Diamondbacks fans don't have to travel far to their team in spring training. (Image via Shutterstock.com)

While baseball players and fans can be active under Arizona’s sun year-round, the state is never more vibrant than during Major League Baseball’s (MLB) annual spring training season. Estimates put the economic impact of the Cactus League at over $300 million each year.

Scottsdale in particular is a mecca of food, entertainment, and affordability for active adults, and we’re taking a look at the city’s two stadiums that host MLB spring training for the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants, and the Colorado Rockies.

Avid fans hoping to catch doubleheaders should note that both of Scottsdale’s stadiums–Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and Scottsdale Stadium–are within 40 miles of the other eight MLB spring training stadiums in the greater Phoenix area, making the dream of a sunny day filled with baseball an easy reality.

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick - Phoenix

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick has scenic views and modern amenities. (Image via Shutterstock.com)

Completed in Scottsdale in 2011, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick has the distinction of being both the newest field in the greater Phoenix area as well as the first MLB park built on Native American land.

The field has a capacity of 7,000 fixed seats and 4,000 lawn seats, but as many as over 13,000 fans have attended games at the stadium. Visitors have access to a number of amenities in the complex, including a kids zone, party pavilions, luxury suites, two soccer fields, and a large, man-made lake with an array of native fish.

Who Plays Here

Upon opening its doors, both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies signed a 20-year commitment to use Salt River Fields at Talking Stick as their spring training facilities. In addition to the two MLB teams, the field regularly hosts the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters–a Japanese professional baseball team–for spring training.

Game Schedule

MLB spring training at Salt River Fields kicks off on February 23 with a 1:10 pm game between the Diamondbacks and the Rockies. Teams will alternate hosting 15 games each at Salt River Fields with hitting the road to visit other Phoenix-area stadiums. Both the Diamondbacks and the Rockies will see three doubleheaders throughout the season.

How Do I Get There?

Salt River Fields is 15 minutes north of Downtown Scottsdale and just off of the Pima Freeway, making it a straight shot for many drivers. Through a partnership with Lyft, the stadium often offers special promo codes for discounted rides through the rideshare service for those who don’t want to bring their own vehicle.

A free trolley service is also available to shuttle fans from Downtown Scottsdale to the Talking Stick Entertainment District. Out-of-town fans have their choice of airports to fly into: the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, just 25 minutes southwest of the field, or the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, a 40-minute drive southeast.

How Much Are Tickets?

Ticket prices at Salt River Fields vary between the two teams and range from $23 for (wheelchair-accessible) lawn seating to $52 for box seats. Buyers should note that these prices may not include online convenience fees.

What Else Do I Need To Know Before I Go?

Parking costs are some of the most inexpensive in the league, with stadium parking at $5 for cars and RV and bus parking for $15. Gates open one hour and 40 minutes before the game, and fans can line up 40 minutes before the game for autographs.

Visitors can expect hot, sunny weather with varying coverage and shade throughout the stadium and should come prepared with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Outside food and beverages, lawn chairs, hard-sided coolers, and large umbrellas, bags, and banners are prohibited.

Fun Ballpark Fare

Salt River Fields doesn’t skimp on choices when it comes to food and beverage. Throughout the stadium, guests will find nine concession stands with a wide array of cuisine featuring regional barbeque, specialty hot dogs, gourmet ice cream, and a taco bar.

Mobile kiosks feature Hawaiian smoothies, toasted subs, and various craft beer and cocktail bars for ice-cold beverages. For fans with classic tastes, hot dogs, burgers, and peanuts are available at almost every venue.

What To Do Before & After Games

Just outside of the stadium, visitors will find an impressive array of shopping and dining options as well as green space. The Pavilions at Talking Stick has an ever-expanding list of retailers, restaurants, and entertainment outlets, including an iFly indoor skydiving facility.

For avid golfers hoping to hit the green before a game, the McCormick Ranch Golf Club is a short drive west of Salt River Field. Fans of all ages can let their inner child explore the OdySea Aquarium just across the Pima Freeway and be done in time to catch the first pitch.

Nearby 55+ Communities

Just a short, 15-minute drive from Salt River Field, active adults will find Heritage Village, a quaint community built around pristine, man-made lakes. Scottsdale Shadows, a spacious condo community southwest of the field, offers low-maintenance living so active adults can spend their time keeping score in the stands.

Scottsdale Stadium

Scottsdale Stadium is the largest stadium found in the Cactus League. (Image via Shutterstock.com)

Ideally located in Downtown Scottsdale, Scottsdale Stadium offers an unmatched baseball experience in a metropolitan area. The modern stadium has a lot of history: it was built on the same site as the old Scottsdale Stadium, which opened in 1956 and housed a number of teams during spring training, including the Baltimore Orioles, the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs, and the Oakland Athletics.

When the San Francisco Giants claimed Scottsdale Stadium as their home in 1984, talks to renovate began and officials eventually decided to build an entirely new stadium.

The stadium as it's known today was built in 1992 and was impressively constructed in under a year. As one of the larger stadiums in the area, the 12,000-capacity field consistently sees some of the higher attendance numbers in the Cactus League.

Who Plays Here

The San Francisco Giants are the sole MLB spring training tenants of Scottsdale Stadium and have been since 1984. Besides the Giants, the stadium is also home to the Arizona League Giants and the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Game Schedule

While the Giants’ season starts with an away game on February 23, Scottsdale Stadium will welcome the team’s fans for their first home game on February 24 against the Chicago Cubs. The Giants will host 16 home games, ending the season at Scottsdale Stadium on March 23 against local Arizona Diamondbacks. Fans will see three split squad doubleheaders at neighboring stadiums.

How Do I Get There?

With its close proximity to Downtown Scottsdale, there’s no reason for active adults and fans to miss an MLB spring training game. The field is just 30 minutes outside of Phoenix and is located off of major road Drinkwater Boulevard.

Locals or visitors staying in Scottsdale can take advantage of a shuttle service provided by the City of Scottsdale. Those flying into the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for a quick game are just 20 minutes away from the stadium.

How Much Are Tickets?

With a larger stadium comes larger prices: tickets at Scottsdale Stadium vary depending on the visiting opponent and range from $10 for bleacher seats to $81 for reserved box seats. Accessible seating is available in several lower boxes across the stadium. Additional convenience fees may be charged.

What Else Do I Need To Know Before I Go?

Due to its urban, downtown location, parking around Scottsdale Stadium can be tedious, so using rideshare services or shuttles is encouraged. Parking around the stadium can be expensive and have time limits, meaning fans may have to step away from the game to renew parking.

The stadium opens two hours before game time, and those seeking autographs can catch the team 40 minutes before the game starts. Prohibited items include large bags, glass, open, and hard-sided containers, lawn chairs, and outside food and beverages.

Fun Ballpark Fare

During the year, Scottsdale Stadium hosts a number of food and beverage festivals, and many of the vendors have made their way onto the stadium’s fixed and lengthy concession list. Classic ballpark fare like beef hot dogs, burgers, cotton candy, and cold drinks are found in most venues. Notable San Francisco craft brewery Anchor Steam is featured on the stadium’s beer lists alongside recognizable, national brands.

Offering San Francisco’s fans an authentic taste of home, the stadium also offers garlic fries in most of its concession stands. Fans interested in a VIP experience can try the Charro Lodge, an upscale restaurant with a large patio, affording guests a scenic view of the field while dining.

What To Do Before & After Games

Baseball fans are in luck as far as entertainment and dining options go in the urban area of Scottsdale. Within walking distance from the stadium is the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, home to a number of interactive and rotating exhibits. Self-declared foodies will delight in light, pre-game fare from Olive & Ivy, located on the picturesque waterfront of the Arizona Canal Trail.

Shoppers in the Scottsdale Entertainment District have prime shopping venues at the Scottsdale Fashion Square, while golfers can fit a quick golfing session in at the Continental Golf Club, conveniently located adjacent to the stadium.

Nearby 55+ Communities

Active adults that want to be close to the urban amenities of Scottsdale while retaining a suburban feel will enjoy the tranquility of Villa Monterey, an established community just 10 minutes from the ballpark. For 55+ homebuyers and fans that prefer a more intimate neighborhood, Golden Keys has just 184 homes in a well-maintained neighborhood less than 15 minutes from the stadium.