Sports and spirits. It can be said that these simple pleasures, flavored with a heavy dose of camaraderie and passion, are the backbone of one of Chicago’s more unique neighborhoods: Wrigleyville.
The history of Wrigleyville is inextricably linked to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Wrigley Field was built in the early 1900s and it was with the building of this monument to baseball that the neighborhood first became defined within the larger Lakeview area. The culture that has since sprung up around the legendary stadium makes the Wrigleyville area a community unto itself.
Wrigleyville neighborhood is bordered by Southport, Halsted, Roscoe, and Byron, and is home to Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs. Brought to life by die-hard fans every summer, this neighborhood has a vibrant nightlife and hometown spirit. Wrigleyville neighborhood is part of Chicago’s Lakeview community. Its immediate neighbors include Lincoln Park, Belmont Harbor, Roscoe Village, and parts of Uptown.
Shopping is not the primary focus of this neighborhood; while certainly some shops can be found, they are mainly limited to sports-themed merchandise vendors selling Cubs paraphernalia, as well as ticket vendors selling seats for Cubs games.
One shop of interest is Strange Cargo, which is a few blocks from Wrigley Field and features eclectic, casual apparel and accessories for men and women. Another popular shopping site is the Brown Elephant; this is an enormous resale shop whose proceeds benefit the Howard Brown Health Center for individuals with AIDS. For the most part, however, most shoppers leave Wrigleyville laden with merchandise that sports a bold “C” for “Cubs”!
Wrigleyville boasts a wide selection of restaurants and bars; after a Cubs game, these establishments are full of sports fans and tend to be extremely festive in nature. There are several sports-themed bars that act as popular pre and post-game hangouts and are located very near Wrigley Field.
The Cubby Bear, one of the most popular bars in the area, is direct across from Wrigley Field and draws huge crowds on home game days. Sluggers, also an extremely popular establishment, has two levels and features an immense game room on the second floor. Other bars include Sports Corner, Murphy’s Bleachers, Exodus, John Barleycorn’s, The Irish Oak, Mullen’s, Central, the Ivy on Clark, and Chicago’s Blarney Stone.
Restaurants near Wrigley Field are plentiful and various cuisines can be found here. For American food, try Salt and Pepper, Heaven on Seven, the Kit Kat Lounge, or Bar Louie, a chain that can be found in other parts of the city. Not to be missed is the Bar Celona, a pub, and grill with a more intimate air. For Italian food, the cozy and delightful Tuscany on Clark is the way to go, while those looking for Asian fare will delight in BD’s Mongolian Barbecue, Penny’s Noodle Shop, Shabu-Ya or Mr. Thai. For an even more exotic experience, Ethiopian Village is sure to deliver.
After dinner, several cozy cafes offer dessert and coffee: check out Fly Me to the Moon or the Pick Me Up Café. Also try Julius Meinl, which features live music on several nights.
The architecture of Wrigleyville is much like that of other upscale residential Chicago neighborhoods; charming brownstones with large windows and interesting details, shaded by trees. One element that is unique to Wrigleyville, however, is the concept of the Wrigley Roof. These are found on many of the area’s buildings and homes and feature small bleacher areas where Cubs fans can purchase seats, thus being able to watch the game when Wrigley Field is sold out or beyond budget. Wrigley Roofs are condoned by the Chicago Cubs organization and serve to create a mini-community high above the streets!
Inhabitants of Wrigleyville tend to be young; many are under 30, and most are professionals with families. Despite the neighborhood’s preoccupation with the Cubs and baseball, it manages to have a distinctly residential feel and its charm is ideal for quiet strolls along the sidewalks off the main streets.
There are many features to this area that attract visitors; one of these is the varied theatre scene. There is the Stage Left Theatre, which features a live theatre and produces plays with a focus on political and social issues. The Music Box Theatre is a historical movie house that plays current movies and is well known for its enormous, intricate interior that hearkens back to its origins in the 1920s. The Improv Olympic puts on yet another kind of show: improvisational theatre that depends heavily on audience participation.
Music is also a draw to the area. Several of the bars are big music venues at night. One, The Wild Hare features live Reggae music 7 days a week. The Cubby Bear is famous for live music. Metro is at Clark and Grace, one block north of Wrigley Field, and is one of Chicago’s premier live entertainment venues.
Of course, one cannot visit Wrigleyville without noticing the immense stadium under whose shadow everything in Wrigleyville occurs: Wrigley Field. The stadium was built in 1914 for a total cost of $250,000 and is the second oldest park in the Major Leagues. It was built to house the Chicago Federals of the Federal League, but when the Federal League closed down, it became the home of the National League’s Cubs. The Cubs were originally founded in 1876 as the Chicago White Stockings, and were given their new name in 1902 by a reporter at a local newspaper.
The first game at the park was played on April 20, 1916; not only did the Cubs win, but a bear cub was actually present at the game! The stadium was renamed Cubs Park in 1920 and then changed to Wrigley Field in 1926, in honor of William Wrigley, Jr., the chewing gum entrepreneur.
Some of baseball’s long-standing traditions were founded at Wrigley Field: allowing fans to keep any foul balls that are hit into the stands, while throwing back home runs hit by the opposing team, are both customs that began here. Famed broadcaster Harry Caray called Chicago his home, and made famous his tradition of singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch; today he is still widely remembered throughout the world of baseball, not only in the Windy City but nationwide as well.
Wrigleyville is certainly one of Chicago’s most spirited neighborhoods. Those who live here are bound by their love of the team that calls the area home, and visitors who make pilgrimages to the shrine of the Cubs are welcomed as part of this family.
Wrigleyville Neighborhood Map of Chicago
Wrigleyville is located northwest of the Loop. It is named for Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball’s National League. Actual boundaries are undefined, with some sources citing Wrigleyville as spilling into adjacent enclaves like Lake View East and North Halsted. Many Wrigleyville bars and restaurants (particularly on Clark St.) feature the sports culture with sports-oriented themes.
Location & Area
- North Boundary: 3900 N Byron
- South Boundary: 3400 N Roscoe
- East Boundary: 800 W Halstead
- West Boundary: 1400 W Southport
- Primary Zip Code: 60613
Current Trends and Facts of Wrigleyville Chicago
With a sports theme common in pubs and bars around the ballpark, there is always a game to watch in Wrigleyville neighborhood. Sports bars rule the area, but it is much more than a sporting neighborhood.
Wrigleyville neighborhood also has many excellent restaurants that range from Chicago-style hotdogs and fries and trendy comfort foods, to upscale full-service restaurants. Plus, there are ample clubs and venues to see live music and dance.
A part of the Lakeview community, there are also excellent theaters and some of the city’s most eclectic shops, all within walking distance. Plus, residents have easy access to Lake Shore Drive, Lake Michigan and Belmont Harbor. The area enjoys excellent public transportation, with convenient express bus routes downtown and CTA Red Line stops at Addison and Belmont.