Signature Events in the Valley

Editorial StaffSeptember 29, 2021
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From aquatic adventures and MLB spring training to heart-pounding hikes and culinary festivals, Phoenix offers a pleasant pastime for every day of the year.

Fans at Phoenix Raceway

Phoenix Raceway race weekends

Stock car racing’s premier circuit comes to the revamped Phoenix Raceway. Get your motor running for NASCAR Championship Weekend this fall and jam-packed race weekends in the spring and fall of 2022.

  • Location: 7602 Jimmie Johnson Dr., Avondale
  • Date: Fall 2021 NASCAR Championship Weekend runs November 5-7, 2021; spring 2022 NASCAR weekend dates TBD; fall 2022 NASCAR Championship Weekend runs November 4-6, 2022
  • Cost: Tickets starting at $30
  • Info: 866-408-7223 (ticket office), phoenixraceway.com

Phoenix Raceway hosts family-friendly pre-race concerts before each NASCAR Cup Series race. Fans age 21 and older can enjoy live music and a DJ inside The Barn, a rustic entertainment venue (complete with TVs, billiards and cornhole!) that hosts evening bashes in partnership with NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon.

Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

The nationally televised auction of antique autos, retro rides and custom cars cruises into the Valley for its 50th year. In addition to the auction action, visitors can check out vehicle displays, learn more about collector cars through Behind the Hobby symposiums, mingle with celebrities, experience adrenaline-pumping thrill rides in the latest vehicles from top automakers, shop in the vast Exhibitor Marketplace and more.

  • Location: WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale
  • Dates: January 22-30, 2022
  • Gates open at 8 a.m. each day
  • Cost: Single-day passes at the gate start at $26, all-week passes at the gate start at $196, with discounts for seniors, military and students. VIP packages start at $1,699.
  • Info: 480-421-6694, barrett-jackson.com

There is plenty of public parking (just south of Bell Road, between 94th and 98th streets), with shuttle service to and from the main gate. There is a designated drop-off point near the main entrance for those using rideshare services. Valet parking available.

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Known as “The Greatest Show on Grass,” WMPO is the largest professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour. In 2020, more than 700,000 people walked the sod at TPC Scottsdale during the weeklong event. This ain’t your grandpa’s golf tourney: The Open is loud, rowdy and lots of fun, bringing golf to the masses thanks to the boisterous 16th hole amphitheater and the popular Birds Nest concert tent.

  • Location: TPC Scottsdale, 17020 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
  • Date: Monday, February 7-Sunday, February 13
  • Cost: Free general admission M-Tu; $50 W-Th, Su; $75 F-Sa; children 17 and younger free when accompanied by adult
  • Info: 480-585-4334, wmphoenixopen.com

For some, the Open is a fashion show of tiny rompers and high heels. If you want to be comfortable and avoid injury, just don’t do it. Comfy shoes, hats and sunscreen are recommended. If you’re doing the Open “cross-country style,” where you follow a player around, you can bring your own collapsible chairs.

MLB Spring Training

Each spring, 15 Major League Baseball squads – and their fans – descend on the Valley to tune up for the long season ahead. Use this map to find nearby destinations for every Cactus League ballpark.

Camelback Ranch
10710 W. Camelback Rd., Glendale, 623-302-5000, mlb.com/camelback-ranch
With its sunken field and natural stone veneers, this 13,000-seat ballpark is an architectural home run. Start your day with breakfast at Colados Coffee & Crêpes (10685 W. Indian School Rd., Avondale, 623-215-3826, colados.com) and end it with a 30-minute tour of Cerreta Candy Co.

Surprise Stadium
15930 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise, 623-222-2222, surprisestadium.com
After the game, work off those beer-and-brat calories with a brisk hike at nearby White Tank Regional Park (20304 W. White Tank Mountain Rd., Waddell, 602-506-2930, maricopa.gov). For craft fans, Venue Taproom.

American Family Fields of Phoenix
3805 N. 53rd Ave., Phoenix, 623-245-5500, phoenix.gov
Located in hardscrabble Maryvale, this cozy, 7,000-seat park boasts the league’s most fan-friendly atmosphere – gotta love those sixth-inning sausage races – and best beer selection. Before the game, load up on the Valley’s best Chinese pork ribs at Great Wall Cuisine.

Goodyear Ballpark
1933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear, 623-882-3120, goodyearbp.com
For $175, you can have the privilege of working a half-day with the 10,000-seat stadium’s grounds crew. More affordable: Grab a pre-game beverage at Sugar ’N Spice Coffee & Tea (14970 W. Indian School Rd., Goodyear, 623-535-1877), or get your post-game gumbo fix at Flavors of Louisiana.

Peoria Sports Complex
16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria, 623-773-8700, peoriasportscomplex.com
This 360-degree-concourse ballpark boasts the cheapest lawn seats ($5) and best food options in the league. After the game, take the heat down a notch at public ice skating rink AZ Ice (15829 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria, 623-334-1200, azice.com). Hungry? Dive into the famous lasagna at West Valley family fave Fabio on Fire (8275 W. Lake
Pleasant Pkwy., Peoria, 623-412-2670)

Scottsdale Stadium
7408 E. Osborn Rd., Scottsdale, 480-312-2586, scottsdaleaz.gov
Local carnivores speak in reverential tones of Bourbon & Bones (4200 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-629-4922, bourbonandbonesaz.com), poised to succeed the old Pink Pony as the ballplayer-sighting capital of Scottsdale. Tired of ballpark beer? Hit Old Town’s wine trail, featuring LDV Winery.

Tempe Diablo Stadium
2200 W. Alameda Dr., Tempe, 480-350-5265, tempe.gov/diablo
South Mountain Park (10211 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-262-7393, phoenix.gov/parks) is the perfect place for a pre-breakfast hike. And Taste of Tops (403 W. University Dr., Tempe, 480-967-2520, topsliquors.com) – Tempe’s best taproom, located near Mill Avenue and ASU – is the perfect place for a post-game
tipple.

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, 480-270-5000, saltriverfields.com
The league’s most party-oriented ballpark offers the Pepsi Patio atop the press box. Take a pregame tour of the one-of-a-kind Musical Instrument Museum (4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, 480-478-6000, mim.org). After the game, hit up Sweet Republic for Arizona’s best artisanal ice cream (9160 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-248-6979)

HoHoKam Stadium
1235 N. Center St., Mesa, 480-644-4451, hohokamstadium.com
Following renovations, this historical ballpark features the league’s biggest scoreboard. Before the game, fuel up at Mesa’s award-winning “brunchery” T.C. Eggington’s (1660 S. Alma School Rd., Mesa, 480-345- 9288, tcegg.com), then burn off the calories by walking through downtown’s Mesa Arts Center (1 E. Main St., 480-644-6500,
mesaartscenter.com).

Sloan Park
2330 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., Mesa, 480-668-0500, sloanpark.com
Modeled after Wrigley Field, it’s the league’s biggest stadium (15,000 seats). Grab post-game sustenance at Los Dos Molinos (260 S. Alma School Rd., Mesa, 480-969-7475, losdosmolinosmesa.com).

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