Phoenix is nuts for pro sports and is one of the few cities in the country with teams for all four of the major sports (baseball, basketball, football, and hockey). Add to this baseball's spring training, professional women's basketball, golf and tennis tournaments, the annual Fiesta Bowl college football classic, and ASU football, basketball, and baseball, and you have enough action to keep even the most rabid sports fans happy. The all-around best month to visit is March, when you could feasibly catch baseball's spring training, the Suns, the Coyotes, and ASU basketball and baseball.
Call Ticketmaster (tel. 866/448-7849 or 800/745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com) for tickets to most of the events below. For sold-out events, try Tickets Unlimited (tel. 800/289-8497 or 602/840-2340; www.ticketsunlimitedinc.com) or Ticket Exchange (tel. 800/800-9811; www.ticketexchangeusa.com).
At the Phoenix International Raceway, 7602 S. Avondale Blvd. at Baseline Road, Avondale (tel. 866/408-7223; www.phoenixintlraceway.com), there's NASCAR and Indy Car racing on the world's fastest 1-mile oval. Tickets generally range from around $10 to $120.
The Arizona Diamondbacks (tel. 888/777-4664 or 602/462-6500; www.diamondbacks.com) have a devoted fan base and regularly pack downtown Phoenix's impressive Chase Field. The ballpark's retractable roof allows for comfortable play during the blistering summers and makes this one of only a few enclosed baseball stadiums with natural grass. Tickets to ballgames are available through the Chase Field ticket office and cost between $8 and $150. The best seats are in sections J and Q. If you'd like to get a behind-the-scenes look at Chase Field, you can take a guided tour. Tours cost $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and children ages 7 to 12, and $3 for children ages 4 to 6.
For decades, baseball's spring-training season has been immensely popular, especially with fans from northern teams, and don't think that the Cactus League's preseason exhibition games are any less popular just because the Diamondbacks play all summer. Spring-training games may rank second only to golf in popularity with winter visitors to the Valley. Fifteen major-league baseball teams have spring-training camps around the Valley in the month of March, and exhibition games are scheduled at 10 different stadiums. Most tickets cost between $8 and $28. Get a schedule from a visitor center, check the Arizona Republic while you're in town, or check the website of the Cactus League (www.cactusleague.com). Games often sell out, especially on weekends, so be sure to order tickets in advance.
Teams training in the Valley include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale (tel. 888/490-0383 or 480/270-5000; www.dbacks.com); the Chicago Cubs, HoHoKam Stadium, 1235 N. Center St., Mesa (tel. 480/964-4467; www.chicagocubs.com); the Chicago White Sox, Camelback Ranch, 10710 W. Camelback Rd., Glendale (tel. 623/302-5000; www.chicagowhitesox.com); the Cincinnati Reds, Goodyear Ballpark, 1933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear (tel. 800/745-3000 or 623/882-3130; www.cincinnatireds.com); the Cleveland Indians, Goodyear Ballpark, 1933 S. Ballpark Way, Goodyear (tel. 800/745-3000 or 623/882-3130; www.clevelandindians.com); the Colorado Rockies, Salt River Fields, 7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale (tel. 800/388-7625 or 480/270-5000; www.coloradorockies.com); the Kansas City Royals, Surprise Stadium, 15850 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise (tel. 800/745-3000 or 623/222-2222; www.kcroyals.com); the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Tempe Diablo Stadium, 2200 W. Alameda Dr. (48th St. and Broadway Rd.), Tempe (tel. 480/777-4444 or 480/350-5205; www.angelsbaseball.com); the Los Angeles Dodgers, Camelback Ranch, 10710 W. Camelback Rd., Glendale (tel. 623/302-5000; www.losangelesdodgers.com); the Milwaukee Brewers, Maryvale Baseball Park, 3600 N. 51st Ave., Phoenix (tel. 800/933-7890 or 623/245-5555; www.milwaukeebrewers.com); the Oakland Athletics, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, 5999 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix (tel. 877/493-2255 or 602/392-0074; www.oaklandathletics.com); the San Diego Padres, Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria (tel. 800/677-1227 or 623/773-8700; www.padres.com); the San Francisco Giants, Scottsdale Stadium, 7408 E. Osborn Rd., Scottsdale (tel. 877/473-4849 or 480/312-2580; www.sfgiants.com); the Seattle Mariners, Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 N. 83rd Ave., Peoria (tel. 800/677-1227 or 623/773-8700; www.seattlemariners.com); and the Texas Rangers, Surprise Stadium, 15930 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise (tel. 800/745-3000 or 623/222-2222; www.texasrangers.com).
The NBA's Phoenix Suns play at the US Airways Center, 201 E. Jefferson St. (tel. 800/462-2849 or 602/379-7867; www.suns.com). Most tickets cost between $10 and $275. Suns tickets are hard to come by; if you haven't planned ahead, try contacting the box office the day before or the day of a game to see if tickets have been returned. Otherwise, you'll have to try the team's ticket exchange website or a ticket agency and pay a premium.
Phoenix also has a WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (tel. 602/252-9622 or 602/514-8331; www.phoenixmercury.com), which plays at the US Airways Center between May and August. Tickets cost $10 to $195.
The Arizona Cardinals (tel. 800/999-1402 or 602/379-0102; www.azcardinals.com) play at the state-of-the-art University of Phoenix Stadium in the west Valley city of Glendale. This stadium has a retractable roof made of translucent fabric that lets lots of light in when the roof is closed. However, the stadium's most distinctive feature is its movable playing field, which is rolled out into the sun outside the stadium until a game is scheduled. This 2-acre, grass-covered tray is the first of its kind in North America. Ticket prices range from $50 to $445, and single-game tickets for the entire season go on sale in late July. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster (tel. 866/448-7849 or 800/745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com).
It's not surprising that, with more than 200 golf courses and ideal golfing weather throughout the fall, winter, and spring, the Valley of the Sun hosts some major golf tournaments. Late January's Waste Management Phoenix Open Golf Tournament (tel. 602/870-0163; www.wastemanagementphoenixopen.com) is by far the biggest. Held at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) of Scottsdale, it attracts more spectators than any other golf tournament in the world (usually more than 500,000 each year). The 18th hole has standing room for 40,000. Tickets start at $25.
Ice hockey in the desert? It may not make sense, but even Phoenicians are crazy about ice hockey (maybe it's all those northern transplants). The NHL's Phoenix Coyotes (tel. 480/563-7825; www.phoenixcoyotes.com) plays at the state-of-the-art Jobing.com Arena in Glendale (northwest of downtown Phoenix). Tickets cost $36 to $354.
Turf Paradise, 1501 W. Bell Rd. (tel. 602/942-1101; www.turfparadise.com), is Phoenix's horse-racing track. The season runs from early October to early May. Admission ranges from free to $5.
Rodeos, Polo & Horse Shows -- Cowboys, cowgirls, and other horsy types will find plenty of the four-legged critters going through their paces most weeks at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale (tel. 480/312-6802; www.scottsdaleaz.gov/westworld). With its hundreds of stables, numerous equestrian arenas, and a polo field, this complex provides an amazing variety of entertainment and sporting events. There are rodeos, polo matches, and horse shows.