Guaranteed Rate Field
The White Sox are the polar opposites of their intracity rivals, the Cubs, in many ways, and you can count their stadiums among the reasons why. While Wrigley Field gets lauded (and rightfully so) for being an old-timey, brick-and-steel structure nestled in a trendy neighborhood, the White Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Field is a barely modern concrete stadium in a far less vibrant area, lacking both the history and charm that makes Wrigley so celebrated.
And don’t get us started on the name changes. What once was the second coming of Comiskey Park gave in to corporate naming rights and became U.S. Cellular Field, and then Guaranteed Rate Field in 2016 to the chagrin of many. Other than the name, blame circumstance for the yard’s lack of charisma — it was constructed just before asymmetrical, retro ballparks became all the rage, dooming it to become a concrete relic even before it could celebrate a decade of existence.
Still, watching a game at Guaranteed Rate Field isn’t all bad. South Siders, like their team, are rarely about flash and gimmicks — with them, what you see is what you get. As long as you’re not all about fancy bells and whistles, you’ll be able to enjoy a night at this ballpark as much as any other in the majors.
- The Approach
Access to Guaranteed Rate Field isn’t much of a problem, what with a major highway and the CTA train, known around town as the “L,” running right by it. Interstate 90, aka the Dan Ryan Expressway, is the primary route of choice for drivers coming from the Loop, Near North or other points north; exit at 35th Street to get to the ballpark, which you’ll undoubtedly have spotted on the approach from at least a couple miles away. Click here for more detailed driving directions.
Parking lots are available on both the north and south sides of 35th Street once you pass Wentworth Avenue (that includes Lot G, on the opposite side of the elevated train tracks that run just west of the park). Parking typically costs $20, and advance purchase permits are available; credit cards are also accepted at fare booths when you enter. For more information, click here.
For “L” riders, the closest station to Guaranteed Rate Field is Sox/35th (conveniently named for the uninitiated) on the Red Line, which runs through the Loop area and also goes to Wrigley Field. The station is along the Dan Ryan Expressway so riders just need to go up to street level and cross Wentworth to reach the park. You can also reach the park via the Green Line; disembark at 35th-Bronzeville-IIT, though know it’s a walk of about three extra blocks.
- The Build-Up
With neighborhoods, a high school and a church nearby, you’d be right to assume there isn’t a whole lot to do around Guaranteed Rate Field before first pitch. That shouldn’t be much of a problem, though, especially if you choose to take the L in. Just hang out in one of the city’s more vibrant areas and then hop on the train. Unless it’s a weekend day or a big game for the White Sox, crowds aren’t usually a problem for those riding to the game.
If you must be in the vicinity of the ballpark earlier than that, there is one option. Directly across 35th Street is the Chicago Sports Depot, a large retail store devoted to sports merchandise for all of the Windy City’s teams. Next door is the ChiSox Bar and Grill, a fairly large sports pub where you can eat, drink, catch other games and so on. Both establishments are open whether it’s a gameday or not. The adjoining parking structure is attached to the ballpark across the street via two pedestrian bridges.
While you’re in the area, take a look at the parking lot just north of the Chicago Sports Depot. Just off the curb is a marker in the asphalt noting the spot of home plate at the old Comiskey Park, the venue the White Sox called home for 80 years before building the current digs across the street.
- The Ambiance
The White Sox have a long and rich history, even if it didn’t include a championship team for quite a long time (the crosstown Cubs’ 108-year curse that ended in 2016 overshadowed the fact that it took the Sox 88 seasons to overcome their own drought, winning the World Series in 2005). Meanwhile, the Sox’s fans tend to be more of the blue-collar type, especially in comparison to their North Side rivals. Both factor greatly into the gameday experience at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The new ballpark’s most obvious tribute to the old one is the main scoreboard behind center field, known as the “exploding scoreboard” for the fact that it lights up and fireworks shoot from it whenever a Sox player homers or the team wins (the term was coined by former team owner Bill Veeck, who first had such a scoreboard installed at the old Comiskey).
Speaking of the outfield, the concourse behind the bleachers is popular before and during games. There’s a party patio above it, in center field, as well as the Bullpen Sports Bar below it (in right field, at field level) and a kids’ play area in left field.
In a food town with as much to offer as Chicago does, the concessions options at Guaranteed Rate Field doesn’t disappoint. But it sticks to the meat-and-potatoes of local cuisine, so items such as Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian and Polish sausages and Italian beef sandwiches are all available. The names of White Sox legends are all over the food stands, too, so you’ll come across booths like “Sherm Lollar’s Guard the Plate Grill” and “Dick Allen’s Rooftop Dogs and Polish” throughout the park.
Chicago White Sox
333 W. 35th St.
Chicago, IL 60616
All times local