Here it is my baseball fan friends…your complete, incredibly useful and necessary Fenway Park guide! I’ve put together my best tips for visiting one of my favorite ballparks, and I’m sharing them with you to help you not only save money at Fenway Park, but also get the best bang for your ballpark buck. Whether you’re a frequent or a first time visitor, there’s plenty of useful information here for you.
Fenway Park, I often tell people, is not for amateurs. I learned from my first couple of games there that there are lots of pitfalls to avoid…insanely priced tickets and parking, obstructed views, distant seats, crowded trains, game day traffic, you name it. Think of anything that’s exasperating about going to a ballgame, and Fenway’s got you covered.
But when you know what you’re doing, Fenway is one of the greatest experiences in baseball…an opportunity to take in the experience the way fans have for over 100 years, surrounded by beautiful green walls and red seats, in a space with location-necessitated dimensions…most notably that imposing 37-foot wall in left field.
This essential Fenway Park guide will help you avoid the pitfalls and fully enjoy a memorable Red Sox baseball experience. I’ve broken it down into parts for your easy reference:
So after this quick word from our sponsor, we’ll get started!
Fenway Park Guide, Part 1: Finding Deals on Red Sox Tickets
There are, of course, multiple ways to get tickets to a Red Sox game…and it may take a little effort, but if you plan properly you can save a lot of money on tickets. If you really want to get detailed about it, I’ve written this much more in-depth guide to finding cheap Red Sox tickets, but for this guide I’ll keep it relatively simple.
A big part of the equation is the game you plan to see. High demand games at Fenway are any games against the Yankees, July and August weekend contests, and Opening Day. The Red Sox are aware of this, making tickets available for low demand contests first before the season starts. Low demand contests are games during the week, non-Yankees games in April and May, and September games if the Sox aren’t contending.
So if you just want to visit Fenway, choose a midweek game in April or May…and go for a day game if you can, because you’ll likely want to be in the sun in Boston during those months. Try to choose a game against an opponent that is over 1,000 miles away and not doing well.
If you choose a low demand game, definitely go through a third party rather than through the Red Sox. I have paid a third of the face price for pretty good seats at Sox games doing this.
However, if you want to pay as little as possible for a July weekend game against the Yankees, going through the Red Sox website (or the box office if you can, to avoid the fees) might be your best bet.
You need to plan way ahead for this…sign up for the Red Sox ticket alert newsletter so you know exactly when tickets go on sale and get them at face price, which is probably the cheapest that you’ll find them. The newsletter will alert you to any specials, too.
The Sox also sell multi-game packs of tickets, so you can see a Yankees game if you’re willing to pay full price for a midweek game against Oakland. They’ll let you know.
If you live in the Boston area or know someone who does, you can get your tickets at the box office and avoid the “convenience” fees…which are considerable at Fenway.
It’s well-known to Sox fans that the Sox always have a handful of tickets available on game day, and a line usually starts forming well before game time…and well well well before game time for Yankees games.
I know several Sox fans who use this option all the time and haven’t been turned away, so if you don’t mind the wait, it’s a good way to see a high demand game. Kind of a tradition here.
Again, if you’re just looking to visit Fenway and you’re flexible, choose a weekday over a weekend, and try a game against a far away team that isn’t good. These are your best contests for third party seller tickets. My friends at TickPick are my favorite resource for third party tickets…they have no additional fees and a buyer’s trust guarantee, which is why I made them an affiliate.
But shop around a little bit. When comparing prices through third parties, be sure to go all the way to the checkout screen and know what you’ll really be paying.
There are plenty of scalpers around Fenway, and they are very skilled hagglers. Usually they are legit, but check the date and opponent on your ticket, and if you see anything fishy or your gut tells you something isn’t right, don’t buy the tickets. Be willing to walk away or even wait until after the game starts…both could lower the price. In the scalp-free zone, ticket holders with extras can sell them at face price or less, so try that out first. It’s usually at Gate C.
Most importantly, do NOT buy a ticket that says “OV” on it. More about that in a bit.
I say the same thing to people about buying Red Sox tickets on Craigslist…treat them like scalpers and be careful. If you’re willing to take the risk, you might find the best deal out there. (More about buying baseball tickets on Craigslist here.)
Fenway Park Guide, Part 2: Choosing The Best Seats
When choosing a seat at Fenway, the goal is to get the best seats that are within your budget…and the smaller that budget is, the more careful you have to be to avoid a seat you won’t like.
The most expensive seats at Fenway Park are mostly behind home plate…the Dugout Box and Field Box seats on the field level, and the two tiers of club seats on the mezzanine. All of these offer very good views, cushioned seats in many cases, and usually club access where the food is better. Depending on the type of ticket you get, it may include a parking pass…whether that’s worth the price is up to you.
Green Monster seats are also among the most expensive and are difficult to come by; this is another case where you’ll need the help of your newsletter to know when they’re going on sale. Incidentally, if it’s a good view you want, avoid the Green Monster seats…they’re more for the experience than the view, which would be the worst in most ballparks. If you’re not in the first row, you’ll lose a good portion of left field in the view.
This is similarly the case with the right field Ultimate Deck seats…they’re very far away and the view isn’t great, so for the price the Red Sox throw in access to a bar and tables to sit at for eating or drinking. This space is popular with ballgame socializing types, so maybe you could meet a future Red Sox fan mate here, since a ballgame 500 feet away isn’t likely to be a distraction.
If your budget isn’t quite that expansive, the Loge Box seats are very good, and cost significantly less than the Field Box seats in front of them. The only slight problem is that Rows AA-CC are “walkway advisory” seats, meaning you’ll have people walking in front of you a lot. With MLB cracking down on people finding their seats during at-bats, this is less of a problem than it used to be.
Similarly, since the mezzanine/upper deck at Fenway isn’t that high at all (support poles are your friend!) Pavilion seats offer a great bird’s eye view at a fairly affordable price compared to most seats here.
If you want to save a few bucks more on even that, you can go for Pavilion standing room, which offers a counter and a nice view, better than most standing room here. You might even be able to snag a seat if someone leaves.
The Right Field Box and Right Field Upper Box sections are also a decent value for the buck at Fenway. They’re down the right field line past the Field Box sections, and they’re the cheapest seats that close to the field in foul territory. The seats face the outfield, so you’ll be turning your neck, but it’s not that big a deal. If you’d like to be a step above the cheap seats, these might be the best deal for you.
So now we get into cheap seats, for those of you on a budget, and we’ll start with the Grandstands.
The Grandstand seats are behind the field level seats, and they’re covered by the upper level. They’re wooden, small, and tight with little leg room, and of course, there’s those support poles that will likely block your view of some portion of the field (more about that in a minute). That said, they’re very inexpensive by Fenway standards, and in the middle of a hot or rainy day, you’ll appreciate the cover. It can be a good deal, but you have to work for it.
There are a lot of Bleachers seats in the outfield, and in some cases a Bleachers seat might be preferable to a Grandstand seat (for more details on that, see my seating guide for Fenway). But there’s up to 50 rows of seats in some Bleachers sections, so many seats are very far from the field, and sitting there you could have the sun directly in your eyes in the late afternoon.
There are some advantages, though; Bleachers seats are close to the bullpens, and also close to the Big Concourse if you like better food selection. If you are going for a Bleachers seat, try to get as low as you can.
Finally, the cheapest standing room tickets basically just get you into the ballpark…and you are limited to spaces behind the concourse walkways even, so you will have a very hard time finding anything resembling a decent view. Paying whatever amount you need to for an actual seat will almost always be a better alternative.
Avoiding obstructed views: If you’re going for a Grandstand seat, there are ways to minimize the obstructed view and not have the support pole be too annoying. I go into much more detail about that on this page, but for this Fenway Park guide I’m going to keep it simple.
If you can find a ticket in the first row that doesn’t say “OV” on it, you will likely have a great view, since the pole is usually in the first row. “OV” means Obstructed View, obviously, but it has to be really bad before the Red Sox will admit to it, so avoid “OV” tickets at any cost.
Otherwise, in most sections (the right field corner excepted), if you get something between Rows 5-10, and avoid low-numbered seats if you can, you should be okay. Again, these rules don’t apply to the sections in the right field corner; honestly, take a bleacher seat over those. It’s cheaper and the view is better.
Believe me, you can get much more scientific about this, and I can’t guarantee that you won’t have ANY view problems following this advice, but use the 5-10 rule if you can’t get the first row…something in Rows 5-10 and even seats numbered 5-10, is often the best policy for avoiding poor views. Any higher rows may start losing the view of the scoreboards to the overhang.
Click here if you’d like to know more about the dreaded obstructed view and how to avoid it.
Fenway Park Guide, Part 3: How To Get To Fenway Park
If you’re a Fenway newbie, I highly recommend against driving to the ballpark, for several reasons. Traffic is extremely slow closer to game time, it’s difficult to get around Kenmore Square, and parking is scarce and extraordinarily expensive. I’ll talk about what to do if you want to drive in a bit, but for your first time, take the T.
The MBTA (called the T in Boston) runs trains on their Green Line to Fenway Park; all but the “E” train stop at Kenmore station, which is a block away from the ballpark. You can park your car much more cheaply at just about any perimeter station and get to Fenway with at most one transfer.
Easy peezy, and this is how most fans get to the ballpark…so to avoid sardine-level packed trains (and I am not joking about that), leave as early as you can. Remember, use the Kenmore station, not the Fenway station on the Green Line.
One key thing, get enough value on your trip card for the way back. A crowded station is not a place to be trying to put more money on your card, and it will take a while.
If you don’t mind a bit of a walk and would prefer a less crowded train, you can use the ill-advised E line and get off at the Prudential station, where many Sox fans park their car cheaply to get to Fenway. It’s just under a mile walk, but it’s not bad on a nice day.
There’s also the Lansdowne station of MBTA’s Commuter Rail, on the Framingham/Worcester Line. This station is just a fly ball from Fenway, so if you can easily catch this train it’s a nice ride, and you’ll likely have a seat. The station is in the same spot as $50+ parking lots, to give you an idea of its convenience. The Back Bay station is on this line; I’ll explain the advantage of that shortly.
OK, so you have two viable train lines to get to Fenway, but if you still want to try driving, I’ll help you as much as I can.
As you can imagine, traffic in Kenmore Square gets super slow on game day, so it’s a given that you should arrive as early as you can. Most routes to the ballpark involve Storrow Drive, so avoid that if possible. Keep in mind that if you park close to Fenway, it’s likely going to take you a fairly long time to get out, and there will be pedestrians everywhere.
For almost any parking within a block or two…and even for some lots a half mile away…you’re going to pay at least $50-60. You can, if you’re willing to walk a bit, drop that price quite a bit, and this is a great time for me to tell you about pre-paid parking.
Here is my number one, most important tip for driving to Fenway Park…Book. Your. Parking. In. Advance. I have a favorite money-saving trick for this: book your parking at the Prudential Center or at the 100 Clarendon Street lot. You can use my friends at SpotHero for great Red Sox parking, including that garage.
It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from there to Fenway (I usually walk it); but if you don’t want to do the walk, the Back Bay Commuter Rail station is right there and it’s just a couple of bucks to get to Lansdowne station. You save quite a bit of money, ride a much less crowded train, and can get off the train right at Fenway at a spot where people paid three times as much to park.
It’s also easy to find your way back, with the very tall Pru Center visible from inside the ballpark.
There are some fairly close streets where you can park for free, especially on Sundays. More about that in my detailed guide for Fenway parking.
If you’re a green sort or just like riding a bicycle in a city where even cars barely fit on the streets, the Red Sox reward you with a free bicycle valet service. The valet stop is at 73 Brookline Avenue. You also have the Bikeshare option; Bluebikes has close to ten stations very close to the ballpark. (Not sure about the bicycle availability after the game, but I presume it would be okay given the number of stations.)
And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Boston Pedicabs, cyclists who pedal rickshaws from numerous destinations in the city, including the aforementioned Prudential Center. You can flag one of these guys down if you’re tired after the game and it’s a fun experience riding through Boston.
Never Drive To Fenway Park Without A Plan…
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Fenway Park Guide, Part 4: What To Eat at Fenway
For a while, Fenway had some interesting food selections, like the Lobster Poutine Stak, but they’ve scaled them down a bit. Still, you have some perfectly good options for Fenway Park grub…especially when you include the famous sausage vendors outside.
If you’d like the much more detailed edition of the menu, check out this guide to Fenway Park food. But for this guide, I’ll just go over some classic items and some new ones.
The Fenway Frank (and the much larger Monster Dog edition) is still the go-to food item at Fenway; it’s a Kayem hot dog served on that famous mushy white bread. The Monster Dog is close to a footlong, so bring an appetite for that one…well worth it.
The Red Sox close off Jersey Street before and during games, making it accessible only for ticket holders. They need to feed all these people of course, so there are several worthwhile stands selling classic Fenway stuff and some unusual items.
Most notably, El Tiante, named for Sox star Luis Tiant, is (I think) the only spot in Fenway where you can get a Cuban sandwich and Luis Tiant’s autograph (although he’s never there when I go). Jersey Street offers most of the non-hot dog food items.
In addition to Jersey Street, the Big Concourse area beyond right field also has a wider variety of food selection than most stands. You can find unusual items here, like the Bloody Mary Burger, Grillo’s Pickles, and a “Franken Bean” hot dog.
Lobster rolls are another classic at Fenway; they used to be made by Yankee Lobster Company but I think Sox fans may have had enough of that. The Lobster roll is cold by design, and obviously given that it’s seafood in a ballpark it’s expensive, but the fans still get them. It’s Boston after all.
There’s always pizza at Fenway Park; currently the provider is Sal’s. Sal’s has numerous locations in New England, and in 2022 they offered a free small pizza with the purchase of a large following a Red Sox victory (at their restaurants, not Fenway). I’ll keep you posted if that changes.
Burgers and steak tips sandwiches at Fenway feature beef from Savenor’s…who was once voted Best of Boston by Boston magazine, so you know it’s good quality beef. In addition to the aforementioned Bloody Mary Burger, at the new Truly Terrace behind the Bleachers, you can get a Truly Awesome Burger, with (deep breath) Savenor’s Butter Smash Burger, melted Vermont cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and Thousand Island dressing on a brioche roll. (Okay, maybe that’s not that awesome, but I like the butter smash bit.)
There were a couple of new items in 2022 that I definitely want to give a mention to. One solid addition in the ballpark food realm is the Mings Bings, created by Chef Ming Tsai. Mings Bings are vegan pockets with a brown rice wrapper, filled with vegan-based cheeseburger or sausage and peppers. They’re a healthy snack that you can easily carry around and eat in a ballpark, and gluten-free to boot.
There’s also Fluffernutter Fries…sweet potato fries topped with crushed peanuts, peanut sauce, and marshmallow cream. I was a huge fan of Fluffernutters as a kid and cannot believe no one has ever thought of this.
If you are looking for more adventurous food selections, Jersey Street and the Big Concourse are your best destinations.
Now then, I can’t ignore the outside sausages, and neither should you. Surrounding Fenway Park on game day are numerous sausage carts that sell hot dogs, sausages, and chicken and steak tips sandwiches. Lansdowne Street is the best spot for these, being in the path from the Kenmore station.
I talk more about these different vendors in my much more detailed Fenway Park food page, but I’ll just tell you that The Sausage Connection is my favorite…they offer a good value, tasty sandwiches, and their amazing Inner Beauty hot sauce, which is a mustard-style hot sauce that goes great on any sandwich. Visit the yellow stand and tell them Kurt sent you.
You can bring food into Fenway Park, but the Sox now only allow a small bag – 5*9*2 inches as I write this, and they will search it. (Killjoys.) You should be able to pack a sandwich from an outside vendor into a bag that size, but adding a drink with it might be tough.
Finally, there is a wealth of restaurants walking distance from the ballpark at Fenway, and some of them can even be reasonably priced. There’s a lot of good grub at Fenway Park, but don’t feel like you have to get the feedbag on at the game, especially since you might have to wait a while after the game to leave anyway.
Fenway Park Guide, Part 5: Bringing The Kids to Fenway
If you’re planning to bring the little ones, check out Red Sox Kid Nation…the Sox offer a free game ticket with their free membership (I presume they are still doing this as of 2023, but I’ll keep checking). The paid membership is even better…it includes a backpack, a jersey and chances to get other stuff. Well worth the price. You still have to buy a ticket for you of course, but a free ticket to the most expensive ballpark in baseball is a nice thing.
As I’ve mentioned, you should be subscribed to the Red Sox newsletter, and part of that will be promotions dedicated to kids, such as Star Wars Day.
Fenway wasn’t always much of a kid-friendly ballpark, but it’s gotten much better with entertainment and face painting and such on Jersey Street, and in the Big Concourse there is a play area called Wally’s Clubhouse open after the 3rd inning (currently closed as I write this, but the Sox will likely re-open it). Use the Gate K entrance, it’s designed for the young ones.
The kids’ area features a virtual reality batting cage, face painting, beanbag tosses and a visit from Wally the Green Monster. They can even sign a mock-up Pesky’s Pole. There is no view of the game though, so decide for yourself if you want the kids to be aware of this.
When taking kids keep in mind their restlessness; not that kids won’t enjoy the game, but it’s tight quarters and you may have an easier time in the Pavilion or Roof Box seats. Keep a close eye on them in crowded areas, and the Big Concourse and Jersey Street are less congested if they need to walk around.
First-timers at Fenway get some small gifts at the Fan Information Booth—last I checked it was a sticker, a free photograph and a welcome message on the scoreboard. And a Fenway bingo card. And you’ll want a memento of your first trip here.
You can get free diapers or sunscreen at booths at Gates D and E should you need them, and the family restrooms have changing tables. The Sox have also added nursing areas at Fenway (and NO, I don’t have photos of that); they’re also in the family restrooms. They’re not sweet lounges like in Cincinnati or Washington, but they’re there.
The Red Sox designate games where kids can run the bases after the game (my kids love this). They will tell you which games on their promotions page.
Fenway Park Guide, Part 6: Photo-Ops + Extra Tips For Newbies
Finally, there’s a few more things you should know about your first (or next) visit to Fenway.
As of 2022, Fenway Park is cashless, so no need to bring along a wad for the inside vendors. I’m pretty certain the independent sausage stands will still take cash, though. Incidentally, MasterCard holders get occasional deals, so at least bring your MasterCard.
Keep in mind the New England weather; there’s a very good reason that April and May Red Sox games are the cheapest. Dress very warmly, especially if you will be sitting in the shaded Grandstand, and have a place to go to warm up if you need to.
Here are some of my favorite photo-ops at Fenway:
The Green Monster. When my wife surprised me with Red Sox tickets for my birthday, my father recommended sitting in the Right Field Box seats for that solid view of the most iconic feature of Fenway. He was right.
The Big Papi Lego Statue. David Ortiz is one of the greatest heroes in Boston sports history, so of course someone took the time to build a Lego edition of him. It’s in the main concourse.
The Fenway Lego Model. This is located in the concourse in the left field corner…a Fenway Park built with Legos. Can I buy the set?
Big League Brian. He’s the guy on stilts wandering around Jersey Street before the game, posing and playing catch with fans. Pretty easy to find him; look for the stripes on his pants.
Wally Statue. This one’s popular with the kids, Wally even sits perfectly still for your shot.
Well, that’s a wrap. Hopefully this detailed Fenway Park guide is of some use to you…as I’ve said, it’s well worth knowing how to avoid the pitfalls, even if the difficulties are part of what makes Fenway Park great.
If you’d like to know more, I’m happy to help! Check out my much more detailed guide to getting the best deals on Red Sox tickets, this complete guide to Fenway Park seating, the complete menu of food both inside and outside of Fenway, and my very helpful Fenway parking guide. And feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think!
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