As a Bay Area transplant it was only natural for me to be initiated into the baseball world of the San Francisco Giants. But what I didn’t expect was that this would result in marriage.

You see, I met my husband during one hot and sunny Spring Training weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona. Since then, I have been back to watch many more SF Giants games at the beautiful Scottsdale Stadium – the only Spring Training stadium within walking distance of Old Town Scottsdale.

I have also had the opportunity to further explore the wonderful old and new parts of Scottsdale which, combined, cater to pretty much every taste imaginable. There are all kinds of shopping options (from boutiques to chains), as well as spa retreats, world class golf courses and a range of dining experiences (from high brow to taco stands). And, of course, you will also find the odd Western clothing store as well.

So with Spring Training season just around the corner (tickets went on sale yesterday), I thought now would be a good time to hit up a friend who works for the Giants for some insider tips on how to best enjoy Scottsdale and baseball at this time of year.

Pre-Game:

  • If you are planning to go to Spring Training for a weekend game, be sure to buy Giants tickets first, hotel rooms second and flights third – as tickets and reservations seem to sell out in that order.
  • Consider getting to the Scottsdale Stadium well in advance of game time so that you can forgo your official seat and claim some “real estate” on the grassy hill in left field. But don’t forget to take a sheet or something to sit on!
  • Pack for all kinds of weather. While Scottsdale in March can have hot days, the evenings do get cold. And it also isn’t unheard of for the weather to be both cool and wet.

Game Time:

  • Even though the stadium is often within walking distance from nearby hotels, consider arriving in style by hopping into one of the many horse drawn carriages operating in the area. Or if spandex is your thing, hail a pedi-cab.

Post Game:

  • Check out some of the fabulous restaurants in Old Town Scottsdale. Some good dinner options include:
    • Don and Charlie’s: This steak and BBQ restaurant is legendary among spring training enthusiasts and you are likely to see a current or former player eating next to you too!
    • Ra Sushi (Sushi)
    • Bandera (American Grill)
    • Blanco (Tacos & Tequila)
    • Oregano’s (Italian/Pizza): Be sure to save room for the pizza cookie!
  • Or head to one of the popular post game hangouts. All of the following have good food, drinks and patios. They are also all within walking distance of the stadium.

After Hours:

  • There are plenty of bar and club options in Old Town Scottsdale. Here are three favorites:
    • Martini Ranch: This is a great place for live music
    • Grapevine: A little hole in the wall karaoke bar
    • Firehouse: This bar and grill is a relatively new arrival to the Scottsdale scene

Where to Stay:

  • Arizona is known for its luxury resorts and there are plenty of options in Scottsdale to suit all types of travelers. Here is a diverse mix:
    • Hotel Valley Ho: Set in Old Town Scottsdale, the hotel offers a lively, hip vibe and one  of the “World’s Coolest Pools,” according to Travel + Leisure magazine.
    • Sanctuary Camelback Mountain: A serene setting on scenic Camelback Mountain, this luxurious haven is a spa-lovers paradise.
    • The Boulders, A Waldorf Astoria Resort: Striking desert landscapes surround this North Scottsdale resort, featuring two championship-level, Jay Morrish-designed courses.

Shopping:

  • Between games check-out some of Scottsdale’s top destinations for retail therapy:
    • Scottsdale Fashion Square: Walkable from Old Town Scottsdale, the mall offers two million square feet of retail space with upscale department stores like Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York.
    • Kierland Commons: An outdoor, urban-inspired shopping complex with upscale sidewalk shops and restaurants.
    • The Shops at Gainey Village: A collection of unique clothing, handbag, jewelry and furniture boutiques.

Featured Image: Giants Catcher Buster Posey during Spring Training (Kevin Hill Illustration / Shutterstock.com)

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Michelle is director of public relations for Fly.com. A British native, Michelle has lived on three continents but, more importantly, she is an avid traveler. She is also an adventure enthusiast and her travels have included bungee jumping off Victoria Falls, kayaking to see brown bears (Alaska), surfing in Costa Rica, driving cattle in Wyoming, stunt flying in Hawaii, and swimming with sharks in Bora Bora.

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