by Adam Harrington, CBS Chicago web producer
CHICAGO (CBS) — Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball behind Fenway Park in Boston – having stood since 1914 on the plot of land bounded by Clark Street, Addison Street, Sheffield Avenue, and Waveland Avenue in a section of Lakeview long known as Wrigleyville.
The Cubs have played at Wrigley Field since 1916. The ballpark also hosted Chicago Bears football from 1921 until 1970, and has hosted Northwestern Wildcats football games, the 2009 NHL Winter Classic with the Blackhawks, and an assortment of concerts – among other events.
The iconic forest green manual scoreboard goes dates back to 1937.
The lights that flood the neighborhood with a pleasant summer glow have been in place since 1988.
And the surrounding Wrigleyville neighborhood has changed dramatically in recent years. Still, there’s no experience quite like approaching the gates amid the peanut vendors and apparel stands – and finding your seat looking over the ivy-covered walls and manicured field as the organ swells and the bats crack.
COMING AND GOING
The Red Line runs from Howard Street in Rogers Park to 95th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway, making for an easy commute for much of Chicago. Game day commuters may transfer to Red Line trains from all other rail lines and most east-west bus routes.
The Purple Line Express to Evanston does not stop at Addison, but does stop one station to the north at Sheridan on game days rather than running express. Customers traveling north can also walk to the Sheridan station rather than using the Addison station.
Yellow Line trains connecting the Howard Red Line terminal and north suburban Skokie run two hours later – until midnight – on game nights.
Driving And Parking:
From downtown or parts south, drivers should take Lake Shore Drive north to the Irving Park Road exit and head west to Clark, then turn left and travel half a mile to Addison. Wrigley Field is ahead on the left. Drivers coming from the north should take Lake Shore Drive south to the Irving Park Road exit and follow the same directions.
From the northwest or southwest, drivers should find their way to the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) and get off Addison Street and proceed three miles to Wrigley Field, or alternately get off at Irving Park Road and head east to Clark Street.
Parking is available at six surface lots around the ballpark. Click here for a parking map. The Cubs also offer free remote parking at 3900 N. Rockwell St. just east of the Chicago River and accessible from Irving Park Road – with express shuttle service available.
Lane Tech High School at Western Avenue and Addison Street also has a shuttle from its stadium parking lot during night games.
There are metal detectors at all Wrigley Field gates, and bags will also be checked. The experience is much like going through security at an airport or a courthouse – you’ll be asked to place items from your pockets into a bin on a table before passing through the metal detector, and afterward, someone will scan your ticket.
The Cubs advise that for easy access to Wrigley Field, you should budget additional time and get there early, and leave all prohibited items at home. Also, you should go to the entry gate listed on your ticket, and remember that the less you bring, the more time you save.
You may not bring any of the following items into Wrigley Field during Cubs games:
• Bags larger than 16 x 16 x 8 inches;
• Containers (cans, aerosol spray, glass, hard-sided coolers, thermoses or flasks);
• Illegal drugs;
• Laser pointers;
• Luggage or car seats;
• Noise makers
• Non-factory sealed plastic bottles;
• Portable stadium seats;
• Selfie sticks
• Unmanned aerial vehicles (drones);
• Weapons of any kind;
• Any other item deemed inappropriate by ballpark operations personnel.
Fans are also reminded to review the Guest Code of Conduct before attending a game.
Things To Do Before And After The Game
Wrigleyville is one of Chicago’s most vibrant entertainment and nightlife districts – and has seen a number of new additions lately with new construction around the ballpark.
Cubs ticketholders can head to Gallagher Way on the west side of Wrigley Field for Gameday – where you can lounge in the sun, drink local beer, or watch the game’s highlights. You can also scope out the 2016 Cubs World Series Trophy in the Trophy Room, which is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week.
Gallagher Way also hosts free live music on Tuesday and Saturday evenings, morning fitness sessions led by local instructors, an French market, and movie nights. And surrounding Gallagher Way are an assortment of restaurants and bars that have opened in recent years, along with the Hotel Zachary across Clark Street.
On the west side of Clark Street going south from Wrigley Field, look for a vibrant and lively row of sports bars – anchored at the southwest corner of Clark and Addison by the legendary Cubby Bear. A vibrant, though slightly quieter bar scene can also be found north of the ballpark on Clark.
And of course, Wrigley Field is in the middle of one of Chicago’s most vibrant neighborhoods – whether you’re looking for brunch, nightlife, or anything in between.
Just to the north of Wrigley Field and across Clark Street is the famed concert venue Metro Chicago, which has hosted A-list acts representing all musical genres over its 38 years in business. Below the Metro, you’ll find DJ acts and dance music starting at 10 p.m. every night – and going until 4 a.m. (5 a.m. on weekends) at Smartbar.
Farther south of the ballpark on Clark Street beyond the Red Line overpass, there’s a restaurant for every taste. For one, the Mexican standby El Jardin at Clark Street and Buckingham Place has been a neighborhood destination since 1967.
A few blocks to the west of Wrigley Field, boutiques and eateries line fashionable Southport Avenue, and you can enjoy an organ concert under twinkling stars on the ceiling before an independent, cult, or classic film at the Music Box Theatre.
And a few blocks east of the ballpark, Halsted Street is always sizzling and the music is always thumping on the Boystown strip, and a strip of friendly neighborhood restaurants and bars can also be found a short distance farther east still on Broadway.
Finally, if you’re so inclined, you can enjoy an alternate experience before, during, and after the game. Many of the vintage apartment buildings along Waveland and Sheffield avenues across from Wrigley Field house the Wrigleyville Rooftops baseball clubs, where you can make a reservation for an all-inclusive experience featuring food, drinks, and spectacular views of the game.