General

How to embrace October baseball in Wrigleyville

CubsWinIt’s October again.

But for the Cubs – and Cubs fans – it’s also a brave new world.

No longer the Lovable Losers, the North Siders are now the Cherished Champs, and in turn, the 10th month of 2017 has a different vibe than in Octobers (and centuries) past.

As the Cubs dive headlong into the National League Division Series against Dusty Baker’s Washington Nationals, there are no goats to taunt us and no curses to haunt us. After finally winning it all, this postseason is largely gravy to me. That said, I’m greedy and want to get fat on the gravy.

I think the surging Cubs can win again, although repeating will be anything but easy. However, to make things easier for you to enjoy October baseball in Wrigleyville, I’ve compiled a few tips should you be looking to get another taste.

Tickets

There’s now a new way to enjoy the postseason in Wrigleyville with the delightful Park at Wrigley hosting playoff watch parties when the Cubs are on the road. This afternoon, for example, The Park will open one hour before the 4:30 p.m. broadcast time for Game 2 in D.C.

Tickets to the event are $10 and limited to four per order, with proceeds benefiting Cubs Charities. For ticket availability for the Game 2 party and potential upcoming events, visit parkatwrigley.com.

If you’re looking to purchase tickets to actual playoff games at Wrigley, note that you can still register at cubs.com for a chance at the World Series (should the Cubs get there). That deadline is noon on Oct. 16, with a refundable $50 deposit required to enter.

For NLDS tickets to Games 3 or 4 of on Monday and Tuesday (or potential games beyond), the good news is that prices on StubHub are running lower now than last season when the cheapest were $120 for the NLDS, $375 for the NLCS and $2,000 for the World Series. The bad news is that they tickets are still pricey at a minimum of $108 for NLDS, $209 for NLCS and $1,400 for the World Series.

Parking

It’s not easy to find parking in Wrigleyville even when the Cubs aren’t in town. When they are, it’s almost impossible. There are many private parking options in small lots and alleys off of Addison, but prices will be sky-high during the postseason.

Your best options for less-expensive parking are the Green Lot (1126 W. Grace St.) or the Irving Lot (1052 Irving Park Rd.). You also can park at the Remote Lot (3900 N. Rockwell) and take the free shuttle service to Wrigley. For playoff watch parties at The Park, the Green Lot is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To avoid parking altogether, you can take Metra and CTA trains to Chicago and then Wrigley. Use the Regional Transit Authority trip planner at goroo.com for easy directions from anywhere.

Partying

If Wrigleyville doesn’t feature more bars per square mile than any neighborhood in America, it’s close. So, if you can’t get inside the ballpark this month, you have plenty of options to soak in the excitement around it.

Hands down, the best game day bar is Murphy’s Bleachers (3655 N. Sheffield), while the bars with the best quirks and personality are The Gingerman (3740 N. Clark), Guthrie’s Tavern (1300 W. Addison) and Nisei Lounge (3439 N. Sheffield), billed as Wrigleyville’s oldest bar.

More spacious spots include Old Crow Smokehouse (3506 N. Clark), John Barleycorn (3524 N. Clark), Moe’s Cantina (3518 N. Clark) and The Cubby Bear (1059 W. Addison). But, be warned, even spacious spots get packed in October.