The sun was shining, a mild breeze was blowing in from Lake Michigan, we were among a sea of blue jerseys eagerly waiting to be let into one of the quintessential landmarks of America’s pastime. I was finally here…after wanting to visit Wrigley Field for years, I was practically jumping out of my skin to be in the presence of one of baseball’s most iconic stadiums.
We had driven into the city in the morning and parked in the LAZ parking garage on N. Halsted Street, ten to fifteen minutes walking distance from the stadium, which cost $23. Paying for parking is never fun, but compared to what closer lots were charging, this was a bargain and we didn’t see any street parking ideal for our truck. On our way to the stadium, we cut down a quiet, tree-lined residential street where we stumbled upon a beautifully landscaped little park to eat the lunches we had packed. We both agreed that if we lived in this neighborhood, we would come to this little oasis all of the time.
As we approached the corner of Clark and Addison, the old girl came into view (wonder if any Cubs faithful have ever named their kids after this intersection…great idea, huh?). I was in awe seeing the iconic sign at the entrance in person and we were sure to stop for some photo ops. After the surprisingly easy process of picking up our tickets at Will Call and an expeditious security screening, we entered the gates to the park.
Inside, the park had clearly been updated, but still maintained that old-timey feeling I think everyone craves when they visit. It felt very open and like every seat had a great view of the beautifully bright green field and famous ivy-covered outfield walls. Our seats were in aisle 235, as Wrigley appears to identify their sections as “aisles”. We didn’t have a fully clear view of the video screen in left field or the iconic Major League Baseball standings sign in center field due to the overhang, but I didn’t mind because we could see the right field scoreboard and who goes to Wrigley to see a video screen anyway? It was also great being under the overhang for some shade and to feel the cool breeze blowing through. I enjoyed the fact that they mimicked the old-fashioned style scoreboard on the video screen closest to us as well.
The turnout donned in Cubs’ attire was very impressive as I was one of very few that we saw dressed for opposing teams. I excitedly wore my Chase Utley Phillies jersey, not only because I am a Phillies fan, but because the Cubs were playing the Dodgers, Utley’s current team. I was as excited as a little schoolgirl to see my favorite player, who almost every female fan has to admit they love not only for his playing ability and diligent work ethic, but for his “sigh-worthy” looks. I’ve always thought John looked a little like him, but maybe it’s just me…;)
It was a great game, with the Cubs winning 7-2. The crowd was enthusiastic throughout, as seen here during “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, which was sung by Chicago-born actor and producer, Joe Mantegna.
After the game, I was dying to try a Chicago-style hotdog, which we had seen advertised everywhere, so we headed over to Byron’s Hot Dog Haus. Boy, am I glad we did! This, ladies and gentlemen, is a hotdog…
Toppings of tomato, hot peppers, relish, yellow mustard, chopped onions, pickles and celery salt make up a Chicago hotdog. An infamously picky eater, I was stoked that I didn’t have to even modify any of the toppings and they were all things that I loved! It was as delectable as it looks and I will definitely try making these at home! They also offered a “Philly steak” at this place, but we didn’t try it to see how it stacked up against the real thing.
We headed back to the campground, planning to head towards Rapid City, SD the next day, but without a definite plan, as it would be a twelve hour drive. Oh, the freedoms of being on the road…