This article is part of the wheelchair travel blog series, Accessible Gameday. In this series, I’ll share my experiences with wheelchair accessibility at ballparks and sports stadiums around the country.
I had the pleasure of attending a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field back in August, but planned to hold off on publishing this post until the 2017 season. With the Cubs now bound for a historic World Series tilt with the Cleveland Indians, I thought it was important to put this information out there. Wheelchair users are Chicago Cubs fans too, and a 108-year streak is on the line.
The excitement of the World Series will definitely trump what I experienced in the Cubs’ late-August contest against the Pittsburgh Prates. That said, the information I have to share about wheelchair accessibility at Wrigley Field will help you plan your accessible gameday experience.
If you plan to attend the 2016 World Series, you’ll need to call the team’s ticket office for information on ticket sales. I suspect it may be difficult for anyone (except season ticket holders) to acquire tickets for this “World Series of a lifetime.” If you are reading this article in preparation for a regular season game in 2017 and beyond, you can book an ADA ticket directly through the Cubs website. Look for the link on the ticket selection page that says “Click here for real-time ADA/Handicap Seating” and proceed from there.
ADA Seating at Wrigley Field
I purchased tickets a few months before the game in section 122, which is directly behind home plate. The ticket cost $59, plus $12.26 in taxes and fees, for a total of $71.26. I thought that was a great deal for one of the best accessible seats in the stadium! Rows 1 through 3 in section 122 are wheelchair accessible, and my ticket placed me in row 1. For the best perspective of what this area looks like, I have taken a screenshot from the 3D seat map on the team’s website:
There are three rows in this section without fixed seats. The first row is level with the concourse behind the forward most seating section. This, labeled row 1, is where I was seated.
Rows 2 and 3 are elevated behind row 1, but are accessible via a ramp. For those who have difficulty maneuvering their wheelchair, row 1 is the place to be. You’ll either need to back-in to rows 2 and 3, or execute a tight turn in a power wheelchair. Foldable chairs can be brought for your able-bodied companions. I was joined by one of my college buddies, and it only took a couple of minutes for the ushers to bring him a chair.
Since I became a wheelchair user and started paying attention (and purchasing) ADA seating, this is the closest I have been able to get to home plate. Most accessible seats are at the very back of a much larger infield section, which is frustrating. Kudos to the Chicago Cubs for bringing ADA seats to a prime located at Wrigley Field. It’s a shame that modern ballparks offer much less attractive seating options than the Cubs do at a stadium that opened in 1914.
Check out this video I shared LIVE from Wrigley Field:
There was one issue with my seating location… my view of the field was obstructed each time fans stood up in the rows ahead of me. This was particularly frustrating when a big play was going on. Fans need to be more considerate, as there are three rows of people who cannot stand up behind them! I wish the ushers had made a better effort to make the fans ahead of me sit down.
In order to access my seat in section 122, I had to use the wheelchair lift pictured above. While this isn’t an ideal form of access, the stadium is more than 100 years old! Because it only takes one person at a time, it’s best to arrive early to avoid waiting as other wheelchair users take advantage of the lift.
The other photo above is a shot of the field, taken from the seat of my wheelchair. This was my view. It was a great spot to take in America’s pastime – with extra innings (free baseball) to boot!
In addition to my seating location in section 122, there are ADA seats and wheelchair spaces spread throughout the ballpark. The two photographs above highlight some of these spaces, and the view you’ll have of the baseball field. The first image, behind home plate on the 200-level, may be one of the best spots, as it is elevated above the fans who might stand up. Here, you’ll have an uninterrupted view of the game, albeit at a distance.
Wrigley Field Stadium Accessibility
Here, I’d like to discuss a few more points relating to the wheelchair accessibility of Wrigley Field.
The photographs above depict areas within the stadium interior. The first is the main concourse walkway on the ground floor. This concourse wraps around the stadium, and provides access to the 100-level sections, food and drink concession stands, and bathroom facilities.
The second photograph is of a ramped walkway connecting the ground level with the upper deck of the stadium. These ramps are a bit too steep to manage in a manual wheelchair, but powered chairs can handle it just fine.
A single elevator is located inside Wrigley Field, on the third base side of the main concourse. This elevator will take you up to the upper deck and terrace levels. Ask a stadium staff member for assistance in locating the elevator.
Most of the bathrooms inside Wrigley Field offer accessible stalls and toilets. ADA-compliant companion restrooms can be found at multiple posts throughout the stadium. The nearest one to my seating location was in the first aid area, inside the main concourse near home plate. These private restrooms will offer you a safe place to use the facilities at the stadium, and can be used by both families and disabled fans.
Wrigley Field is located on the North Side of Chicago at 1060 W. Addison Street. Handicap parking spaces are available in all lots owned and operated by the Chicago Cubs. Many of these lots are located within walking distance of the stadium, but are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Free remote parking (with a complimentary shuttle to/from Wrigley Field) is available at 3360 N. Rockwell St., accessed from Irving Park Road.
The nearest wheelchair accessible public transportation is the Red line of the Chicago T metro train system, at Addison Station. Addison Station is located about one block from Wrigley Field, on the right field side of the stadium. City bus lines 8, 22 and 152 each stop within a few blocks of the stadium.
At the conclusion of the game, the metro train station will be absolutely packed with people. Unless you leave the game early, prepare for a significant wait before getting onboard a train. I used the train to get TO Wrigley Field, but hopped on a city bus after the game.
You can also call or reserve a wheelchair accessible taxi, but be advised the vehicle and pedestrian traffic around the stadium may increase your waiting time.
My experience using a wheelchair at Wrigley Field was very positive. I enjoyed my time inside the Friendly Confines much more than I have at other ballparks.
The Chicago Cubs staff was exceedingly friendly and helpful. The accessible gameday experience at Wrigley Field is one of the best in baseball, and I was not disappointed. As a baseball fan, you can’t ask for much more – drinks, ballpark franks, deep dish pizza and extra innings! I’ll definitely be back again.
By the way – if you’re wondering who I’m cheering for in this World Series, it is Chicago. Only because they represent the Cardinals’ division, and I’d like to see 108 years of bad luck end. But Cubs fans, we’ll see you again after New Year’s (in April). 😉
Have you seen a baseball game at Wrigley?
Did you enjoy it? Was it accessible enough?
Let me know in the comments below!