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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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!
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.
Even if you don’t live in Chicago, you probably have a few Cubs fans in your life. Rooting for the Cubs is a universal sentiment for millions of Americans everywhere. And for any Cubs fans are on your list, I’ve compiled this superb list of ideal gifts for Cubs fans – especially for when they’re headed to Wrigley Field for a ballgame.
Full disclosure here: Ballpark E-Guides is an Amazon affiliate, so if you use the links in this post to purchase an item, this website earns a commission…at no extra cost to you. So thanks for your support!
Gifts For Cubs Fans, Part 1: Staying Warm at Wrigley
No Chicago native needs to be told how chilly it can get in the Friendly Confines…there’s a reason (cool Wrigley tip coming!) that April games feature the cheapest tickets (that’s the tip!).
But more importantly, fans need to stay warm when this team is playing in October.
So here’s a few gift suggestions for comfort at the Friendly Confines…
First, let’s not take leg warmth for granted. They make some truly cool Cubs socks, so click here to see all of the styles available.
Ever have your feet get cold at a sporting event? All the time, right? I think sneaker slippers are a pretty cool idea! Great for keeping fan feet warm on those chilly October nights at Wrigley, and they actually look pretty cool too. Check them out here.
Next to leg warmth, neck warmth can be overlooked too…so check out this selection of Cubs scarves.
The Cubs fan in your life will love this hooded sweatshirt. And this championship hoodie is pretty cool too. It’s only been a few years since the glorious triumph of 2016 for Cubs fans…short enough to still celebrate the ending of a century long drought, but also long enough that championship gear is available at a pretty nice price.
If we’re talking hoodies, I like this one too…a cubby bear flying a blue W flag with ivy. One simple logo capturing multiple elements of being a Cubs fan at the Friendly Confines.
You’ll need a windbreaker if you’re sitting in those shaded Terrace Reserved seats (I speak from experience), especially in the early months of the season when the stiff wind blows in from Lake Michigan. This nice looking one from Majestic includes fleece lining and it can even be financed!
And while we all wish cooler heads had prevailed when a fan reached for a foul ball, it’s still a smart thing to keep your head warm at Wrigley. Here’s a nice selection of a few knit hats for the Cubs fan in your life.
Gifts For Cubs Fans, Part 2: Showing Your Cubs Fan Allegiance
A sea of blue in the stands at Wrigley does not happen without each and every Cubs fan contributing that individual effort. When the Cubs fan in your life is visiting their favorite home for baseball, accessorizing is a must.
Let’s start with the obvious…caps, jerseys and T-shirts.
This here Cubs cap is my favorite style, and I own one myself…the big red C with the walking blue cub. In the interest of honesty, I will tell you that I found mine cheap from one of the ubiquitous outside vendors at Wrigley…but this version is still cheaper than what you’ll pay inside the ballpark.
Stop paying ballpark prices for your Cubs gear and souvenirs!
As far as jerseys, Amazon’s prices are much better than the MLB shop…check out this away Cubs jersey here and here to see the price difference (Prices are subject to change, but the difference was close to $40 as I wrote this.)
That said, MLB Shop does have a far better selection regarding jerseys…so far be it for me to tell you to not check that out here.
But again, there’s considerable savings on these things on Amazon, and you can probably find a very cool jersey for the Cubs fan in your life here. I even checked the free shipping box for you!
Finally, there’s no better way to bring out the awww factor than bringing a tiny new Cubs fan to their first game at Wrigley Field…wearing a Cubs fan onesie of course. (You can tell I’m a dad, knowing what a “onesie” is.) And of course, be sure the baby is wearing a bib for their Old Style milk.
(Yes, I know Old Style doesn’t make milk. Do not think for a minute I’m suggesting filling a baby bottle with Old Style anything.)
Gifts For Cubs Fans, Part 3: Other Wrigley Accessories
The proper attire isn’t the only thing a Cubs fan needs to bring to Wrigley Field on game day. As regular readers of this site know, you can bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks into Wrigley Field. (Read more about that here.)
Your favorite Cubs fan will need something to keep all that cheap grub in, right? Be sure to equip them…and let them know about that little loophole the Cubs offer if they weren’t aware already.
This cooler makes a great compartment, even though you can’t bring in alcohol. Store your Subway sandwich or El Burrito Mexicano carry out in it and keep it warm, or grab a couple of bottles of water and keep them cold.
This lunch bag is on the pricey side, but it’s ideal for storing sandwiches or drinks.
Or ladies can use this tote bag, to carry other stuff as well…like any souvenirs they’re buying at the game.
If none of those work for you, here’s a larger selection. But definitely consider a cooler bag for anyone who makes frequent trips to Wrigley. Nothing against the extremely impressive Wrigley Field food selection, but BYO is a big money saver.
OK, so now you’ve got your gear and your goody bag, just a couple more things…remember there’s no retractable roof at Wrigley, so if you’re in the bleachers especially, you could be scrambling in a rain delay to find a covered spot. Or you could sit under this fine umbrella. Sweet, huh?
Speaking of enjoying the Wrigley bleachers, this seat cushion can make life a little easier on the back of your favorite Cubs fan.
And needless to say, every Cubs fan needs to be prepared to wave the Blue W following a Cubs victory…so here’s a perfect stocking stuffer gift for a Cubs fan: a Blue W flag!
Gifts For Cubs Fans, Part 4: Winter Reading
OK, maybe it’s not something to take to Wrigley, but your favorite Cubs fan still needs to pass the time until baseball season. What better way to do it on a snowy Chicago day than some great Cubs reading? Here’s a few I recommend…
I confess to not yet having read The Chicago Cubs: Story of A Curse, but judging from the reviews it’s very good, and I would certainly get it for a Cubs fan in my life.
I did read the next two, and while Cubs fans are no longer waiting until next year for the end of the lifelong misery, they are still both great reads:
And The Cubs Fan’s Guide To Happiness is from the authors of The Heckler, a Cubs fan magazine. I lent this one to a Cubs fan friend of mine, and he handed it back to me with one word: “Hilarious!”
Gifts For Cubs Fans, Part 5: Because Neon.
Finally, not much to say about this one…nor is it something you bring to a ballgame, but I saw it and decided this sign would be an essential mancave item for a Cubs fan. It is just so…Christmas. (Not the sign in the picture below…if that was on Amazon I would own it!)
There you are my friend, a helpful list of gifts for Cubs fans, especially the ones you see in Wrigley Field from April through October.
By the way, I’m full of other great tips for Wrigley visitors and regulars…I’ve got 1*10^6 ways to save money and enjoy a better experience. Get some great tips for Wrigley and other ballparks by clicking here!