TO DRIVE OR FLY
With gas at about $2 a gallon right now, the six-hour drive will be easiest on your wallet. Southwest, United and US Airways offer nonstop 90-minute flights from LAX to Phoenix starting at $138, round trip. If you fly, be sure to add in the cost of a rental car.
Dodgers fans will be best off near the new stadium, Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. Some options:
Comfort Suites, 9824 W. Camelback Road, Glendale; (623) 271-9005, www.comfortsuites.com. Closest to the stadium (1.4 miles), this year-old hotel is the most convenient option. The hotel also has a free shuttle that will take fans to and from the stadium. Rates in March start at $179, but most of the remaining available rooms are upgraded suites and will cost about $239 and up.
Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa, 9495 W. Coyotes Blvd., Glendale; (623) 937-3700, www.renaissanceglendale.com. This upscale hotel, 3.2 miles from the stadium, is near the open-air Westgate City Center, which has 15 bars and restaurants, a 20-screen movie theater and a handful of shops. But it has limited availability in March, with rates from $149 to $349.
Hampton Inn & Suites Glendale- Westgate, 6630 N. 95th Ave., Glendale; (623) 271-7771, hamptoninn.hilton.com. The Hampton Inn is a five-minute walk to the Westgate City Center and a little more than 3 miles from the stadium. The Hampton is about half-booked for March. Rooms run from $179 to $209.
Wigwam Golf Resort & Spa, 300 Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park; (623) 935-3811, www.wigwamresort.com. This sprawling low-rise property, with most rooms in casitas, has three pools, three golf courses and a new spa. Wigwam, about 5 miles from the stadium, has good availability in March, with rates from $259.
Glendale Gaslight Inn, 5747 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale; (623) 934-9119, www.glendalegaslightinn.com. A comfortable B&B 8.2 miles from the stadium, in Glendale's historic district. Each of the 10 rooms is themed. The ones we checked were nicely decorated and spacious. Rates run from $145 to $179, and there is availability in March.
Others: Nearby is a cluster of mid-priced Glendale hotels a few miles from the stadium. All show decent availability for March. Holiday Inn Express, from $179, (877) 863-4780, www.hiexpress.com; Staybridge Suites, $189, (888) 299-2208, www.ichotelsgroup.com; SpringHill Suites, $209, (623) 772-9200, www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/phxgl; Residence Inn by Marriott/ Glendale, $209, (623) 979-2074, www.marriott.com/hotels/travel /phxrp.
WHERE TO EAT
The Westgate City Center has such options as Saddle Ranch Chop House, Johnny Rockets and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. For those looking for something more inspired, we found these spots within a 15-minute drive of Camelback Ranch:
Arrowhead Grill: The economy is not doing this upscale steakhouse any favors, but here's hoping it pulls through. Its offerings include a lovely 13-ounce filet. Also memorable: the house specialty, a 10-ounce Delmonico seared with a rub of pepper, paprika, salt, soy, Worcestershire, horseradish and onion powder. We liked the grilled artichoke starter and the twice- baked-potato side dish. Dinners about $40 per person; 8280 W. Union Hills Drive, Glendale; (623) 566-2224, www.arrowheadgrill.com; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Haus Murphy's: This place reportedly sells more German beer than anywhere else in Arizona. The little outdoor bier garten is a perfect spot after a day game to drain a light Spaten or bock straight from the tap. On the food front, there is a full range of German staples: schnitzels, sauerbraten, sausages, etc. But let's focus on another underappreciated S food: sauerkraut. Here, it's not a side dish, but a revelation -- impossibly light and sweet -- wunderbar! Dinners from about $10; 5739 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale; (623) 939-2480, www.hausmurphys.com; 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.
ARIZONA | BASEBALL