, fans are treated to the Sausage Race before the bottom of the sixth inning.
Teams: San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners
Year opened: 1994
Feature: Kids 12 and under can do public address announcements, stand with a player during the National Anthem and run the bases after the game.
Autographs: If your hand is small enough, you can stick your hand through the fence as the players are entering or exiting the field from the clubhouse. Hence, the nickname – “Autograph Alley.” You can also receive autographs at the main stadium before the start of the National Anthem or during early morning workouts on the practice fields.
Signature food: If you are feeling up for the challenge, you can buy the Foot-Long “Ruthian” Hot Dog.
Don’t miss this: Bring your best four-legged friend March 14 to the PAW-tio section. (Don’t forget to share that Foot Long Hot Dog with him.)
Most expensive seat: Premium Infield Box (Sections 100-118) costs $32.
Cheapest seat: Get a tan in the outfield section of lawn seats that cost from $7-$10.
Pregame hotspot: Stop by the P83 party, which is the post-game street festival right by the stadium. Admission is $10 but free with a Peoria game ticket.
Postgame sports bar: If you are from San Diego, you can feel right at home at Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing Co., which started in San Diego in 1991.
Nearby attraction: The Arizona Broadway Theatre is only a couple miles away from the stadium. Go ahead, mix some baseball and theatre into your day. Fiddler on the Roof is playing at the theater from Feb. 26 through April 3.
Feels like home: Petco Park features grass seating in the outfield. So does Peoria.
Teams: Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers
Year opened: 2003
Feature: Join fans in the Home Run Party Tent located in right center field and enjoy catered food and drinks while watching a game. Cost: $30.
An Autograph: Arrive early and get autographs at the edges of the dugout. Also attend an early morning practice and you will be given access to autographs at the practice fields.
Signature food: Food at the stadium changes every year but you can always count on funnel cakes and cheese steaks. Chill out at the beer garden with a frozen margarita.
Most expensive seat: Lower dugout premium seats right behind home plate for $35.
Cheapest seat: Save some bucks by bringing your own chair and sit in the lawn for only $8.
Pregame hotspot: Just a little ways down from the stadium is Booty’s Wings, Burgers and Beers. Enjoy wings that have won multiple awards at the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo, NY. This family friendly place includes karaoke and live music.
Post Game sports bar: Less than 10 minutes away, Runners Sports Bar is the best way to finish off your day. Hit the pool tables or try karaoke.
Nearby attraction: If you want to work off baseball food, the Surprise Recreation Center is located in front of Surprise Stadium, complete with a tennis and racquet complex, dog park, aquatic center and lake.
Feels like home: Rangers fans might recognize the roped off section of the grass that makes up the lower half of the hitter’s backdrop in center, because just like at the Rangers Ballpark, fans can retrieve home run balls that fall in that area. Royals fans can buy World Series championship attire in the team shop.
Team: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Year opened: 1968
Feature: At 9,315 capacity, the stadium is the second smallest Cactus League venue, which gives fans an intimate feeling.
Autographs: Line up along the first base line and players will sign for you.
Signature food: The popular nachos are piled high inside an Angels baseball helmet.
Don’t miss this: Before you head to the lawn, make sure to grab free samples of sunblock throughout the stadium. Also look for the Budweiser Clydesdales that make a surprise visit from time to time.
Most expensive seat: For an up-close-and-personal look at the players, buy a $95 ticket in the Home Plate VIP section.
Cheapest seat: Get some sun on the lawn with a $15 ticket.
Pregame hotspot: If you want some local food before the game, head to South Mountain Park’s Morning Glory Cafe for breakfast.
Postgame sports bar:The fun continues on Mill Avenue after the ninth inning. Check out the bars and restaurants that even the players frequent.
Nearby attractions: Take a stroll over Tempe Town Lake Bridge, but you can’t rent a boat as the lake has been drained for repairs.
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