As much as I love Wrigley, I wish I’d read what you’re about to read before I went to my first few games there. Your choice of seat matters, for reasons like proximity to Wrigley Field food stuffs, Chicago weather, and the best unobstructed view.
Apologies for any dated photos…it’s been a little while since I’ve been to Wrigley. But to the best of my knowledge, all the info here is up to date.
Here it is by section:
The Cubs Seating Chart – New Section And Seat Numbering
Wrigley Field Lower Level Seating – Premium, Club, Field and Terrace Seats
Wrigley Field Upper Level Seating – Upper Box and Reserved
Avoiding Obstructed Views at Wrigley
Home Of The Bums: The Wrigley Field Bleachers
Wrigley Field Standing Room Options
Finding Shade, And Other Stuff About Wrigley Field Seating
The Cubs Seating Chart – New Section And Seat Numbering
The Cubs website has their perfectly nice seating map, which when buying tickets shows you some nice views. Or check out this virtual map from my friends at SeatGeek (which is a great spot for finding deals on Cubs tickets, incidentally).
The Cubs have recently reconfigured the seat and section numbering at Wrigley, and this is a good thing.
The bleachers are now the 500 sections instead of 300, and the 400 and 500 upper levels are now the 300 and 400 levels, respectively. The Cubs’ comical reasoning for this was that people don’t fully appreciate the excellent view from the now 300 level. Certainly a lower first digit will convince the masses otherwise.
I’m joking. The 300 level seats truly are excellent, and are among the best upper level seats in baseball. But they aren’t any closer with the new section numbers.
With the new seat numbering, it’s now a low number at one end of a row and a high number at the other end. As you would expect. It definitely makes the seating much less confusing, especially without having seat 15 next to seat 115 in a row. Never understood that.
Wrigley Field Seating, Lower Level – Premium, Club, Field and Terrace
The American Airlines 1914 Club seats are the first three rows in Sections 13-22; the recently added Bullpen Box seats and Maker’s Mark Barrel Room seats are on the outer side of both teams’ dugouts. All of these go for a very premium price and include high end club access. If you have to ask the price…
These seats are so close to the action that you may hear dugout conversations (although ballplayers don’t usually say anything interesting). They are also so expensive that they are not likely to attract those who offer discouragement to opposing players; but should you be so inclined, the visiting team dugout is on the first base side.
Club Box seats are the rest of the seats behind the 1914 and Bullpen Box sections. Club Box seats are more expensive between the bases, but are next to the field once you get past the Bullpen Box seats.
Club and Field Box seats heading down the foul lines begin to rise along the outfield wall; this can cause you to miss balls hit in areas close to you (which isn’t a big deal). Club Box seats are turned towards home plate as you get further out though, sparing you neck strain.
I’m hearing your question. Where’s the Steve Bartman Seat?
Wikipedia says that the “Steve Bartman seat”, with the new seating configuration, is Section 2, Row 8, Seat 108. Except that the new Wrigley section numbering doesn’t have a Section 2, and plugging in the old seat number here doesn’t work either.
So quit wasting your time on Wikipedia, since this site is far more informative. If you want to sit in the Bartman seat, just go to Section 3 and ask. Every usher can point you right to it.
Field Box seats are behind Club Box seats. Again, infield Field Box seats are costlier, significantly so for prime games, but the difference isn’t large for value games.
Field Boxes are separated from the Club Boxes by a walkway; in the first couple of rows this means you will have foot traffic in front of you. It’s not likely to be a big problem once the game gets going, but in early innings it can be annoying. Otherwise though, Field Box sections are great seats – close enough to the action without the “Friends of the Ricketts” price tag.
The Terrace is behind the Field Box seats. There is a walkway between the sections, but Terrace seats are elevated to help patrons see over pedestrians. Terrace Box seats are the first five rows; these are in front of the support poles and thusly are safe from obstructed views.
Most all Terrace Reserved sections are in the shade of the upper deck, which can be a good or bad thing here…bring a jacket. Only the seats down at the end of the foul lines are out in the open.
Terrace Reserved seats also risk being close to a support pole, causing the dreaded obstructed view. Stay tuned for how to avoid that.
Wrigley Field Seating, Upper Level – Upper Box and Reserved
Upper Box (300 level) seats are close to the field and offer a terrific bird’s eye view; many folks prefer these seats to Terrace Box seats (and they are priced nearly the same).
The press box at Wrigley is behind home plate, so there are no Upper Reserved seats there, but the eight rows of seats in front of them are a primo Wrigley Field seating choice. These are also convenient to the upper deck food court pavilion, although the Cubs have greatly improved the upper concourse situation.
Upper Reserved (400 level) seats also have the problem of support poles; in this case poles hold up a roof that protects patrons from the sun and rain. Upper Reserved only has nine rows, so in Row 9 you will be all the way at the top and almost leaning against that outside fence.
The Upper Reserved sections are elevated, but there is still foot traffic in front of the first row, which can be very distracting as patrons snap photos and chat and Instagram themselves at Wrigley while you’re actually trying to watch the game. You may want to avoid Row 1 of Upper Reserved.
Some more notes about the upper level. Past the bases, seating is not angled towards home, so the furthest seats require a minor neck twist—although they do offer great bleachers and Rooftop people-watching.
Word of advice here…getting to the upper level requires a long trek up several ramps (which are behind the Terrace seats) and up steep steps with no railing to get to your seat. This can be tough on the elderly and less fit among us, especially after the game when everyone is leaving. There are elevators, but getting to your Upper Reserved seats can still be rough.
There are restrooms on the upper level, despite the horror stories some might tell you about there being none. From the walkway in the stands, if you look up you’ll see directional signs for them.
The heated restrooms, by the way, are a good place to spend a few minutes warming up on a cold Chicago evening if you can handle the social awkwardness. There are also TVs hung from the rafters in the upper level, to keep you posted on anything you might miss.
Avoiding Obstructed Views at Wrigley
You can get really scientific about how to avoid obstructed views at Wrigley Field, but here are some basic tips.
Terrace Reserved and Upper Reserved sections have support poles in front of them, which explains their lower price compared to the rest of the Wrigley Field seating bowl. The worst seats have “limited view” marked on the ticket, but the Cubs have a high standard for this, and the seat has to be really bad.
The Cubs also sell what they call “Terrace Reserved Preferred” seats, which are less likely to have a view problem, for a few extra bucks.
In most Terrace sections, there are 23 rows. The pole is usually at Row 6, although they are in higher numbered rows in the sections towards the outfield (where you should just shoot for a low row).
Except for down the third base line in Sections 210-215, the poles are at the end of section, so seats that are numbered between 5-12 or so should be an okay bet. In Sections 210-215, try to get low numbered seats, especially in Sections 212-213.
If all of that is too complicated, go for something between the 10th and 15th row, where the pole isn’t likely to be much of a big deal and you can still see the video boards.
Similarly, in the upper level, the support poles are in the first row of the Upper Reserved sections, at the end of a section. Try to avoid low-numbered, low row seats…not just to avoid the pole, but also to avoid the aforementioned foot traffic.
Again, there are only nine rows in the upper reserved sections, so chances are that there will be a pole in your sight somewhere. But with the angle of the seats, it’s usually not bad unless you’re in the first few rows directly behind them. It gets worse in outer sections, however, and you may want a seat in a higher row just in case.
Aside from support poles, the highest rows in Terrace Reserved, starting at about Row 16, have the overhang blocking views of the outfield scoreboards, including the hand-operated scoreboard, which is one of the more striking visual aspects of Wrigley Field.
There is a mini scoreboard with vital info, and the Cubs have put TVs in the rafters in case you miss anything, so it’s not all bad. But given the choice, an upper level seat would likely be a better option, especially if it’s your first time at the Friendly Confines.
Home Of The Bums: The Wrigley Field Bleachers
The Wrigley Field Bleachers used to be the most inexpensive seats in the park and were packed with the venerable “Bleacher Bums”. Neither is the case anymore, but even at the inflated prices the Bleachers are still the only place to be for many fans.
The Bleacher experience can be a blast or an annoyance depending on your mindset, but there’s unquestionably no baseball experience like it. There’s a few things you should know:
Pick Your Seat On Game Day – When I say “get here early to pick a seat”, it has a different meaning at Wrigley. For a good spot you are looking at arriving three and a half hours before gametime at the least. People get in line very early, and the first seats to be taken are the front rows of the left field seats, where folks scramble for souvenirs during batting practice.
Sneaky Pro Tip: Speaking of souvenir baseballs, if you’re looking to snag some, try looking under seats as soon as you get in to see if any have already been hit there.
If you can’t land these, at least stay away from the Batter’s Eye in center field, lest you lose a portion of the field to the protruding restaurant.
Aisle seats make going for a dog or a brew a little easier. For the most part, fans will gladly keep an eye on your seat during the game, provided you aren’t rooting for the other team.
Once the bleachers are full, it becomes SRO for late arrivals. The Cubs reportedly sell more tickets than there are seats for prime games, but if you get there late ask an usher if there are any seats available. You might be surprised.
Keep this in mind in October: there are heaters under the scoreboard in center field.
Bring A Cushion – Bleacher seats are metal and backless, meaning you could be sharing your seat with your neighbor’s cheek, and you should bring a cushion on a cold day (actually, it’s not a bad idea anytime).
Consider Your Fellow Fans – The bleachers are often full of hardcore party animals; meaning some people drink more than they should and do and say things that they shouldn’t. It may not always be the best place for kids, especially on weekends. Fans wearing opposing teams’ gear will take good-natured abuse at the least.
If you catch a home run hit by the other team, just throw it back. It’s not worth the souvenir. (Some fans keep an additional ball in their pocket to throw back just in case.)
Wrigley Field Standing Room Options
The Cubs say that they make a limited number of standing room tickets available on game day, which doesn’t say much. Wrigley isn’t a great place to have a standing room ticket anyway; the lower concourse area is behind the high rows of Terrace Reserved seats that have overhang view problems to begin with.
The ushers will be pretty strict about keeping you in the SRO area. Your best bet, speaking from my own experience, is the pavilion space under the press box, which features as nice a view as the Upper Box, almost.
There is also some standing room space on the outer edges of the upper level that isn’t terrible (some Cubs fan friends of mine tell me they love it), but it’s far from home plate and there’s nothing to lean on. Or you could try the new party areas in the bleachers (you’ll need a Bleacher ticket for that).
Wrigley is one of the tougher ballparks to poach a seat; you won’t have an easy time getting past ushers here. Chances are good you’ll get caught unless you occupy a vacant seat after the 7th inning stretch. You likely won’t get ejected, just thrown back into the concourse. But that’s embarrassing enough.
Finding Shade And Other Stuff About Wrigley Field Seating
No Chicago native needs to be told this, but you should always be prepared for the weather at Wrigley, and take into account where you’re sitting.
The sun sets on the third base side, so that side will have shade first for afternoon and night games and will also cool down first. In the higher rows of Field Box seats you will see some shade earlier on the third base side. To stay out of the sun, avoid the lower level seats down the right field line, and stay away from the bleachers entirely.
In the upper level, the roof provides shade for Upper Reserved seats especially on the third base side, but Upper Box could still see sun.
Chicago climate being what it is, you could be at Wrigley on a windy day and see people sweating in the bleachers (which are generally protected from the Lake Michigan breeze), while people in the seating bowl are bundled up trying to stay warm.
For October night games at Wrigley, fans dress extremely warmly, and with good reason. Be prepared…on a cold night you could be sitting on a metal seat for a long time.
There you have it my friends, your complete primer on picking a seat at Wrigley Field…compiled from my own and others experiences. Hope it helps you in your next visit…see you at the Yard!
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Asking the question “Is PNC Park in Pittsburgh the best ballpark in baseball?” doesn’t offend too many people. At the stunningly beautiful home of the Pirates, you will often see signs around the ballpark proclaiming it to be “The Best Ballpark in America”. As far as I know, there’s no outrage about this from fans of other ballparks.
What if the Cubs put such signs around the outside of Wrigley Field? Might Red Sox fans sneer a little bit? And vice versa, if signs appeared around Fenway Park proclaiming it to be the best ballpark in the country, would that not get a reaction from Cubs fans? Just a thought.
As someone who has visited a few ballparks but not all of them, I can say that while the question of whether PNC Park is the “best ballpark in baseball” may be debatable, one wouldn’t have too much trouble making the case.
So What Makes PNC Park The Best Ballpark?
There’s a lot of obvious things to love about PNC. The view, for one.
From almost any section in the ballpark there is the stunning vista of the downtown Point area of Pittsburgh, linked to the ballpark itself by the Roberto Clemente Bridge painted in Pirates/Steelers/Penguins gold, crossing the Allegheny River.
And the approach to the ballpark from downtown is as classic baseball as it gets—a walk across the Clemente Bridge past vendors hawking snacks and apparel, with the open air and dark blue seats in full view while crossing the Allegheny River by foot. Few ballparks if any could match that.
Then there’s the ballpark itself—Kasota limestone on the outside; the statues of Bucs greats Clemente, Stargell, Wagner and Maz; the rotunda in left field with views of the ballpark and the city; and the intimacy of just 38,000 seats, painted dark blue in homage to Forbes Field.
And there are some not so obvious things too. There’s the matter of the price of tickets, which may not be a fair attribute to discuss given that the Bucs didn’t secure a winning season there until 2013.
But poor performance on the field didn’t stop the Cubs from charging a chunk of change to get into the ballpark for many years. From the most to least expensive seats, Pirates games are competitive in price with any team in baseball.
The architects of PNC Park did a tremendous job building intimacy into the place. The ballpark was not only built with a small amount of seats, it was done without raising the upper level to nosebleed height as it is in many new ballparks. The Pirates brag that the highest seat is only 88 feet from the field, and there’s no question that you’re still on top of the action even in the upper deck. This is something that no ballpark built since has achieved, at least none of the ones that I have visited.
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There’s food selections of all kinds, from the venerable Pittsburgh favorite Primanti Bros. to Chickie’s and Pete’s fries to the BRGR burger joint. You may not necessarily love the idea of a pulled pork sandwich with pierogies on it, but you can’t deny the Pittsburgh-ness of that. And there’s Iron City beer…nothing makes a ballpark like a bad local beer.
I’ve been to ballparks with better food and better access. But PNC is pretty easy to get to by car, and you have the option of using a bus, train or even a boat. Heck, you could ride a bicycle there along the Riverwalk and that would be pretty cool.
But to this observer that isn’t all that important. It’s not easy to get to Wrigley Field, but I don’t care once I see the ivy and ancient scoreboard. And when in Fenway Park, a Fenway Frank tastes as good as any gourmet meal anywhere else.
I have yet to see AT&T Park, Safeco Field, Target Field or Coors Field, all of which have been touted as the best in America. Of the ballparks I have visited, I’m partial to Camden Yards, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park—and without doubt, PNC Park in Pittsburgh. On almost every level, PNC is as good as or better than all of them.
So if you ask the writer of Ballpark E-Guides whether PNC Park is the Best Ballpark in Baseball, my answer is: if you think so, I won’t argue with you.
It’s not that the Boston nine haven’t enjoyed considerable glory since, but the last day of the 2011 season was a tough one to swallow.
On September 28 of that year, Oriole Park at Camden Yards showcased the climax of an epic Red Sox collapse. It was a season when the Sox were expected to run away with the AL East, steamroll through the playoffs and win their third World Series in eight years. When the dust cleared in Baltimore, a 7-20 September crumbling saw the team missing October and letting go of a manager who ranks among the biggest titans in Boston sports history.
Game 162 in 2011 may have been a delight for baseball fans just about everywhere else in the country, but it was momentously awful for Boston fans, most of whom had endured enough frowning from the Baseball Gods for one lifetime.
But if the last few paragraphs were tough for you to read, maybe you can take some comfort in the Baltimore faithful having something to cheer about, in what continues to be a nightmarish era for them.
The revolutionary home of baseball in Baltimore is currently…and probably will be for at least another three to four years…the oldest in major league baseball to have never hosted a World Series. This is, for forty-something and older Orioles fans, something impossible to have conceived in the days of Palmer, Robinson, Murray, the young Ripken, and master button-pusher Earl Weaver.
The younger Orioles fan base…true loyalists who cannot fathom the concept of their team being competitive every season…has understandable antipathy for Red Sox fans that often take over their ballpark, especially in lean years. That’s to say nothing of their exasperation at having to pay more for tickets for games against the Sox and Yankees.
So pull for the Red Sox like a good traveling fan. But at least let the locals know how great their ballpark is. They don’t have much else these days.
Following a 115-loss season and a full commitment to a long overdue rebuild, the Birds aren’t likely to fill up Oriole Park very often in 2019. Not even for Red Sox games.
So now is the time to take advantage and visit a beautiful ballpark where you could experience some reverse sticker shock after years of attending games at Fenway. Even to see the Sox in a venue where you’ll be surrounded by your fellow Sox loving brethren, Camden Yards is a far less expensive outing…tickets for even the best seats will probably cost about a third of equivalent seats in Boston, great parking spots can be had for a double sawbuck or less, and even the food…well, okay, the food is still priced at a ballpark level. But you’ll have money left over for it after you park.
If you’re planning a weekend game in the summer months, it’s probably best to get your pasteboards in advance…not because they’re likely to sell out, but because you’ll have more choices. There will likely be a third party markup for weekend games, and the Orioles website allows you to actually pick individual seats. But during the week, try the box office at the north end of the B&O warehouse…you should still have plenty of seats to choose from, and you’ll save a chunk of change in online fees.
Camden is one of those ballparks where fans say there aren’t any bad seats, which is true, but that doesn’t mean some aren’t better than others. If you’re splurging for those cushioned premium lower seats (and you should), the visitors’ dugout is on the third base side. As is the straight ahead view of the impressive warehouse, Oriole Park’s signature feature.
But while the lower concourse features great Baltimore-friendly eats like crab cakes, you’ll also be as far as possible from Eutaw Street. So if you go this route, show up early and get your Eutaw stroll in to see the plates commemorating home runs that landed there, including two from David Ortiz. It’s an essential in any Camden visit…along with your handshake and pit beef from Boog. Or your Rain Delay IPA at Dempsey’s, if you remember the former O’s catcher’s rain delay antics at Fenway.
If your budget is limited, upper level seats at Oriole Park work just fine. They’re closer to the field than in most ballparks, and are cheap even by baseball standards. (Bonus tip: the Orioles offer two free kids’ tickets with every adult ticket purchase.) You’ll have an outstanding panoramic view of both the field and the warehouse blending in with the Baltimore skyline, and the upper concourse features a fine view of the brick structure of downtown Baltimore in every direction, including M&T Bank Stadium (Ravens) across the street.
The Eutaw Street bleachers in center field…especially now that they’ve added a sit down bar there…are a popular spot for visiting fans too. But should you catch an Orioles home run ball, don’t throw it back. That happened in a game in 2011. I’m not saying the Baseball Gods punished the Sox for that behavior, but I’m not saying they didn’t either.
With Baltimore being 400 miles from Boston, you’ll probably be spending at least one night in town. There are plenty of upscale hotels in downtown Baltimore, including the impressive Hilton across the street from the Yard. Just know that unless you’re staying at the Hilton or another hotel just a few footsteps away, you might not be comfortable walking to the ballpark, especially at night.
This is probably of no nevermind, since you have a plethora of parking options for Orioles games, from Orioles’ lots east of the ballpark to surrounding garages downtown. None of the lots and garages in Baltimore are gouging in price the way you’re used to at Fenway, but you will likely find a better deal near M&T Bank Stadium, especially if you don’t mind walking a bit. Parking east of the ballpark also makes for a much easier in and out.
If you’re not staying downtown, you also have the inexpensive and convenient Light Rail option…park for free along the route, and take the streetcar right to the entrance of the ballpark. It’s not just a good deal cheaper, it spares you the considerable headache of driving in downtown Baltimore, where red light duration can be measured in eons and could even cost you an inning of baseball. You can also take the Light Rail directly from Penn Station, should you be using Amtrak.
Fenway Park features lobster poutine, lobster rolls, and lobster melts. Oriole Park has crab cakes, crab kettle chips, and crab waffle fries. Not a big adjustment for Massachusetts natives.
Yes, people rave about Boog’s BBQ here and rightly so. Just know that Boog’s amazing pit beef and turkey sandwiches aren’t your only option. In the lower level concourse, you can find a baseball-sized crab cake (the Orioles tried about 50 recipes before hitting on the right one for it), kettle chips with crab meat piled on, or crab dip waffle fries that are worth grabbing a fork and sitting down to eat. And pile on some Old Bay at the condiment stands.
It’s all great for a taste of Maryland, but don’t forget about the eats and libations outside the ballpark too, especially across Washington Boulevard from the Left Field Gate. The pre-game watering hole tandem of Pickles Pub, Slider’s and the Bullpen all offer dogs, sausages, burgers, and yes, crab cake sandwiches at prices much cheaper than inside. You can wrap this stuff and bring it in, incidentally. And like inside the ballpark, there will be enough Red Sox fans at the pre-game party that have your back. (Not that O’s fans will give you any trouble.)
Speaking of libations…the establishments across the street continue to offer a brew that the Orioles amazingly do not sell inside the ballpark…National Bohemian, affectionately known as Natty Boh. How vital is the one-eyed Natty Boh logo to the Baltimore baseball experience? When this team was consistently good (yes, they really were once), it was the brand sold at Memorial Stadium…because the owner of the team happened to be the owner of National Bohemian.
You’d think the Orioles would respect that. Maybe someday. But for now get your Natty Boh on across the street and salute the…wait for it…“once proud Orioles franchise”.
One of the multitude of features the designers of Camden Yards got right was its location…in the heart of downtown Baltimore, just steps away from the beautiful Inner Harbor. Out of town visitors can enjoy a ballgame, a delightful pre- or post-game meal, and visit the top tourist attraction in the city in one day.
If you haven’t yet crossed a Red Sox game at Oriole Park off your bucket list, 2019 is the year to do it.
A Name You Should Know
On the website “This Great Game: The Online Book of Baseball History”, former commissioner Bud Selig is quoted as saying that Baltimore’s revolutionary ballpark “may be one of the two or three most powerful events in baseball history. It changed everything. It really did. I’m not sure people grasp the significance of it.”
Selig is probably correct. Yet it’s doubtful that it would have been the case without the prominence of the B&O Warehouse, however impressive a new ballpark otherwise might have been. The Warehouse gave Camden Yards a striking, standout visual element that was comparable to Fenway’s Green Monster. It made a great venue into a phenomenal one.
Yet the man arguably most responsible for its preservation never received any official credit.
Eric Moss was an architecture student at Syracuse University who spent a year developing a model for Baltimore’s ballpark that included the long, bulky, old brick structure…his design even featured the Warehouse as part of the playing field, suggesting that the Orioles would have to budget for window repairs.
His design was seen by one of the firms competing for the Oriole Park contract, Ayers Saint Gross. The firm actually brought Moss and his design to Baltimore. At the time, the warehouse was set to be demolished, an idea that had the backing of even the Orioles. Moss’s design showed how the building could not only be preserved, but also be an integral component of the ballpark itself.
Moss’s idea to build the ballpark around the warehouse survived…but Ayers Saint Gross lost the contract bid to HOK Sport, who ultimately designed not just Camden Yards, but dozens more sports venues in the wake of Camden’s success.
Eric Moss’s name is not on any of the official design documents. But he landed a nice career out of it. He is still today an architect at Ayers Saint Gross.
One Year To The Day
Every baseball fan remembers what happened at Camden Yards on September 6, 1995. Cal Ripken Jr. took the field for the 2,131st consecutive time, and single-handedly restored a country’s love for a sport that had been badly damaged by its participants’ greed. As the ballpark’s history goes, it’s not likely that anything short of an Orioles World Series victory could top the moment.
One year to the day later, longtime Orioles star Eddie Murray made September 6 extra special for Orioles fans, launching a home run into the center field seats following a rain delay that caused the early exit of several thousand fans. This wasn’t just any home run, by the way…it was number 500 of Murray’s storied career. He would finish with 504.
Murray and Ripken were arguably the two key members of the last Orioles team to reach the top of the baseball mountain. Both of them were relatively young stars in 1983, the year the Orioles took the crown against the Phillies. The two teammates and friends battled for the MVP all season, with Ripken taking the honors and Murray finishing a very strong second. (Carlton Fisk finished a distant third.) Neither would play for a World Series winner again in their careers.
Ripken credited Murray as one of the reasons he played in every single game for over 16 years. It was Murray, he said, that stressed to a young Ripken the importance of always being ready to play.
Today both players have statues and retired numbers 8 and 33 at Camden Yards, immortalizing their careers with the Birds…and the seat where Murray’s 500th home run landed is now painted orange to commemorate the occasion.
The Peanut Church
As stated in this article, you can bring food and non-alcoholic drinks into Camden Yards. This lenient policy of the Orioles has been a great boon to nearby people of faith.
The Old Otterbein United Methodist Church, located near Conway Street adjacent to the ballpark, discovered in the early days of the new ballpark that Orioles fans would be happy to pay a dollar for a bag of peanuts rather than quadruple that price inside.
They’ve been selling peanuts to fans heading to Orioles games since the ballpark opened in 1992…and they’ve used the proceeds from peanuts and water sales to restore an organ, replace the roof, fix crumbling brick walls and repair the electrical and HVAC systems.
According to the church’s website, “The best sales are always when the ‘Yanks’ and ‘Red Sox’ are in town.” So when you buy peanuts from the Old Otterbein, you’re not only saving money on everyone’s favorite ballpark snack, you’re helping a local house of worship maintain their home.
So there are some Baltimore natives that always will be happy to see you, even if you’re wearing Red Sox gear.
Here is all you need to know about Yankee Stadium seating – at least the seats for the rest of us riffraff beyond the $2K seats. If you’re outside the moat, this post is for you.
I’ve even conveniently divided it up by section for you…
The Yankee Stadium Seating Chart + Layout
Field Level Seating (including the Judge’s Chambers)
Main Level Seating
Terrace Level Seating
Grandstand Level Seating
Yankee Stadium Bleachers + Bleacher Creatures
Standing Room Spots
Finding Shade at Yankee Stadium
The Yankee Stadium Seating Chart Layout
There are essentially four tiers at Yankee Stadium. The field level extends to the outfield and behind the bullpens; other levels extend to just beyond the foul poles. The Main level is just above the field level, the mezzanine is generally the club and suite level (which I’ll cover in a future post), and the top tier is the Terrace-Grandstand level.
Bleacher seats are on either side of the 1893 Club in center field but are behind the Field Level seating in the outfield.
Price changes get pretty significant as the seating moves towards the outfield; you can often find sharp drops in price as you move from “Main Level Infield” to “Main Level Outfield”, for example. This is with good reason…the outer reaches of Yankee Stadium seating don’t offer great views, especially in the upper tiers.
Not to steer you away, but this excellent virtual seating chart from the Yankees will help you choose a seat and see the view. But don’t leave me yet!! There are some things you should know first.
Field Level Seating
Field Level seats in Yankee Stadium, behind the first nine rows of Legends Suite seats in the infield and closest to the field everywhere else, are quite nice, with padding and everything. And I’m talking truly comfortable padding, more so than the padded seats at many ballparks. Even the seats extending to the outfield are cushioned (and can be reasonable for some games).
That said, for the price of Field Level seats, they should be massage chairs.
The higher rows of Field Level seats, in the outfield especially, are covered by the overhang of the Main Level. In the highest rows, you’ll see little of the scoreboards. If this matters to you, I would avoid anything higher than Row 12 or so.
There is a significant difference in price between the Field Box MVP seats in the infield and the Field Box outfield seats; the latter are less than half the price as of this writing. The lower infield seats are now even more expensive “Field MVP Club” seats, and include wait service and extra amenities like access to the shiny Field Box MVP Club.
Section 104 in right field is home to the three rows of “Judge’s Chambers”, dedicated to star slugger Aaron Judge. Fans wearing Judge jerseys are selected to sit there, given robes to wear and gavels to pound on the bench. Pretty cool. Send me a selfie if you end up in this spot.
Main Level Seating
The second tier is called the Main Level. These aren’t much higher or further back than Field Level seats, and the price is about a third of what people pay for Field Box. The back rows of the Main Level will miss some fly balls to the overhang, but that’s not likely to be a big deal. Again, though, in the outfield you could lose the scoreboard view.
The best Main Level sections at this price level are Sections 214 and 226; behind home plate are the Delta Sky360 seats (that’s what they’re called now, anyway); these go for a premium price just for club access and popcorn. In Section 226, you could be paying half or less what people one section over paid. Lots of money left over for any Yankee Stadium food item you want to try.
Main level seats are less expensive than the Field Level obviously, but they still go for a fair chunk of change; even in the outfield they can cost more than you’d expect. Given the choice, I might pay an extra $30 or so for a nicely cushioned seat. There are three tiers of pricing for Main level seats; the difference between Section 213 and Section 209 can be $30 or more on game day.
The Main Level is one spot for the “All You Care To Eat” package; for a decent price you get a seat in Section 234 and all the hot dogs, pretzels, sausage and Pepsi products you can handle until the 5th inning. Chow down fast.
Terrace Level Seating
The Terrace Level seats, on the lower tier of the upper level, cost considerably more than the Grandstand seats above them, and there aren’t too many of them in the infield, those seats being the Jim Beam suites that include club access and cost considerably more. Out past the Jim Beam sections though, these aren’t bad seats for the price.
The Terrace level is closer to the action than the Grandstand, which matters at this height. The Yankees actually offer some sweet deals on Terrace level seats for MasterCard holders, including $5 games for April weeknights. For five bucks you may be sitting in the outer reaches, but that’s a great deal just to get into the ballpark.
For the moment, Sections 305-306…the two sections all the way out in right field…are more “All You Care to Eat” sections (and these are cheaper than the ones on the Main Level). Again, it’s just dogs, sausages, pretzels and Pepsi products, but if you’re not picky it can save you a few dollars.
The upper level in right field is home to the Kids Clubhouse, a great spot for kids to work off their energy before (or during) the game. Good spot to sit if you’re going cheap with the family.
Yankee Stadium has 16 elevators to get to the top tier, eight of which are in the Great Hall, so no need to trek all the way up the lengthy ramps or stairs if you’re not up to it.
Grandstand Level Seating
The Grandstand upper deck seating is as good a value as any in the park, costing about the same as the Bleacher seats but with less noise and a much better view of the amazing Jumbotron and rest of the ballpark. As of this writing, you can get $10 Grandstand seats in the outfield for most games, even if they’re the worst seats in the ballpark.
Grandstand seating isn’t as steep as it was in the old Stadium, so it’s less frightening, but the seats are slightly farther away and pretty well up there. This isn’t much of a problem in the infield, but past the bases you may need binoculars.
The nice thing about seeing the frieze at the top of the Stadium is that you know you’re covered in the rain. In the first couple of rows, sections of Plexiglas can block your view, and aisle seats can lose some of the view to railings and fans. There are 14 rows in the Grandstand sections, which should give you an idea of how close your seats are to the top.
The Yankees’ website will mark some Grandstand tickets as “obstructed view”, meaning there could be a railing or traffic in front of you. Usually it’s not bad enough to refuse the tickets if you have no other option, but it can be annoying.
Sections 407A and 433 are the alcohol-free sections at Yankee Stadium as of this writing; they’re out there, but it’s a good place to take the kids (remember the play area in right field) and is affordable.
Yankee Stadium Bleachers + Bleacher Creatures
The Yankees still have the bleacher seats from the original Stadium…hard metal, backless and all, although there are either bullpens or much more expensive field level seats in front of them now.
They can be uncomfortable over a long time, and with no backs, the seating isn’t so strictly defined, so you may be sharing your seat with your neighbor’s cheek. Vendors are not permitted in this area, so you’ll have to get up for a beer.
Bleacher seats are usually the cheapest seats in the park and tend to go fast, but the view is adequate and you are very close to the bullpens. So it’s a decent deal. This is New York, though, and the right field bleachers especially aren’t often a place for someone with rabbit ears or opposing team’s gear.
It can get very hot during day games here. Good idea to bring a hat and sunscreen.
Bleachers in left and right field have their own distinctive atmosphere. Seats in left field tend to have more families and less noise. Seats in right field are home of the trash talkers, including the Bleacher Creatures, who nightly execute the “roll call”, chanting each player’s name after the Yankees take the field until the player acknowledges them with a wave or a tip of the hat. The Bleacher Creatures sit in Sections 202 and 203.
Here’s some good news: the Yankees have converted sections 201 and 239 into dedicated standing room areas, so you won’t lose half the field to an obstructed view.
And since you’ve stuck with me this long, here’s a butt-kicking pro tip: if you can find a cheap Grandstand or Bleacher ticket from a season ticket holder, you’ll have access to the Audi Club and the 1893 Club in center field. The Audi Club food is expensive, but this is a relatively cheap way to enjoy a meal with a Stadium view. The 1893 is a great place to duck out of the elements and enjoy a drink with the money you’ve saved.
Yankee Stadium is pretty well designed to be accessible. The handicapped Yankee Stadium seating is a little bit far from the action, but the sections are on a raised platform so the view isn’t blocked when folks stand up and cheer. Handicapped seating is much better on the Field Level, but there are plenty of spots in the upper tiers too. If you stay near the infield, the view is still pretty good.
The Yankees have a page on their website dedicated to disabled fans, including help with wheelchair storage and numbers to call. Incidentally, all of the attractions such as the Hard Rock Café and Monument Park have elevators or accessible ramps. The elevators here have large capacities and move very quickly.
Standing Room in Yankee Stadium
The Yankees recently added new spaces to the assigned standing room areas that already existed in the ballpark, so the Stadium is now a much nicer place to wander around after buying a cheap ticket.
Social gathering spaces include spots on either side of what is now the 1893 Club in center field, the newly remodeled MasterCard Batter’s Eye Deck above the 1893, and the Budweiser Party Decks on the outer edges of the Terrace level. All of these spots now feature drink rails, barstool seating, phone chargers and specialty food options that include craft beers.
The outfield spaces are the former bleacher Sections 201 and 239 that featured those blasted obstructed views. These overlook the team bullpens, and the visitor’s bullpen is in left field should you want to offer friendly encouragement. You may still need to stake out a spot where the restaurant isn’t in your view.
You can get into Yankee Stadium very cheaply with the Pinstripe Pass, an inexpensive ticket with your first beer or Pepsi product included. You can hang out in any of the areas I’ve just listed. (Here’s some Yankee Stadium standing room tips.)
In addition to the all-access, there are three levels of assigned standing room: on the Field Level (café seating), Main Level and Terrace Level. Field level seems expensive in the lower concourse areas, but table and barstool seating is included (and restricted to ticket holders).
Standing room on the Terrace level is particularly bad, though, behind the handicapped seating which is pretty much always occupied. You’ll probably dislike the view enough to move elsewhere; just get the Pinstripe Pass and take the free drink.
Like many new ballparks, Yankee Stadium has open concourses, so should your seat not be everything you dreamed of, there are plenty of places to view the game from your feet.
The Best Seats for Shade at Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium seating doesn’t offer great options for shade. The sun sets on the third base side, so the bleachers and the upper level seats in right field will be the last to see shade for night games. Incidentally, you’ll be staring into the sun in right field too.
For day games, the bleachers will always be out in the sun (and remember they’re metal), and most of the Main (200) and Terrace (300) level seating won’t be covered. You might have some cover in the highest six or seven rows of the Main Level.
In the Field Level, the higher rows…about 15 and up…are covered by the Main Level, but keep in mind the view problems you could have with this. The closer to the outfield, the more you lose of the scoreboards.
Rows 6 and up of the Grandstand (400) level are covered by the roof overhang and frieze and usually offer shade and cover even in day games, but they’re way up there…if you’re acrophobic, shell out a few bucks for the upper rows of the Main Level instead.
There you have it my friend…a complete overview of the non-premium Yankee Stadium seating. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
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Here it is, Red Sox fans and Fenway visitors: your complete guide to the Fenway Park food menu!
The culinary highlights at Fenway Park aren’t as fancy schmancy as at most ballparks, but it’s greatly improved from years past. Honestly though, their food guide doesn’t offer up much info about it.
Someone needed to step up and address this, and I’m just the guy for the job.
I’ve talked about Fenway Park food elsewhere, including about lobster stuff, the Fenway Frank, and the outside sausages, but this is your complete, all-inclusive, full Monty, whole shebang… (GET ON WITH IT!).
Here’s your table of contents in case you want to skip anything. (But don’t, there’s great photos!)
The Fenway Park Food Main Street
A Big Concourse With A Big Food Court
A Night Out At The Sam Deck
Behold The Fenway Frank + Monster Dogs
In Massachusetts, We Eat Lobstah.
Burgers + Other Sandwiches
Do Red Sox Fans Eat Pizza?
Healthy, Kosher, and Gluten-Free Fenway Eats
Fenway Park Desserts
Bring Your Own Grub
Lansdowne Sausages – A Baseball Tradition
Some Fenway Park Food Tightwad Tips
The Fenway Park Food Main Street
Jersey Street, formerly Yawkey Way, is a street that runs east of Fenway; the Red Sox close it off on game days so that fans can enjoy an experience similar to Eutaw Street in Baltimore.
It’s definitely where you want to enter the ballpark to try the better Fenway Park grub, such as…
El Tiante serves up Cuban sandwiches (ham, pork, pickles, cheese and mustard) and the possible excitement of meeting Luis Tiant, the star pitcher from the 1970s Sox teams. Tiant is sometimes there to sign autographs, but I’ve not yet seen him, so I wouldn’t buy a Red Sox ticket just for that.
If you don’t want to wait in line here, you can get a Cuban in the Big Concourse. El Tiante also carries Italian and spicy sausages. I’ve seen Al Fresco sweet apple chicken sausages and jerk chicken sandwiches on the menu too.
The Fish Shack is the spot for fried seafood appetizers, like clams calamari (with jalapenos), fish and chips with a side of tartar sauce that Homer Simpson would approve of, and a fish sandwich (flounder I believe). They have surf and turf kabobs here, clam chowdah, and an impressive and expensive lobster roll that you can order hot or cold. (More about the Lobster Roll in a bit.)
Yankee Lobster (!) is the purveyor of the seafood items; I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to have anything “Yankee” at Fenway Park. But anyway, with their addition comes rotating items on the menu, so you could see things like lobster mac and cheese here as well. If you want seafood at a Red Sox game, check out the Fish Shack first.
Taste of Boston is a pretty cool idea. Each month of the season, two local favorites from Boston set up shop here. Taste of Boston has featured Mei Mei (bacon fried rice and cheesy nachos), Roxy’s Grilled Cheese (Green Muenster Melts) and Jake’s Boss BBQ (ribs and pulled pork sandwiches).
If you’re visiting Boston for a game at Fenway and want to try something popular and local, definitely check out Taste of Boston. Sometimes they will feature something related to the visiting team; in one of my recent visits the Blue Jays were in town, and the Blue Frog Bakery was there with Canadian bacon sandwiches.
Maria’s Greek Kitchen You may have heard of Maria Menounos; she’s the incredibly beautiful actress/professional wrestler/Sirius radio star. Her Greek Kitchen at Fenway is a place not just for gyros and chicken and beef kebabs in a cup, but also healthier stuff like hummus plates with veggies and Greek lettuce wraps. All with Menounos’ mother’s recipes, which I presume is a good thing.
Menounos wanted the emphasis of her offerings to be healthy foods; all of the offerings here are made with organic ingredients and free range meats. Not a bad idea in a place where one might have to squeeze into a 15-inch wide seat.
The Big Concourse – The Fenway Park Food Court
The Big Concourse is a picnic area in right field large enough to feature picnic tables, with umbrellas even.
There aren’t many unique names for stands in the Big Concourse (unless you consider “Chicken Tenders & Fries” to be unique, which I guess it is). For the most part the stands in the Big Concourse are self-explanatory; Burgers & Fries and Sausages stands sell what they say they sell. Most all stands here sell Fenway Franks and Monster Dogs.
That aside, if you’re looking for the more unusual Fenway Park food items, like the lobster poutine, the Big Concourse is where to find them.
Two of the newer sandwiches are sold at a stand tucked underneath the roof–a Portobello mushroom sandwich with crispy fried onions, and a breakfast burger with a fried egg and mozzarella cheese. There is also a carving station with made-to-order sandwiches, like a “Turkey Gobbler”: sliced turkey with cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy.
The aptly named Nachos stands make very impressive plates of nachos…they pile on chicken, beef, cheese, salsa and sour cream. Best to get a fork and napkins for this one. You can also get a taco salad or a burrito on the Big Concourse.
There are Corn & Co. stands here with varying flavors of gourmet popcorn. You can get souvenir refillable popcorn, but unless you really, really love popcorn or are sharing with hungry kids, I doubt you’ll be refilling that large thing more than once.
Oh, and Cheetos popcorn is now at Fenway Park. True.
The Big Concourse even has vending machines with sandwiches and snacks so people don’t have to wait in line. No microwaves, so I’m presuming the machines are keeping stuff warm somehow.
A Night Out At The Sam Deck
The Sam Deck is the revamped tavern in the Right Field Roof Deck and was formerly the Budweiser Brew House, before the Red Sox improved their tastes and made Samuel Adams the beer of choice.
This was once just a bar with better drink selection, but the Red Sox have turned it into a restaurant with a nice view and a high end menu.
Food choices include lobster rolls, nachos with rib chili and homemade salsa, chorizo croquettes, battered cod fish tacos, and truffle parmesan fries; in other words, fancy stuff that you won’t find anywhere else in the park. There’s also craft brews, since that’s a big thing in baseball now.
I’ll talk more about the Fenway eateries like the Sam Deck, Game On!, and the Bleacher Bar in a future post, but for now you know that if you’re sitting in the upper right field seats, you can visit the Sam Deck for good eats.
Behold The Fenway Frank + Monster Dogs
Honestly, the Fenway Frank deserves its own post. Here’s my ode to it.
But just for basics…the Fenway Frank is still the go-to food item at Fenway. It’s made by Kayem Foods, who spiced up the Fenway Frank with more garlic and smoke when they took it over in 2009.
The inimitable Fenway Frank is served in a white bread bun for that mushy texture, which is unusual for a ballpark dog but shouldn’t be. If you’re too hungry for just one, there are Monster Dogs sold in several places, including on Jersey Street. They are indeed Monster-sized at ten inches long.
You can get Fenway Franks in local supermarkets, of course.
In Massachusetts, We Eat Lobstah.
Fenway Park lobster-based sandwiches and fries also deserve their own post with tasty photos, but here’s a quick summary of killer Fenway lobster stuffs…
The Lobster Roll – this is a fan favorite at Fenway, and with good reason. A hunk of New England lobster on that same toasted white bread roll used to house the Fenway Frank.
Lobster Poutine Stak – Steak fries with lobster bisque instead of gravy, cheese curds, lobster meat and chives. For The Win ranked this one #8 in the craziest ballpark snacks of 2017. (You can get fries with clam chowder too.)
Lobster Melt – A grilled cheese with steamed Yankee (SMH) lobster, muenster cheese and tomato. Epic even at ballpark prices. (See an Aramark-approved photo of it here!)
The Lobster BLT (or LBLT if you will) – A well-constructed BLT on a toasted roll with fresh lobster meat added. And yes, there’s sufficient “B” in this sandwich.
Fenway Burgers, BBQ, + Deli Sandwiches
Tasty Burger is a chain of burger joints in the area, and they are the Official Burger of the Red Sox. To celebrate they’ve added several stands in the ballpark.
Tasty Burger has cheeseburgers and jalapeno burgers, and a rotating fan favorite from their burger menu (a Brockington Burger in my last visit). Tasty Burger also has tater tots with cheese and/or chili, and milkshakes in chocolate, vanilla, or “Green Monstah Mint”.
There is a Tasty Burger on the corner of Jersey and Boylston just a block from the ballpark. The burgers there are cheaper and you have a much bigger selection. Just throwing that one out there.
On occasion Taste of Boston will feature a local BBQ joint, but there’s a Fenway Smokehouse in the Big Concourse with your standard ballpark pulled pork and BBQ beef sandwiches. You can get some unusual drinks there to go with them, like raspberry lime rickeys. The Smokehouse has a BBQ sandwich with bacon that looks pretty darn appetizing, and that’s just the floor model.
Oh, and check out the King’s Hawaiian pulled pork sandwich.
Savenor’s is the provider of beef for sandwiches that aren’t made at Tasty Burger (which includes the “B” in the LBLT), like steak tips sandwiches…something like a Philly cheesesteak, but with thicker slabs of meat. Or try an Italian beef sandwich if you can find one (look around Jersey Street or the Big Concourse).
Savenor’s is known for “using the whole animal for prime cuts”, and was voted Best of Boston by Boston Magazine. So they’re safe.
Finally, for deli sandwiches, check out the Fenway Farms Deli on the third base side and in the Big Concourse…build yourself a hand carved sandwich with Boar’s Head meats. Choose from hot pastrami, beef or turkey. Wraps and salads can be had here too as you can see.
There’s quite an impressive selection of condiments here: honey mustard, horseradish, savory remoulade, and deli mustard to name a few. The Fenway Farm items are actually grown on the roof of Fenway (they don’t, however, pass on the shipping savings to fans), and many of the ingredients in the sandwiches come from the farm, which is as fresh as it gets.
The name of this joint changes from time to time, so it might have a different moniker when you go, but the location has been the same.
Do Red Sox Fans Eat Pizza?
Believe it or not, yes. Pizza stands are just about everywhere in Fenway, serving Regina’s, the Official Pizza of the Boston Red Sox, or New England for that matter. They call themselves “Boston’s Best Pizza since 1926” (hopefully this pictured one hasn’t been sitting that long); there’s now a location at 1330 Boylston Street if you’d like to try it before or after the game.
Regina’s is more than adequate by ballpark pizza standards. It costs the same whether you have pepperoni on it or eat it plain, so take advantage of this rare loophole and put pepperoni on it. Only the specialty pizza with several other toppings costs slightly more.
You can get a whole pie for a reasonable price (for a ballpark, anyway), but since it takes a while, you can order that first, get your Sam Adams and come back for it.
Healthy, Kosher, and Gluten-Free Fenway Eats
The Red Sox did a nice thing for celiacs and put a Gluten Free stand near the Gate D entrance. They have a Fenway Frank on a gluten-free roll, brownies and cookies, and the healthy stuff that’s never in danger of being contaminated: fruit cups, nuts, sushi, hummus, etc. My wife is allergic, so now I have something to sell to her for another trip.
The pizza stands also feature a “gluten-friendly” pizza, which I’m not sure is completely safe for allergic folks given that wording. You can ask, I forgot to.
At the salad bar in the Big Concourse, you can customize your own healthy salad, with items from the Fenway garden. The salad bar is another spot for deli sandwiches, with Buffalo chicken, turkey or roast beef.
There are stands in the Big Concourse and the Third Base Deck dedicated to vegetarian and healthy choices, like wraps, Panini sandwiches, veggie dogs and burgers, hummus and Caesar or fruit salads. The veggie burgers and dogs don’t look all that appetizing under heat lamps, but I’m guessing they’ll give you a fresh one.
Fenway doesn’t have a large Kosher selection…there’s a kosher hot dog vending machine in the Big Concourse, and as of this writing I believe it’s the only way to get a kosher dog here. Feel free to correct me on that…
Fenway Park Food – For Sweet Teeth
As of this writing, the Fenway Park dessert menu includes a “banana splitter”, with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream between banana ends with hot fudge and sprinkles. The Red Sox have also added Jane Dough’s edible cookie dough, with soft serve ice cream and other toppings.
You can also get: Crackerjacks, cotton candy, fried dough, Hood ice cream, kettle corn, milk shakes and slushies. Try not to have them all at once. Most of them are available on all of the concourses; the ones that aren’t are usually in the Big Concourse.
They’re easy to find; for ice cream for example, look for a stand called “Ice Cream”. If you like Dippin’ Dots, there are “Ittibitz” available, which are the same thing.
There was a “build your own sundae” stand in the center field corner of the Big Concourse last I checked–soft ice cream in a souvenir helmet with your choice of Oreos, bananas, cherries, sprinkles, etc. Oreos complete ice cream, IMHO, so it’s worth a look.
Bring Your Own Food Into Fenway – Yes, You Can!
If you look at the prohibited items list at Fenway here, you’ll see there’s no restrictions against bringing in a soft-sided bag smaller than 16*16*8, so long as you don’t have alcohol or potential projectiles in it. I’ve done this in almost every trip I’ve made to Fenway and have never had a problem.
This gives you every option to bring in just about any kind of cuisine, even the numerous sausage vendors surrounding the ballpark (more about them in a second). There is every type of takeout joint you can think of a short walk away, from Chipotle to the aforementioned Tasty Burger to the new Wahlburgers, if you want to grab a couple of less expensive sandwiches or burritos or whatever to take in.
If you’re parking near the Pru Center, there’s plenty of options in their Food Court, and there’s now a Timeout Market near the Fenway T station with tons of selections. Both of these are a bit of a walk to the ballpark though, so plan ahead on keeping the stuff warm.
Should you have forgotten to buy your peanuts from a less expensive vendor (or the nearby Shaw’s market), you have two choices: buy them from the roasted peanuts kiosk on Jersey Street, or order them from a peanut vendor in the stands and have them fired at you with uncanny accuracy, which is sometimes worth the price.
Remember to be wary of just how big a bag you bring. Make sure it can easily fit under your seat, especially if you’re sitting in the Grandstand. I speak from experience.
Stop paying ballpark prices for your Red Sox gear and souvenirs!
Lansdowne Street Sausages – A Boston Baseball Tradition
Few things are more quintessential Fenway Park food than the purveyors of outside sausages…you see and smell them as soon as you arrive from the Kenmore station.
The Sausage Guy and The Sausage Connection are two of my favorites and I gave them a separate post…but here’s a bit about some of the others:
Sausage King is probably the first visible stand on Lansdowne coming from the T; it has a red sign with a pig’s face on top. Sausage King has dogs, sausages, chicken teriyaki and steak tips; they serve them with an optional wicked red hot sauce that is close to Louisiana style.
The Original Che-Chi’s has the same sausages, dogs and chicken and steak as the rest; they’re further down Lansdowne a bit, and they’re another stand with a red sign. Che-Chi’s has a secret hot sauce, which is more of a smoky BBQ style sauce. They can be a mite cheaper than the rest, if you’re thrifty.
The Best Sausage Co. has a stand on the corner of Jersey and Lansdowne. The stand sells sausages and other sandwiches—they’re the only ones I saw with a Cajun chicken sandwich. Look for the blue stand…the vendors here seem to be having a better time than most hawkers; maybe it’s a requirement being on Jersey Street.
Fenway’s Best & Original I’ve read that this is “Artie’s” famous stand, but you won’t find Artie’s name anywhere. This one is near Gate D on the other end of Jersey Street, so it’s a bit further from the T station. They offer up “Bianco’s World Famous BBQ” (not famous enough for me to have heard of it, but just saying) and it gets nice reviews from Yelpers.
There’s a lot more sausage stands than I’ve covered here, and you can find cheaper ones if you look hard enough, but these are the prominent vendors on Lansdowne Street.
Some Fenway Park Food Tightwad Tips
I love that you’ve stuck with me this long about the culinary specialties in America’s oldest ballpark, so here’s a few helpful tips to save money on food at Fenway (in addition to bringing in your own peanuts and other grub, which hopefully I’ve covered sufficiently):
$ – You can sign up to be a designated driver at a booth in the lower concourse, and get a coupon for a free soda. They’ll put a strap on you though, so no fooling.
$ – The Red Sox have kids meals, where the little fan can get a grilled cheese or PB&J, a snack like animal crackers and a Capri Sun. All for just a fin as of this writing. Tasty Burger has their own kids meal as well.
$ – Baseball loves MasterCard…using it to buy things can sometimes get sometimes score you a small bonus, like a free souvenir bucket for your popcorn.
$ – If you buy a souvenir soda cup, you get free refills for the rest of the game. It’s a lotta lotta sugar, but at least you’re getting your money’s worth.
There you have it fans, a long overdue, completely complete guide to the Fenway Park food menu. If you enjoyed it, please support my sponsors!
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Here it is my friend: the complete, ultimate fan’s guide to the Wrigley Field food menu.
Read it well and read it often, because this is important! If a trip to the Friendly Confines is in your future plans, you’re going to want to sample Chicago-style dogs, deep dish pizza and (not or, and) Italian beef. Or find cool nearby places and bring your own.
And of course, you’re going to want to tell your friends about the amazeballs food in Chicago’s North Side ballpark.
Don’t skip anything, but if time is a factor, here’s your table of contents:
The Sheffield Counter Wrigley Field Restaurant
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 1: Chicago Dogs + Other Encased Meat
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 2: Deep Dish Pizza
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 3: Italian Beef
Other Sandwiches: Chicken, Crispy Pork, and Joe Maddon Hoagies
What About Burgers?
Fries, Nachos + Other Munchie Food at Wrigley Field
For Big Ass Cub Fan Appetites
Dessert At The Friendly Confines
Healthy Wrigley Field Food: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, + Kosher
Want To Save Money On Wrigley Field Food? Check Out This Tip!
And Yes, You Can Bring Your Own
The Attached Wrigley Field Restaurant
Because Wrigley has changed so much since my last visit, and time is a factor putting this out, I’m leaving an analysis of the new fancy clubs for a future post. You can read about them here on the Cubs website.
The Sheffield Counter restaurant is located at the end of the right field concourse, along Sheffield Avenue, and is open to anyone with a ticket. It’s a small sit down area with tables and window counters, so you can watch construction while you eat.
The Sheffield features rotating “craft dogs”: examples have included a Wrigley Dog that mixes up the Chicago dog toppings into an easier-to-eat relish (what a cool idea!), or a Kimchi Dog with kimchi, pork belly and ginger aioli…and how many times have you wished you get something like that at a ballgame?
You can also order somewhat fancy chicken sandwiches and tacos, pretzel sandwiches like ham and Swiss or beef and cheddar, bison cheeseburgers and dogs, and a healthier items like a vegan Sloppy Jane sandwich. The Big W Burger and Cuban Burger were available here in my last visit.
It’s baseball, so of course you have to have a chef. In 2017 the Cubs introduced this cool concept at the Sheffield: rotating celebrity chefs showcasing their specialties. For example, Matthias Merges of Yusho fame’s offerings included fries with Chinese sausage gravy, and hot dogs with kimchi and grilled shishito peppers piled on. It’s a great way to sample some of the best in Chicago cuisine…which is a pretty high standard to meet.
The Counter is open two hours before game time, but it does get packed, and you’ll be tight with your neighbor if you don’t arrive fairly early.
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 1: Chicago Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are Chicago, and Chicago is hot dogs. The Wrigley Field food menu includes them in all of the necessary forms:
Chicago Dog kiosks are found in most all of the concourses, on both levels and on the Bleacher Patio. Chicago Dog has Vienna Beef franks or Polish sausages on poppy-seed buns, on which you can add a big pile of raw or grilled onions, chopped tomatoes, sport peppers, mustard, sauerkraut, celery salt and that bright green relish that make it a dog “dragged through the garden” as Chicago visitors call it.
Lines get long at Chicago Dog stands, and people scarf up the toppings, so you should hit one early. They might still be cash-only, so have some on hand. Chicago Dog used to carry bison dogs; there is a separate cart for that now (read on).
Hot Doug’s: “Hot Doug” Sohn was the owner of the most popular hot dog stand in Chicago–as in lines around the block popular. He became successful enough to retire, but the Cubs liked his unusual dogs enough to give him a stand in the bleacher section, behind the center field scoreboard. There you go; another reason to get a bleacher ticket at Wrigley. Lines get very long at this stand too; jump on it early if you can.
Hot Doug’s famous dogs are sold in various forms named after Cubs’ greats, which they rotate for each homestand. For example, you might see the Tinker to Evers to Chance double play combination (Trivia question answer: Harry Steinfeldt.):
Joe Tinker: A veal saltimbocca sausage with crispy onions, sage mustard and Swiss cheese.
Johnny Evers: A jalapeño and Jack cheese pork sausage with caramelized onions, sweet and spicy mustard and more Jack cheese.
Frank Chance: A spicy Polish sausage topped with cilantro aioli, pico de gallo and Chihuahua cheese.
The High Plains Bison people are the Official Lean Meat of the Chicago Cubs, and they have separate carts at Wrigley that sell hot dogs, Italian sausages and brats made from lean bison meat. On your sausage you can get peppers, sweet onions and/or marinara.
The High Plains bison dog itself doesn’t taste very different from a classic dog except for a smokier flavor, and the meat is leaner and healthier, as they clearly state on this kiosk. I had one in my last trip and it was very good.
So why choose a bison dog? According to the High Plains website, bison offers 45% fewer calories than beef, 87% less fat, and 100% more iron. And of course, you have the option of getting one at Wrigley Field.
Wrigley Field Smokies: I didn’t know this, but smoked sausages were a popular thing at Wrigley, so the Cubs brought them back. The Smokies cart sells hickory-smoked beef sausages with a secret blend of seasonings, and no artificial colors or flavorings. I don’t know how to describe a smoky flavor, but that is the selling point. Smokies are also made by Vienna Beef, and they’ve informed me that they offer them on their website for limited times.
The Smokies are slightly larger than the Wrigley dog and cost a bit more; you can get one with grilled onions and stuff. I don’t see them on the current Cubs menu, so if you can’t find the cart, you can probably order them at Chicago Dogs or another stand.
Apparently, the Decade Dogs stand is unfortunately no more; it was another spot for unusual hot dogs that were named after the decades when such items were popular, like a 1970s “TV Dinner” dog. The Cubs fetched $1,000 for charity selling the sign. If you want unusual dogs, go for Hot Doug’s or the Sheffield Counter.
One last note about Wrigley Field hot dogs. If you buy a dog from a vendor as opposed to the concessions kiosks, the dog will be steamed coming from the vendor as opposed to grilled. Not that one is better than the other; the religion of Chicago dogs isn’t clear on the matter.
The vendor steamed hot dog is wrapped up and the roll can get good and mushy, which some folks (including myself) like. Still, you’re missing out on the whole dressing up of the hot dog this way—with a vendor you’re limited to mustard packets.
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 2: Deep Dish Pizza
Giordano’s is the official pizza of the Cubs; they even have their chefs on the premises rather than risk leaving this pizza thing to amateurs. As a big fan of Giordano’s deep dish pies, I’m happy about this development; you probably will be too. You can get a six-inch pie here with various toppings or a thin slice…for some reason the thin slices are on the menu too.
I could quote you some reviews about how legendary Giordano’s deep dish is among Chicago natives and visitors, but I’ve also tried it myself, and it’s right there with Lou Malnati’s and the original Pizzeria Uno (which is much better than the chain version) as my favorites.
Part of the Giordano’s deal was teaming up with Vienna Beef to create a Chicago Dog pizza, with all the classic dog toppings. I don’t know if this number is still available, but you can look for it.
While the convenience of trying a deep dish pie at Wrigley is great, Giordano’s has an actual location just a few blocks away, with more selection of pizzas and toppings. It’s just a 12 minute walk from Wrigley, and just steps from the Belmont Red Line Station.
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 3: Italian Beef
For you non-Chicago natives, the Italian Beef is roast beef that is sliced thinly, slow cooked in au jus gravy and seasonings, and then dumped on a roll with hot pepper giardiniera if you like. It’s a little bit like a Philly cheesesteak, but different enough to make it a Chicago thing. You’ll need napkins for this one.
One thing, BTW, don’t call it an “Italian beef sandwich” in front of a native. Just Italian Beef.
Buona Beef is the official Italian Beef of the Cubs. Buona is a popular chain of about 17 restaurants, with an excellent diagram on their site about how to make an Italian beef sandwich. I trust them.
You can find the Italian beef at Bleacher Platform 14, and also at the Chicago Dogs and Marquee Grill stands.
Nothing against Buona, but if you’d like to try a classic Italian beef, Al’s restaurant is just a short walk south on Clark Street. Lots more choices of toppings, and Al’s is a true vintage classic in Chicago. And I’m not just saying that because they let me use this photo.
Other Sandwiches: Chicken, Grilled Cheese, and Joe Maddon Hoagies
I don’t know if this sandwich left with Maddon, but just in case it didn’t…the Maddon Italian hoagie comes from the Maddon family’s restaurant in Hazleton, PA, the “Third Base Luncheonette”. It’s ham, salami, white American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, spicy peppers and olive oil. It’s a sub with a nice kick to it.
The curse-breaking manager of the Cubs says himself that the key to the sandwich is the bread and the peppers. He doesn’t know the brand of bread they use, however. The Joe Maddon Hoagie is popular and occasionally sells out, so I’d plan ahead for this one.
The concept of a beer can chicken sandwich is pretty cool, unless there is an actual beer can in the chicken sandwich itself. (I’ve eaten in restaurants where such an item wouldn’t surprise me.) Fortunately, Wrigley does it right: it’s beer-marinated chicken breast with Dijonnaise, shredded lettuce, tomato and bacon on a brioche bun.
Wrigley Field food also includes a smoking variation of the classic grilled cheese sandwich: the Marquee Melter. It’s Gruyere, cheddar and Butterkäse, (one of the remarkably few types of cheeses not mentioned in this classic comedy sketch), along with smoked brisket and caramelized onions. I’ve read that it includes a pesto dip, so be sure to ask for that.
Here’s a fun one…the Chick-Ago Sandwich. It’s pickle brined and seasoned chicken thighs with tempura sport peppers, vine ripe tomato chunks, and dill aioli on an onion roll with celery salt. Kind of like a Chicago Dog, but with chicken.
The Wrigley Field food menu also mentions an Italian seasoned grilled chicken sandwich with pesto aioli, and a crispy pork sandwich with breaded pork strips and toppings on a pretzel bun. A chance to go beyond a simple burger.
Speaking of Burgers…What About Burgers?
Wrigley Field now offers a fancy “aged cheddar burger” and the equally popular follow-up “aged double cheddar burger”, and I presume that means the cheddar is aged, not the actual cheddar burger itself. It’s a seasoned beef patty with aged cheddar (ah!), tomato aioli, arugula and house made pickles. The Aged Cheddar creation is at the Classics stands in the corners and at the Sheffield…at the Corner it’s less likely to be heatlamp-radiated.
Various stands throughout Wrigley sell the aptly named Big W burger. It’s basic, simple, and American: a fresh beef patty with American and cheddar cheese, the classic burger topping triad of lettuce, tomato and onion, with secret sauce (something like Thousand Island dressing if I’m not mistaken, since Big Macs still sell). Get crinkle cut fries with it for the ideal American meal.
More on the Impossible Veggie Burger in the Healthy Section…
Even More Wrigley Field Food: Fries, Nachos + Other Munch Foods
The coolest recent addition to the Wrigley Field food menu is Disco Fries. It’s a souvenir Cubs helmet filled with crispy fried potatoes, and then topped with braised beef short rib (which we know is brilliant), roasted garlic aioli, queso Franco and green onions. You can’t go wrong piling most anything on fries, but only certain ingredients can make them Disco.
Also recently added is the pork tenders, breaded pork strips with Japanese BBQ sauce and cabbage and carrot slaw. I’m not sure what legally constitutes Japanese BBQ sauce; you’d have to ask the Levy people about that.
Here’s a picture of a Walking Taco from a Chicago ballpark. Well, okay, I took this one at a White Sox game. But it’s the same deal, a bag of Fritos with chili con carne, nacho cheese, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos. Not the healthiest thing, but a cheaper and easy snack.
You can find ordinary nachos at Wrigley, including the soon-to-be-discussed Big Slugger Nachos, but if you like your nachos with different stuff piled on them, try the Italian beef nachos at Bleacher Bums. Of course, you need a bleacher ticket for that one…
Finally, Nuts on Clark has unfortunately departed, but Garrett’s gourmet popcorn is a more than adequate replacement. Garrett’s is the famous popcorn maker in Chicago…and you have to be pretty good to be famous for food in Chicago…and at Wrigley you have the choice of their Cheese Corn or Caramel Crisp. Or mix the two and put it in a souvenir Cubs tin!
Wrigley Field Eats For Big Ass Cub Fan Appetites
If you look around the Wrigley Field food stands, especially in the bleachers, you may come across the North Side Twist, Wrigley’s version of the 2-pound soft pretzel. This monster, served in a pizza box, comes with three different dipping sauces chipotle honey mustard, beer cheddar cheese and cinnamon cream. All of which work very well.
They’re not cheap, but it’s easily enough for two people. You should get here early if you want one, these do sell out on occasion.
If you’ve got a nacho jones and/or are sharing, try a helmet of Big Slugger nachos…two pounds of nachos served in a helmet with a ridiculous amount of toppings, including ample salsa and jalapenos.
Two pounds is a lot of nachos, so be sure you can handle this for the cost.
In the past at the Italian Hot Spot stands I’ve seen a Big Cheese Rip-N-Dip, a large amount of focaccia bread covered with cheese and served with dipping sauces. I don’t know if it’s still around, but if you like dipping bread sticks this could be for you.
Dessert At A Cubs Game
Prairie City Cookies are the Official Cookie of the Chicago Cubs, just in case you were wondering. They’ve also been the “Snack of The Day” on the Rachael Ray Show, an equally impressive achievement. You can get a couple of tasty cookies fairly cheaply for a ballpark.
Tripper’s is the place to go for dessert varieties; they have Edy’s ice cream and several other sweet treats like lemon chills, licorice ropes and giant cookies. And on cold days you can get a hot chocolate. Tripper’s and other stands have a frosty malt cup that has been a Wrigley staple for many years. It even inspired this blogger to make her own.
The CC’s Frozen Treats stand not only has different styles of wine coolers and frozen drinks that lady Cub fans like (mai-tais, vodka lemonades, etc.), they also have ice cream in the souvenir helmet for you collectors. The helmet is not actual head-size, though, unless you have an extremely small head.
Want the list of other brand names featured at Wrigley for dessert? Mrs. Fields Cookie Sandwich, Dove Bars, Snickers Cones, Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Bars, and Jim Beam if you count the sugary drinks.
Healthy Wrigley Field Food: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, + Kosher
The aforementioned Impossible Burger is a vegetarian burger with a plant-based vegan burger patty, topped with chipotle lime aioli, American cheese, lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun. Remove the cheese and it’s a vegan burger. It can be found in Left Field Classics, Right Field Classics, and at the Red Line Grill in the bleachers. Apparently they don’t want you near home plate with it.
My celiac-afflicted then-girlfriend did not like Wrigley Field when I took her for a visit (astonishingly, I married her anyway). Maybe this will get her to go again: the Cubs have gluten-free dogs. Go to the Marquee Grill stand behind home plate and ask for one…according to this blogger, you should tell them to use gloves.
Celiacs can also go for veggie chopped salads, pistachios and gummy bears. Grounds Crew and Brews stands have gluten-free Starfruit frozen treats and Wrigleyville Brew House has gluten free nuts and cookies from Enjoy Life Foods. (I’m assuming those stands still exist; if not you can look around for these things.) You may also have some GF options at the Sheffield Counter. Redbridge beer is sold at Wrigley.
The Cubs had sold kosher dogs at several stands, but in 2017 they installed a spot devoted exclusively to the art of kosher food. DanZtand is run by Danziger Kosher Midwest, a caterer based in Chicago. At their Wrigley outpost, you can get Romanian hot dogs, Romanian Polish (?) sausages, and pretzels, and presumably they would be available for Friday night or Saturday games.
For you vegetarians, the Cubs have recently added a roasted cauliflower sandwich…with roasted red pepper pesto, garlicky garbanzo bean spread, and baby spinach. Would definitely assist in digesting the also-vegetarian Giordano’s plain pizza or Garrett’s popcorn. You can also find that chopped salad in most fancier stands.
Want To Save Money on Wrigley Field Food? #KillerTip
Because you’ve stuck with me this long, I’m sharing a killer tip with you…
For the first hour that the gates are open at Wrigley, food and non-alcoholic drinks are 25% off their regular price at all of the non-kiosk stands. This includes the Sheffield Corner if you’re looking for something there, but not the fancier items, unfortunately. Still, 25% off anything is great at a ballpark.
The discount comes up automatically, no need to ask for it. Get your Giordano’s pizza early, and then when the price returns to normal, get your fancy chicken sandwich on.
Speaking of saving money…
Yes, You Can Bring Your Own Grub
It’s becoming more common knowledge now that you can bring your own food into ballparks, within reason. Here is the Cubs official policy: you can bring in a bag that is smaller than 16*16*8, which should be large enough to carry anything you need. Your bag will be searched, and anything that could contain alcohol or be used as a projectile will be removed.
So take advantage of that loophole and save a few bucks…I’ve offered up three places to fill up your goody bag here, but Wrigleyville has tons of other takeout joints, including McDonald’s, Subway, and vendors selling peanuts and water around the ballpark but especially at the Addison Red Line station.
Coming from the north, you can get off the Red Line at the Sheridan station just a few blocks away from Wrigley and stop at Byron’s hot dogs, another classic Chicago dog joint. Get that Dogzilla half pound skinless beef hot dog with the Chicago fixin’s.
Hungry yet? Is that it? Wow, seems like I was just getting started!
There you have it my friends, your full Wrigley Field food menu analysis. Feel free to let me know if anything changes. If you’d like to know where to find any of these items, the Cubs have a listing here that you might be able to use for a while…
Be sure to check back for any changes, and share this with anyone planning a trip to Wrigley!
Cheap Red Sox tickets? Really? Yes. Believe it or not, you can find them. Especially with all the tips I’ll be sharing with you in this complete and helpful guide. Knowing these things has saved me a bunch of money on Sox tix…and have money left over for a Fenway Frank.
If you want some help choosing a great seat at Fenway Park, check out my posts here and here. And read this to learn what makes Fenway Park great. But wherever you sit, read on to find out how to get the best deal.
Believe me, it really helps to know ALL of your options, but here’s the table of contents for you, in case you want to skip some bits (but don’t):
My Best Tip For Cheap Red Sox Tickets
Buying From The Red Sox Website
StubHub, SeatGeek, ACE and Other Third Parties
Choose The Right Game AND Opponent
The Red Sox Box Office and Game Day Tickets
Red Sox Nation and Kid Nation (Get a FREE Red Sox ticket!)
Cheap Red Sox Tickets in The Scalp-Free Zone
The Red Sox Community
Red Sox Ticket Scalpers
Finding Cheap Red Sox Tickets on Craigslist
To Sum All This Up…
If You Want Cheap Red Sox Tickets, Do This Now
Anytime you’re planning to go to a game, it’s always a smart idea to subscribe to a team’s ticket alert newsletter, and the Red Sox ticket alert is no exception.
It’s not so much that the Red Sox offer a lot of ticket deals, although there are some. But in many cases buying Red Sox tickets at face value is the cheapest way to get them, and the newsletter will help you with that…you’ll know about pre-sales, Sox Pax, Christmas at Fenway events, group tickets, fan clubs, military and student discounts and much more. Students get standing room dirt cheap at most games, for example.
The e-mail newsletter is especially useful if you want to see a game against the Yankees. You can jump on pre-sales and get tickets at face, which is usually as cheap as you’ll find, especially for weekend contests. The newsletter will also alert you to Green Monster ticket sales well ahead of time, and it’s probably the easiest way to get your hands on those too.
It doesn’t happen often, but on occasion, the Red Sox waive ticket buying fees, and that’s a considerable amount of savings. That also saves you the time and boredom of waiting in line for Game Day tickets (more on that in a bit). The newsletter will let you know about this too.
So be sure to subscribe!
Book your ideal Fenway parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!
Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Red Sox game parking!
Buying Tickets On The Red Sox Website
The Sox have a nifty 3-D seating map on their website, featuring a scale picture of Fenway with clickable sections, panoramic views and prices from each section…but just so you know, they don’t reveal obstructed views.
Remember there are fees for buying on the website, and they’re ridiculous. For high demand games you might be better off using the box office if you can, even on game day…for low demand games you’ll probably find a better deal with a third party.
The Sox website is best for when you don’t live close and want a high demand game. Typically the cheap Red Sox tickets sell out fast, so the Sox make lower demand games available first, such as April and May weekdays. Again, get on any pre-sales you can for Yankees games or July or August weekend games. Remember, subscribe to the Red Sox newsletter first.
You can now enter Fenway by scanning the tickets on your phone, if you have MLB’s Ballpark app (and you should). If you don’t like your seats…and at Fenway, that’s a distinct possibility…you can upgrade them through the app if something is available.
Cheap Red Sox Tickets From 3rd Parties – StubHub, SeatGeek, Ace, Etc…
Regular readers of mine know I’m a big fan of SeatGeek; I’ve found some crazy deals there. In 2019 I paid $26 with fees for two tickets that would have cost $87 through the Red Sox. Good seats too…Right Field Box, just a few rows from the field. To see the defending champions!
Full disclosure, this was a weekday May game against Oakland. I’m not claiming you’ll always find cheap Red Sox tickets on SeatGeek or with another third party. But always check, especially for low demand games, because you may find a steal like I did.
Here’s a key tip: being MLB’s official ticket reseller, StubHub usually has the biggest selection of third party tickets, and you may find a deal there. But in some cases, you may find the very same or similar seats offered through another third party. This was the case in the game I just described…and SeatGeek offered me a slightly better price.
As far as Ace Ticket…they’re well known in Boston, and are actually pretty good as ticket resellers go. One great advantage of Ace is their prime location, in the path from the Kenmore station to Fenway. You can pick up tickets that you’ve ordered there at no extra charge. ACE makes a point that they don’t add a StubHub fee, which isn’t chump change. If you’re there on game day, you might be able to haggle closer to gametime.
Your best bet with third parties, usually, is to get tickets at the last minute (up to two hours before game time, last I checked). But I wouldn’t always count on this. If the game is really important for you to attend, keep checking for a deal you can live with starting about a week out.
Finally, if you have the luxury of comparing third party sites, be sure to go to the checkout screen on each one and see the full price you’ll be paying…the difference in fees can be significant.
You may need the Ballpark app on your smartphone to scan your tickets, so be sure you have that.
Use The Red Sox Schedule: Choose The Right Game AND Opponent
If you only care about visiting Fenway Park, and you’re visiting Boston on a budget, picking the right contest makes a world of difference in your ticket price. Obviously, you shouldn’t pick a game against the Yankees on a July weekend.
Like most teams, the Red Sox offer dynamic pricing. Opening Day, all Yankees games, and Saturday games in June and July are the most expensive. Second to that are weekend games in June, July and August; then weekends in April, May and September, etc. In the bottom tier are “Sox Saver” games: weeknights in April, May and September. If you can handle the weather, you can often find a great deal. For afternoon games the weather might not be bad at all.
But again, check third parties on these too. If the Sox are having a disappointing season, you could find some steals in September.
Your choice of opponent makes a difference too. If, say, the Orioles are good (OK, I’ll wait till you’re done LYAO at that one), it can drive up demand for Orioles games at Fenway. The Mets and Phillies can also draw sizable crowds, regardless of their fortunes.
Save for the Angels and East Coast hero Mike Trout, West Coast opponents usually draw the smallest crowds and offer the cheapest tickets.
But hey, you might be reading this because you want to find cheap Red Sox tickets for Yankees games, right? Even if “cheap” in this case is relative. And Ballpark E-Guides never backs down from a challenge!
To see the Yankees at Fenway (or the Cubs, when they visit), you’ll save a lot by planning ahead.
If I lived in Boston, I would visit the box office the day tickets go on sale, and get tickets at face price with no fees. If you live elsewhere, visit the Red Sox website that day, and get your tickets at face value with the fee…which will still be cheaper than the third party markup in almost every case. You can also try the game day ticket option (more on that shortly), but you may be waiting in line for a very long time.
Or plan ahead even further back in time, and get Sox Pax tickets in December…maybe show up for Christmas at Fenway. Sox Pax include a Yankees game and one or more low demand games. Good if you can do the other games…or give the tickets as Christmas presents…but I wouldn’t do this one if you plan to resell the low value games, since you probably won’t get what you paid for them.
As always, pay attention to your newsletter…
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The Red Sox Box Office and Game Day Tickets
As I’ve said, for cheap Red Sox tickets for Yankees and other high demand games, if you or someone else can go to the box office for you on the on-sale date, do it…there are no fees at the box office.
At the box office you can actually talk to a person about what seats are available, including seats in front of each other, which isn’t something you can yet find on the Sox website. It also doesn’t hurt to ask for ticket specials, especially for military members.
Then there’s that popular game day tickets option that savvy Sox fans use.
The Red Sox make a handful of tickets available a few hours before each game. These are usually tickets that the visiting team or someone else can’t use—a player may have brought his wife and can’t sit her next to his Boston girlfriend, for example.
So a few hours before each game, a line of folks forms at Gate E on Lansdowne Street to buy any extras the Sox have lying around.
I’ve talked to a few Sox fans about this; they say it’s generally best for one person, since you can only buy one per person and must immediately enter the ballpark after buying them. Lots of folks claim to have gotten very good seats for face value this way.
The Sox allow the line to start forming five hours before game time, but people do line up sooner than that for big games. Fans camping out before playoff games is common.
I can’t guarantee that you’ll get into the park this way, but no one has yet told me they were turned away. As long as you don’t arrive an hour before a Yankees game you should be fine. Keep in mind that you’re looking at a total of maybe 11 hours at the ballpark should you choose this option. I don’t mind that myself; just saying.
The best part? You may land a great seat at face price. With no online fees. Face value with no fees = relatively cheap Red Sox tickets.
Join The Nation – A FREE Red Sox Ticket!
Red Sox Nation is the team fan club, and gives fans chances to score the hard-to-get seats like Monster seats at face price or lower. There are several levels of membership, some of which cost a nice chunk of change, but even the lesser ones still might offer you cheap Red Sox tickets for decent contests.
Nation membership also includes discounts on gear and nearby restaurants, so it should pay for itself fairly easily. The Red Sox even offer a kids’ membership that includes a free ticket (!), and they may have a free ticket-included membership for adults by the time you read this.
If you plan on going to a few Red Sox games in a season and want something resembling cheap Red Sox tickets, have a look at Nation membership. Could be well worth it for you. Again, check your newsletter and grab a membership when it’s available; these sell out too.
Don’t pay ballpark prices for your Red Sox gear and souvenirs!
Cheap Red Sox Tickets – In The “Scalp-Free Zone”
A little known option to Fenway newbies is the scalp-free zone set up by the Red Sox, which is currently at Gate C on Lansdowne Street, although the location does get moved on occasion. Here fans with extra tickets are permitted to sell them at face price or less; a Red Sox official will monitor the transaction and escort you into the park so that you don’t try re-selling the seats.
There aren’t many tickets sold here—the Sox estimate it to be about 30-50 a game—but it’s definitely worth a shot before you try a scalper. It’s also a nice legal place where you can get rid of your own extras if you have them.
The Red Sox deliberately keep this option low-key, because they don’t want it to attract too many buyers. That’s why you need this blog my friend.
Help Your Fellow Bostonian
Just putting this one out there.
In happier times, the Red Sox don’t offer a lot of discounts or deals on tickets. But they do have contests and events you can participate in, like Christmas at Fenway or the Picnic in The Park, that could get you entered in drawings for tickets. They’re usually in the Community or Fans sections of the Red Sox website, so it’s worth the trouble to have a look.
If you’re a conscious student and will work for baseball, there are universities that work with the Sox to keep the ballpark clean and the trash sorted out in recycling. You get entry into the park (standing room), a T-shirt and a food voucher, and you can see a game just for doing some cleanup between innings. Save the planet and see a Red Sox game for free. Win-win!
Check out the Fenway Park Green Team program here.
Red Sox Ticket Scalpers
There are always plenty of scalpers at Fenway, even though scalping is illegal in Massachusetts. Like with brokers, you could be paying well above face value for tickets depending on demand—you might as well use SeatGeek.
If you try this, bring a seating chart to get an idea of where your seats are, and check the ticket for the correct date and opponent, and that there isn’t an “OV” stamped on the ticket. OV means Obstructed View…you don’t want that.
Ticket prices plummet after the game starts, but that’s no fun unless you’re late to begin with. Brokers generally line up near the Kenmore MBTA station, and in the path from there to the ballpark. You can haggle, but these guys are tough, so you may be dealing with a few of them if you walk away. If you’re lucky, you may find someone with extras, especially for a rainout makeup game. Hold up the number of fingers to show how many you need.
My buddy Andrew Van Cleve has forgotten more about how to scalp tickets than I’ll ever know; he is an absolute genius at haggling and has some great stories about his scores. If you want to read some great tips, check out his blog on the subject.
Finding Cheap Red Sox Tickets on Craigslist
I’m sure there are fans that can tell you stories about the deal they scored on Craigslist for any baseball tickets, and I’m sure probably 98% of those cases are legit. But you don’t want to be in that 2%.
I talk more about buying baseball tickets on Craigslist here, but basically the same rules apply that you would use buying from a scalper: meet with the seller in person in a public place, check the tickets for smudged ink, scissor marks or other anomalies, and bring someone with you for the transaction. Get as much information about the person as you can, and especially find out if they are season ticket holders if possible.
Trust your gut…just as with a scalper, if something doesn’t seem right, walk away.
To Sum This All Up…
…for cheap Red Sox tickets, plan ahead as much as possible. Subscribe to the Red Sox ticket alerts, and pay attention to their e-mails, choose the lowest value contest you can, and compare prices with SeatGeek and other third parties. You can score great deals on Red Sox tickets, but it takes a little work.
Hopefully what you’ve read helps…take advantage of all your ticket buying avenues! Bookmark this and review it next time you’ve got a Red Sox game at Fenway in mind.
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Stadium Journey published the much-anticipated debate between me and Joe Mock – and our locking horns over which of America’s two oldest ballparks is a better place to see a ballgame. I thought we put it together well. Hope you enjoy the read. (Click here to see the PDF from the magazine; click here to visit the excellent Stadium Journey website.)
BALLPARK VERSUS BALLPARK
Fenway or Wrigley – Which is the best?
Joe Mock (www.BaseballParks.com) and Kurt Smith (www.BallparkEGuides.com) are webmasters for two of the most popular ballpark-themed websites on the net…and both are foremost authorities on what makes Wrigley Field and Fenway Park special. But which ballpark takes the top spot in the battle of the two classics?
The two disagree on the answer, with Joe preferring Wrigley and Kurt siding with Fenway. Let the debate begin!
Each Ballpark’s Place In History
JOE: When you have two parks that date back over a century, that’s a LOT of history. Wrigley, though, wins in this category, but not by a lot.
Simply standing within the Friendly Confines fills you with a sense of history that can’t be matched by any other facility – of any sport. One reason for this is because of the way the park looks. The stately stands. The bleachers. The ivy. Just everything.
In 2014, I got to cover the 100th birthday of Wrigley for USA Today, and the way the Cubs put on the event showcased that history. While wearing throwback uniforms, they played as the Chicago Whales of the 1914 Federal League. You had no trouble envisioning the Whales playing in that ballpark. And to give the proceedings an extra air of century-long authenticity, the home team blew a lead and lost the game.
From the legendary called shot by Babe Ruth to the tragedy of Steve Bartman to the mind-blowing prowess of Jake Arrieta, Wrigley is history.
KURT: I agree with Joe that both Fenway and Wrigley can’t help but feature history as the backbone of their greatness…Babe Ruth (supposedly) called his shot at Wrigley and pitched at Fenway…but I disagree on the key point Joe makes about the ballparks’ look, at least now.
The Red Sox and Cubs have both recently renovated their classic ball yards, but the Red Sox enhanced the historic aspects of their ballpark, while the Cubs disrupted it. The Red Sox placed seats atop of the Green Monster and closed off Yawkey Way during games to create a great pre-game atmosphere, and the new video boards in Fenway actually look like the hand-operated classic in left field and blend in very nicely.
By contrast, the Cubs placed a huge, high-definition video board in left field that is anything but historic…and many fans agree looks completely out of place. In doing so the Cubs not only blocked the view from the Waveland Avenue rooftops, but also made the hand operated out-of-town scoreboard in center field look completely unnecessary. The rooftops and scoreboard, to these eyes anyway, were as iconic as the ivy. Maybe they had to install the video board, but it’s impossible for me to believe it couldn’t have been done better.
Before both parks were renovated, I might have given the history nod to Wrigley, but the Red Sox seemed to have much more of an eye for the ballpark’s history in their renovations.
JOE: While I like the street fair atmosphere of Yawkey Way before a Sox game, you have to admit that it’s somewhat contrived. A street that is normally open to traffic is shut down for a few hours when there’s a baseball game. That’s the opposite of being “organic.”
Wrigleyville, though, is Wrigleyville 365 days a year. From the bars across the street (I mean, everyone knows the Cubby Bear, right?) to the Addison station of the red line of the L train to the neighborhood businesses and tenements that come right up to the ballpark’s footprint, nothing compares.
And does Fenway have anything like the rooftops across Sheffield and Waveland? Hardly.
No, just mentioning the “corner of Clark and Addison” evokes images of the one-of-a-kind neighborhood that surrounds Wrigley.
KURT: Again, Joe is right about Wrigleyville and the entire neighborhood being part of a Cubs game celebration…but unfortunately, the Cubs are disrupting that too, with their plans for a high end “plaza”.
Fenway has one very special surroundings element that Wrigley doesn’t…sausages. Lansdowne Street alone has almost a dozen purveyors of pregame sausages, dogs, chicken teriyaki or steak tip sandwiches…each one unique and many with their own brand of hot sauce.
Fenway also is right there with Wrigley in your choices of pre- or post-game party…play ping-pong at Game On, have a Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale at Boston Beer Works, or get some very cheap eats at the Baseball Tavern. Or even watch the game for free from the Bleacher Bar for a few innings. There’s something for everyone.
And while Yawkey Way may be contrived to be similar to Eutaw Street in Baltimore, it’s not a bad idea…I wouldn’t mind the Cubs turning Sheffield Avenue into part of Wrigley during games.
KURT: The Green Monster says it all…this ballpark is not only built on one city block, but that block is shaped such that if we put a normal fence in left field, bloops just barely out of the infield could become home runs.
The big wall in left field is the centerpiece of a design so asymmetrical that a team would be accused of ridiculous contrivance of dimensions if they tried it today. Fenway Park almost looks stretched sideways looking at it from overhead.
I’ll never argue that Wrigley has a million unique things about it, but its dimensions aren’t one of them. It was built on one city block too, but the block is square and as such the dimensions don’t give a hitter an advantage on either side of home plate.
Only in Boston could a ballpark be shaped like Fenway…it makes the ballpark one of the more architectural wonders in a city with quite a few of them.
JOE: Kurt, it’s interesting that you bring up both Fenway’s shape and its dimensions, because I believe both are drawbacks.
Regarding the shape of Fenway’s footprint, I would term it “misshapen” more than “stretched sideways.” Like a lot of parks built during the concrete-and-steel era in the first couple of decades of the 20th Century, Fenway’s design evolved over time (but was always limited by the non-square parcel of land).
But this evolution has created a truly undesirable arrangement of seating in Fenway, where a ridiculously large percentage of seats are beyond right center field and, worse, in the right-field corner beyond the foul pole. If you’ve tried to watch a game from a seat in that corner, you’ll know what I mean.
Wrigley, though, evolved in an orderly way that the original architect, Zachary Taylor Davis, could’ve easily envisioned. Hence you have a true upper deck with fantastic views of the field – even from its farthest reaches – and outfield seating that makes sense.
Regarding the dimensions of the two fields, I would again apply the word “misshapen” to Fenway. With foul poles that are 302 feet away in right and, we assume (since the Red Sox discourage anyone from actually measuring it), 310 feet in left, and the silly “triangle” near center, it makes for bizarre dimensions. While I like some originality in outfield dimensions (like the two “wells” in Wrigley’s outfield), the number of oddities in Boston outfield are far too numerous.
KURT: When the Red Sox expanded the ballpark, so to speak, into Yawkey Way (now Jersey Street), they created a wonderful pre-game atmosphere for kids of all ages. The old-time band playing, Big League Brian on his stilts, carts selling roasted peanuts and Luis Tiant selling Cuban sandwiches…that’s baseball at its best.
Red Sox and Cubs fans both deserve props for their dedication, and both teams’ fans are raucous and show up in large numbers. But while I’m not knocking anyone’s reason to come to a ballgame, there are fans at Wrigley that are there more for the party than to cheer the Cubs. It’s not just me saying that…I’ve read that a lot. Red Sox fans are rarely accused of this. Everyone in the ballpark lives to hear “Dirty Water” blaring on the PA after a Red Sox victory.
Not to harp on the renovation point again, but the Cubs also did some damage to the gameday atmosphere with the video board and strong arming of businesses like street guys selling programs. The Bucket Bangers, for example, are essential Wrigley…I don’t know if the Cubs were responsible, but I didn’t see or hear them in my last visit. And I missed them.
JOE: While I concede that the Cubs’ current owners made a number of changes based on business decisions rather than aesthetics, it’s still a blast attending a Cubs game. Without the need for the contrived closed-off-street of Yawkey Way, the area around Wrigley is truly alive before and after games.
And there’s something endearing about fans who for generations have come to the Friendly Confines more for the park and the experience than to root for the perpetually losing team. And you can’t say it’s not an “experience” to go to a Cubs home game, win or lose. The front office makes sure of that. The entire season of Wrigley’s 100th Birthday in 2014 was a testament to that.
KURT: Both Wrigley and Fenway are relatively simple in their concessions, at least compared to places like Nationals Park (shawarma) and Progressive Field (Froot loop dogs). When it comes to the basic ballpark food…the basic hot dog…Wrigley doesn’t have the uniqueness of the Fenway Frank. Mushy white bread buns are part of baseball.
Actually, one could argue that there’s a better variety at Wrigley, and there is, at least inside both ballparks. Wrigley does have Gilbert’s sausages and Hot Doug’s dogs, and Giordano’s deep dish pizza is better than Papa Gino’s. But when you add the outside sausage vendors, Fenway has a definite edge…the Inner Beauty hot sauce at the Sausage Connection and the plain sausage and peppers from the Sausage Guy are without peer even inside of Fenway.
Plus Fenway has lobster rolls, so Wrigley featuring Italian beef doesn’t weigh in favor of Wrigley as much…
JOE: I’ve always felt the concessions at Fenway were fine, but never in the top ten in the Majors. If you insist, Kurt, on including food sold outside of the ballpark, that does elevate Fenway’s food ranking, but not by much.
I agree that the Giordano’s pizza at Wrigley is better than what’s in Boston, but I think the difference isn’t slight. I think it’s huge. Giordano’s is that good.
The sausages and franks at Wrigley speak for themselves, and far outpace anything of the sort at Fenway. New this year are variations on chicken sausage by Gilbert’s.
And since you’re including food found outside Fenway, I’ll do the same with Wrigley. In the Wrigleyville area, you’ll find perhaps the best corned beef sandwich anywhere at DMK Burger Bar, and next door at the Fish Bar there’ a zesty po-boy that includes both shrimp and crawfish, and a wonderful lobster roll (!). And at Giordano’s sit-down eatery, you can experience their entire array of scrumptious pizzas of varying crust thicknesses, and a savory chicken parm.
JOE: In 2013, USA TODAY asked me to write an article about each MLB park. They then ran one article per week in their Sports Weekly publication, doing a countdown from number 30 to 1. My top park was Wrigley. I supported that ranking by pointing out the wonderful gameday environment there and the stupendous sense of history.
There’s no doubt that both Fenway and Wrigley are national treasures, and are among America’s most beloved parks – probably the top two on that list. Wrigley, though, edges out Fenway, especially when you consider architecture, surroundings and concessions.
KURT: In the pre-renovation years of both ballparks, I had actually preferred Wrigley to Fenway, largely because there were a lot of pitfalls to mar the experience at Fenway…small concourse space, parking difficulties, and lots of not so great seats. Now that I have researched both ballparks thoroughly, I’ve come to realize that the challenges of Fenway are what makes it great…it’s not a ballpark for amateurs, and it brings out the best in fans.
Wrigley is still a fantastic, iconic venue and as Joe says, a Cubs game is still a blast. It’s just going to take some time for me to get used to the gigantic video boards…and the loss of the rooftops and many of the nearby vendors. There is a stark contrast to how both teams handled their renovations, and it what makes Fenway superior these days, in my totally humble opinion.
Enjoy this article? Check out more about ballparks from Joe and Kurt!
Joe Mock is the writer and photographer for BaseballParks.com, which dates back to the dawn of the Web in 1997. He also writes regularly for USA TODAY Sports. Kurt Smith is the owner and author of Ballpark E-Guides, the highly acclaimed (even by Joe Mock!) detailed fan’s guides to 15 major league ballparks, including Wrigley and Fenway. He is also a staff writer for JerseyMan and BostonMan Magazines.
It was a great privilege to contribute this piece about one of my favorite ballparks to the debut issue of BostonMan Magazine, which was released in the fall of 2018. You can read the article on BostonMan’s website, or click here to see the PDF from the magazine.
It wasn’t easy to conceive an angle about Fenway that would be new to Boston sports fans, but every Red Sox fan that read it loved it, which made me very happy. I hope you enjoy it.
“The Hard Is What Makes It Great.”
The venerable home of the Red Sox has survived not only a relentless ballpark boom, but a new wave of disregard even for relatively new venues. There’s a reason for it that few people outside of Boston understand.
By the time you read this, there may be another World Series about to take place in the ballpark that has sat in Beantown for over a century. The Red Sox have, after all, shown a palpable disregard for supposed curses in the last decade and a half.
When you think about it, it’s no small miracle that Fenway Park is still standing. Lately, you don’t even have to think about it all that much. As ballpark architecture changes at a dizzying rate, Fenway insistently puts its foot down, asserting its unassailable right to continue hosting the world’s greatest game. It remains the immovable object that triumphs over the irresistible force.
Over the last three decades, as municipalities and teams realized there were billions to be made in corporate suites, some romantic and profoundly historic temples of baseball met with the wrecking ball. Most distressingly, even Tiger Stadium, old Yankee Stadium and Comiskey Park were unceremoniously felled by baseball economics. It’s hard to imagine it now, but there indeed was a time when Fenway was in the crosshairs too…and the idea of replacing it had plenty of support.
In recent years, the discarding of venues considered shiny by Fenway standards makes it even more remarkable that the ballpark continues to defy its demolition. Teams are now departing from delightful and appealing baseball homes that most fans remember opening. Turner Field in Atlanta lasted just 20 seasons as the home of the Braves, magnificent Globe Life Park in Arlington will be replaced in 2020 after just 26 seasons, and the Diamondbacks have begun the process of exiting Chase Field in Phoenix, another ballpark just 20 seasons old.
Think about that. The Metrodome outlived these outstanding ballparks.
The sports venue boom, one could easily argue, is now completely out of control. For absurd reasons, at least the publicly stated ones, teams are tossing aside perfectly nice baseball settings. The Braves actually cited “traffic” as a problem with Turner Field, as if it’s somehow possible to smoothly shoehorn 20,000 cars into any parking lot on earth in the space of a couple of hours. (Spoiler alert: the traffic at SunTrust Park is far worse. At least Turner Field had a viable public transit option.)
It’s not all that difficult anymore to conceive that Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the venue that started all of this, could itself be threatened with extinction in the not too distant future. As perfect for baseball as Camden is, the Orioles can’t even give away tickets these days…and they’re literally doing just that.
The stunning ballpark creations that arose in response to the phenomenal success of the architectural wonder in Baltimore have been warmly received by spectators. This is especially true in places like Philadelphia, where fans sat in a concrete donut designed for football for 33 seasons. Citizens Bank Park is, by any fathomable measure, a superior venue to Veterans Stadium.
Many of the new ballparks were designed with the charm, or more correctly, the “old time features” of places like Fenway, like neighborhood-necessitated dimensions and distinctive visual landmarks…but without the small seats, grossly insufficient leg room (did people really top out at five-foot-four in 1912?), obstructed views, and fuming in 3 MPH traffic to find exorbitantly priced parking.
With all due respect to Camden Yards, which truly was executed flawlessly, the modern amenities babble is exactly where all of the new venues miss the point.
The home of the Red Sox was never meant to be a place where millennials gather for craft beer tasting, or where patrons sample gourmet sushi from an executive chef, or where fans loudly cheer a mascot race. It’s not that Fenway doesn’t have extras geared to folks that are less than fanatical about baseball. It does. But they’re not emphasized here. There is nowhere near the outreach to “casual fans” at Fenway like there is in nearly every other ballpark in America.
Fenway Park is difficult. It’s the most challenging ballpark in baseball, both to get into and to get to. Most games sell out and require fans to pay an overinflated secondary market rate, seek out skilled haggler scalpers or wait in a long line on game day. Parking is scarce and costly, with cars even placed on top of one another in smaller garages. Trains leading to Kenmore station are stuffed well beyond capacity with sweaty fans.
Choosing the wrong seat at Fenway can lead to the annoying experience of a support pole blocking a portion of the field from view. A fan’s only alternative, at least at that price, is a distant outfield seat in the glaring sun. Oh, and those Grandstand seats? Flimsy wooden chairs, just 15 inches wide, with an inch wide armrest to share with your neighbor. You must be kidding.
For all of the reverence for Fenway Park from baseball fans everywhere, no one would tolerate a newer facility with so many ridiculous flaws. Yet that grand old girl in Boston with the huge green wall in left field remains at the top of so many fans’ bucket list destinations. A ballpark that, on fan experience alone, is utterly inferior to nearly every other venue in professional baseball is filled to capacity every night.
Not even the strikingly beautiful structures in Pittsburgh and San Francisco could ever hope to achieve that. It’s a charm that a less dedicated baseball fan, accustomed to cushioned seats and easy parking, would consider a detriment.
In A League Of Their Own, Tom Hanks has the perfect response to Geena Davis finally succumbing to how difficult the game of baseball is: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”
This place isn’t for amateurs. Fenway Park is literally designed to weed out the casual fan. If you don’t love Red Sox baseball enough to endure that cramped, stiff seat with no view of right field, you don’t have to go. Not to worry. Someone will take your place…and that someone is exactly the kind of fan baseball needs more of anyway.
Why else on earth would fans tolerate extortionately priced tickets and parking, uncomfortable seats with blocked views, and far too many outfield seats in 2018? Why do Red Sox fans not only put up with all of this, but even sing collectively and enthusiastically about how good times never seemed so good?
Because Red Sox fans get baseball.
They get the incomparable thrill of investing their heart in a baseball team, and seeing a game winning hit bounce off of that green wall.
Maybe that simplifies it too much. Try this.
See if you can find someone who was there to witness Ted Williams’ 502-foot smash that landed in a seat now painted red to commemorate the occasion. Actually, that might be difficult, given that it happened in 1946. Maybe you’d have better luck finding someone who was in the ballpark when Carlton Fisk’s home run ball clanged off of the foul pole. That was only in 1975.
Still having trouble? Then try finding someone who was present when Big Papi’s game winner cleared the fence in the 12th, after journeyman first baseman Kevin Millar had duly warned everyone against allowing a Red Sox victory that night. That shouldn’t be impossible.
Found someone? Great. Ask them how much they paid for their ticket, or where they parked, or what the entertainment was between innings.
Chances are good the answers won’t be high on the list of what they remember most about the experience.
Baseball’s history is a long, ongoing, and endlessly gripping page turner full of otherworldly moments. Nowhere is this more true than in Boston, from the devastating heartbreaks of an 86-year hex to the beyond spectacular glory of 2004. As Big Papi’s hit sailed over the fence and the Sox escaped the jaws of elimination, setting in motion the greatest comeback in sports history, no one in a partially obstructed seat that night would have traded the inconvenience to have missed it.
The Sox fans that overcame the considerable challenges to be inside Fenway Park on those fateful historic days considered it unquestionably worth the aggravation. Just as they continue to do by the millions every summer.
All the obstructions, expensive parking, crowded trains, and no great need for any ballgame sustenance other than a hot dog on mushy white bread. It all makes the point that no retractable roof, amenity-laden facility for baseball could ever make. For all of its flaws, because of its flaws, Fenway Park is absolutely everything a ballpark should be.
An eternal reminder that baseball, Red Sox baseball, is worth it.
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You CAN Avoid (Or At Least Minimize) The Obstructed View
Just because the support poles and their obstructed views keep out less dedicated fans doesn’t mean you have to endure them. There is actually a website called “Precise Seating” dedicated to providing the lowdown on every single seat in Fenway Park. It’s a fantastic resource for Sox fans.
With Precise Seating, you can put in all the information about a seat…section, row, and seat number…and the website will give the seat a 1-10 rating based on various factors: the view, distance from home plate and from the field, even shelter from rain. If there is an obstruction, the site will tell you what percentage of the field is blocked and whether you’ll be unable to see any of the bases or pitcher’s mound.
For example, say you’re looking at Grandstand Section 15, Row 5, Seat 1. Precise Seating will show you the obstruction, and how you won’t be able to see first or second base. They feature an actual photo from the seat, and being five rows from the pole it’s not too terribly bad, but if you have other choices you may want to look for another spot.
Precise Seating is a valuable tool, especially when searching around low numbered rows in the Grandstand. But if you don’t have access to it…say, when you’re patronizing a scalper…just remember a few things:
Low rows in the Grandstand are the biggest risk, since the support pole is usually along the first or second row. If you’re going to try it, go for a seat number between 5-12, where you could not only be safe but you may land a great seat for the price. If you’re in a higher row, in most cases the obstruction isn’t too bad if you’re between seats 5-10.
Also, keep in mind that there are support poles in the high rows too, usually in Row 18 or 19. If you go for a seat this high, again, avoid low or high numbered seats. You won’t be able to see scoreboard this high up, incidentally, but there are TVs showing replays of the action.
One last thing: there are no support poles blocking views in Sections 19 and 21, on either side of home plate. Check those first!
The Lansdowne Street Sausages
Part of the classic charm of Fenway Park is the sausage hawkers that surround the place…fans can get a decent sized tube of meat on a submarine roll for a few bucks less than what it would cost inside the park. You are indeed allowed to wrap them up and bring them into the game, if you can find some way to keep them warm while waiting in line.
Since most fans arrive at the ballpark from the Kenmore T station, the sausage vendors on Lansdowne Street are the most popular, being the first to emerge into view. They look similar, but there are differences between them. Here are a few fan favorites and what makes them special:
The Sausage Guy – Near the entrance to Cask ’N Flagon tavern is a small blue kiosk run by a gentleman named David Littlefield. The Sausage Guy’s website (yes, he has one) lists some of his stats: two frostbitten fingers from serving in the cold, a torn rotator cuff and three cortisone shots to his left elbow.
The Sausage Guy serves up good-sized sweet Italian sausage sandwiches with onions and peppers. It’s a pretty decent value and you can order the sausage on the website.
The Sausage Connection – The Sausage Connection is the yellow stand located near the Game Day ticket sales line. Not only do they serve up a mean sandwich of sausage, peppers and onions, they offer chicken teriyaki and steak tip sandwiches too.
What makes the Sausage Connection special in a sea of similar looking sausage vendors is their hot sauces, including the popular “Inner Beauty”, a tasty mustard-style sauce that will truly test your ability to handle the heat.
The Original Che-Chi’s – Che-Chi’s is the red stand further down on Lansdowne, and they have similar offerings like sausages, dogs and chicken. Che-Chi’s has their own secret hot sauce, which is a smoky BBQ-style sauce.
Che-Chi’s is also a tad more affordable than the rest; the sandwiches are a buck or two cheaper and they have soda specials.
Remember, you can bring them inside…
Alternate Transit Routes
Whether one drives to Fenway Park or uses the T, neither is a particularly pleasant method of transit. Driving to Fenway Park involves lengthy delays and hefty parking charges, but standing in a packed train car isn’t always the most fun ride either.
If you want to try something out of the ordinary, the excellent Fenway Park E-Guide offers some methods of transportation that you might not have considered and their merits:
Commuter Rail – On the Framingham/Worcester Line, Yawkey Station is just 500 feet from the ballpark, near Boston Beer Works. Parking lots this close often cost $50 and up. The ride is far less crowded, the seats are more plentiful and more comfortable, and the MBTA usually runs extra trains on game days.
The best part about this option is that you can book your parking at 100 Clarendon Street through the red Sox website very affordably, hop on the Commuter Rail from nearby Back Bay station, and go one inexpensive stop to the ballpark. Even with two or three people in the car, it’s still far cheaper than Fenway lot prices with just as much walking, and exiting from the garage is a snap afterwards.
Take The “E” Train – Most fans follow the advice on signs at stations that include transfers to the Green Line, the subway line that carries fans to Fenway: use any train except the “E”, which veers in another direction before stopping at Kenmore station.
This leaves the E trains far less crowded, and it’s not a total wash in getting to the ballpark: the Prudential and Symphony stations are maybe a 15-minute walk from Fenway. Many fans park at the Prudential garage to save a few dollars; using the E will spare you the Fenway crowds on the other trains.
And if you’re not up for that walk, you can hire someone to cycle you there in a rickshaw:
Boston Pedicab – The Boston Pedicab rickshaws can often be found around Fenway before and after games. You can find them all around downtown Boston too, especially at the Pru Center where people use them to ride to Sox games. They’re cyclists that pedal you to your destination for free; they subsist entirely on tips. Be generous. It’s a great way to avoid the traffic while enjoying a fine view of the city.
If you can’t find one, you can call Boston Pedicabs and they’ll send one out for you.
So you want to visit Nationals Park? You came to the right place my friend…this complete Nationals Park guide will tell you everything you need to know, especially about how to save money at Nationals games, from tickets to transportation to food.
I’ve even broken it down into parts, so you won’t want to break me into parts:
Finding Cheap Nationals Tickets
Choosing A Seat At Nationals Park
The Best And Other Ways To Get To Nationals Park
Nationals Park Food
Bringing The Kids
Nationals Park Accessibility
The President’s Race and Other Stuff
Stop paying ballpark prices for your Nationals gear, carry-in bags, and souvenirs!
Order your essential Nats game items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the game, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…
OK then, let’s get you started with some killer Nationals Park tips!
Nationals Park Guide, Part 1 – Finding Cheap Nationals Tickets
Finding cheap Nationals tickets – or at least finding the best deal – is all about choosing the right avenue for buying them.
Say you’re looking for a high demand game…such as Opening Day, July 4th, or when the Yankees, Phillies, or Orioles are in town on a weekend. Your best bet is usually to pay face value for tickets, either through the Nationals website or their box office.
So do this right now: subscribe to the Nationals e-mail newsletter here.
The Nats will make you aware of ticket deals, pre-sales, fan club memberships, giveaway nights, etc. It’s a very easy way to score much better deals on Nationals tickets.
Here’s just a few things the newsletter has informed me about: free tickets for military members; the very cool NatsPass; Value Days with discounts on everything for families; sweet deals for group tickets; you get it. It never hurts to check your newsletter.
If you’re confident the game won’t sell out, visit the box office on game day and save considerable cash avoiding online fees.
For low demand games – weeknight games, April games, etc. – you can often save on face price through a third party, like StubHub or SeatGeek. I’m a big fan of SeatGeek, and they’re an affiliate of mine, so if you want to add them to your ticket searches, be sure to use this link. (And thanks for your support!)
One caveat though. Don’t buy from third parties before tickets go on sale to the public. The only seats available will be from people that have bought from pre-sales, and prices could be ridiculously inflated. Your best bet with third parties is to generally wait until game day a few hours before the game.
As for scalpers, you can usually find quite a few of them, especially on Half Street leading to the ballpark from the Metro station. Check out this bit from my buddy Andrew Van Cleve about haggling with scalpers…he’s the best at it.
And if you’re considering trying Craigslist for tickets, check out my advice here about that.
Here’s a great Tightwad Tip…as of this writing, the Nats still offer a limited amount of $5 tickets at the box office, on game day, for almost every game. The seating is in Sections 401-402, among the worst seats, but you should be able to move to a better upper level seat. Nationals Park also has some of the better standing room in baseball. (More about that in a minute.)
Five dollar tickets can’t be beat, especially in an expensive town like D.C.!
Nationals Park Guide, Part 2 – Choosing A Great Seat
There’s a wide variety of seating sections and prices at Nationals Park. I have provided helpful advice elsewhere on this site…check out this about the cheap seats, or this post about expensive seats, or this post about what to avoid and the great standing room.
But for here and now, I’ll just break it down into budget levels.
Really expensive seats at Nats Park include the Delta Club seats behind home plate, PNC Club seats behind them, and the recliners in the Dugout Club that you need to lose a lot of money in a casino to get.
All of these include access to really fancy clubs and great food, in-seat wait service, all of which is nice. In my opinion, though, they’re overpriced for any team, and if you’re looking to score a seat in these sections try looking elsewhere, even though technically the Nats don’t allow resales of premium seats. If you can score a deal, it’s worth it, especially with parking thrown in.
The mid-range priced seats at Nationals Park include Infield Club on the mezzanine level, and most of the field level seating, especially in the infield.
Given D.C. weather in the summer, I would choose having access to a climate-controlled club to field level seats if you’re comparing similar costs. It gets very hot in this place. Plus the Infield Club features great eats with shorter lines, such as brick oven Enzo’s pizza, sushi, a carvery etc., all with places to sit and enjoy.
But seating on the field level does offer some fine views, and this is a place where you’ll want to stay low. If you can score tickets in, say, Sections 118 or 127, you can almost reach into a premium seat holder’s lap and grab a hunk of “complimentary” grub that they paid twice the price for. (Don’t actually do this.)
Low budget seating includes outer mezzanine seats, upper deck (Gallery) seats, scoreboard porch seats, etc. There’s a large number of cheap seats here, but most of them aren’t great.
The outer mezzanine seats aren’t bad for the price and offer decent shade for afternoon games, but you need to make a trek up or down to find any concessions, so just be aware of that and grab your grub before you sit.
In the upper deck, the 300 level seats cost significantly more than the 400 seats, but they’re worth it. The 400 level here is sky high, and it also involves much more climbing of steps.
That said, I prefer 400 level seating to outfield seating…especially the Right Field Terrace and sections in front of the scoreboard, both of which are very far from the action. The lower level outfield seats under the right field overhang are probably the worst seats in the ballpark, except in the rain…you will have no view of the scoreboard or fly balls.
One cool thing about upper outfield seating, though, is that it’s close to the upper level outfield concourse that is among the best in baseball…there’s a couple of bars (with drink specials even), and eateries like the Shake Shack and a BBQ joint that shouldn’t be missed. If you’re a ballgame socializer, it’s not a bad spot.
Finally, there’s lots of quality standing room at Nationals Park, should your seat not meet your dreams. In the upper outfield level especially, there are counters to rest your elbows and your grub, mist spraying fans, even some stools if you’re early enough.
If you’re on a strict budget, try the aforementioned $5 ticket and stake out a spot.
Nationals Park Guide, Part 3 – Fastest, Cheapest, and Some Unusual Ways to Get to Nationals Park
Driving to Nationals Park isn’t the worst as big city ballparks go, but it’s expensive, and chances are you’ll be sitting in traffic if you don’t arrive early. Most people recommend the Metro, but we’ll cover all the bases here. (Check out this post if you’re coming from Baltimore.)
The Navy Yard – Ballpark station on the Green Line of the Metro (officially the WMATA, but it’s the Metro to everyone here) is just steps away from the ballpark. It’s also a neat approach, probably by design, with the inside of the ballpark in full view from Half Street and a plethora of cheap vendors lining the path to the entrance. It’s baseball as it should be.
You’ll need a “SmarTrip” card both to ride the trains and pay for parking at a station. Needless to say, have enough value on it for the trip back, rather than wait in line behind folks who can’t figure out the machine. (There’s always one.) Parking at Metro stations is relatively inexpensive and free on weekends.
If you’re planning to drive to the game, let me start with this key suggestion: book your parking beforehand with ParkWhiz.
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OK, now then. The Nationals provide directions from every direction on their website, along with this nice interactive map to help you get to the game easily.
Currently the Nats run seven official lots: the Geico (formerly “B” before the B people pulled out) and C lots attached to the ballpark, which are ultra-convenient and ultra-expensive; Lots L and H a block away on Half Street which cost almost as much; and the more distant T, U, and W lots east of the ballpark. You can buy parking passes through the Nats, but you’ll pay a fee for that. Check your third parties; you might find a deal.
The W lot is the cheapest, most tailgate friendly, and one of the easiest to exit back onto the highway, but it’s a good hike away.
There are a few independent lots too. The former HH lot some blocks north on South Capitol is still there last I checked, and it’s among the cheapest you’ll find. Long walk, though…longer than the W Lot even.
The best deal for something less than a half mile away is probably off of Tingey Street east of the ballpark. Just east of Lot W are more cheap lots, but they’re also a lengthy walk.
Want to try free street parking? Don’t. Or at least, I highly recommend against it. The city of Washington works hard to ensure you pay out the wazoo for meters during games.
This website, by the way, is all about what you didn’t think of – Here’s a few cool and unusual ways to get to a Nats game:
The D.C. Circulator bus is a cheaper way to travel around the city; great if you’re making a day around town. The Circulator’s Blue Route stops at the Navy Yard/Ballpark Station entrance. The Blue Route (but only the Blue Route) extends service on game days.
The Ballpark Bus is a shuttle service that carries Nats fans west of D.C. to weekend games. The buses will run if there is enough demand–and there usually is–and the stations are local establishments like Tavern 64 in Reston, making it easy to enjoy a pre- or post-game meal.
The Ugly Mug is a tavern on 8th Street about a mile from the ballpark. They will run you to the game in a golf cart with a proof of purchase, and they have game day specials. Parking is not free or easy to come by, though, so this is best for folks wanting a meal and a drink before or after the game.
There is a specific location for Lyft and Uber riders, on the west curb of New Jersey Avenue between M and N Street. Ride sharing is expensive here, especially with surge pricing. If you can get someone to go in with you on the cost, though, it might work for you, and you won’t have to worry about service being available after the game…like you sometimes will with Metro.
You can even take a water taxi from Alexandria or nearby docks, courtesy of the Potomac Riverboat Company. The price for two is reasonable…about what it costs to park at the game. If you print out the ticket online, parking at the Chadwicks Restaurant is free.
Should you decide to bicycle to Nationals Park, the Nationals actually have a bicycle valet in Garage C. It starts two hours before gametime and closes one hour after the last pitch. The Riverwalk along both banks of the Anacostia makes for a swell bike ride, but I have read about some incidents, so keep your wits about you. I’m told it’s very cool lit up at night, if you’re comfortable cycling then.
Finally, you can borrow a bicycle from Capital Bikeshare; there are several stations near the ballpark, including right across the street.
Nationals Park Guide, Part 4: Food + Drink
Since the Nationals Park food menu changes so frequently, I’m just going to cover my favorite mainstays here. You can read about nacho choices here, or some other things to try here. But here’s the truly good stuff:
The Budweiser Brewhouse is the restaurant behind the red seats in left center field. It has indoor and outdoor seating, and it’s best to go either just after the gates open or around the fifth inning if you want a seat.
The Brewhouse sells quality food like steak salad or jerk chicken at ballpark prices. The menu changes a lot, and there’s usually something unusual. It all can be washed down with Bud-owned microbrews like Goose Island and Shock Top. Upstairs is the Bud Light Loft, with a full bar, misting fans, and a bird’s eye view of the game from left center.
The Chili Half-Smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl is a spicy sausage, with Ben’s special recipe chili piled on, along with cheese, chopped onions and yellow mustard. It’s a truly amazeballs chili dog, just grab some napkins and maybe a spoon for the abundant chili. Ben’s also has chili cheese fries, and they don’t skimp on the chili or cheese.
While we’re talking encased meat, Haute Dogs & Fries has some truly innovative offerings of gourmet beef dogs on New England rolls, including the Haute dog with brown onion relish, mayonnaise and celery salt, and a Banh Mi dog with jalapeno, carrots, cucumber slaw, cilantro and sriracha mayo. That’s just some examples…they might be different when you visit.
I’ve loved me some smothered tater tots at See. You. Tater., named for Bob Carpenter’s signature home run call. Get a bowl of tots covered with Buffalo chicken and blue cheese, crab meat and crab queso, or whatever else they may be offering.
Steak Of The Union stands still manage to hang around Nats Park, selling the classic Philly cheesesteaks, and they keep it simple: just beef, onions, peppers and Cheez Whiz. Or get some cheesesteak nachos. I would get a fork for the spillage either way.
For pizza, Enzo’s serves up decent pizza in my opinion, at least by ballpark standards, with thin crust and ample pepperoni. It’s greasy stuff though…pat it with a napkin if you care about that.
The Scoreboard Pavilion in right field is home to some cool spots:
The Shake Shack is a Citi Field staple (there’s one in Philly now too) but it is equally popular here; lines get very long for the Shackburger, a fresh beef patty topped with lettuce, cheese, tomato and Shack Sauce on a potato roll. There’s also milkshakes excellent enough to have a separate line, and I can vouch for the quality of the fries too.
But if you like fries, Box Frites (another Citi Field delicacy, SMH) is it…crispy boardwalk-style fries with several dipping sauces that change periodically. You might find smoky bacon or black pepper parm sauce or something like that. Try the garlic parmesan fries…you’ll thank me.
The Old Hickory BBQ Grill is fairly new, but Nationals Park’s BBQ has always rocked it. Old Hickory has smoked hot sausage with slaw and BBQ sauce, pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, and pulled pork nachos with house made chips.
You also have some healthy choices of course:
There’s a Field of Greens stand with mushroom burgers, salads, wraps, and hummus; it’s a good spot for vegan sorts. They also have a Gluten Free Grill in the center field plaza, featuring hot dogs with gluten-free rolls, burritos and pizza; Nats Park has a larger selection than most ballparks with GF stuff.
Finally, if you want something different for dessert, try Leilani’s Shaved Ice or Dolci Gelati…Dolci has gelato in multiple cool flavors like “Stracciatella”.
I’m really just scratching the surface here; Nationals Park has a seriously long menu. But I still want to talk about beer and drinks very briefly.
You can find some excellent brews at District Drafts from local breweries like Atlas, DC Brau, Mad Fox and others. Atlas created a special brew sold only at the ballpark called 1500 South Cap Lager, named for the address of Nationals Park.
Or try the Devil’s Backbone offerings at their lodge in the upper left field corner. They’ve developed a brew exclusively for Nats Park called “Earned Run Ale”…a light IPA with a lemon and grapefruit taste to it.
For other mixed drinks, there’s some cool offerings at Distilleries of the DMV and District Coolers spots. Or at any of the bars around the concourse and in the clubs.
Thanks for sticking with me; here’s some Tightwad Tips for Nationals Park food…
$ – You can bring your own food into Nationals Park; they allow a 16*16*8 bag (no backpacks). Coming from the train station, there’s a bunch of vendors with hot dogs, peanuts, bottled water etc. I always fill up a goody bag with a big bag of peanuts and a few big waters for less than $10. Well worth it.
$ – If you’re ordering tickets through the Nationals website, you can add concession credit to your ticket, and they’ll give you a few extra bucks’ worth. Not big savings, but there’s no reason not to use it.
$ – In the upper outfield concourse behind the Big Board, the bar features a Happy Hour with discounted beers ($5 as of this writing) that ends 45 minutes before game time. Well worth getting to the ballpark early, even if it’s Budweiser products.
Nationals Park Guide, Part 5: Bringing The Kids
I’ve dedicated a separate post to bringing the kids to a Nats game, but here’s a few things worth knowing.
The Family Fun Area has simulated pitching and batting cages, a nice kids’ playground area with a jungle gym, a picnic area, photo booths and penny press machines. The racing presidents greet fans here and pose for photos.
Kids can run the bases after Sunday games, and if you enter the kids in the Jr. Nats MVP Club, they’ll get front of the line privileges for this (and believe me, that’s worth the price). Kids club membership also includes team store discounts, a lanyard, and lots of other cool stuff. Definitely look into it for your offspring.
You can get your kid tagged at Guest Services just inside the center field gate, in case he decides to migrate. If it’s the kid’s first game, ask for a certificate.
Recently the Nats added a nursing lounge on the first base side, a private area with comfy chairs, a play area for toddlers, and TVs for busy moms to watch the game. My wife tested it out (she was legitimate) and had nothing but nice things to say about it.
Nationals Park Guide, Part 6: Accessibility
There are handicapped seating areas all over the park, with folding chairs included. There are also plenty of elevators to get to the upper level, and you’ll need them. You can also borrow a wheelchair at the Guest Services locations.
The Ballpark Metro Station is fully accessible, with a brand new elevator. Should you require the elevators elsewhere on the Metro, check WMATA’s website before you go, since they do have occasional issues with them.
You can drop off people by car at most entrances, but after the game, they can only be picked up from South Capitol Street on the first-base side. There are no curbs between O and P Streets on South Capitol, but there is a walkway on South Capitol to ease crossing the street.
Nationals Park Guide, Part 7: The President’s Race And Other Stuff
The President’s Race in the middle of the fourth inning (and the 13th, if the game goes that long) is always entertaining, although it was a little more fun when Teddy Roosevelt never won for various reasons. Teddy’s long losing streak finally ended in 2012, not coincidentally the first year the Nationals won the NL East. (Check out this excellent blog about the President’s Race.)
Remember, once the visiting team is finished batting in the top of the fourth, get your camera/phone out to video the event.
Throughout the season the Nationals have theme nights, like “Pups In The Park”, “Stitch N’ Pitch”, LGBTQ “Nats Night OUT”, or Georgetown cupcake night among many others. Special nights are listed on the Nats website, and they’ll be in your newsletter.
Before Sunday games, two Nationals players will sign autographs for about 20 minutes, so get a voucher at Section 103 (free) and arrive early.
There is a cool cheer for when the Nats score: a group behind home plate in the upper level chants “N-A-T-S Nats Nats Nats Woo!”, and repeats it twice for two runs, three times for three runs, etc. The words are now displayed behind Section 313, but it’s grown to other parts of the ballpark and it’s unique to D.C.
Finally, I can’t think of a ballpark I’ve been to with nicer staff than at Nationals Park, and I expect it’s part of their training. Everyone is extremely courteous and friendly and willing to help with any sort of need; and they’re plentiful to boot. Kudos to the Nats for this.
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There you are my friend…your complete, detailed Nationals Park guide, for fans who do live baseball right. I hope this helps you save some money and enjoy a much better experience; thanks for reading and supporting my sponsors!
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