Home of the Chicago Cubs
Team: Chicago Cubs
Stadium Capacity: 41,160
It seems almost cliche, but for baseball fans Wrigley Field is probably as close to heaven on earth as they’ll ever get. The ivy climbing the outfield wall, the green grass and sunshine, the beer and hot dogs, and fans as rabid as anywhere. Sure, if you go looking for flaws at Wrigley, they’re there. The park was built almost a century ago, remember? But it truly is a gem. Really. Find out for yourself.
There are dozens of bars and restaurants within a short stroll of Wrigley Field, from classic sports bars to old-school taverns and a diverse array of restaurants, music venues, coffee shops and theater. So the first bit of advice is to leave plenty of time pre- and post-game to explore. … For a start, head to Murphy’s Bleachers where they’ve been serving them up across the street from the entrance to the park’s bleachers since the 1930s. They have the best cheeseburger in Wrigleyville, and there’ll be plenty of Cubs fans to bond with over beers. Enter in the back where it’s less crowded. … After hanging at Murphy’s for a while, stroll up Waveland Avenue and check out the Ballhawks, those guys who shag home run balls during batting practice and the game beyond the left-field wall. They’re an amiable lot and don’t seem to mind the occasional passer-by joining in – glove optional. … Before heading into the game, pick up some peanuts from a street vendor. “Cheaper on the outside!” they bellow, and it’s true. … Once inside, soak in the scene: the ivy on the outfield walls, the wonderful hand-operated scoreboard, the packed bleachers and rooftops across the street, the pennants flapping atop the roof and scoreboard. It's like watching a game inside a museum to America's Pastime. … The bathrooms look like they haven't changed in 100 years, either, so time your breaks appropriately to avoid lines (make a run before the third out or when you see a pitching change coming). … As the final out is recorded and a member of the grounds-crew raises that ‘W’ flag atop the scoreboard, head across the street to Bernie’s to celebrate. It of course will be crowded with Cubs fans, but that’s why you’re here, right? … If your body starts sending signals that it needs more than beer and peanuts to function, stroll up Clark Street to the Raw Bar for a cool scene and good seafood, or walk four or five blocks west to Southport Avenue, where there is a stretch of bars and restaurants to choose from. … To close out the day, head to the Gingerman Tavern just north of the park on Clark, where you can shoot a game of pool and mix with the eclectic crowd.
Murphy's Bleachers,3655 N. Sheffield Ave., (773) 281-5356
Bernie’s, 3664 N. Clark St., (773) 525-1898.
Raw Bar, 3720 N. Clark St., (773) 348-7291
Gingerman Tavern, 3740 N. Clark St., (773) 549-2050
Wise Guide Tips / Know what the locals know, go where the locals go
At Wise Guides, we believe “spectator” should be a verb. Not because you should suck down 12 beers, run on the field and try to take the first baseman’s job — you shouldn’t. It’s because there’s so much more to going to a game than simply sitting in your seat watching the action. There are stadiums and neighborhoods to explore, food and drink to try, history to learn and interesting people to meet. Try our Wise Guides tips, they are funny, helpful and, we hope, interesting.
Hang with the Ballhawks
Wander out to Waveland Avenue a couple of hours before first pitch, just beyond the leftfield wall, and you’ll see grown men with gloves on waiting for baseballs to drop from the sky. They’re the Ballha... Read more »