This weekend, the Chicago White Sox (22-21) host the crosstown rival Chicago Cubs (18-25) in a two-game set. In the spirit of baseball, it’s only fitting we discuss the art of tailgating and debate which location is best suited for the activity.
As an avid White Sox fan, I can confidently say tailgating at Guaranteed Rate Field is better than doing so at Wrigley Field.
Why? Well, I’ll break down a few of the reasons.
First, we must get the definition of tailgating out of the way. An accurate description of a proper tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Taking place primarily in the US and Canada, the social event involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food.
By definition, Guaranteed Rate Field wins this argument. However, there should be other measures applied for fairness. Thus, aspects like transportation to the ballpark, parking fees, and food & beverage costs will be used.
Getting to and from the ballpark + parking in Chicago
Chicago’s public transportation is some of the best in the US. Getting to and from Guaranteed Rate Field and Wrigley Field via this option is as simple as it is affordable.
Heading up north from the Southside, you take the Redline to the Addison stop. Take the same train line to the 35th stop if you’re venturing south.
Public transportation cost:
- To Sox Stadium: $2.25
- To Cubs Stadium: $2.25
If you opt to take your own vehicle, that’s where things can get a little pricy. Parking at Sox Stadium is easy due to having seven parking lots. If you snag a parking pass online before game day, it will cost $25 and give you access to lots north of the stadium. If you opt for day-of-parking, that will cost you $27, and you must park south of the stadium.
Parking at Wrigley Field is a bit complex because the stadium is situated in the heart of a neighborhood. On average, parking in the neighborhood can cost between $45 and $60.
Parking (driving) cost:
- Sox game: $27 day of – $25 online purchase
- Cubs game: $45-60 average parking
Chicago intricacies of a tailgate
Tailgating is an art form, and there is a difference between a tailgate and a pre-game. A pre-game happens when you go to a bar or restaurant and have a few drinks before a game. A tailgate is planned; it involves several moving parts and usually takes place in a parking lot.
But since we are adding additional variables, I’ll try my best to remain fair. As a former resident of the Wrigley area, I have surveyed the culture of Cubs fans. I know what it takes to survive a day on the Northside and a day on the Southside.
A tailgate at Sox park starts early. If you’re meeting someone which a vehicle, you arrive with a six-pack of canned beer and maybe some meat in tube form.
Over on the Northside, you pick out a bar to hunker down in, like Houndstooth Saloon or The Country Club. The Graystone Tavern and Murphys Bleachers are also viable options.
Back on the Southside, a game of bags is just beginning. Your friend Jimmy is operating the charcoal grill while you sit in the foldable chair and crack open a cold beer that costs you, on average, $1.49. Perhaps other guests floating in between the sea of cars smuggled in some illegal contraband like a bottle of hard alcohol.
At Houndstooth, you opt for a tallboy of PBR for roughly $6. If you stay domestic and opt for a premium beverage, tack on another $2. The television screens might have other games on, but the sea of Cubs fans will be shoulder to shoulder packing the place before you grab your third drink.
- Sox – $8.99 six pack ($1.49 average)
- Cubs – $8 (16oz draft)
The hotdogs are ready, and since you bought the 8-count at your local grocery, the cost is cheap. You keep it simple, a little mustard because you’re a purist, maybe some potato chips on the side if available. Leaving Houndstooth, you can take the short walk over to Lucky’s Sandwich Co., home of some of the best sandwiches in Chicago.
My personal favorite, The Fredo (ham, salami, capicola, and swiss. Served with tomatoes, fries, and coleslaw on the sandwich), will run you $12. Add a 160z beer for $8 to wash everything down.
- Sox – $11.28 ($1.41 average price per hotdog)
- Cubs – $12.00 + tax
Sports betting aspect in Chicago
Lastly, let’s not forget about placing some wagers on the rivalry game. Since Illinois mobile sports betting is legal, fans of either team can place a bet from anywhere in the city. Before you clean the last bits of mustard and grease off your fingers in Lot B, you can place a moneyline bet with the DraftKings Sportsbook app.
Over on the Northside, before entering Wrigley Field or from your seat in the bleachers, you can place a 3-leg parlay bet with the FanDuel Sportsbook app.
There are 10 teams with ballparks located in states where online gambling is legal.
- New York Yankees
- Chicago White Sox
- Detroit Tigers
- New York Mets
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Washington Nationals
- Chicago Cubs
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Colorado Rockies
Honorable mention goes to the Cincinnati Reds, whose stadium is minutes from the Indiana border, where mobile sports betting is legal. Also, fans of the St. Louis Cardinals only need to travel a short distance to reach Illinois, where mobile wagering reigns supreme.
- Sox – $32.15
- Cubs – $67.25
At the end of the day, it’s a matter of preference. Do you want to be in a bar shoulder to shoulder with friends paying for overpriced drinks? Or do you want to be sulking in a parking lot drinking a cheap beer, eating encased meats, and wishing your team was playing up to their potential?
I know what I’d rather be doing, and that’s why I consider myself a White Sox fan.