Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, rises quietly of its Lakeview neighborhood, a humble paragon of Major League Baseball, Wrigleyville’s crown jewel. A tundra of sports bars and novelty shops extends south and west in this traditionally working-class neighborhood, while to the north and west you’ll find quaint, duplex-style suburbia. Without wandering too far from the stadium, you’ll find a Starbucks, a Taco Bell and an E-Z Mart, but they don’t radiate the neighborhood spirit of the centennial stadium that defines Wrigleyville. So here’s how to make the most out of the Cubs' hospitality.
Need tickets? When you step out of the Addison station, hang a right, and the first doorway you’ll pass has a tented patio shade labeled in garish blue italics – “Findtickets.com” – which, if you search it, will return a 404 error. Don’t even think about it. Instead, walk on down to the intersection of Addison and North Sheffield. You’ll find a bar called Sports Corner. A couple of men will be standing outside the open patio shoving “half-price” tickets in your face. They won’t necessarily be a steal, but if you wait until the first inning’s over, you might be able to negotiate a lower price. Grab some peanuts from the street vendors while you’re at it; you’ll thank yourself when you see the prices inside the stadium.
If you’ve got more cash to spare ($70+ per person), check out some of the rooftop options along Waveland and North Sheffield. Though they’re pricier and farther away from the action, they also tend to offer amenities like skyline views, comfortable lounges and open bars for the 21 and older crowd. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time, and bring binoculars.
Wrigley is the second oldest baseball stadium in the country (Boston’s Fenway was built in 1912). The Cubs’ season lasts from late March through September every year, with cheap seats usually priced as low as $7. No money? No tickets? No problem. If you turn right onto North Sheffield from Addison and walk along the outer wall of the stadium, you’ll come to a gate in the wall. Beyond the gate is a screen, through which you can see from right field clear to home plate. If you don’t mind watching through a green-tint, you’ve scored ground-level season tickets. Don’t forget your lawn chair. No guarantee that cops will be cool with the lawn chair.
After the game, as you’re walking past Bacci Pizzeria on your way to the Addison stop, expect to find a red-haired gentleman loudly admonishing you for not wandering under the sidewalk to drink in his underground bar. If you’d really rather not (or if you’re under 21), however, step upstairs into Bacci Pizzeria. They’re noted for their massive, Chicago-style servings, and your wallet won’t feel a thing – expect to pay less than $20 for two.
Murphy’s is a baseball bar if you’ve ever seen one. It sits right behind Wrigley Field’s famous hand-turned scoreboard at the corner of Waveland and North Sheffield. The clock behind the counter is painted like a diamond, layered with stacks of pinewood bat carvings. The floor is layered with brick, a nod to that quintessentially Wrigley backstop behind home plate. 20 or so Cubs pennants are tacked behind the rows of beer bottles, and prices are reasonable for a Cubs bar – a cheeseburger costs about $6.
If you’re feeling charged with Cubs spirit, stop by Sports World Chicago across from the famous red Wrigley Field sign at the corner of Addison and North Clark. Nothing runs cheap in these stores, but just one nice Cubs piece could serve you well for years. An authentic Rizzo home jersey with the 100-year Wrigley patch will cost about $250, but if you’re looking for a more affordable buy, pick up a navy T-shirt for $25.