Spring training in Scottsdale and Glendale a great way to start the season

This past weekend, I took in a couple of spring training games, one of my favorite ways to spend the spring season. I made my way over to Glendale’s Camelback Ranch for the first time to see the Chicago White Sox play the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as Scottsdale Stadium to see the San Francisco Giants play the Colorado Rockies.

Camelback Ranch was frustrating from the get-go, with no clear signage in the parking lots to keep track of your car or direct you to the correct stadium entrance. We started to follow the herd of people walking one direction only to be told by someone working there that the center field entrance was shorter—if only that was clear before we started walking. The walk to the gates was at least 10 minutes long, which seemed pretty ridiculous for a spring training stadium.

Once in, I really liked how clean everything looked and how friendly the people who worked there were. There wasn’t much striking about the stadium, but after the game, we saw one of the longest fireworks shows I’ve ever seen—they have them for some night games, so note that for next year. Also, be aware that even in you go to a Diamondbacks game, there will be far more White Sox fans there.

Saturday, before seeing the San Francisco Giants take on the Colorado Rockies, my boyfriend and I went to Carlsbad Tavern in south Scottsdale. Carlsbad is a Scottsdale landmark, in business since 1995 and still a favorite among both tourists and natives alike. I loved sitting on the patio, which has water surrounding the restaurant.

I also enjoyed the weekend Bloody Mary brunch, with $3.25 Bloody Mary’s at a build-your-own bar on Saturday’s and Sunday’s.

The food at Carlsbad is super-spicy, and I got a blue corn cheese enchilada meal with black beans and rice ($11.75). The cheese was sort of chewy, which was gross to me, but I loved the chili powder-dusted chips served with two different kinds of salsa. Overall, it was a great meal and a really fun spot to stop before seeing a spring training game in south Scottsdale.

Tickets for this season of Giants baseball were gobbled up quickly by the public, and I imagine they will only become scarcer in the future. We got lawn seats for this game, and I would never want to sit in the lawn for a game here again—it was filled with Old Town Scottsdale nightclub types—women wearing high heels and drunk loud guys. Considering most of the people I saw who appeared like this didn’t seem interested in the game at all, I wish they would have gone to bars instead.

If you do check out spring training and still have your ticket stubs, bring them over to Ted Baker at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Each ticket stub gets you an entry into a drawing for a $500 shopping spree, with the winner drawn April 9–something I’ll definitely be taking advantage of myself.

After the game, we headed to RA Sushi for some tasty happy hour cocktails and sushi (they have happy hour deals Monday-Saturday from 3-7 p.m.), then to Bungalow for more cocktails and then to Lee’s Cream Liqueur to try out some spiked desserts.

I got a Jack Daniels-chocolate concoction. Thankfully, the alcohol taste wasn’t too prevalent, and while Lee (yes, she was working behind the counter) said you can’t feel the effects of the alcohol from one scoop, you could from two. I only had one, and it was a tasty ice cream treat, regardless of the alcohol that was in it. About two-thirds of the offerings contained alcohol, with everything from rum and brandy to tequila and vodka. Scoops cost $3.75 for one, $5 for two and $7 for three, and I think the alcohol-ice cream idea is a great novelty!

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