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Headed south to sunny Arizona to get a jump on springtime? Scottsdale is a great place to warm up, just as the Major League athletes do here every year. As spring training descends on the southwest, so too do many visitors planning a great baseball-centered vacation. But you’ll find something for everyone in Scottsdale, whether they’re a baseball fan or not.

Here’s five of the best springtime attractions near Scottsdale!

Spring Training

Major League teams head for the warm weather in February every year to get ready for the baseball season. Daily practices are generally open to the public, beginning in late February. In Scottsdale, the San Francisco Giants practice at Scottsdale Stadium, and workouts typically start at 10 am daily when the team doesn’t have a home game.

Arizona’s Cactus League offers visitors the chance to enjoy games from teams across the West and Midwest, all right here in the sunny Southwest. Running for one month, the Cactus League offers fans the chance to see their favorite teams in action before the start of the regular season. Games take place daily, with as many as nine taking place on any given day, so plan your schedule accordingly.

Devour Something Delicious

If you’re coming to Arizona as early as mid-February (the week before spring training starts), make sure you don’t miss the Devour Culinary Classic, the most anticipated food event in the Southwest. Devour has helped put Arizona on the map of the food world, and the festival is now in its 10th year. Visitors will enjoy strolling through the Desert Botanical Garden, sampling the best regional flavors along with craft beer, wine, and spirits.

While the Culinary Classic only lasts one weekend, the Devour festival has expanded to bring you a range of other delicious activities. Check out the Devour Bartending Competition, which pits Phoenix’s best bartenders against one another in a contest for the title of Arizona’s Star Bartender. Sample the competition creations, and root for your favorites!

Devour the World is another new event, a fun celebration of the multicultural flavors of Phoenix. Over 15 local restaurants share international inspirations, taking your taste buds from Indonesia to Italy in just a few steps, all without leaving the serenity of the Japanese Friendship Garden.

If you’re new to the Phoenix area, Devour is a great way to get acquainted with tons of awesome restaurants, all in one go!

Take a Train Ride Back in Time

If you love the romance of trains, you must not miss the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, a one-of-a-kind municipal train park right smack in the middle of Scottsdale. A great spot for train lovers of all ages, admission to the park itself is free, with train and carousel rides very affordable. Young visitors will especially enjoy the railroad-themed playground.

Enjoy the Paradise & Pacific, the park’s centerpiece, which is an exact 5:12 reproduction of a Colorado narrow gauge railroad. This railroad includes three steam locomotives, two diesel engines, an electric engine, a turntable, trestles, and a complete machine shop for building and maintaining the railroad.

On weekends from October through May, visitors can also enjoy a ride on the Arboretum Railroad, which takes guests on a 10-minute loop through the park’s desert arboretum. Relax and enjoy the scenery!

Rounding out the entertainment at Railroad Park is the Scottsdale Railroad Museum. Including the Peoria Depot, which served as a station of the Santa Fe Railroad from 1894 to 1972, and several train cars built by the Pullman Company, the Railroad Museum is a fun way to immerse yourself in history for a memorable experience!

Experience an Architectural Masterpiece

Did you know that the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright once lived and worked here in Arizona? His winter home and “desert laboratory,” Taliesin West, is right here in Scottsdale and is a popular spot with locals and visitors alike. There’s still a School of Architecture here as well, and students live and work on site, even offering tours of their unique desert shelters that have been a tradition here since Wright’s day.

A wide variety of tours are offered, ranging from one to three hours. The signature 1.5-hour Insights Tour offers a look at the Garden Room, Wright’s personal quarters, the Drafting Studio, the Music Room, and more. If you’re a serious Wright aficionado, consider the 3-hour Behind the Scenes Tour, which includes mid-morning tea and snacks in the colorful Dining Room. If you’d prefer, there are also several tours which include walking around the beautiful desert-landscaped grounds, learning about how Wright drew inspiration from his natural environment.

If all that Taliesin West offered were tours, it might not be quite so popular with the locals. However, this National Historic Landmark has a lot more tricks up its sleeve! Taliesin West is also home to architectural and design workshops for kids and adults, as well as providing a beautiful venue for corporate events and meetings. For a really special night out, catch a Shakespeare production performed here by a traveling theatre troupe, presented by the Southwest Shakespeare Company.

Take a Hike

The true appeal of the Southwest lies in its landscape: majestic canyons, desert wildflowers, and beautiful nature preserves. No visit to Scottsdale would be complete without at least one hike, and a convenient one to town is Pinnacle Peak, located in the northern part of Scottsdale. Pinnacle Peak Park offers a well-maintained trail and is popular with both locals and visitors. The hike to the top is challenging, though not overly so, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful vistas of the surrounding mountains.

Another great spot to get out in nature is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a 30,000-acre spread of desert beauty. You’ll find over 200 miles of trails here, so there’s something for everyone to hike, bike, and enjoy. For a short stroll, enjoy the 0.5-mile Kovach Family Nature Trail; experienced hikers can try the Tom’s Thumb East End Loop, an 11-mile trail that gains 2500 feet in elevation, and crosses one of the few natural springs in the preserve.

Get ready for a great springtime in Scottsdale!

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Author Bio

Chezlani Casar is a librarian who enjoys traveling to new places, especially with her family. She also works as a travel writer alongside Parsons Villas, helping to bring unique experiences to travelers from around the world.

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