In what is a long overdue post, I wanted to share my visitor’s fan guide to Wrigley Field. I moved to Chicago in June of 2007 and saw my first Cubs game earlier in 2007 when I was in town apartment hunting. Since then, I’ve lived within a mile walk to the stadium and have been to Wrigley many times and have sat in a variety of seats. I hope you find this guide fun and helpful.
Wrigley Field, or the Friendly Confines as it is nicknamed, is located at 1060 West Addison Street, in a neighborhood dubbed Wrigleyville. You might also hear the area referred to as Lakeview. It really is a neighborhood with a stadium set in the middle of it with a very good social scene surrounding. Read more about Wrigley’s history here or learn about its ballpark tour options.
The easiest and best way to get to Wrigley field is by public transportation. The CTA Red Line train is the most popular option. You’ll want to get off at the Addison stop. It’s hard to miss. Almost everyone will be getting off here on game day and you see the stadium as you pull into the train station.
There are also some CTA bus lines that get you to the stadium, most notably the 152 bus that runs East and West on Addison Street.
You can also drive to the game but parking is limited. There are a few official lots that are filled quickly. Often, residents in the neighborhood sell out their spot for the game at about $20 a spot. Street parking has its own restrictions with permits and other game-day limitations.
Above, view from upper box section 420, June 26, 2012
Wrigley Field is old. You won’t find much modern charm there. In fact you might find an obstructing pillar or two in your view. Generally, if you sit in the 100′s (field levels), 200′s (terrace levels) and the 400′s (upper box) you’ll be clear of any obstruction. The upper box sections are my personal favorite. It feels like you are close to the field and on top of the action. (The previous three links in this section go to pictures giving a view from each of those sections.)
Above, one of Wrigley’s famous pillars. Photo courtesy Nik Bronder.
Always popular are the Wrigley Field Bleachers located in the outfield. It’s worth the experience at least once. I’ve sat out there a couple of times and have never had a problem with any of the drunk fans that you often hear about. It’s nice for a different view of the game and home run balls are often easily caught while sitting out there.
Above, view from the centerfield bleachers
Your last option for a seeing a game is from one of the many rooftops that line Sheffield and Waveland Avenues. Face value tickets are pricey, but they include food and open bar for the whole game. Due to the Cubs’ recent struggles, many rooftop tickets can be found on coupon sites at deep discounts.
Above, view from Skybox on Sheffield, July 2009, a rooftop on Sheffield Ave.
Wrigley has come a long way in the last few years. I try to avoid eating at Wrigley since I find the options are a little boring and overpriced. However, the helmet nachos always seem to be a big hit. And you can never go wrong with a Chicago style hot dog. I think some of the better food options are located on the lower level concourse.
One nice thing about catching a game at Wrigley is that you can save a few bucks by bringing your own food and drink in. There are limits of course, certain bag sizes, no alcohol or glass bottles. But pack a sandwich and an unopened bottle of water and you are set.
Looking for a postgame or late night snack after the game? Dimo’s Pizza just south of Wrigley on Clark Street is your place! Open late they have a variety of pizza for sale by the slice.
Again, old stadium = older bathrooms. I believe most of the men’s rooms still have troughs. Both men’s and women’s rooms are known to have long lines so be ready to miss a little game action.
Above, one of the men’s bathroom troughs. Photo courtesy Nik Bronder.
On game days, you’ll often see Billy Cub or Cubby Bear wandering the streets around Wrigley Field. He is not affiliated with the Cubs, but he seems to be an unofficial mascot for the team. He’s friendly and very photogenic. The above picture is from 2008.
Outside the stadium:
Wrigleyville is a great a neighborhood and there are a ton of options within easy walking distance of the stadium. Bars such as Murphy’s Bleachers is a landmark staple of the area located on the corner of Sheffield and Waveland, just beyond the outfield bleachers. The place has a lot of history and is often packed before and after games. On the corner of Sheffield and Addison is Sports Corner which was recently renovated and has been established there for a while. On another corner, at Clark and Addison, is The Cubby Bear. It has been around a long time too and always packs in a crowd before and after games. If you head north or south on Clark Street you’ll come across a variety of bars that might make it hard for you to decide where to go since there really are so many of them. One of the nicer establishments on Clark Street is Goose Island Brewery. They brew their own beers and offer a wider range of a menu. Click here for a very comprehensive list of bars around the area.
Hotels near Wrigley are pretty non-existent. There are maybe a small handful of hotels in the neighboring areas, but your best bet is to stay downtown or out by either of the airports. (O’Hare or Midway) Another option that some friends have used is AirBNB. People list their apartments or a room for short stay rentals.
Make the most of your visit to Chicago and explore! The city has museum after museum and some great architecture. If your visit is during the warmer months, the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise is one of the best things in the city. And you cannot forget about the beautiful lakefront.
Chicago has an amazing food scene. Endless steakhouses, seafood restaurants and so much more are around to enjoy. Some of my favorite downtown places to eat include Harry Caray’s Steakhouse in River North and Hackney’s on Printer’s Row.
I hope this guide has been helpful and a good starting point for your trip to Chicago for a Cubs game. Please leave any comments and other feedback in the comments.
Update April 2: Eater Chicago published this handy guide about where to eat once you’re inside Wrigley Field.