Whether you’re on the North or South Side, Chicago is a baseball city. Catch a game at Wrigley Field or Guaranteed Rate Field on a summer day and you can feel the love that fans have for their teams. Chicago Cubs and White Sox fandom has seeped into the very fabric of the city. It’s easy to find attractions around Chicago that honor both of the city’s rival teams. Here are a few of Chicago’s best baseball landmarks to check out.
No visit to Chicago is complete without smiling for a photo in front of Wrigley Field’s welcome sign. You don’t need tickets to a game to visit this bright red Cubs emblem. The sign hangs at the entrance to the stadium at the legendary corner of Addison and Clark, declaring Wrigley Field as the proud home of the Chicago Cubs.
So much history happened inside the original Comiskey Park. In addition to being the home of the White Sox from 1910 to 1990, it was also the site of the 1947 NFL Championship, the home stadium of the Negro American League’s Chicago American Giants and the place where Joe Louis famously beat James J Braddock in a 1937 heavyweight title match that has gone down in history. While this historic landmark has since been knocked down and replaced with a new stadium, a plaque on the sidewalk outside the current home of the White Sox marks where home plate used to be. In the parking lot, fans can also check out the painted foul lines of the old stadium.
The entire area surrounding Wrigley Field, aptly called Wrigleyville, is known for its active nightlife, but on a game day, the bars and restaurants spring to life no matter what time it is. Sports bars fill to the brim with fans clad in Cubs gear excited to watch the game as close to the magic as possible. Murphy’s Bleachers is one such establishment. A Wrigleyville institution, it has been hosting Cubs fans for decades. If you’re there on a nice day, be sure to enjoy drinks in its lovely outdoor area. On game days, it is sure to be packed, but if you want the full Murphy’s experience, that’s the best time to go. Just embrace it and join in on the fun. You can also check out The Cubby Bear, Sports Corner or Slugger’s.
The Billy Goat Tavern is a Chicago restaurant chain famous for its association with the Chicago Cubs’ Curse of the Billy Goat. It is said that the tavern’s owner, William Sianis, cast this curse over the team when he was asked to remove his goat (the restaurant’s mascot) from Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series. The angry Sianis declared the Cubs would never win again. For 71 years, this curse haunted Cubs fans until it was finally broken by their World Series Win in 2016. The Billy Goat Tavern is also known for being parodied on Saturday Night Live. You can visit any of the tavern’s nine locations around the city to enjoy its unique character and famous burgers. For the true insider’s experience, though, you have to visit the original location on Lower Michigan Avenue. It’s a hole-in-the-wall establishment hidden within the city’s underground tunnel system.
Anyone looking to honor Major League Baseball legend Ernie Banks can visit his memorial monument in Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery, where Banks is buried. Banks played for the Cubs from 1953 to 1971, during which time he secured his reputation as one of the best baseball players in history. Banks was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. He died in 2015 at age 83.
Guaranteed Rate Field is the “new” home of the White Sox, who have played there since 1991 after moving from the old Comiskey Park. Since then, this park has been renamed from Comiskey Park to US Cellular Field (earning it the nickname ‘The Cell’) and finally to Guaranteed Rate. The park has undergone some huge updates over the past few years and now offers more healthy food options, multiple craft breweries and the 15,000-square-foot (1,400-square-meter) Xfinity Kids Zone, which antsy kids can visit during a game to participate in activities like Wiffle ball, base running and batting cages.
Take a lap around Wrigley Field and you’ll find two important statues: one of the legendary Ernie Banks and the other of the renowned Harry Caray, a sportscaster beloved by both Cubs and White Sox fans. Caray, who died at age 83 in 1998, spent 11 years calling games for the White Sox before moving to Wrigley and calling Cubs games for 16. Fans loved Caray for his jovial, energetic spirit and his famous chant of “Holy cow!”
One of the best (and cheapest) ways to enjoy a Cubs game is from the Wrigley Field bleachers. Unlike the rest of the stadium, these outfield seats are unassigned, and for some reason, the fans in this area are just plain rowdier. There is something about being in those seats that gets people more excited. The camaraderie, energy and excitement of the bleachers are not to be missed by those who really want to experience a Cubs game.
If you can’t score a ticket to a White Sox game, you can still enjoy it from one of the many bars in the surrounding neighborhood of Bridgeport. From Cork and Kerry to Mitchell’s Tap to Buffalo Wings and Rings, there are plenty of places to go and join in on the game-day fun.
2016 Cubs World Series memorabilia at the Chicago Sports Museum
If you have kids – or if you’re just young at heart – the Chicago Sports Museum is filled with interactive exhibits that provide fun for the whole family. It also houses an exciting collection of Cubs memorabilia from the curse-breaking 2016 World Series. Visit this museum, located inside the famous Water Tower Place, to lay eyes on the grand-slam ball hit by Addison Russell in Game 6, the catcher’s gear worn by David Ross in Game 7 and much more. The museum lies on Chicago’s renowned Michigan Avenue, so while you’re there, take some time to wander up and down this popular shopping street.