Fenway: the park that all other parks want to be when they grow up.
The One and Only Green Monster - via Flickr user Kyle James
Fenway's Rich History is Around Every Corner - via Flickr user Eric Kilby
Fenway has been home to the Boston Red Sox since 1912, and is the oldest baseball park in Major League Baseball. More than any other stadium, Fenway is a tourist destination in its own right. No baseball fan can be taken seriously unless they've visited this living museum.
Arriving at Fenway Park
Alternative/Public Transportion to a Red Sox Game
Most locals will select from the various public transport options available for Fenway Park, avoiding the congestion of driving in downtown Boston. Best bet: ride the T like a local.
The cheapest option available is to ride the T to the KENMORE stop. You would think that you want the Fenway stop, but you don't. The Kenmore stop is a hub for the Green B, C, and D lines. Signs clearly direct you to Fenway.
Also on the T, the Red line connects at Park Street, and the Blue line connects at Gov't Center, linking to train stations and the airport. You can pay with Charlie Cards underground and cash above ground.
PRO TIP TO BEAT THE CROWD HOME: If you are heading downtown by the T after the game, come out of the park but do not take the steps down into the Kenmore Subway. Instead, turn left/west up Commonwealth Ave and walk up one stop to Blanchard St. The stop is above ground. The train will be mostly empty and you can grab a seat or comfy spot. Then, when the train pulls into its next stop, Kenmore, the crowd will pack on around you.
Buses from Allston (57), Chestnut Hill (60), and other parts of Boston stop in Kenmore. The buses use the same Charlie Cards as the T.
Another option if you happen to be staying nearby is to avoid the crowded subway car and the stress of traffic and grab an Uber ride. Walk a couple of blocks away from the park to make pick up easier. If you've never used Uber, click here and get your first ride free.
Driving to a Red Sox Game
Even though you've read all about Boston, you've talked to your friends in Boston, and you've studied this site, you have still decided to drive to the Red Sox game. Just hype? Perhaps. But when even stubborn Bostonians won't bring a car within a 4 block radius, you should take the hint.
There are legends of free street parking in the Fens area, right around the park. These are lies. Even if you could create a magical spot out of nothing, do you think you will be able to drive away when the massive crowds spill out of Fenway?
However, after 5pm on weekdays/Saturday, and all day Sunday, there is free metered parking throughout Boston University's campus, just 3 blocks from Fenway. Check along Bay State Road and its connecting side streets.
Bay State Road and the Boston University Campus Offer Some Metered Parking
Paying for a parking spot at the lots and garages nearest to Fenway is is going to cost you. The Red Sox website does a great job of laying out all of the nearby options, but they also make it clear exactly how shockingly expensive they can be. Take a look here if you so dare.
Click here to learn more about how to park and ride to Fenway. With easy connections to the T, this is a great option for your car.
Honestly, if you must park in the area, plan ahead and utilize Parking Panda. This lets you find a spot ahead of time and reserve it, so you know exactly where you are going before you ever leave your house. Here is a list of upcoming games, just click the date you need to find the cheapest spots:
Best Food At & Near Fenway
Save Money on Food
Many ballparks give you the opportunity to bring your own food or snacks into the stadium to save money - unfortunately that is "technically" not the case at Fenway. The rules state you can bring sealed bottles of water 16 ounces or smaller. No glass, no cans, as always.
However, I heard from a fan that is a season ticket holder, and been to hundreds of games and he said he takes food in virtually every time without an issue. This isn't something he hides in a coat either, he said they just allow you to carry food in. That is great news!
In Kenmore Square, just a block from the park, you can find a McDonalds, a Dunkin Donuts, and a Qdoba. All are open late after games, but bathrooms are for patrons only. There are also convenience stores and a 7-11 available to buy snacks and sodas.
For something different than your regular baseball grub, Kenmore Square also includes India Quality, the city's best Indian restaurants and some of the best food in Boston. Prices are extremely reasonable, flavors are authentic and rich, and they feature a slew of Indian beers. This is, without a doubt, the best place to eat after an afternoon game.
Cask & Flagon is a standout among the many baseball restaurants and sports bars in the streets immediately around the park. Many die-hard fans end up at the Cask if they fail to score tickets, and the atmosphere during games is electric.
Other notable local bars include Boston Beer Works, Game On, The Lansdowne, and McGreevy's Pub, and all offer drink and food deals. Shop around to find the shortest line or best promo. Compared to most other baseball parks, the area around Fenway offers great food variety within 5 minutes or less of walking.
Food in Fenway You Shouldn't Miss
Yawkey Way is the pedestrian street between Gates A and D, and features a variety of street vendors selling food and beverages. During summer evenings, this area is packed with excited folks enjoying a drink before cramming in the tiny park. Keep your eyes out for the numerous sausage vendors: prices outside the park are slightly lower than just a few meters inside.
Yawkey Way and the Championship Banners - via Flickr user dannymac15_1999
Lansdowne Street runs behind the Green Monster. Like Yawkey, there are a number of cheap, handheld food options available. Just make sure to keep an eye out if you're there during batting practice, as balls sometimes make their way out.
Cheap Red Sox Tickets (the Real Curse of the Bambino)
Tickets to Opening Day, Yankees games, and any other marquee match-ups are difficult to find. A couple of years ago, any tickets were difficult to find. As of now, you can buy tickets directly from the Red Sox for most games, without paying second hand mark-up. Summer can be more difficult if you wait last minute.
**WARNING: OBSTRUCTED VIEW AT FENWAY MEANS "SERIOUSLY BLOCKED VIEW."**
SPECIAL RED SOX WARNING: Always check to be sure your seats are not obstructed BEFORE you buy. This applies when you buy direct from the Red Sox, but is especially true when buying third party. Not everyone listing on a third party site is honest about obstructed seating.
At this point, nearly every Major League team has some kind of variable pricing model where depending on how in-demand a game is, the ticket prices you'll pay at the gate may go up or down.
Sometimes pricing varies from day to day, other times it is a more formal "tiered" structure where when they are playing a big draw team like the Yankees, you'll pay a premium price compared to a perennial bottom-dweller who might be in the "budget tier."
So rather than focusing on specific prices and sections which tend to change fairly often, I want to talk about general rules and strategies for getting the best deals on tickets.
1. Compare 3rd Party Sites
SeatGeek is a big time ticket comparison site that lets you compare a bunch of different ticket brokers, marketplaces, etc. and find the best price for the game you want to go to. They also have a tool that projects whether ticket prices will go up or down - AKA whether you should buy now or wait.
2. Don't Buy Last Minute If You Don't Have To...
Sometimes it feels like Fenway is a tourist destination in downtown Boston almost as much as it is a working ballpark. As a result, tickets are hard to find, and tourists pay high prices (especially for marquee games) on the second-hand market.
If you've bought tickets online before, you've heard of StubHub. What you may not know however is that with the rise of print-at-home and tickets on your mobile phone via the Ballpark App that you can usually buy tickets right up to a couple of hours before game time.
As someone who has sold a fair share of tickets on StubHub, I also know that sellers are encouraged to set a declining price for their tickets. This means they'll set a starting price and then their lowest acceptable price, and StubHub will auto-magically lower the price of those tickets as the event date gets closer.
So in many cases, a game that isn't sold out will have plenty of below face value deals on StubHub that you can snatch at the last minute and then either print at home, or just use the App on your phone to get scanned into the game.
3. Avoid Craigslist
It's not to say that you can't find ticket deals on Craigslist, you can. It is just more of a peace of mind, safety issue. I'm a Craigslist kind of guy, but I also know it's easy to get screwed buying baseball tickets there.
Remember when I mentioned selling on StubHub? When you list tickets there, all you need to know is the barcode number from that ticket along with the other details on section, row, etc. - So when I sell tickets I never mail them to the buyer, they just print them at home and my actual tickets become void.
Empty Fenway - via Flickr user Eric Kilby
If I was a shady character, I could go sell those void tickets to an unsuspecting buyer on Craigslist for cash. The tickets look real, they are "real" in a sense - but what that buyer will find out is when they go to enter the stadium, the ticket scanner will say "thou shalt not enter thy game."
Don't be that buyer.
Stick to buying tickets from SeatGeek, StubHub, or directly from the team. You can still get deals and you never have to worry about being scammed.
Worst Value Seats at Fenway
**WARNING: OBSTRUCTED VIEW AT FENWAY MEANS "SERIOUSLY BLOCKED VIEW."**
It's rare to see me write a "worst seats" section because modern parks are built to avoid complete blockages and "bad views". Well, Fenway is not a modern ballpark. Out-of-towners often arrive to massive disappointment. Make sure your seats are not obstructed BEFORE you buy.
Fenway's Fantastic Obstructed Views - via Tripadvisor
Another thing you might want to check before buying your seats: are they made of wood? The grandstand is also infamous for the navy blue wooden seats that have been in place since 1933. I am about 6'1 240, which is bigger than average - but not huge. I could not sit back in the wooden seats at all. So they are extremely narrow and have virtually no leg room, you are now warned.
Fenway's Iconic Wooden Seats - via Flickr user Stewart Dawson
In fact, our tour guide said that one reason they are hesitant to replace the old seats with a newer stadium seat, is that Fenway Park would lose about 4,000 seats. That is incredible. All Grandstand seats, which is sections GS1 - GS33 are made up of the small wooden seats. I guess if you are skinny it might add to the historical feel of your experience; just hope you aren't next to a big dude.
Best Value Seats at Fenway
Red Sox usually offer General Admission, AKA Standing Room Only tickets. I will tell you right now that not all "SRO" tickets are created equal. If you just buy the standard SRO tickets, you are wasting your money. Because of the large number that are sold, you can end up standing in a line of people on the lower level, with not much room to maneuver.
You are much better off buying SRO tickets on the Pavilion level; and there is a difference. I bought Standing Room tickets on Stubhub in the Right Field Pavilion for $60 each, which was a little more than double face value.
Fenway holds fewer than 38,000 fans - via Flickr user ChrisDag
While tickets can be expensive for the Green Monster, the team offers promotions regularly. It's an experience worth planning ahead to afford.
The corner of the Grandstands near the Green Monster also feature great views for discount prices, especially in sections GS32 - GS33. These sections are not covered, which is unfortunate during rain, but it also means that the original seats long deteriorated due to weather. The result are comfy plastic seats at a reasonable price. These two sections, however, are "family sections," meaning that alcohol cannot be consumed.
Where to Stay While Visiting Fenway
My favorite way to travel to a baseball game is to stay as close to the stadium as possible and walk, or take Uber so I don't have to fool with parking in a strange place. This is so easy when it comes to Fenway.
Hotels are very high priced in Boston, especially during college graduation and commencement periods and during the tourist-filled summer. So... all of baseball season. Boston has one of the most competitive and thriving AirBnB markets, however, and it is your best option to find a spot near the stadium.
AirBnB is the best way to find a really cool house or apartment to rent so you can hang out with your friends/family before the game and get a more authentic local experience.
Not only is it cooler than a hotel, but you can save $35 on your first stay by using my referral link.
There are 2 types of rentals - those where you rent a private room and stay with a host and those where you rent out the whole place. I've done both, and you'll have some peace of mind about the people you rent from because of the review system they have for the hosts - so you have a high degree of confidence that you won't end up on the bad side of a future Dateline NBC episode.
Best of all, there are a ton of cheaper AirBnB options in the hipster Brighton and Allston areas to the west of Fenway. These cheap areas are full of bars and restaurants, and connect directly to Fenway via the T. Hundreds of affordable AirBnB rentals are within a 20-30 minute subway ride of the game!
Obviously places come and go on the site, but I've used AirBnB a number of times for sports road trips and it's become my default option when I'm traveling. Click the button below to save $35 on your first trip and see what kind of cool places are currently available near the ballpark:
Free Stuff at Fenway
1. Autography Alley, located in Yawkey Way off the Official Team Store, hosts at least one former Red Sox player or member of the organization before each game. Wait in line and get a free autograph!
2. The Red Sox Hall of Fame, while not impressive for a team of such stature, includes plaques to notable players. The hall is located in the Dell EMC Club hallway on the lower level behind home plate.
The Red Sox Hall of Fame - via Flickr user Jamie Baker
3. Throughout Fenway, there are many historical or hidden easter eggs. Look for the inspirational Ted Williams statue outside the right-field gate, where he puts his cap on a young fan after a game. Check out the original ticket booths which sit, unmanned, inside Gate A. Murals of old team logos and historic teams decorate the brick walls. True Boston-philes will hunt for the stairwell which hosts framed theatrical posters of all the movies which feature scenes filmed in Fenway. Scan section 42 for the lone red seat, site of the longest home run in Fenway history. Even the foul poles have names and plaques telling their stories.
Ted Williams and the Red Sox Greats Guard the Park - via Flickr user Jennifer Boyer