Take me out to the Ballpark! And then…well what exactly is there to do in Wrigleyville? Chicago has 77 + neighborhoods here in the city. The “plus” stands for neighborhoods that aren’t technically recognized by city zoning, but everyone knows what they are and where they are. The most famous of these “plus neighborhoods” is Wrigleyville. Nestled in the northern part of Lakeview, and directly off the Addison red line stop is none other than our iconic baseball field, Wrigley Park home of the Chicago Cubs.
Built in 1914, Wrigley Stadium holds the title for the second oldest baseball stadium, second only to Fenway Park in Boston that was completed in 1912. Wrigley Field, a mecca for cubs and sports fans alike, was built by Charles H. Weeghman. He would creatively name his new baseball stadium… Weeghman Park until 1920 when the Wrigley family bought the park and changed the name to Cubs Park. One more change would occur in 1926 when the stadium’s name would officially be changed to Wrigley Field to honor the legacy of the club’s owner: William Wrigley Jr.
William Wrigley Jr. started selling soap at the tender age of thirteen. By the time he turned 29 years old he moved from Philadelphia to Chicago with only $32 in his pocket. With his life’s savings he opened his own business selling soap and eventually other products such as baking soda. His most popular item was the chewing gum he would include free of charge with a soap purchase. Eventually he would drop selling soap and focus his efforts on his booming chewing gum business, bringing us Wrigley Chewing Gum as we know and love it today. The vision of these two great men would bring prosperity to the area, and in true Jewel Box stadium fashion, Wrigley Field would go on to shape the area that today is known and loved as Wrigleyville.
Modern Day Wrigleyville consists of historic sports bars, Hotel Zachary, citizens walking their pooches, and of course the stadium itself. If you’re considering staying in this area you won’t be disappointed. Although the area in the past has been lacking the proper infrastructure to entertain overnight guests, recent renovations has provided the area with new restaurants for daytime and late-night eating. As an extra bonus, if you decide to stay in Wrigleyville, you can experience Chicago like a local as the entire area and attractions are in walking distance from Hotel Zachary and the Stadium. Take a walk east down Addison to enjoy views of Lake Michigan, grab a Chicago style hot dog at Wrigleyville Dogs, or head out for a night of partying and bar hopping at the historic bars down Clark Street.
Game Days in Wrigleyville!
Game days are the beating heart of Wrigleyville, its purpose for existence and the buzzing hum of life. Buckle up if you’re headed to Wrigleyville for a game, the
neighborhood is going to get busy. Certain series will attract larger crowds, such as series between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals, but it is a safe bet that if the Cubs are playing at home, you’re going to have to wait in lines for the bars and restaurants in the area. So, be sure to plan accordingly and get to Wrigleyville early if you’re hoping to grab food before the game.
Dining and Drinking in Wrigleyville
On the corner of Sheffield and Waveland you’ll find local favorite, Murphy’s Bleachers. This sports bar gets its name from the long-standing tradition of watching games in Wrigley field from rooftop bleachers on the surrounding buildings. There are 16 rooftop bleachers surrounding Wrigley Field–eleven of them are owned by the Ricketts Family who are the current owners of the Chicago Cubs. Spectators have been enjoying games at Wrigley from these rooftops as early as 1929 during the World Series. There would be paying customers atop those rooftop bleachers by the 1932 World Series, but it wouldn’t be until the 1980s when owners, such as retired police Detective Jim Murphy, started renovating their rooftops to have large grandstands to entertain and seat guests wanting to watch the game from the rooftops.
These days you can still watch a game from Murphy’s Bleachers, or simply enjoy the bar bellow. This bar is kicking year-round with regulars at the bar every day of the year. During game days they close their regular service kitchen for grilled burgers, hot dogs, and other park favorites. If you’re visiting during the off season or when the cubs aren’t playing, then you can take a walk through the bar and appreciate the historic photos and memorabilia from decades past. It basically is a living museum of the Chicago Cubs’ most memorable moments.
If you really want the full Wrigleyville and Chicago Cubs experience, then you can’t skip this other fan favorite Cubs bar located on Addison and Clark. This bar was established in 1953 and remains today as one of the best rock clubs in the city of Chicago. That’s right, it’s not only an iconic sports bar, but a rock music venue. If that’s not enough, it also hosts events in its space for small and large groups. You can plan your next birthday, retirement, or corporate event in their space.
Sluggers is a local favorite arcade, bar, and batting cages. Batting Cages? YES! Sluggers is a favorite bar on Clark Street and they are famous for the games that litter this sports bar. Have a drink, practice your swing, become the next greatest MLB star…in your imagination. If you believe in “work hard, play hard” then look no further.
A newer addition to the neighborhood, Smoke Daddy is one of the best places to grab a meal in the area. This restaurant won renown from its original location in Wicker Park, and was featured on several shows on the Food Network. It’s an excellent choice no matter what time of year as it has ample indoor and outdoor seating. It’s a great dine in option during a Cubs game if you would like to be part of the event, but you don’t want to go into the Stadium to watch a game. You can watch the game on their TVs and feel like you’re a part of the crowd since you’ll be cheering right along with the Stadium next door.
This Chicago Chain was started by two Michelin Star Chefs who wanted to make more accessible food, so they opened a Chicken and Donut shop, which has now expanded across Chicago. You can grab any of their sandwiches and substitute out the bread for any of their donuts. Not only do they have rotating seasonal donuts, they have a nice selection of vegan and gluten free donuts, making it a delicious and inclusive spot for all your morning sweet treat needs.
Other Attractions and Things To Do in Wrigleyville
Wrigleyville also boasts being the home to Metro, one of Chicago’s top music venues, which featured artists like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. Their first ever performance was by none other than R.E.M. This building has seen some of the greatest artists of all time. It has all the charm you can hope for from a building that was built in 1927 and then renovated for modern audience members when Metro would open in 1982.
Take a Bike Tour of Wrigleyville
If you want to see Wrigleyville, but you’re staying downtown and only have so much time to do everything you want to in the city, consider taking the Bobby’s Bike Hike Bikes, Bites, and Brews Tour.
- This tour starts in Streeterville near Navy Pier and takes you all the way up to Wrigleyville.
- You can eat and drink your way through Chicago History and some of its northside neighborhoods.
- Take a photo in front of the Wrigleyville sign and learn about the infamous Chicago Cubs curse of the Billy Goat.
- You can pack Chicago’s legendary foods, history, and a trip to Wrigleyville in a four-hour biking tour.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wrigleyville:
What are the nearest attractions to Wrigleyville?
A: Nearby you can go to a music show at the Metro. You can catch an arthouse film at the Music box Chicago. If you’re into live theater, you can see a show at The Mercury Theater or the Public House Theater.
When is the best time to visit Wrigleyville?
A: Peak season is quite obviously during baseball season from April through October, with the June through August being the busiest. There are special holiday events put on at Wrigley Field from November to December. You can visit Wrigley year-round but might find the weather a bit distasteful from January-March.
Transportation options in Wrigleyville?
A: The best way to get in and out of Wrigleyville is by taking the CTA Redline. Wrigleyville and Wrigley Stadium are directly off the Addison red line stop. You can take ride shares in and out of the area but those can be pricey, especially if there is any type of event happening at the stadium. Driving in and out of the area is not advised as parking can be difficult and very expensive on game days. A bike is a great option to get around Chicago, and Bobby’s Bike Hike has visitors covered with bike rentals to explore Wrigelyville and the downtown area, as well as bike tours of Wrigleyville and other Chicago neighborhoods.
Wrigleyville has been shaped for over a century by the presence of Wrigley Field. It has been cursed, built up and torn down, shaped and reshaped by new Chicago Cub’s owners, night clubs, and locals. It is a reminder of Chicago’s tribulations and its greatest triumphs, a living symbol of the spirit of a Second City that rose from the ashes of its predecessor. In Wrigleyville, you truly feel like anything is possible with enough determination and support.
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