Baseball fans get excited! Spring Training 2021 in Arizona is happening this year in Arizona. Fans will be limited and those attending will need to know what to expect before heading out to any of the stadiums. We are sharing that information below plus a few things we did during our trip a few years ago. This post has been updated for 2021.
Where to Stay in Phoenix for Spring Training 2021
The 2021 spring training season begins February 27 and ends on March 30. We’d usually recommend booking your hotel in January but with things being so uncertain, there might be a few hotels with availability near the stadium you’re hoping to visit.
One of our favorite hotels is the Marriott Phoenix Resort Tempe at The Buttes. This hotel is next door to the stadium where the Angels play and is within walking distance. When we went a few years ago, we stayed at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass which was a bit of a drive past the stadium but the gorgeous sunset seen from the lobby made up for it extra time on the road. *At the time of publication, both hotels had availability.
Face masks are required in all indoor public areas.
Travel Tip: Sign up for Ebates and get cash back when booking your hotel accommodations!
Last minute travel? Check out Hotel Tonight for hotels with rooms available.
Masks Are Required at Baseball Stadiums
Face masks are required at all baseball games and stadiums during spring training. Guests under 2 years old are not required to wear a mask. Masks can be removed while eating and taking a drink.
Get your spring training face mask merch from Fanatics.
Spring Training During Covid
Ok, so what do baseball fans need to know about spring training during COVID-19?
- All stadiums in the Cactus League are allowing a reduced number of fans to attend games. This number will vary from stadium to stadium (anywhere from 1,000 – 4,000 fans).
- Masks are required except when actively eating and drinking. Some stadiums are prohibiting gaiters and masks with vents. Know what your stadium allows before getting to the entrance.
- Stadiums have a no bag policy with the exception of small clutches, wallets, diaper bags and medical bags.
- Many stadiums are not accepting cash. Bring a credit card, debit card or Apple Pay as concessions and vendors are cashless.
- Tickets will be sold as “pods.” Tickets will be grouped in 2, 4, and 6. Those people within a pod are not required to social distance but each pod will be distanced for other pods.
- Some baseball parks do not allow sunflower seeds this year.
- Kid fun zones and autograph signings will not be allowed during spring training 2021.
This is a great article detailing what is/is not allowed for every stadium in the Cactus League.
Arizona is Really Hot
I wasn’t mentally prepared for how hot it would be at the ball park during game time. Most games begin at 1pm and there is little to no shade.
I’m not sure what inspired me to buy an Angels beach towel from the merchandise booth outside the stadium but I’m sure glad I did because I threw it on the scorching hot seats when we sat down.
Spring Training Tip: Don’t mind missing the big name players? Arrive to the game after the 4th inning and you’ll easily find a cooler seat because the shade will have crept down and covered a few more rows and a lot of people will have bounced already from heat exhaustion.
Also, check out the FAQ on the stadium website to see what seats are shaded before you buy your tickets. We paid a little extra for covered shade at Goodyear Ballpark to watch the Cleveland Indians. Best money spent all weekend long.
Autograph Seeking is Overrated
Updated for 2021: Players will not be signing autographs this year.
I thought players would be more accessible during spring training and we came prepared with baseballs and ballpoint pens for autographs. We were able to get some signatures from a few not-yet-known players but never saw any of the starting players. Maybe we were in the wrong place at the wrong time but now we know we can skip this next year.
First Timer Tip: When visiting Goodyear Ballpark, stop by the information window and they’ll treat you right with a little gift to commemorate the occasion.
Ballpark Food During Spring Training
Updated for 2021: Many stadiums will not accept cash at concessions. Be prepared to pay for food with a credit/debit card or Apple Pay.
I love ballpark food and was expecting so much more from our first game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Basic fare of hot dogs, nachos and brats are offered. We did really enjoy the Italian Ice but maybe because it was a million degrees out.
Goodyear Ballpark offered Ohio’s favorites like Chili Cheese Dog Pizza, Cleveland Polish Boy and Skyline Cheese Coney. Plus, the team store sold Cleveland’s Bertman Original Ballpark Mustard. I love finds like that!
What to Do Outside of Baseball Games
Nothing beats a great hotel pool and we spent several hours each day at ours. But, we also took in some sightseeing. *Not all Arizona hotel pools will be open and operating. Contact your hotel for information on pool and restaurant availability during COVID.
Here’s the thing about the Phoenix area: it’s vast. We spent a lot of time in the car driving from our hotel to the surrounding cities. If that’s not your thing, relax at the hotel resort. We drove out to Glendale to visit the team store at the State Farm Stadium (formerly University of Phoenix Stadium) where the Arizona Cardinals play. Unfortunately, it was closed on Sundays.
Updated for 2021: State Farm Stadium is a COVID-19 vaccination site.
When we were out in Goodyear for the Indians game, adjacent to the ballpark is an airplane boneyard. They don’t offer tours but I made the family pull over to take a few photos. It was weirdly haunting and fulfilled my Can’t Buy Me Love teenage dreams.
Related: Watch our Spring Training in Arizona vlog
Where to Eat during Spring Training 2021 in Arizona
Megan and I both got recommendations from friends on where to eat during our trip. There were a couple of lowlights not worth sharing but these are the places not to miss:
The following restaurants are open and operating at the time of publication (2/26/21).
The Breakfast Club at CityScape, Downtown Phoenix (also Old Town Scottsdale). Expect to wait and order one of the benedicts. Breakfast tip: The Breakfast Club doesn’t take reservations but you can add you name to the list before you arrive.
Big Matt’s Breakfast in Tempe (plus three other locations). The Tempe location is hard to find as it is located in the center of a business complex. No wait on a Monday morning but I expect this place gets busy on the weekend, especially adjacent to Sun Devil Stadium and for the killer Bloody Mary’s.
Culinary Dropout in Tempe. Megan and I have now been to Culinary Dropout in Las Vegas and Tempe. I ordered the same thing both times – Roasted Salmon. It’s so good. Great big bar, lots of televisions. My husband saddled up to the bar and watched the NCAA basketball games while the rest of us ate dinner. The back of the restaurant has shuffleboard and ping pong, tons of couches to chill and drink cocktails. Not super family friendly – especially with super little ones but if you’ve got tweens or teens, this is a good spot.
Headed to Arizona for spring training 2021? Tell us what you plan on doing while in town!