June 24th, 2013 Posted in Fan's Guide, U.S. Cellular Field, White Sox | No Comments »
U.S. Cellular Field aerial picture taken by me on June 26, 2011 from a helicopter ride.
On the heels of my “Visiting Fan’s Guide to Wrigley Field” post, I wanted to create something similar for U.S. Cellular Field since the Mets will be making their first appearance there on June 25 and 26.
Photo courtesy Nik Bronder.
U.S. Cellular Field (Sox Park or “The Cell” as I call it) opened in 1991 replacing the famed Comiskey Park in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood of Bridgeport. Many fans can’t let go of the Comiskey namesake and often refer to the stadium as New Comiskey. You can read a more detailed history here.
Much like getting to Wrigley Field, getting to The Cell is easiest by the CTA. Take either the Red or Green Lines to the 35th Street stop and walk West a few short blocks or hop on the CTA 35 bus if the walk is too much for you. Important to note for the 2013 season, a portion of the CTA Red Line train tracks will be undergoing construction and the station will be closed. So the Red Line will automatically be going to the Green Line 35th Street stop. Read more about the construction and service alternatives here. Additionally, the Cell does offer a range of parking in their lots, and tailgating is welcome.
View from upper box section 537, July 30, 2011
Being a newer stadium, there really shouldn’t be any obstructed views of the field. And if there are, I haven’t found them yet. If you want to arrive early for batting practice, you must have a 100 level ticket otherwise they won’t let you in the lower level to watch it. I’ve sat in a few different 100 level locations and have liked the views. The Cell does have some bleacher seating in the outfield, as well as regular reserved seating. My preferred seating is in the upper deck, either upper box or reserved. Both offer great views of the entire field.
One last note on seating is the Bullpen Sports Bar on the field level out in right field. Any level ticket gets you into the bar and you enter from gate 2. Full bar and full menu are available and there are first-come, first-served patio seats. Tables and counter stools are also available inside and have views right into the visitors bullpen.
A view from Bullpen Bar
The Cell has a lot of offerings, both on the 100 level and 500 levels. My two favorite items are the Comiskey Dog and the corn fresh off the cob. Not to be forgotten are the nachos from the Tex-Mex stand where you have your choice of meat and fresh toppings.
The Comiskey Dog is served classic Chicago style: a Vienna Beef frank on a poppy seed roll piled on top with yellow mustard, chopped onions, a neon green relish, pickle spear, tomato chunks, sport peppers and celery salt. Delicious. As of last season, I could only find them on the 100 level in the outfield. There used to be a stand on the 500 level as well.
The delicious Comiskey Dog
The corn off the cob is just as it sounds. An ear of boiled corn on the cob is pulled from a hot compartment and the kernels are cut off the cob and there’s a choice of toppings including mayo, cayenne, lime, cheese. I prefer the old fashioned salt and butter topping. Amazing.
The stadium also has your usual far of grilled hot dogs, brats, sausages, burgers. All of which are good. Desert includes ice cream and my favorite thing: churros. And to save a few bucks, you can bring in a sealed water bottle.
Chicago food blog, Chicago Eater, recently published this handy guide of where to eat in the stadium. Much more detail than I can provide, check it out.
Next to Mr. Met, Southpaw might be the best baseball mascot in baseball. He’s very active on Twitter and has always been super friendly and accommodating for picture requests the few times I have met him.
Bacardi at the Park is a bar and restaurant located outside the stadium along 35th Street and is open to all fans, with or without a ticket. A wide variety of food and beer is available and it offers access to the stadium as well.
Before every game, after every White Sox home run, and after White Sox victories, fireworks are set off in the distance beyond center field.
Outside the stadium:
The immediate area surrounding The Cell doesn’t have as much to offer as Wrigley does. If you’re willing to walk a few more blocks west to Halsted, you’ll come upon a few places including the historical Schallers Pump. Also on Halsted is a Buffalo Wings & Rings chain restaurant.
Most of what is in this post applies to any team visiting the White Sox, so I hope this guide is helpful in your visit to the Southside. I’m by no means an expert of the stadium, so please leave any tips or suggestions.