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Ocatilla at the Arizona Biltmore

Next time you’re at the Arizona Biltmore, check out Ocatilla, the resort’s onsite, boutique property. Photo: Nina Kokotas Hahn

With Spring Training just kicking off in Phoenix at the end of February, baseball fans are flocking to the warm sunny desert to check out the Cactus League and its 15 star-studded teams, including the Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds and the LA Dodgers. We were there at Hohokam Stadium for opening game between the Giants and the Cubbies (Cubs win, oh yeah), and had to report back on our desert adventure; never, ever expected to have so much fun beyond the ballpark.

If you’re a baseball fan who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of spending time in Phoenix—and even if you don’t give a care about baseball but just need a sunny spring break getaway—let Phoenix rise to the top of your list.

Here’s why you should book your trip today:

Baseball and desert adventure—what could be better?
First and foremost, the Spring Training baseball season is short, running from lateFebruary to the end of March, so getting to Phoenix now is key. And trust us, watching your fav team play in small, sunny stadium is a blast. Beyond the games, head to the Sonoran Desert—the most biodiverse on the planet with over 2,500 plant species—for spectacular hiking and morning yoga at Usery Mountain Regional Park, a lazy trail ride on horseback at South Mountain Park, mountain biking, even a hot air balloon ride. When you’re ready for something indoors, head to the wildly diverse and cool Musical Instrument Museum, a great experience for all ages. (Go ahead, try not to hum along or tap your feet while there).

A vibrant, locally-focused culinary scene
This is the desert, isn’t it? You’ll be shocked by the locally-sourced food scene, which is as abundant and cutting-edge as they come. At Agritopia and Joe’s Farm Grill, stand in awe of a revolutionary community designed around communal, sustainable agriculture while noshing a burger featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. There’s also the beautiful and intimate Quiessence on its own farm, the working Queen Creek Olive Mill with its Tuscan-inspired eatery and the swanky Blue Hound downtown at CityScape. Our favorite might be the elegant Wright’s at the Arizona Biltmore with its immaculate, savory menu in an equally stunning dining room.

Sunshine and spas
The weather is warm but not too hot, breezy on some days, and sunny nearly every day. You might wake to a morning chill but won’t hesitate to join those lounging at the pool by midday. Speaking of pools, book your treatment at the offsite Aji Spa at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort. Spendthe whole day here at this offsite spa with Native American-inspired treatments and a stunning pool deck with a desert backdrop.

Storied hotels you never want to leave
The Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arizona Biltmore is a no-brainer for its sprawling property, pools, dining options and lively atmosphere at nearly all hours. Lesser known, though, is Ocatilla, the resort’s onsite, boutique property. Stay here and you’ll have access to all the same resort amenities, but also a boutique retreat with your own concierge and fantastic, all-inclusive lounge.

Thinking about heading to Spring Training? Check out our great hotel deals in Arizona and Florida!

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Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn is a travel writer and Chicago journalist whose work appears in Chicago magazine, HuffPost Travel and Condé Nast’s HotelChatter. Globetrotting since infancy, she’s the daughter of a travel agent and considers thrill seeking part of the DNA. Find her on Twitter at @ninakhahn.

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