During the month of March, Phoenix swarms with Milwaukeeans eager to swap out their snow shovels for golf clubs, and down jackets for windbreakers.
With an average daily temperature 40 to 50 degrees warmer than in Wisconsin, there are plenty of reasons to head to Arizona’s largest city, from easy direct flights to spring training.
American Airlines and Frontier Airlines offer direct flights between Mitchell International Airport and Sky Harbor International Airport (in Phoenix). Rates throughout March start at $322 round-trip on American and $331 on Frontier. Valley Metro Rail, the region’s light rail, brings you from the airport to 35 stations, either negating the use of a rental car or needing it for only part of your trip.
See the Brewers play pre-season
Fifteen Major League Baseball teams—including the Milwaukee Brewers—train in Phoenix each spring. (The other half train in Florida.) Games are nearly every day between now and April 1 at the 7,000-seat Maryvale Baseball Park on the west side of Phoenix. View the schedule and buy tickets here. Tickets cost $8-$24 and can be purchased online, at Maryvale or at Miller Park, or by calling 414-902-4000. Or, pop by the practice field at 9:30 a.m. to view daily workouts.
Downtown Phoenix’s renaissance
Haven’t been to Phoenix in the last five years? You probably won’t recognize downtown. Even if you aren’t a guest, Found: RE Hotel—open since last fall—is a must. Match, the restaurant, works with 90 local food purveyors, from wine to nuts. Art is in abundance, including a quirky Burt Reynolds mural behind the front desk. Check out galleries on nearby Roosevelt Row and a David Bowie Tribute Wall mural near McDowell Road, two blocks north of Seventh Street. For a Rochambo-like vibe, sip prickly-pear tea on the front porch at Songbird Coffee & Tea House.
A Milwaukee-born chef
Custard king Karl Kopp—owner of Kopp’s Frozen Custard three Milwaukee-area locations—also runs restaurants in Phoenix. AZ88 has been an institution in Scottsdale, an artsy ‘burb of Phoenix, since opening in the late ‘80s. The best seats are on the patio overlooking a lawn. Wisconsin’s own Nueske’s bacon is woven into several menu items. His newer outpost—Hanny’s, inside a former downtown Phoenix department store—serves pizzas, sandwiches and salads until 1 a.m.
Watering holes for Wisconsin sports fans
Hang with your tribe (fellow Brewers, Packers, Bucks and Badgers fans) at these Phoenix bars that cater to Wisconsinites, especially during game time. Phoenix’s Casey Jones Grill, also the region’s most popular Packers bar, has cheese curds and Friday fish fries. Two Scottsdale bars are also popular with Wisconsinites: Bottled Blonde, boasting a beer garden (but, sadly, no Wisconsin beer) in downtown Scottsdale; and The District, a burger bar, offers cheese curds and tons of TVs.
Visit Wisconsin’s Most Famed Architect’s Winter Retreat
Frank Lloyd Wright—born in Richland Center, Wis.—was a pioneering snowbird in that he carved out a life in Scottsdale at Taliesin West, now open for tours and housing an architecture school. Buy tickets to the Scottsdale spread here ($19-$75). New this year is the Garden Walk Tour, for an affordable $19, and the $38 Private Collections Tour, on select dates (March 22 and April 20).