Here it is my friend…your completely useful, completely informative, and completely entertaining Wrigley Field guide – with all the info you need for your next Cubs game (or any other event) at the Friendly Confines!
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I’ve broken this down into chunks for you…
Wrigley Field Guide, Part 1: Cheap Cubs Tickets
Cheap Cubs tickets is something of a relative phrase. But that’s all the more reason to read this useful Wrigley Field guide.
You can, with some effort, save a lot of a money on Cubs tickets…by being aware of all of your ticket buying avenues, choosing the right contest, and paying attention to things like the Cubs ticket alert newsletter. (If you haven’t already, subscribe to that now.) I will be putting together a full primer about finding cheap Cubs tickets soon, but here’s some basic help.
I’ll start with how the newsletter can help you. For high demand games, you are best off planning ahead and paying face value for tickets if you can. Your newsletter will (for free!) inform you of when tickets go on sale, including pre-sales. This is an opportunity to get tickets for high demand games at face price, which will likely be the cheapest price.
If you live in Chicago or know someone who does, get your tickets at the box office and avoid the considerable online fees.
High demand games are July and August weekend games, and games against the White Sox, Cardinals or Yankees. The easiest games are April weeknights, and when your behind is stuck to your frozen seat you’ll know why.
So if you want cheap Cubs tickets, and you have a choice, choose a weekday game over a weekend, and try for something in May (or September if the Cubs aren’t contending). If a weekend is your only choice, try for a Friday or Sunday.
You’ll need the MLB Ballpark app if you don’t get your tickets in person. The Cubs don’t allow printed tickets, because of their concern about fraud (whatever). You need the app anyway, for this reason: If you go the third party route, StubHub isn’t a bad choice, but search around, because other agencies might be offering better deals.
I always include TickPick in my searches….for three great reasons. (And they are also an affiliate.)
TickPick, like StubHub, shows you available tickets from online sellers, and you can list them by price, and even choose from elite sellers. For low demand games especially, you can often find tickets for significantly less than face price, so check with TickPick first.
If you decide to try the many agencies near the ballpark, take a seating diagram with you so you can see where your potential seats are. They are very skilled hagglers, these guys…as are the scalpers…so wait until close to game time to get a better deal.
There are lots of scalpers here, but honestly, unless you have sick haggling skills like my buddy Andrew Van Cleve (who once lived near Wrigley Field), I would choose another route.
Here’s a key tip: Most of the agencies near Wrigley have their own websites, so if you’re using StubHub in your search for tickets, try comparing the price of your ticket to an equivalent ticket on the agency website. I’ve read that some agencies will list their tickets on both outlets, but it will be cheaper on their own site, and you should be able to pick up the tickets at the game.
And one last killer tip: bleacher seats during the season are general admission, so if you need more than one, try searching for some combination of the total you need for a better deal…e.g. if you need five, try searching for three singles and a pair. You might save quite a few bucks this way.
Wrigley Field Guide, Part 2: Choosing The Best Seat
If you really want the nuts and bolts of how to choose a great seat at Wrigley (and it’s worth the trouble, especially if you’re a first timer), check out my extremely detailed Wrigley Field Seating guide.
But for the purposes of this simpler Wrigley Field guide, I’ll break it down by budget:
Friends of The Ricketts Budget: If money isn’t an issue, the Cubs have added a bunch of high end seats as part of the recent renovation; these include most of the closer seats between the dugouts. The visitors’ dugout is on the first base side, if you’re seeing your team at Wrigley.
These seats include all kinds of amenities like access to the swanky new clubs, so if you can afford a ticket at this price, you don’t need me to help you save money at Wrigley.
Large Budget: If you have triple digits to drop on Cubs pasteboards, the Bullpen Box, Club Box and Field Box seats are the closer lower level seats, and for low demand games you can find much better prices. Seats in the infield cost significantly more, as they do on the upper level, so if you’d rather be low than behind home plate, go for the outer Club or Field Box seats.
Avoid the first few rows of Field Box seats; there’s a walkway between Club and Field Box sections, and the foot traffic can be annoying.
If you’re looking for the Steve Bartman seat, go to Section 3 and ask an usher…they can always point you right to it. (Wikipedia is no help with this.)
Medium Budget: For the folks who still prefer a craft beer to wine and cheese, the Terrace and Upper Box seats are within your range. Both have their advantages, but they’re very different. Choose the Upper Box for April or September games; the Terrace sections are almost entirely covered and get little sun, and that matters here.
As I’ve said, Upper Box seats are a great value, even at the current price; the upper deck at Wrigley is as close to the action as at any ballpark.
Small Budget: If you’re going for cheap seats at Wrigley Field, you can start with the Upper Reserved sections, especially the ones in the outfield; but a small step above them in price are both the Bleachers and the Terrace Reserved seats, both of which are much better.
If you do go with the upper level, be aware that there are only nine rows, so if you get Row 9 you will be at the very top of Wrigley Field. This isn’t such a bad thing, but if you struggle with steep steps you won’t like it. Stick with Terrace Reserved if that’s a problem for you.
With Upper and Terrace Reserved seats, you will very likely be covered by a roof. Being in the shade in Chicago can get chilly at any time; I’ve shivered there in late June. Just be prepared; put on an extra layer of clothing or two, or sit in the uncovered bleachers.
I talk more about the Wrigley Field bleachers here; but remember a few simple things: bleachers are general admission, so get there very early (I’m talking three hours before the gates open for high demand games). The seats are also metal and backless; bring a cushion if you’ve got a sensitive behind.
The bleachers feature seriously dedicated Cubs fans, some of whom probably drink more than they should. It might not be the best place for kids or fans wearing opposing teams gear. If you catch a visiting home run ball, throw it back. It’s not worth what you might endure if you don’t.
Avoiding Obstructed Views: With Terrace and Upper Reserved, you also have obstructed views from support poles. I’ve written more about that here; but if you want to keep it simple, avoid low numbered seats and low numbered rows in Upper Reserved; in the Terrace try to stay between rows 10-15. (Or get the “Preferred” seats with little to no obstruction; worth a couple of extra bucks.)
One last bit about seating: the sun sets on the third base side, so the shade comes early there. For chillier evenings, the right field seats that aren’t under a roof will be warmer. Again, this is Chicago, and you should be mindful of this.
The bleachers aren’t covered at all, and the Cubs offer sunscreen dispensers there.
How To Get To Wrigley Field
Most Wrigley goers, including the esteemed author of this respectable Wrigley Field guide, will tell you that the easiest way to get to Wrigley Field is by using the CTA Red Line. It’s cheap, it drops you right at the ballpark at Addison station, it runs 24/7, and there’s even a bunch of places to fill up your goody bag (yes, you can bring food into Wrigley Field).
If you use the Red Line, here’s a couple of tips: stand on the ends of the platform where the cars are less crowded; and try the station before Addison after the game if you want a seat (e.g. use the Sheridan station if you’re heading towards downtown).
In addition to the Red Line, the CTA has several other rail routes you can use to avoid standing on a packed train.
You can use the Blue Line to the Addison Station (it’s not the same station as the Red Line Addison, by the way) and the #152 bus, which also drops you at the ballpark, or use the Brown Line…which takes you a couple of blocks from the ballpark at the Belmont station, on a much less crowded train. Much more pleasant ride, this, through some attractive parts of Chicago…I’ve used it and thought it was preferable to the Red Line given the choice. The Brown Line doesn’t run 24/7 however, so check the schedule.
Metra Rail can take you from most of the suburbs of Chicago to downtown, but you’ll still probably be using the Red Line to get to Wrigley.
If trains aren’t your thing, you have a few alternatives, some of which are equally inexpensive and almost as convenient.
First, you should know about the free Wrigley Field bus that the Cubs run for night and weekend games, from the remote lot at 3900 North Rockwell Street as of this writing (check the Cubs website on this, it moves from time to time). Free parking and free bus? U can’t touch that. Remember though, free attracts a lot of people, and this bus is always crowded.
Then there’s the Pace Wrigley Field Express, another public transit route to Wrigley. The Pace buses run from two locations in the suburbs, and drop you right at the ballpark…and much more cheaply than paying for gas, tolls and parking. I’ve used the Pace Express to get to a White Sox game and it was great…just a few bucks and free parking, and lots of fans to talk baseball with.
Note: As I write this, Pace doesn’t have the staff to run the Wrigley Field Express, but they’re working on it and I’m sure it will return at some point.
Finally, if you do decide to drive and park, you can either use the aforementioned free remote lot, or use the lots near the ballpark, some of which are owned by the Cubs.
Remember though, driving and parking is more challenging. If you are driving to Wrigley Field, I very strongly recommend that you book a spot beforehand.
You can also read my much more detailed guide for Wrigley Field parking, including traffic tips, other ways to park for free, and a bit about the very cool Reggies Rock Bus.
Wrigley is a popular Uber destination, and Lyft has Wrigley listed in its “discount zones”. A shared ride from Wrigley after the game can still be expensive though; you may want to walk a couple of blocks away from the crowded streets of Wrigleyville first.
And finally, as you know, this Wrigley Field guide goes the extra mile…if you want to avoid all this and ride a bicycle to Wrigley, there’s actually a free bicycle valet near the Addison CTA station, and the Cubs will look after your bike free of charge. There’s also Chicago’s Divvy Bikeshare shared bicycle service; they have two stations very close to Wrigley.
You’re now a expert on how to get to Wrigley Field, and that’s no small thing.
Never Drive To Wrigley Field Without A Plan…
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Wrigley Field Food: A Taste of Chicago
The Cubs have definitely stepped up the Wrigley Field food game; the link you just passed is a much more detailed primer on all things food at Wrigley these days (and it’s kind of funny too).
Chicago as a city worships three of the best American foodstuffs: hot dogs, pizza, and beefy sandwiches. At Wrigley, all three are represented pretty well.
Let’s start with hot dogs. You have ample choices for encased meat at Wrigley; my favorite is the Chicago Dogs stand…a simple but hefty dog that you can adorn with the Chicago dog necessities: chopped tomatoes, sport peppers, mustard, sauerkraut and neon green relish. And grilled onions, for an extra touch.
But if you’re in the bleachers…and this is a very good reason to be…you have the option of Hot Doug’s, a former Chicago-based stand that sells dogs with unusual toppings and named after Cubs greats, like the “Champ Summers”: a spicy Polish sausage with Goose Island beer mustard and crispy fried onions. They rotate the dog types for every homestand; Hot Doug’s is very popular.
And don’t forget about the High Plains Bison! You can find those stands in the main concourse as well, for leaner meat and a just-as-tasty dog.
Now then…being in Chicago, you can’t mess around with pizza, and while I was saddened to see that Giordano’s and their out of this world deep dish is no longer available at Wrigley, we do have Home Run Inn pizza here now. Home Run Inn has nine locations in the area, and this being Chicago, that suggests that they can’t be too bad. The pizza is pretty much everywhere and easy to find.
Then there’s the Italian beef sandwich (just call it Italian beef when you’re in Chicago); a sandwich of thinly sliced and soaked Buona roast beef covered with giardiniera, which includes hot peppers, carrot slices, celery and other stuff to make it at least a little healthier. I always get an Italian beef when I’m in Chicago…when done right they’re a staple of a good life. If you can’t find one, head over to the Sheffield Counter in right field.
Aside from these Chicago staples, Wrigley features some terrific other options; at the aforementioned Sheffield Counter they include offerings from local chefs, including a phenomenal-looking cheddar burger, disco fries, and Garrett’s popcorn…Garrett’s is another very well-known name in Chicago.
If you have a big appetite, look for the North Side Twist; it’s a very large and expensive soft pretzel that comes with several dipping sauces. It’s a lot of carbs, but you can walk it off here. Or try the Big Slugger nachos, a helmet full of nachos with a ridiculous amount of toppings. (Wash the helmet before you wear it.)
Again, much more about Wrigley Field food in this post, but two more quick points:
And second (pay attention, this is a good one!), for the first hour after the gates open, you can score 25% off most food items, and that’s not insignificant at a ballpark!
That should be helpful for grabbing some grub at the Friendly Confines.
If you’re interested, there’s something of a decent craft brew selection at Wrigley…there’s multiple Goose Island options, and 3 Floyds, Bell’s, Hamm’s and Naturdays are available in the various craft beer stands around the ballpark (check out the “Retro Beer Cave” in the upper level of the bleachers).
Bringing The Kids To Wrigley Field
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 inside. 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, Tip #1) Try Terrace Reserved Seats. You may want to sit in the Terrace Reserved sections (be sure to 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, Tip #2) Join The Kids Club. The “Clark’s Crew” Cubs Fan Club membership for kids includes a game ticket (woo-hoo!), and the kid gets cool stuff like a backpack and lanyard too. 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, 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, 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.
A Few More Wrigley Field Tips For Newbies
Wrigleyville is a very crowded place on game day. There are lots of bars, restaurants, T-shirt and ticket hawkers, street performers, etc. It’s fun for the kids, especially with the new Park at Wrigley, but again, be sure to keep a close eye on them.
With everything that goes on in Wrigleyville and many games selling out, expect to take a while leaving the ballpark and the area, especially if you’re sitting in the upper level (this may be why the Red Line is so popular).
Many of the houses on Waveland and Sheffield that featured rooftop bleachers have had their view obstructed by new scoreboards, and the Cubs have bought up most of the remaining ones. So you can still watch a game from some of the Rooftops, and it often includes extras like beer and food in the price. It might be worth trying for the experience, but it’s not a great view in most cases. Still, you can duck out of the elements anytime, which is nice.
If you’ve parked for free on a nearby street especially you should be mindful of how long it takes to exit the ballpark, because you WILL be towed if you leave your car there past the deadline (usually 5:00-6:00 PM). If you want to exit more quickly, use the right field or left field corner exits rather than the “Marquee” exit behind home plate. The right field corner is closer to the Red Line station.
Always be prepared for the weather. With the wind blowing in, and so many seats in the shade, you’ll see bundled up people in the seating bowl and shirtless people in the bleachers, which block the wind from Lake Michigan. It’s that much of a difference and another reason the bleachers are popular. Be as prepared as you can be on colder nights.
Finally, be sure to take a picture of the press box of whoever is singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”.
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There you have it my friend…your complete Wrigley Field guide, with everything you need to know. In case you didn’t click on any of it, there’s plenty more below for specific stuff…like hot dogs. Enjoy.
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