Newcomers’ Guide to Signature Events in the Valley in 2023

Editorial StaffNovember 3, 2022
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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.

Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

The automotive lifestyle event of the year returns to the Valley as Barrett-Jackson presents its 2023 Scottsdale Auction. The internationally televised auction sees thousands of the world’s most sought-after automobiles cross the block with no reserve. In addition to firsthand auction action and celebrity sightings, visitors can learn more about collector cars through Behind the Hobby symposiums, shop in the vast Exhibitor Marketplace, get a bite to eat from the dozens of on-site food vendors and much more.

  • Location: WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale
  • Dates: Saturday, January 21-Sunday, January 29, 2023
  • Cost: Single-day passes at the gate start at $28, all-week passes at the gate start at $215, with discounts for children, seniors, military and students. VIP packages start at $1,699.
  • Info: 480-421-6694,

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 is also available.

Barrett-Jackson Must- Visits

  • Barrett-Jackson Performance Track
    Experience an adrenaline rush alongside professional drivers in the latest vehicles from top automakers.
  • High-octane Auction Action
    Don’t miss all the excitement in the auction arena as a collector car is sold every two to three minutes.
  • Sponsor Pavilion & Exhibitor Marketplace
    Fun, family-friendly exhIbits await at this area presented by corporate and community partners.

Pro Tip
The Scottsdale Auction will kick off with Family Day on Saturday, January 21, when children 12 and younger receive free admission. On Sunday, January 22, Barrett-Jackson will host the Future Collector Car Show, a family-friendly concourse-style event celebrating the cars of today and the future collectibles of tomorrow.

5 B-J Cars for the Ages

A recap of the top-selling automotive classics at the 2021 and 2022 auctions.

  • 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake
    Custom-made for racing legend Carroll Shelby, the “Cobra to end all Cobras” is the only surviving car of its kind. It set the record for the highest price ever paid for an American car when it sold for $5.5 million in 2021.
  • 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
    This rare, fire-engine red roadster was the first Ferrari model equipped with a five-speed manual transaxle and four-wheel independent rear suspension with wishbones and coil-over shock absorbers. It sold for $2,475,000 in 2021.
  • 2004 Porsche Carrera GT
    Only manufactured between 2004 and 2006, the Carrera GT was named No. 1 on Sports Car International’s Top Sports Cars of the 2000s list. Powered by a 5.7 L V10 engine, it boasts a top speed of 205 mph and can accelerate from 0-100 mph in 6.8 seconds. It sold for $1.98 million at last year’s auction.
  • 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
    Replacing the standard steel bodywork with lightweight aluminum, the 300SL is one of only 29 alloy gullwing coupes built between 1955 and 1956. In 2022, it sold for $1.87 million.
  • 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder
    Powered by a naturally aspirated V8 engine, two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack, this limited-edition hybrid hypercar was about $800,000 in 2013. This 2015 model went for $1,815,000 at the 2022 auction.

WM Phoenix Open

Known as “The Greatest Show on Grass,” WMPO is the largest professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour. In 2022, 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
  • Dates: Monday, February 6-Sunday, February 12, 2023
  • 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,


  • Wednesday is your best bet for scoring an autograph from your favorite player, since no one is yet in competition mode.
  • 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 chair.

New, improved Fan Zone
Sponsored by Talking Stick Resort, the always-popular Fan Zone is geting a major refresh, including a new merchandise tent – 25,000 square feet of shopping area where fans can pick up everything from logoed golf balls and hats to shirts, pants and golf accessories. The food options are plentiful as ever.

Fan Experience
A more expansive space throughout allows for less bustle and more shaded areas to sit, more room to walk or grab drinks with friends, better views of the 10th tee, and video boards so fans won’t miss any golf shots while devouring delicious food and drinks from local restaurants.

Free public parking with complimentary shuttle service to tournament gates. From the west, park at Lot H at Loop 101 and Hayden Road. Shuttle runs 7 a.m.-6 p.m. M-Tu; 7 a.m.-11 p.m. W-Sa; 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Su. From the east, park at WestWorld in Lot W. Shuttle runs 7 a.m.-11 p.m. W-Sa; 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Su.

5 Phoenix Open Must-Visits

1. Birds Nest
Known as one of the Valley’s best annual parties, the Coors Light Birds Nest features nightly music performances Wednesday through Saturday. The 2023 lineup is headlined by Jason Aldean with special guest MacKenzie Porter (Thursday); Machine Gun Kelly (Friday) and The Chainsmokers (Saturday). Check for info.

2. Race to 16
If you want to secure the best seats at the 16th hole’s legendarily rowdy grandstand, be prepared to make a mad dash for it. Each morning, join dozens of the Open’s most spirited fans – many dressed in outrageous team costumes – before the sun comes up to race the half-mile from the entrance to the bleachers when the gates open at 7 a.m. It’s like Black Friday, but for golf fans.

3. The Breakfast Club
Continuing a new tradition to mark the unofficial Race to 16, WMPO organizers reward the early birds with breakfast. They’ve also been known to bring in a DJ to entertain the early crowd until the first golfers play through several hours later, stuffing them with breakfast burritos and tossing free swag into the stands.

4. Party Food
The Talking Stick Resort Fan Zone (see map) features Zinburger and a Jack Daniels trailer. Longtime staple Lifebird Grill is where to score a famous “thunderdog” (1/4-pound all-beef frankfurter marinated in beer and water with peppers and onions). The Ridge (formerly El Rancho) offers primo Mexican grub and good views of multiple holes. Find specialty foods and local beer at Craft Beer Haus @ 7.

5. Vet Refuge
Not only do all active-duty, reserve and retired military members get two free general admission passes (W-Su), they’re also invited to enjoy the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost near the 18th tee box for free food and a drink with a guest.

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 stadium guide to find nearby destinations for every Cactus League ballpark.

  • Dates: Friday, February 24-Tuesday, March 28, 2023
  • Info:


  • Staying Downtown but seeing a ballgame in Mesa? Take Valley Metro Rail, which stops about a mile from Sloan Park.
    autograph-chasing is a cinch at Hohokam Stadium. Unlike most teams, the A’s take batting practice on the game field. Simply loiter near the dugout with a pen to pick them off.
  • Rookie to Watch: Corbin Carroll, OF (D-backs). The fleet 22-year-old became the NL’s prohibitive 2023 Rookie of the Year favorite after slashing .307/.425/.610 in the minors and holding his own in a month-long big league stint.
  • Biggest ?: Will two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani stay with the Angels, or will the team’s presumptive new owner flip him to start a rebuild?


Camelback Ranch
10710 W. Camelback Rd., Glendale, 623-302-5000,

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, and end it with a 30-minute tour of Cerreta Candy Co. (5345 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, 623-930-9000,

Surprise Stadium
15930 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise, 623-222-2222,

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, For craft fans, Tap House Sports Grill (13699 N. Litchfield Rd., Surprise 623-584-0255) offers 35 beer taps, primo cocktails and upscale grub like the Bourdain Burger with Brie and apple.

Peoria Sports Complex
16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria, 623-773-8700,

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, Hungry? Dive into the famous lasagna at West Valley family fave Fabio on Fire (8275 W. Lake Pleasant Pkwy., Peoria, 623-412-2670,

American Family Fields of Phoenix
3805 N. 53rd Ave., Phoenix 623-245-5500,

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 (3446 W. Camelback Rd.,Phoenix, 602-973-1112), a dim sum institution.

Goodyear Ballpark
1933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear, 623-882-3120,

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 (13025 W. Rancho Santa Fe Blvd., Avondale, 623-935-2357,, far and away the Valley’s best Cajun restaurant.


Salt River Fields at Talking Stick
7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, 480-270-5000,

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, After the game, hit up Sweet Republic for Arizona’s best artisanal ice cream (9160 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-248-6979,

Scottsdale Stadium
7408 E. Osborn Rd., Scottsdale, 480-312-2586,

Local carnivores speak in reverential tones of Bourbon & Bones (4200 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-629-4922,, heir apparent to the old Pink Pony as the ballplayer-sighting capital of Scottsdale. Tired of ballpark beer? Hit Old Town’s wine trail, featuring LDV Winery (7134 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, 480-664-4822, and more.

HoHoKam Stadium
1235 N. Center St., Mesa, 480-644-4451,

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,, then burn off the calories by walking through downtown’s Mesa Arts Center (1 E. Main St., 480-644-6500,

Tempe Diablo Stadium
2200 W. Alameda Dr., Tempe, 480-350-5265,

South Mountain Park (10211 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-262-7393, is the perfect place for a pre-breakfast hike. And Taste of Tops (403 W. University Dr., Tempe, 480-967-2520, – Tempe’s best taproom, located near Mill Avenue and ASU – is the perfect place for a post-game tipple.

Sloan Park
2330 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., Mesa, 480-668-0500,

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,, beloved for its incomparable garlic pork roast.

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 2023.

  • Location: 7602 Jimmie Johnson Dr., Avondale
  • Dates: Fall 2022 NASCAR Championship Weekend runs November 4-6, 2022; spring 2023 NASCAR weekend runs March 10-12, 2023; fall 2023 NASCAR Championship Weekend runs November 3-5, 2023
  • Cost: Tickets starting at $30
  • Info: 866-408-7223 (ticket office),

Fall 2022 Race Weekend

Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 100 & Lucas Oil 150
The fun kicks off with the ARCA Menards Series West and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on November 4.

See the drivers from the NASCAR Xfinity Series compete for the ultimate prize – and bragging rights – on November 5.

NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race
Grandstand seats: sold out. Standing-room options are available in the FanShield Infield Experience for November 6.

Pre-Race Excitement

Jon Pardi
The country music superstar will perform prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race on November 6. It’s free with paid admission to the race, so fans can enjoy hits like “Dirt on My Boots” and “Tequila Little Time” before things rev up on the track.

NASCAR Race Experience
Fans can drive a real NASCAR race car around the track before and after championship weekend. The NASCAR Racing Experience will be offered November 1-3 and again on November 7. Visit to reserve.

Raceway-Area Must-Visits

When you’re not indulging your need for speed, there’s a plethora of West Valley activities and restaurants to take in, from mom-and-pop Mexican joints and craft breweries to hiking and other sporting activities. Some other area highlights:

Colados Coffee & Crêpes
Fill your tank with freshly brewed coffee and sweet and savory crêpes at this family-owned spot. Try the chorizo crêpe with eggs, cheese and piquant Mexican sausage. For a sweet treat, the tropical crêpe with pineapple, coconut, cream cheese and walnuts is fun. Three locations (including Avondale and Goodyear),

Spring training games
Spring NASCAR weekend coincides with spring training, so race fans can hit up a game or two. Sometimes NASCAR drivers can even be spotted tossing out first pitches. See pages 86-87 for more information.

Paseo de Arte
Stroll through public art installations in Paseo de Luces, the heart of downtown Tolleson. Van Buren Street, from 91st Avenue to 99th Avenue.

The West Valley’s premier fine dining restaurant is in the historical Wigwam resort, which once housed executives of the Goodyear Tire Company. 300 E. Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park 623-935-3811,

Pro Tip
The FanShield Infield Experience allows fans to walk inside the NASCAR Cup Series garages, placing them close to their favorite teams and drivers, entertainment and more. On NASCAR Cup Series race days, fans with FanShield Infield Experience access can also sign the start/finish line.

All general public parking at Phoenix Raceway is free during the weekend events. Premium parking is available for $75-$125. VIP parking access is granted to fans who purchase select passes and guests who have suite tickets. See map for parking areas.

This article first appeared in the 2023 City Guide, published by PHOENIX magazine in November 2022.