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  • Writer's picturePaul Baker

Wrigley Field - Chicago Cubs

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43

1060 W Addison St.

Chicago, IL 60613

Chicago Cubs website

Wrigley Field website

Year Opened: 1914

Capacity: 41,649


The Friendly Confines

Wrigley Field is Major League Baseball’s second oldest facility, opening in 1914 as Weeghman Park, the home of the Chicago Whales of the Federal League. That team folded after just two seasons, with the Cubs moving in for the 1916 season. When chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. purchased the team, he renamed the park as Cubs Park in 1920, then Wrigley Field in 1927. The ballpark was designated as a National Landmark in 2020.

Beginning in 2013 Cubs ownership undertook a massive renovation of the classic ballpark, called the 1060 Project. It consisted of $575 million worth of renovations to virtually all parts of Wrigley Field. The stadium’s façade, restrooms, concourses, suites, press box, bullpens and clubhouses were all touched by the renovations. New jumbotrons, restaurants, patio areas and batting tunnels were all added.

The Cubs began play in 1876, winning 17 pennants and 3 World Series titles over their history. After suffering through an infamous century-plus title drought, the Cubs brought a title back to the North Side in 2016. 50 Cubs alumni have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and six Cubs have had their numbers retired.

Food & Beverage 5

Wrigley Field was always known as having perhaps the most traditional of all ballpark concession menus, with offerings that deviated little, if at all, from traditional ballpark fare. A hot dog and an Old Style beer was the preferred order at Wrigley Field for years, and most fans were just fine with that. With the completion of the 1060 Project concessions have been modernized, and fans looking beyond the usual will find plenty of options to please the palate.

Fans looking for a taste of Chicago will find several local items on the menu, including Chicago Dogs, Italian Beef sandwiches, sausages and bratwurst. Fans in the bleacher seats have access to Hot Doug’s stand. Even though the legendary Chicago sausage joint closed in 2014, it lives on with a stand featuring a rotating selection of sausage creations.

Wrigley Field offers some interesting items for those with specific dietary needs, such as vegan ice cream made by Oatly, OZO veggie dogs, Beyond Burgers, gluten-free beer and vegan nacho chips. Some searching is required to find these items, as they are not available at all stands.

New items for the 2022 season are featured at the Sheffield Corner near Aisle 134. Included in the offerings are The Twisted Tater, Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, Smoked Brisket Sandwich and the Maxwell Street Style Pork Chop Sandwich.

Pepsi products are featured at Wrigley Field. Fans looking for a craft beer will find the offerings dominated by the big brands, but craft brews from 3 Floyds, Bell’s Oberon and Burnt City Brewery are mixed in with Old Style, Bud Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon and other national brands.

All stands are cashless for the 2022 season, so make sure to bring your debit card with you to Wrigley Field.

Atmosphere 5

The game day atmosphere at Wrigley Field is unmatched almost anywhere in the Major Leagues. There is a buzz around the ballpark that runs throughout Wrigleyville. The pubs and restaurants in the neighborhood are packed with Cubs fans decked out in the team’s classic blue. Street vendors roam the area hawking their wares, and even though the old gritty buildings have largely been replaced by newer structures, the charm of the neighborhood remains.

Inside the ballpark, the classic features of the park continue to dominate the view. The old-timey manual scoreboard, the ivy-covered walls, and the Bleacher Bums create a one-of-a-kind experience. The new video boards add to the atmosphere without distracting from the Wrigley experience. The team even has a mascot now, a bear named Clark who wears giant shades and his hat backwards. The singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” by a rotating cast of guests has become a Wrigley tradition and if you’re lucky enough to get to sing “Go Cubs Go” with the Wrigley Faithful, be sure to stick around for it.

Neighborhood 5

Wrigley Field boasts what is arguably the best surrounding neighborhood in the Major Leagues. To a fan who has not visited in some time (specifically this writer), the area feels almost unrecognizable. Gone are many of the gritty old buildings that surrounded this classic ballpark. In their places are new, clean, modern structures hosting a variety of shops and restaurants. Longtime fans may bemoan the gentrification of Wrigleyville, but there’s no denying the great variety of dining options right around the ballpark.

The blocks around Wrigley feature a wide variety of bars and restaurants and are sure to be packed before and after Cubs games. The eateries in Wrigleyville run the gamut from new and upscale to traditional neighborhood pubs. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find it here. Some of the names are legendary, including Lucky’s Sandwich Company, Murphy’s Bleachers, Sluggers Sports Bar, GMan Tavern and Sheffield’s.

Of course, if you venture beyond Wrigleyville, You’ll have no problem finding things to do, places to stay, or things to eat in Chicago. It’s one of the nation’s top travel destinations for a reason.

Fans 5

The Cubs annually rank in the top ten of all Major League teams in terms of attendance, despite having one of the smaller parks in the majors. For decades Cubs fans backed their “lovable losers” win or lose (mostly lose), as the team racked up a century-long championship drought with relatively few winning seasons in the mix. A World Series title in 2016 broke the drought, and while the team is now once again in a rebuilding mode, the fans continue to come to Wrigley, basking in the sun and enjoying a cold Old Style on a sunny summer afternoon. The fact that the Cubs play more day games than other teams does not deter attendance.

Wrigley Field’s status as a legendary venue means that you’ll find a good percentage of the crowd that is there to be seen rather than to watch the action on the field, but if you are visiting the North Side for some baseball, you won’t be too distracted by all the extraneous activity going on.

Wrigley Field is a safe place to bring the family, and you’ll see a fair share of younger fans mixed in with the diehards and the casual fans. Again, given Wrigley’s legendary status in the baseball community, you’ll be sure to find a good number of visiting fans on any given night.

Access 3

Chicago has some of the worst traffic in the country. If you insist on driving to Wrigley Field, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there. Wrigley Field is not served directly by any highway. The closest interstate, 90/94, is three miles away and it can take over a half an hour to travel those three miles. Once you get to the ballpark, parking can be scarce and expensive. It is recommended that you take public transportation to a Cubs game, as the Red Line’s Addison stop is just steps from the right field grandstand.

The area around Wrigley Field has seen a great deal of improvement. Gallagher’s Way, an open-air plaza near the park’s main entrance, features statues of Cubs greats and is open before game time with concessions and games for younger fans. The concourse underneath the stands has been brightened and modernized, making it more attractive and passable.

Wrigley Field is an old park, so the seats are not the most comfortable and there are posts in the way that obstruct views from many points around the ballpark. However, getting around the ballpark is not too hard, as there are wide walkways separating the levels in the seating bowls and connecting different areas of the ballpark. There are standing room areas and handicapped seating is plentiful.

The rest rooms are plentiful and much cleaner and more accessible than in years past. The old troughs are still there, but for shy fans, there are plenty of other options.

Return on Investment 3

Wrigley Field annually ranks among the most expensive ballparks to visit, according the Fan Cost Index. Driving up the average cost is high prices for tickets and parking. While you can expect to pay major league prices for concessions, they are in line with other MLB ballparks.

As you might expect, parking around Wrigley Field can be expensive. While you can expect to pay as much as $65 to park your car, most lots a short walk from the ballpark will run you $40. Just don’t be fooled by the “EZ in, EZ out” signs advertised by many lots.

There are ways to make a trip to Wrigleyville less expensive. Public transportation, known in Chicago as the “El,” is a much easier and affordable method for getting to the North Side. The Red Line’s Addison stop deposits fans just beyond the right field bleachers. A full-priced fare will cost you only $2.50, saving you both money and the aggravation of battling Chicago traffic. There are bargains to be found on the various ticket resale sites as well.

Extras 5

As you would expect with a ballpark that’s been around as long as Wrigley Field, a lot has happened here. The Cubs have done a great job integrating the team and ballpark’s history with modern conveniences.

Of course, traditional features that make Wrigley legendary have been preserved and highlighted, including the legendary giant marquee at the corner of Clark and Addison, the Ivy-covered outfield walls and the manual scoreboard that looms over the centerfield bleachers.

Statues of Cubs legends stand in Gallagher’s Way. Players honored here are Fergie Jenkins, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ron Santo. Retired number flags are flown inside Wrigley Field on the foul poles.

The singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” popularized by the great Harry Caray, continues years after his passing, as celebrities line up throughout the season for their chance to sing the baseball classic.

After a Cubs win, be sure to stick around with the rest of the Cubs faithful as they sing “Go Cubs Go and raise the white “W” flag atop the centerfield scoreboard.

Final Thoughts

When ballpark aficionados rank their favorite ballparks, Wrigley Field is often mentioned in a different category than the rest. Fans who haven’t visited the North Side of Chicago in a while will be absolutely amazed by the transformation that has taken place in the home of the Cubbies. Modern features have been integrated into the ballpark in a way that does not detract from the historic aspects of the facility. Wrigley Field is truly a special place to take in a baseball game.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.


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