Scottsdale, Arizona, and the neighboring towns are the home of the Cactus League, one of Major League Baseball's Spring Training leagues. Located just ~20 minutes from Phoenix, access to the area is easy. For baseball fans, especially young ones, it's a super fun experience to come watch some games in sunny Arizona. The ballparks all have varying degrees of access to the players for autographs, but all offer an up-close-and-personal baseball game experience. The parks are much smaller than the Major League parks, making the overall experience more intimate, with many chances to see your favorite players in close range. Arrive early to catch players walking between practice fields where many will stop and give autographs. Others, like at Scottsdale Stadium, will stop on their way out, either after the game or mid-game when the less experienced players are substituted into the game. The Scottsdale area has places to hike, including the challenging Camelback mountain.
Peoria Sports Complex: Located ~30 minutes from Scottsdale, this baseball stadium complex houses the Mariners and the Padres. Arrive early and watch batting practice on the practice fields and catch players' autographs when they travel from the practice fields to the main complex. We had great seats on the 3rd baseline, only to find that the sun and heat were too punishing. We ended up seeking shade in the standing room only section. If you're heat sensitive, we recommend purchasing shaded seats.
Scottsdale Stadium: This has been the home of the San Francisco Giants since 1984. You may have gathered by the photos that this is "our team." Autographs of your favorite players can be obtained before the game but we had better luck getting the star players by waiting outside the Giants clubhouse at Gate B just after they were pulled from the game, which is not necessarily at the end of the game. For cheaper but fun tickets, buy lawn tickets. Bring a blanket to sit on and get there early to grab coveted shady spots.
Camelback Ranch: This home of the White Sox and Dodgers is located in Glendale, ~30 minutes from Scottsdale. The grounds of this baseball complex are beautiful with a park-like setting, including over 5,000 plants and trees. The stadium is well-designed with full shade seats available.
Hike Camelback Mountain. Ascend 1,420 feet to the top of Camelback Mountain and be rewarded with a 360 view of the City below. There are two trails to the top, Echo Canyon (1.2 miles roundtrip) and Cholla Trail (1.5 miles roundtrip). Both are challenging because of the steep grade and lack of shelter from the sun. Both trails require traverse boulders at times but this is part of the fun. Large cacti also line parts of the trail (no, I didn't touch it and please don't touch them either).
Where We Ate
Original Chop Shop: (no photo) This cheap, fast, and super healthy college-town restaurant hit the spot. Full flavor, fresh, and a ton of options. We definitely recommend this place.
Republic Ramen: For fairly good and very cheap Ramen, try this Ramen restaurant located in Tempe.
Note: We do not have any specific recommendations for lodging unfortunately. Our experience was not great so we are not providing the listing here.