Wrigley Field With Kids – 4 Things To Know

Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field With Kids – 4 Things To Know

Posted by Kurt Smith

Enjoying a Cubs game at Wrigley Field with kids can be a challenge. It’s a bit tough to keep them entertained, for example, with little playground space. But it can be done. Here are a few things parents should know about bringing the family to the Friendly Confines:


wrigley field with kids terrace seats

This is a nice shady spot, and you can still see everything.

Wrigley Field With Kids, Tip #1) Try Terrace Reserved Seats. You may want to sit in the Terrace Reserved sections (and avoid obstructed views), especially on hot summer days. They have several advantages over the similarly priced bleacher seats…they’re in the shade, and you’re less likely to hear the colorful language of some bleachers fans.

And by Wrigley standards, the Terrace Reserved seats are more affordable for families, no small thing here.


wrigley field with kids fan club

Even though, in most other aspects of their life, they’ll be expected to grow up a bit.

Wrigley Field With Kids, Tip #2) Join The Kids Club. The “Clark’s Crew” Cubs Fan Club membership for kids now includes a game ticket (woo-hoo!), and the kid gets cool stuff like a backpack and lanyard too. Look for the “Fans” section of the Cubs’ website.

The benefits are well worth the cost. Membership includes newsletters and merchandise discounts, and front of the line access on run the bases Sundays.

Speaking of which…


wrigley field with kids cubby bear

I’m sure he has an important point to make.

Wrigley Field With Kids, Tip #3) Go On Sundays. And Go Early. The Cubs offer a chance for the kids to run the bases at Wrigley Field (and that’s pretty cool, isn’t it?). Just get there early, so you can get a wristband for the kid when you come in.

Some Sundays are giveaway days, where the Cubs hand out stuff to young fans like lunch bags and wristbands. All pretty cool, but remember this…


wrigley field with kids concourses

They’re playing the “go back to your seat” song.

Wrigley Field With Kids, Tip #4) Keep A Close Eye On The Kids. The Wrigley concourses get very crowded, especially for the last hour before the game starts, and it’s easy to lose track of someone small. Be sure the kid knows what to do in case you get separated…show them what Cubs employees look like and all that. It’s a crowded place outside too, so just be aware.

So there is, I hope, some useful advice for doing a Cubs game with the little ones.

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

3 Ways To Score Cheap Cubs Tickets

Posted by Kurt Smith

It’s increasingly difficult to find cheap Cubs tickets these days, with a finally realized champion playing in arguably the top tourist destination in baseball. But Ballpark E-Guides is here to help…so here are three tips for saving a few dollars when landing tickets to see the Cubs. Hope they help you in your quest to save some cash.


cheap cubs tickets april games

A game at Wrigley Field in April against the Padres is still a game at Wrigley Field.

Cheap Cubs Tickets, Tip #1) Choose The Right Game. The Cubs, and more importantly, third party sellers and agencies, charge more for August weekend games at Wrigley Field than for April weeknights. Take a day off from work, bundle up and take advantage. You can find some real steals on tickets if you’re willing to brave a weeknight in April.

Keep in mind the opponent, too…a game against the cross-town rival White Sox or the divisional rival Cardinals will cost more than a game against the Diamondbacks or Padres.


cheap cubs tickets agencies

Not to be confused with lesser known Stub “Hub”.

Cheap Cubs Tickets, Tip #2) Check The Agency Websites. If you’re looking for Cubs tickets on StubHub or another third party site, try comparing prices for equivalent seats at sites for agencies like Gold Coast or Prime Time, or other agencies that set up shop near Wrigley.

You might find a better deal and/or smaller fees, and you should be able to pick up your tickets at the agency itself. There’s quite a few of them near Wrigley.


cheap cubs tickets flex pack

Not quite this cheap, but better than most deals.

Cheap Cubs Tickets, Tip #3) Try A Flex Pack. The Cubs sell multi-game packs during the holidays before individual game tickets go on sale; it’s a great way to land high-demand games at face price (which would probably be the cheapest price).

Go in with a friend and split up the games, or give away your extras…Cubs tickets make great gifts. You can probably find some way to pull this off. If you sign up for Cubs ticket alerts, they’ll let you know when the Flex Packs go on sale. Sign up for Cubs ticket alerts here.


cheap cubs tickets seatgeek

Click the image to find deals on Cubs tickets.

Cheap Cubs Tickets, Tip #4) Bonus Tip: Try SeatGeek! SeatGeek is my favorite third party outlet for Cubs tickets (or any other team’s tickets) and I’m not just saying that because they’re an affiliate of mine. SeatGeek searches plenty of other third party sites and lists them all, and I frequently find better deals there than on StubHub.

Click here to search for Cubs tickets on SeatGeek and tell ‘em Kurt sent you.

There’s a few tips that should help you save a few bucks on Cubs tickets…

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Wrigley Field Bleachers: 3 Things To Know

Posted by Kurt Smith

Like any classic ballpark, Wrigley Field bleachers remain the same…bench-style, no back to lean on outfield seating. A place to go and be in the sun on a beautiful summer day, drink beer and get loud, and surround oneself with lovable nuts that bleed Cubs blue. It’s where a Cubs victory is considered a bonus.

It’s not for “bleacher bums” anymore with current ticket prices…but the Cubs have also improved the food situation greatly and added some neat party areas for groups.

There are some things you should know, though. OK, maybe not rules, but guidelines.


wrigley field bleachers early arrival

This photo was taken several hours before the gates opened.

Wrigley Field Bleachers, Rule #1) The bleachers are general admission—which doesn’t mean that the place turns into a mosh pit (at least most of the time), but it does mean that you have to get there early to stake out a good seat. The favorite spot of most fans is the front rows in left field, where batting practice homers provide a plethora of souvenirs for early fans.

If you want one of those, you’d best get there sometime around four hours before the game, at least. (I am amazed at what people will do for a baseball. Consider that half of the balls people catch out there are going to be thrown back anyway.)


wrigley field bleachers harry caray statue

Bleacher fans meet at the Harry Caray statue. Not actually inside it as shown here.

Wrigley Field Bleachers, Rule #2) The bleachers are also separated from the rest of the ballpark and have their own private entrance at the corner of Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. This is important. Other ticket holders cannot visit the bleachers, but bleacher ticket holders can access the rest of Wrigley through a walkway in the left field corner.

This means that if you want pictures of the whole ballpark, or if you want to wander around the concourse before the game, you’ll likely forfeit your chance at one of the better seats.


wrigley field bleachers throw back baseball

No entering objects on the playing field!

Wrigley Field Bleachers, Rule #3) You should know that you will be expected to throw back a home run ball hit by the opposing team, even though the Cubs supposedly don’t allow objects to be thrown onto the field.

A story is told about how a Reds player hit a home run that was thrown back hard enough to land near third-base coach Ray Knight, who picked it up and tossed it to a fan in a nearby section…who then threw it back onto the field. Knight laughed and tossed it into the dugout.

Some fans carry another ball with them and throw that back on the field to keep the souvenir. If you can live with that on your conscience, go for it.


Next time you pull up the Wrigley Field seating chart, check out the bleachers. You can take the tour and sit in the bleachers and that’s great, but the main attraction there isn’t the view, it’s the fans. Well, the fans and Hot Doug’s dogs.

That’s just a few helpful tips for enjoying the Wrigley Field Bleachers…

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Can You Bring Food Into Wrigley Field?

Posted by Kurt Smith

The short answer to the question for thrifty fans is yes, you can bring food into Wrigley Field from outside. The Cubs allow a 16*16*8 soft-sided bag (which is pretty big), so long as it doesn’t contain alcohol or projectiles.

So what does this mean for you? In addition to bringing in peanuts and bottled water, which is easy to find anywhere outside, including at the Addison Red Line station, you have a few places near the ballpark to load up on Cubs game sustenance.

Here are three suggestions if McDonald’s, Taco Bell or Subway doesn’t light up your palate:


visiting wrigley field wrigleysville dogs

Is there an “unofficial” hot dog of the Cubs?

Bring Food Into Wrigley Field, Stop #1) Wrigleysville Dogs. Yes, that’s an “S” in the name. Probably some legal thing. Wrigleysville Dogs is a few steps north of the ballpark on Clark Street, and it’s a great place for super cheap grub – like that classic Chicago dog dragged through the garden.

You can park in their lot too, if you’re early enough, but that part isn’t cheap.


bring food into wrigley field el burrito mexicano

Translation: “Mexican Burrito”. Took all night to come up with that name.

Bring Food Into Wrigley Field, Stop #2) El Burrito Mexicano. This tiny but authentic joint is right there at the foot of the Red Line station, and you can get yourself an easy-to-carry burrito to bring inside. (Burritos are an underrated ballpark food IMHO.)

Again, super cheap, but keep in mind that it’s cash only and very popular with fans. Get there early before it gets packed if you can.


bring food into wrigley field nuts on clark

The store is just a block away from the stand inside the ballpark.

Bring Food Into Wrigley Field, Stop #3) Nuts On Clark. There is actually a Nuts On Clark outpost inside Wrigley Field as of this writing, but you can order your gourmet popcorn right there at the store on Clark Street, and it’s cheaper than in the ballpark and has a wider selection.

It’s a very short walk from Wrigley, but it’s only open during the day, so use this one for day games.

There’s three outside choices in Wrigleyville for fans bringing in their own grub. But there’s a pretty impressive menu inside the ballpark that you’ll want to know about too…

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

How To Avoid Obstructed Views At Wrigley Field

Posted by Kurt Smith

One could probably write an entire book about how to avoid obstructed views at Wrigley Field, as Tim Shea did with Fenway. There is, in fact, an excellent website dedicated to the subject called “WrigleyGuide”, run by the resourceful and intelligent Matt Motyka. If you have time to check the seats you’re looking for, it’s a great resource.

But just to get you started, here are some basics to keep a big support pole from blocking too much of your view of the field at the Friendly Confines.


avoid obstructed views at wrigley field overhang tv

It’s better since they added those newfangled “TV sets”.

In the lower Terrace Reserved sections, those big poles hold up the upper level; in the Upper Reserved sections they hold up the roof. In most Terrace sections in the lower level, the pole is in Row 6; it’s in Row 1 of the upper sections.

Support poles are almost always in Seat 1 or 101 of a section, except for 2-3 sections (211-218) on the third base side. In the Terrace, stay away from the seats ending with low numbers in rows 7-10 – although the opposite applies in Sections 211-218. If you get a seat in Rows 11-18, the pole won’t likely be too much of a problem, but in higher rows the overhang could block your view of the scoreboards.

Fortunately the Cubs have added TVs in the lower level to help see anything you miss as a result.


avoid obstructed views at wrigley field support pole

See 90% of the field for 100% of the price!

In upper reserved sections, again, just avoid seats that end in low numbers, unless you’re in the first couple of rows. If the Cubs don’t mark a Row 1 or Row 2 seat as “Limited View”, it’s probably a great seat.

In most upper reserved seats, you’ll probably have a pole blocking your view of something. If you can’t get something in the middle of a low row, try for the higher rows like 7-9 to minimize the blockage. (Row 9 is the top row.)

Again, you can always check with the nice folks at WrigleyGuide, but these are some basic rules that should help you avoid obstructed views at Wrigley.

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Best Way To Get To Wrigley Field – The CTA

Posted by Kurt Smith

You have a lot of transportation options for the Friendly Confines, and choosing the best way to get to Wrigley Field depends on both your budget and starting point (and mood, too).

But with all due respect to my friends at CubParking, using the Chicago Transit Authority is the easiest way to get to the Friendly Confines, especially for first-timers to the ballpark.

For using the CTA, you have three popular choices:


best way to get to wrigley field red line

I think we’re here.

#1) The Red Line. Ah, the Red Line. It may be packed to standing room level with Cubs fans and occasionally smell of urine, but you can’t beat the convenience…elevated trains stop at the Addison station, just steps away from Wrigley. The Red Line runs all night; coming from downtown Chicago it works quite well, and from a suburb like Skokie you can transfer from the Yellow Line.

The Sheridan and Belmont stations are also close enough to walk to Wrigley if you’d like to get off a stop early or better your chances of finding a seat on the train after the game.


best way to get to wrigley field brown line

Belmont – the hidden station for smart Wrigley goers.

#2) The Brown Line. If you don’t mind a short walk (Google Maps clocks it at 15 minutes), the Brown Line is a quieter, less crowded alternative to the Red. The Southport and Belmont stations are less than a mile walk from Wrigley, you’ll probably have a seat and a smoother ride, and you can pass by some decent takeout places along the walk, like D’Agostino’s. The Brown doesn’t run all night though, so check the schedule.


best way to get to Wrigley field blue line

Not the same Addison station where Wrigley is. Don’t walk it from here.

#3) The Blue Line/#152 Bus. Coming from O’Hare and the Des Plaines area, you can use the Blue Line to Addison Station (different from the Red Line Addison Station), and then use the #152 Wrigley Express bus to get to the ballpark.

Easy peezy, although I do suggest using the Irving Park Station and the #80 bus for a faster ride. That one involves some walking on Clark Street, however.

The Blue Line option is great for visitors staying near the airport to save on hotel parking, as I often do.

There you go, three simple public transit choices, still the best way to get to Wrigley Field for most people. But there are some cheaper and easier options too, and CubParking is a great choice for booking your parking if you decide to drive.

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Wrigley Field Hot Dogs And Sausages

Posted by Kurt Smith

Did you know that there are at least five varieties of hot dogs and sausages at Wrigley Field? I don’t mean just different toppings…I mean five very different Wrigley Field hot dogs and sausages stands, and that’s not counting the Sheffield Counter or the basic generic dog.

And they’re all great in their own way. Here’s what you should know…read this whole thing, truly.


wrigley field hot dogs chicago dogs

I was too hungry to provide an “after” picture with the necessary condiments included.

1) Chicago Dogs. The nicely-sized Chicago dogs are Vienna Beef (yes, they’re all-beef) dogs on poppy seed buns, with grilled onions if you so desire. There are condiment stands with all the toppings to make it a true Chicago dog…chopped tomatoes, sport peppers, mustard, sauerkraut and neon green relish. I believe they have the celery salt too. Great for seeing what this Chicago hot dog stuff is about.


wrigley field hot dogs high plains bison

OK, so maybe it needs some work with pepper distribution.

2) High Plains Bison Dogs. High Plains is the Official Lean Meat of the Chicago Cubs; they have dogs, sausages and brats here made from leaner bison meat. Tastes just like a beef dog but leaner, and you can pile on peppers, onions and marinara.


wrigley field hot dogs wrigley field smokies

Made with Vienna Beef? Whew!

3) Wrigley Field Smokies. The Cubs brought back the popular Vienna Beef smoked sausages from the Tribune days (and without the 100-loss seasons!); they are hickory-smoked beef sausages with a secret blend of seasonings. The Smokies cost a bit more than regular dogs but are larger, and you can order them in Wrigleyville supermarkets.


wrigley field hot dogs gilberts

No, it doesn’t come with the onion. At least as far as I know.

4) Gilbert’s Craft Sausages. Gilbert’s is the Official Sausage of the Cubs; they’re craft sausages that are gluten-free and contain no MSG or nitrites. There are several types of sausage sandwiches here, like the Caprese chicken sausage with diced tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, or the Beef and Cheddar with mac and cheese, bacon, caramelized onions and BBQ sauce.

If you want to learn more about this one, you can read the review from my buddy Danny Rockett at Bleed Cubbie Blue. He’s got a high standard for ballpark food, so you know his raves count for something.


wrigley field hot dogs hot doug's

With a logo like this, you know it’s a great dog.

5) Last but definitely not least: Hot Doug’s. The enormously popular Hot Doug’s cart closed up shop, but Doug Sohn’s amazing red hots are now available in the Wrigley Field bleachers; lines get long and for good reason. Dogs are named for Cubs greats; the the “Barry Foote” is a corned beef sausage with Russian dressing, shredded Swiss and sauerkraut; and the “Champ Summers” is a spicy Polish sausage with Goose Island beer mustard and crispy fried onions. Hot Doug’s rotates different dogs for each homestand, and there’s always something unusual.


There’s your five choices of Wrigley Field hot dogs and sausages; not surprising considering that Chicago worships the hot dog. But there’s much more for you to much on at Wrigley, like Giordano’s pizza and Joe Maddon hoagies…not to mention the offerings at the Sheffield Counter and Platform 14.

Gilbert’s photo courtesy of Gilbert’s. Hot Doug’s logo courtesy of Hot Doug’s.

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Visiting Wrigley Field – 5 Tips For Newbies

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re visiting Wrigley Field for the first time, or even the third or fourth time, here are some fan tips for a game at the Friendly Confines. Wrigley is one of the most storied ballparks in baseball, but there are things every fan should know when they go.


visiting wrigley field welcome

Say, that new video board is really fan-friendly. What’s that grandstand behind it for?

Visiting Wrigley Field, Tip #1: Plan ahead for tickets. Especially nowadays, with the ownership of the Cubs fielding a champion. Wrigley can be a tough ticket in the worst of times; with a competitive team you probably want to avoid the third party markup.

If you weren’t able to get online when tickets first went on sale, your best bet for a manageable deal on tickets is to check SeatGeek (but know that you can’t print Cubs tickets at home any more, so get them well enough in advance). If you see something you can live with, grab it. But check the team website first. Just in case.


visiting wrigley field upper level

If it’s good enough for the press, it’s good enough for you.

Visiting Wrigley Field, Tip #2: The upper deck view is great here. Yes, you have to contend with obstructed views, and there are websites that will help you with that. But the upper deck is much closer to the field at Wrigley than at most ballparks, especially the new ones with multiple levels of suites. At Wrigley you’re almost on top of the action in the Upper Box, and even Upper Reserved isn’t too bad so long as a pole isn’t in the way.

The bleachers are special in their own way, but for a first time visitor, it’s much easier to enjoy the Wrigley experience from the main seating bowl. Just make sure you get food before you head upstairs.


visiting wrigley field parking

“Hey, it was only $20 the last time I passed this sign!”

Visiting Wrigley Field, Tip #3: If you must drive, plan parking in advance. Most Cubs fans use the CTA Red Line (or the Blue Line and #152 bus) to get to the ballpark, but driving is still doable if you plan it ahead. Try my friends at ParkWhiz or the ultra-cool guys at CubParking, but don’t just get off the Interstate at Addison Street and expect to find something affordable close to the ballpark. You’ll eventually get so frustrated you’ll pay way too much for parking.


wrigley field food smokies

Made with Vienna Beef? Whew!

Visiting Wrigley Field, Tip #4: Try a Hot Doug’s dog or Wrigley Field Smokie. Hot Doug’s is a popular joint in Wrigley, selling dogs with unusual toppings named for Cubs greats. But Hot Doug’s is only available in the bleachers, so if you’re in the main concourse, seek out the Wrigley Field Smokies stand. It’s where they sell the classic smoked sausages that were a longtime staple of Wrigley Field back in the day.

Giordano’s pizza is great too, but you can (and should) try that in numerous locations in the city.


visiting wrigley field wrigleysville dogs

Betcha didn’t know there was more than one Wrigley!

Visiting Wrigley Field, Tip #5: Make a day of Wrigleyville. The whole area from blocks around embraces Wrigley Field on game day. There are great taverns like the all-time classic Murphy’s; the Cubby Bear across the street where the Foo Fighters once played; Slugger’s with dueling pianos; and a whole host of watering holes where people celebrate a Cubs victory and wait for the Red Line train crowds to thin out.

There you go; five tips for your first time visiting Wrigley Field, or your second or third if no one’s shared these with you yet. There’s a whole lot of ways to save money on what can be an expensive outing, but this should get you started.

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

The Free (Or Very Cheap) Bus To Wrigley

Posted by Kurt Smith

Most fans know the basics of how to get to Wrigley Field…use the Red Line El, get off at Addison, etc. Which works just fine. With Wrigley not close to any interstates, and in the heart of a neighborhood, driving and parking can be difficult…and rough on your wallet.

So as a public service to baseball fans visiting the Friendly Confines, I’ve included two great ways to get to Wrigley on the cheap…one very inexpensive, the other free…


wrigley field parking express bus

They use the lot for school or something during the day.

Get To Wrigley Field, Tightwad Route #1: The Cubs’ Own Free Shuttle. The free shuttle for night and weekend games to the ballpark used to run from DeVry University and cost $6 a carload; even that was a great deal. But now the bus runs from the lot at 3900 Rockwell Street, and it costs you only the gas to get there.

As the Cubs state, the lot is just east of the Chicago River, so if you’re coming from the west on Irving Park Road and you cross a slight bridge to go over a river you know you’ve gone too far. The lot is large enough to hold enough cars on most nights, and last I checked there are even some port-a-pots. Best of all, the bus will be full of happy Cubs fans on their way to their second home.

The Cubs say that tailgating is permitted in all lots, which I presume would include this one. Just be sure to hit that port-a-pot and reset the clock before you get on the bus!


how to get to wrigley field express bus

“Excuse me, does this bus go to Wrigley Field?”

Get To Wrigley Field, Tightwad Route #2: The Pace Wrigley Field Express. I haven’t yet used Pace to get to Wrigley Field, but I have tried the U.S. Cellular Field Express (which I guess now would be the Guaranteed Rate Field Express) to get to a White Sox game, and I loved it for several reasons.

Pace is an inexpensive suburban bus service, and they run separate routes to both ballparks in Chicago. For Wrigley, riders can grab a bus in Schaumburg or Lombard to the ballpark for just $4 each way, and parking at either pickup point is free.

The bus saves you the considerable hassle of navigating Chicago streets to the ballpark or even to a CTA station, it costs less than you’d probably spend in gas getting there, and like the bus from the remote lot, it’s full of happy Cubs fans. I had great baseball conversations with the people on the U.S. Cellular Express; if you like talking baseball with strangers the Pace Express buses are for you. And free parking!

Of course, there are many more ways to get to the Friendly Confines…like the venerable Red Line, the Skokie Swift, Metra Rail and driving and parking for you brave souls…

Want to know more about the Friendly Confines? Sign up here for my completely free Wrigley Field e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Wrigley Field Prepaid Parking – CubParking

Posted by Kurt Smith

Wrigley Field prepaid parking is a necessity for anyone willing to try driving to Wrigley Field. But as the guys at CubParking can tell you, you can do okay so long as you book beforehand.

Recently Nick Napoli of CubParking contacted me and educated me about ways people park their cars at Wrigley Field…and why they should order parking in advance. I was impressed enough with the Cub Parking service to interview him, and he graciously agreed to answer my questions.

Here is the exchange below…thanks Nick! And Click here to check out CubParking and land a fine Wrigley Field prepaid parking spot for your next Cubs game…

Wrigley Field Prepaid Parking Cub Parking

Awww…isn’t he a cute little fella? Yes, let’s park here.

I recommend to my readers not to drive to Wrigley, since parking is expensive and scarce by comparison to other ballparks. You offer a solution to that. How did you get started doing it, and what was the response early on? I know you guys are all Cubs fans, did you finally get fed up with parking hassles at Wrigley?

Well for starters that’s good advice. It’s always best to take the CTA to a Cubs game. The Red Line drops you off a block from Wrigley Field, it’s perfect. And you’re right, official Wrigley Field parking is scarce.

For people who choose to drive in, the locals here have been offering up their private parking spots since long before I was born. It’s tradition here, we have neighbors in their 70s out there parking and they’ve been doing it 50 years. They’ll tell you some stories man.

I started parking cars with my friends and neighbors when I was very young, maybe 8 or 9 years old. The neighbors would occasionally let me sell their spots too, it was a whole show. My kid brother who struggles with autism would set up a cooler of cold drinks and make tips. He didn’t mess around, Kurt. We don’t mess around at CubParking (laughs).


wrigley field prepaid parking sign

We should try to get a little closer.

You are, I’m sure, more familiar with the driving and parking experience at Wrigley than I am. Can you contrast the difference between booking your spot beforehand and searching when you arrive? I expect the difference is massive!

Yes, customers who book Wrigley Field parking in advance don’t even realize the difference until after they arrive in the neighborhood and experience the pandemonium for themselves. Online reservations aren’t scrambling to buy a spot off a stranger, they have an address, a place to go and a reservation.

And over the years we’ve seen everything, or so we think. Those who wing it are often left frustrated. They end up buying a street spot off some weirdo, which is illegal. Or they park with a random bad guy who parks you in a random spot and then people get towed. Or people return to their car to find it’s blocked in. Just so many variables and things that can go wrong and ruin your game day experience. And unfortunately it happens every game.

When customers book with us, there is literally none of that. We’re the good guys. We meet customers at their parking spot when they arrive, get them checked in and on their way. We live in the neighborhood too, so we’re around after the game too in case they need us. So you’re right again Kurt, the difference is massive.


I notice you offer “all night” parking…a very nice option in Wrigleyville. Is this mostly because you want to offer people a way to party without having to drive? Where do people spend the night?

Glad you asked! We started offering it because people would ask for it. Customers often want to come grab their car in the morning, we have spots for that. As people arrive for the game, we can usually tell who is staying out late and who is leaving in the 7th inning, but now we offer overnight and extend time parking to everyone just in case.

And I’m not sure where people sleep but we have had folks ask to sleep in their cars. If it has to come to that, we don’t mind. I think we all agree it’s better than driving drunk. So hey, sleep one off in our garage if you have to. We all appreciate it.

How does Cub Parking turn a profit?

We split all money with residents 50/50. Everyone’s happy, it really works great.

wrigley field prepaid parking express bus

No, you can’t leave your car there for the weekend.

Would you say that Cub Parking is the most affordable option for fans? The Cubs offer free parking with a shuttle from near DeVry University. Does CubParking have better options than that?

Yes, we’re not only the most affordable option but we’re the best value too. That shuttle you mentioned isn’t a bad deal though. And you can’t compete with “free parking” either.

However, people who drive in often come in traffic from a long ways away. So the idea of finally getting out of the car and then waiting to pile on a crowded bus is not attractive. People want to get out of the car and just be there. Not to mention after the game you have to line up to shuttle all the way back.

For $20 or so you can park a block or two away from the park, leave early or stay late until traffic dies down. It’s money well spent, considering how expensive everything else is on game day. CubParking is the best money you will spend all day.


Do you have your favorite spots, say, for easy exit or for location close to hot spots in Wrigleyville? And if so, why?

Well, all of our spots are EZ Out, customers keep their keys and are free to leave whenever they want because they’re never blocked in. We have spots just steps from Wrigley Field and others that are up to 2 blocks away. There’s often a premium for the really close spots. But we also keep a few open for our regulars and seniors.


Are there plans for expansion, say for parking for other big city ballparks like Detroit?

Not really, no. We love the Cubs, and parking for Wrigley Field. It’s something we want to expand locally here in Wrigleyville. We’d like the whole neighborhood to use us. We put cash in our neighbor’s pockets, park responsibly, and even have spots for neighbors coming home that can’t find parking on game day.

We look out for our people. This is our neighborhood and we look forward to growing with it in the coming years.

(CubParking logo courtesy of CubParking.)

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Wrigley Field Food – 3 Other Things To Try

Posted by Kurt Smith

Since Chicago is a hot dog city, I’ve listed a few choices for excellent choices of hot dogs and sausages available at the Cubs ballpark. But Chicago isn’t a one-trick culinary pony, and you have plenty of other great choices of Wrigley Field food.

Here are three of my favorites:


wrigley field food giordanos pizza

True, I don’t want to watch someone else eat this.

Wrigley Field Food, Tip #1) Giordano’s Pizza. I’m a huge fan of Giordano’s, and you haven’t enjoyed a taste of Chicago until you’ve tried a deep dish pizza. At Wrigley, you can find a nice sized personal pizza at the Blue W and other generic stands (it’s easy enough to find).

You can order a 6-inch stuffed pizza, and it’s filling and reasonable for ballpark prices. I would get a fork for it. They have a thin crust variation at some stands, if you’re keeping some space for that footlong Decade Dog.

Giordano’s even has chefs on the premises. They don’t mess around with their good name.


wrigley field food pig candy blt

It’s like they set up a whole stage for this thing, isn’t it?

Wrigley Field Food, Tip #2) The Pig Candy BLT.  Pork & Mindy’s is a Bucktown-area joint known for its creative barbecue sandwiches…not just for slow-smoked meat but for some truly inventive toppings.

In 2017 the Cubs added a few of the more popular Pork & Mindy’s sandwiches to the menu in the Bleachers; the aforementioned Pig Candy BLT features brown sugar bacon, lettuce, tomato, dry rub mayo and balsamic caramelized onions. (You had me at brown sugar bacon.) Did I mention the griddle brioche bun? Folks, this is why we love baseball.

As far as I know, the Pig Candy BLT is only available in the bleachers; correct me if I’m wrong on that.


wrigley field food north side twist

“Yes, you can have half. But the cheese is mine!”

Wrigley Field Food, Tip #3) The North Side Twist. The North Side Twist is a HUGE soft pretzel…large enough to go into a 12” pizza box. If you’re thinking you could handle this thing on your own, know that it’s two pounds, not including the dipping sauces, and it’s easily enough for two.

Ah…the dipping sauces. The cornerstone of a good soft pretzel. The sauces included with the North Side Twist are chipotle honey mustard, beer cheddar cheese, and cinnamon cream. You can use two thirds of it with the other sauces before going for the cinnamon cream for dessert.

The North Side Twist shouldn’t be too tough to find. They often have it on display in its full glory at Blue W or other stands. I believe you can get it in the Bleachers as well.


wrigley field food als italian beef

You don’t need to know how to spell “giardiniera”. Just how to pronounce it.

Wrigley Field Food, Bonus Tip!) Al’s Italian Beef (on Clark Street). There’s nothing wrong with the Buona beef edition of Wrigley Field’s Italian beef (Chicagoans tell me not to include the word “sandwich”), but before you try it, you should go for the true staple of Italian beef in Chicago…Al’s on Clark Street in Wrigleyville, just a few blocks south of the ballpark.

The sandwich…sorry, Italian beef…here is a sandwich of thinly sliced beef with hot peppers and/or spicy giardiniera, and you can get it with any amount of au jus gravy, including having the whole sandwich dipped in it. It’s also probably a little cheaper than what you’d pay for such a delight at the ballpark.


There’s three (+1!) non-hot dog items well worth trying at the Friendly Confines; but there are all kinds of worthwhile places at stands at Wrigley to get your grub on…

Al’s photo courtesy of Al’s Italian Beef. Pig Candy BLT photo courtesy of Pork & Mindy’s.

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A Century of Lovable Futility: Wrigley Field at 100

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: This post was written before the glorious Cubs triumph of 2016. Eamus Catuli!)

With the Friendly confines of Wrigley Field at 100 years old, a fair number of Cubs fan pundits, George Will recently included, assert a connection between the Friendly Confines and a frequently hapless team. With Wrigley Field nearly always full regardless of the team’s fortunes or even the weather, there is little incentive for management to put a competitive team on the field.

If that is true…and the argument could certainly be made…then it’s a testament not to an often mismanaged ballclub but to the sublime beauty of a classic ballpark. There aren’t many cities where fans will still fill a ballpark after even a few consecutive last place finishes.

And maybe the theory could be turned around. Maybe Wrigley is at least partially popular because the Cubs are so bad so often.


Waiting For The Cubs

Happy 2016 Cubs Fans.

If you ask me the three most noteworthy happenings at Wrigley, I would come back with: Babe Ruth’s “called shot” (it didn’t really happen, but it’s memorable), the ejection of the Billy Goat, and the Steve Bartman incident. In all three cases the misfortune went against the home team.

Then there’s my own most memorable game there…in June of 2003. Mark Prior pitched a masterpiece for eight innings, striking out 16 Brewers, including whiffing the side in the seventh and eighth.

Manager Dusty Baker…who would later that season be blasted by the Chicago media for leaving a rattled Prior in the Bartman game…pulled his young star for the ninth and brought in closer Tom Borowski, who gave up a walk, a single, and a three run homer to the first three batters he faced. The demoralized Cubs went down 1-2-3 in the bottom and lost 5-3.

So yes, I’ve witnessed some Cubs heartbreak myself. Add a championship drought that is now at 108 years and counting, and there probably is a bit of a romance in the Wrigleyville futility.


Wrigley Field at 100 go cubs

Go Cubs written in mustard? Why didn’t I think of that?

This is not lost on the Cubs, of course. In the midst of planning for the modernization of this ancient ballpark, the team management…surely well aware that this team could be headed for another 100-loss season…have made 2014 the year of Celebrating Wrigley Field.

Part of the celebration is discounted pricing for tickets – the Cubs are actually offering tickets at the low (for Wrigley) price of $19.14 (for the year Wrigley opened); the seats are in the upper outfield corner and there are still lots of tickets available. My buddy Floyd Sullivan, author of “Waiting for the Cubs”, tells me he could even get Opening Day tickets.


wrigley field at 100 murphys

Don’t forget that back then $10,000 a year was considered rich.

The Cubs also added some specialized food items for each decade of Wrigley’s existence; out on the concourses they’re peddling a Reuben Dog for the 1910s, a TV Dinner Dog for the 1950s, and a Bagel Dog for the 1990s.

In the suites patrons can order 1960s Wedge Salad or 1980s Cajun Wings, and there are ten unusual drinks to go with them…like the 1920s Gin Whiskey and the 1930s Called Shot. Yes, the Cubs celebrate a Yankee home run.

And there’s the Wrigley Field replica cake, put together by “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro…a beautiful piece of work that was later found dumped in the trash, hardly eaten.

That is so…Cubs.

All this, of course, directs attention away from that heartbreaking statistic…that the Cubs have never won a World Series at Wrigley Field, their last Series win coming in 1908 at West Side Park. Obviously, no one remembers—and few fans today could even conceive—what a powerhouse the Cubs really were back then.


wrigley field at 100 harry caray

Is that Will Ferrell?

But the atmosphere of an entire block of fans sitting in the stands, bleachers, taverns, and on nearby rooftops celebrating a ballgame, and Chicago dogs with onions, relish, pickle spears and sport peppers can keep people coming back to see a nearly perennially inept team.

These people are baseball fans, through and through.

For a century now, visitors to Wrigley Field have had no problem understanding it.

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Book Review: Waiting For The Cubs

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this review and this book were written before the glorious Cubs triumph of 2016. Eamus Catuli!)

Sometimes I think that if the Cubs won the World Series, it would be a gigantic letdown.

When the Red Sox finally broke their 86-year jinx in 2004, it was made much sweeter by the way it happened…an unprecedented comeback from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the hated Yankees in the ALCS. That would have been memorable even without a curse, but it lived up to how sweet a long-awaited World Series victory could truly be for Red Sox fans.

What could the Cubs do to match that, especially given that their futility has reached (and now passed) a full century? The White Sox went longer than the Red Sox did without a championship—a full 88 years—but the baseball world outside of Chicago almost yawned when they breezed past the Astros in the 2005 World Series.

No Longer Waiting.

There hardly seems any way an end to the Cubs drought could match the buildup. Floyd Sullivan, author of “Waiting For The Cubs: The 2008 Season, the Hundred-Year Slump and One Fan’s Lifelong Vigil”, doesn’t seem overly worried about the possibility.

Most people appreciate that it’s tough being—or more correctly staying—a Cubs fan. But until one reads Sullivan’s account of the 2008 season, one doesn’t really feel the effect of a lifetime of devotion without a payoff and with no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Cubs win blue w

A blue W. For “Victory”.

Throughout the book, despite that the Cubs have one of their best seasons in years, Sullivan—and his equally devoted Cubs fan family—are always expecting the other shoe to drop, always waiting for the imminent disaster to befall their heroes.

One could hardly blame them, especially after the 2003 NLCS, when Steve Bartman’s unfortunate blunder sparked a legendary collapse. Despite that a writer of Sullivan’s skill could have easily put a few gratuitously heart-wrenching pages in his book about the incident, he almost skims over the subject, informing the reader that “if you’re interested in reliving it, Google Steve Bartman.”

Sullivan writes from a personal angle, but the book never feels like someone telling his own story. Instead he shares the pain and occasional euphoria of being a Cubs fan, something his family and friends, and certainly any fan, can relate to. At one point he humorously shares the possible double meaning of what his children get written on their Wrigley brick dedication, which reads simply, “Thanks, Dad”.

His family has moved from Chicago to York, Pennsylvania; and while this precludes frequent trips to the Friendly Confines each year, it does enable him and his family to see the visiting club in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which they do frequently, with a trip to Washington thrown in. His description of Nationals Park, which opened in 2008, is spot-on accurate.

His tales of trips to Pittsburgh are hilariously fraught with the dangers of the western PA Turnpike (with which I can definitely identify), but also a couple of weather miscalculations…one trip ends with a game postponed in what he believed was hardly a downpour, as a result he cancelled a later trip on his own due to torrential rain and missed a full nine innings of Cubs baseball at PNC Park.

Waiting For The Cubs

It did.

The book mainly focuses on the story of the Cubs’ 2008 season, with some side tales of Cubs fan agony. It’s the centennial of the team’s last World Series championship (yes, that was in 1908), but it’s also a season where fans believe the team has the best chance to break the curse that befalls them, with pitchers like Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol, and position players like Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome.

Despite that the Cubs won 97 games and the NL Central Division in 2008, though, Sullivan never seems to believe that the Cubs will achieve the ultimate glory—indeed he almost predicts an easy victory for the Dodgers, the Cubs NLDS opponent. It bears out, with the Dodgers whitewashing the Cubs 3-0 in the series. Another Cubs season, as he puts it, ending with a loss.

But it’s not all bad…the family actually meets Ryan Dempster over the winter.

“Waiting For The Cubs” concludes with the story behind the Fred Merkle boner that cost the Giants the 1908 pennant…seemingly the last time that the baseball gods smiled on the Chicago Cubs…and Sullivan does a better job than most at clearing up what really happened that day at the Polo Grounds.

Many books have been written about the Chicago Cubs and their futility, but few of them capture the mind of the Cubs fan. Sullivan does it perfectly, making the story both personal and universal. No Cubs fan reading this book would disagree.

Nor, in fact, would any baseball fan. Highly recommended, whether you’re a fan of the Cubs, White Sox or Cardinals.

Cubs Win

You can still hear Harry saying it.

Click here for Floyd Sullivan’s “Waiting For The Cubs” blog.

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