Fenway Park is a thing of beauty, I really don’t know how else to describe it. Even if you’re not a Boston Red Sox fan, if you love/appreciate baseball or sports in general, or even history, and you have the opportunity to attend an event here, do it. I use the word event because they do so much more than just play baseball here. They host concerts, hockey games, football games, and other fun community events throughout the year!
I’ve been here a handful of times for baseball games, and once for a hockey game, and so far I haven’t had a bad experience. I’ve sat almost everywhere; in the outfield, underneath the grandstands, along the first base line, and even behind home plate.
Fenway Park opened in 1912, making it the oldest ballpark in use in the MLB, and they’ve done an amazing job at showcasing and preserving all of that history within the stadium walls. The gates typically open 90 minutes prior to game time, so you have plenty of time to walk around and take in all of the historical displays lining the concourse areas, which is something that I highly recommend you do; it’s a big part of what makes Fenway Park such a special place.
One of my favorite things about visiting a new venue is seeing what they offer that not only makes it unique or standout from other venues, but to also see how well they market their overall brand/image. Because of its history, Fenway attracts a lot of guests from not only outside the region but also outside of the country, and they do a great job showcasing the best of what New England has to offer. Inside the walls of Fenway Park, you will find many New England staples:
– A Dunkin’ Donuts
-Authentic New England Clam Chowder (perfect for those games in April and late playoff runs in October)
-Fresh Lobster Rolls
-Del’s Frozen Lemonade
-Locally brewed beers, like Sam Adams and Harpoon
Other unique features of Fenway park include the Green Monster, a (working) manual scoreboard, Yawkey Way, Pesky’s Pole, ”Williamsburg”, and the Lone Red Seat. They offer daily, year-round, multi-lingual informational tours of the stadium, so if you’re interested in learning/seeing more of the historical side, it’s worth looking into. I personally haven’t been on one of these tours, but it’s something that I want to do. **These tours can also potentially be used when it comes to securing sponsorships/partnerships, if you advertise at Fenway, your logo now has the opportunity to be seen every single day, not just on game/ event days, by people from all over the world!
I just recently went to a game with my dad, he won tickets a few rows behind home plate. I’ve never sat that close for an MLB game, it was really interesting to see and experience the game from a different perspective. I usually sit in the outfield or in the upper levels along the baselines (cheaper seats means more beer money!), so being able to see the curve balls and sliders actually come in over the plate was amazing! You can still see the velocity of the pitches from the baselines and the outfield, but you don’t get to see the movement or spin on the ball and the placement of the pitches. Being that close to the field, and home plate, also meant that I made my tv debut, with a beer in my hand, obviously.
Something I’d never seen at a venue until this visit was express food lines. They had a variety of ballpark favorites, including the staple Fenway Franks, that you served yourself. You would just walk into the sectioned off area, grab a tray, grab what you wanted from a food warmer, and check out. Not every concession stand was set up like this, but it was a great concept that seemed to work well. It cut down on the length of lines and the amount of time you spent waiting (you could easily move around/ bypass an indecisive customer). Long lines during baseball games are the worst; it’s not like other sporting events where there is a halftime or an intermission. If you need to get up to use the bathroom or grab something to eat or drink once the game has started, you’re going to miss some of the action, so short, fast lines are greatly appreciated from a guest point of view.
One of the things I really liked was that they had food runners for our section (these are not available in every section) that would take your order and bring you food and drinks throughout the night, so you didn’t have to get up and miss any of the game. It also made it so other guests weren’t getting up and down all night, distracting other fans by making them get up or move constantly throughout the game. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves, sitting next to people that constantly get up and need to get by. Grab your food, grab your beers, and sit down & watch the game. If you’re going to get up and down 10 times throughout the night, go watch the game at the bar or purchase tickets on the aisle.
A few things to be wary of are parking/transportation and seats with obstructed views. There are a few lots/garages near Fenway Park, but they can cost $50 or more. There are other parking garages and cheaper lots further away, if you don’t mind walking a bit. I’ll be frank, and tell you that driving in Boston sucks. If you’re not used to it, it can be extremely overwhelming and frustrating. There is a lot of traffic, and pedestrians walking everywhere. I usually drive into a T station outside of the city. Parking is between $5-$10, and the train ticket from the station to stadium is less than $10 roundtrip. It’s cheaper and a lot less stressful than parking right in the city. The only issue is that trains stop running after a certain time, so if the game goes into extra innings you may have to leave the game early or risk either getting stuck in Boston or an expensive taxi ride to your vehicle. Before you purchase tickets, be sure to check the view or any other restrictions that are listed on the ticket (standing room only, alcohol free sections, obstructed view, etc.). Fenway has quite a few seats with an obstructed view, with seats right behind the posts/beams that support the balcony. They try to counteract this by having TVs underneath the balcony, on the beams, so that you can see the game from your seat, but why spend the money on tickets, overpriced food and drinks (I know, it’s how they make money), and parking/travel expenses just to watch the game on a tv? Unless it’s a special game, a fun promotional night, a retirement ceremony or a World Series game, I personally don’t think it’s worth it.
Fenway has a really fun, inviting atmosphere (unless you’re wearing pinstripes). One of my favorite things they do, something that I’ve seen at almost every sporting event, is a dance-off cam. Nothing grabs the attention of a crowd quite like watching an adorable kid or someone’s drunk dad dancing in the stands between innings on the video board. Imagine, as a business owner, having 37,000+ sets of eyes on your logo every single game night as the dance cam sponsor (what if someone videos the dance, posts it on social media, and it goes viral? There’s so much potential here). It’s a really easy, creative way for the Sox to not only bring in sponsorship money, but to also entertain their guests and take their eyes off of the grounds crew while they drag the infield; it’s brilliant. It also wouldn’t be an authentic Fenway experience without the singing of Sweet Caroline at the bottom of the 8th inning.
Safety is always a concern when going to an event. Fenway comes across as a relatively safe place to be, which I feel is important as a guest, you wouldn’t want to put yourself or your family/friends in a potentially dangerous place. They have a lot of ushers and security guards located throughout the stadium, they are easy to spot and easily accessible. There is also a noticeable police presence both outside and inside the stadium. Although Fenway has multiple entrances into the ballpark, each one is secure with metal detectors and bag checks to help ensure safety. They even block the streets immediately surrounding the venue, as there is a lot of foot traffic before and after the game. I think having multiple ways in/out of a venue is important, if something did happen and 37,000 people had to evacuate quickly, there is multiple ways out. Other safety features here include a protective net to keep guests behind home plate and the surrounding areas safe from wild pitches, foul balls and broken bats, and railings along the Green Monster seats and upper balconies to help protect guests from falling over the edge if they happen to trip or over-reach for an incoming ball. It’s a well known fact that baseballs, bats/pieces of bat and sometimes even a player can leave the field and enter the stands, potentially harming spectators. There is a warning printed on every ticket and plenty of signage within the stadium to make sure everyone is aware of the potential hazards. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, but Fenway does have a first aid area and trained staff members if a guest does get injured. The ushers almost always come over to check on guests regardless of an injury if a ball/bat enters the stands, just to be sure that everyone’s ok.
Overall, Fenway Park is an amazing place to take in a ballgame; it’s my favorite overall baseball venue so far! The venue itself is just a special place to be, and the city of Boston has a lot to offer if you travel there for a weekend or even just a day trip. They do a great job showcasing what New England, the city of Boston, and the historical venue have to offer, marketing their product and brand very well. It’s a fun and safe environment, just be cautious when it comes to seating and try to have a transportation or parking plan in place ahead of time.
Have you been to Fenway Park before? How was your overall experience? Do you have any recommendations or warnings for future guests? Let me know in the comments!