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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Wrigley Field - Chicago Cubs


Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43

Wrigley Field

1060 W Addison St.

Chicago, IL 60613



Year Opened: 1914

Capacity: 41,649


 

The Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field


Wrigley Field is known as “The Friendly Confines” and is home to the Chicago Cubs of the National League. It is the second-oldest ballpark in baseball, built in 1914, and is known for its unique features that make it one of the more iconic sporting venues in the country.


The ballpark opened as Wheeghman Field for the Chicago Whales of the Federal League in 1914 and became home to the Cubs two years later. In 1920 it was renamed Cubs Park and renamed Wrigley Field in 1927. The ball club had played at the West Side Grounds since 1885.


The 1060 Project was a $575 million, privately funded rehabilitation of the venue that took place for five years. The project resulted in improvements to the facade, infrastructure, restrooms, concourses, press boxes, and the movement of bullpens and clubhouses. There was also the addition of restaurants, patio areas, a jumbotron, and an outdoor plaza.


Food & Beverage 4


Wrigley Field features classic ballpark food, along with new and exciting items. The majority are located in the main concourse of the 200 level, but they can also be found through portables, the 400 level, and in the outfield bleacher section.


Concession stands are lit in classic neon lights with names like First Base/Third Base Classics, Clark Street Grill, and Marquee Classics. Menu items include Vienna Beef hot dogs, fried chicken sandwiches, nachos, brats, soft pretzels, burgers, pizza, and local favorites like Italian beef and Italian sausage sandwiches.



Wrigley has several new items, including pulled pork nachos, loaded Greek fries, burger brats, crispy chicken bao bun, crispy chicken torta, and quesabirria. The North Side Twisted Pretzel comes in a pizza box with three dipping sauces: beer cheddar, chipotle honey mustard, and cinnamon frosting.


Beer and cocktails are available at numerous points on the main concourse. The beer options include Bud, Hamm’s, Goose Island, Half Acre, Kona, Three Floyds, and Bells. There are also frozen cocktails to cool fans off during the summer months.


Atmosphere 5


The streets of Wrigleyville come alive during home games, with local bars and restaurants packed with fans, street vendors selling t-shirts, and plenty of folks taking pictures in front of the iconic red marquee above the main entrance. It’s a scene that is not duplicated in Major League Baseball.


The plaza outside Wrigley on the third base side is called Gallagher Way and requires a ticket to enter. It features a synthetic grass field for kids, food and menu items, and pregame concerts. It is home to various statues of Cubs greats: Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, and Ron Santo (Harry Carey’s statue is behind the centerfield entrance).


Photos by Paul Brown, Stadium Journey


When entering through the main entrance, visitors are underneath the main grandstand seating and have the majority of concession items and services surrounding them. The bleachers, ivy-covered walls of the outfield, the hand-operated scoreboard, rooftop seating, and multiple pennants and flags can be seen as you walk up the stairs or ramp.


The old-fashioned ballpark is a step back in time, and the new jumbotron and signage blend into the historic venue. The upper deck seating provides beautiful views of the Chicago skyline to the south and the streets below.


Neighborhood 5

The area surrounding Wrigley Field is known as Wrigleyville. It is quite a destination when the Cubs are not in town at night and during the weekend. However, the neighborhood becomes vibrant with all things Cubs. Visitors will find vendors and souvenir shops selling team gear and all imaginable designs.


Photos by Paul Brown, Stadium Journey


You will also find a collection of bars, restaurants, and gathering spots that have become destinations for pre-game drinking and after-game celebrations. There are up-scale restaurants, but plenty of local spots that include Murphy’s Bleachers, Sluggers Sports Bar, Lucky’s Sandwich Company, Sheffield’s, The Cubby Bear, and GMan Tavern. The Bamboo Club offers $2 blue beer during Cubs games.


Fans 5


Cubs fans are some of the most loyal and passionate in baseball. Whether the team wins or loses, you can find them at Wrigley Field, enjoying an afternoon game or hanging out in the bleachers. They are a viral team with a fan base coast-to-coast and most likely worldwide. Perhaps it's the ballpark that has more fans than the ball club, but I won't necessarily test that theory outside Wrigleyville - the two are synonymous.


Access 4


It is highly recommended to take mass transit to Wrigley Field. The Red Line drops you directly behind the stadium and connects to the Metra train at Millennium Park station, a few miles south of the ballpark. The Red Line is also accessible from different colored routes north and west of the ballpark, making it possible to park a few miles or blocks away from packed Wrigleyville.


There are parking garages/lots within a 2-5 minute walk of the game. Parking can cost between $20-$50, and free street parking is one mile from the ballpark. Private lots can fetch up to $80, including the Addison Clark Garage, 1140 West Eddy lot, and 3627 North Sheffield lot. Parking spaces are limited, including residential parking restrictions on neighborhood streets.


If attending a weekday day game, most side streets are free before 6 PM. The best spots would be west on Racine Ave., south on Addison Street, and north on Grace Street, about 3 blocks away on foot.


The Cubs offer free remote parking at 3900 North Rockwell Street, east of the Chicago River. It’s available for night and weekend games and includes free shuttle service to and from the ballpark.


The view of the field is obstructed by one of the 49 poles in the 200 and 400 sections and the upper grandstand towards the back rows of the lower 200 section. The main concourse is much narrower than modern major league ballparks, and the bleacher section is not accessible unless you have purchased a ticket for the area.


Return on Investment 4


The best bet on a ticket is on secondary market sites that range from as low as $13 for games to as high as $81 at the time of this writing. It also depends on where you would like your seat at the ballpark. Concession prices are standard at many major league ballparks and are costly. Vienna Beef hot dog or bottled soda costs $6.99, a large domestic draft beer costs $13.49, and an Italian beef costs $11.99.


Extras 5


Wrigley Field features various points of history, including the red marquee at the main entrance behind home plate, the hand-operated scoreboard in center field, the ivy-covered brick walls, and the flying of the white “W” flag for a Cubs victory.


Photos by Paul Brown, Stadium Journey


The 7th inning stretch, traditionally sung by Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Carey, has been performed by a series of celebrities since his death. Actors, musicians, politicians, and hometown heroes can be heard singing “Take Me Out to the Ballpark”.


Final Thoughts


The improvements to Wrigley Field have not taken away from the overall game day experience or the historic aesthetics. It has created an ambiance that would fit right into any decade of the ballpark's historic history.


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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com


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