I thoroughly enjoy trips to "The Cell" and have been to plenty of Sox games in my life.
However, it can get extremely pricey. Ticket prices keep going up, parking isn't cheap, and the food options can be expensive. A weekend game can easily cost you $60 per person before adding beer or souvenirs.
I love the Sox, but at those costs I can see why their attendance often lags behind expectations.
As a regular visitor to the Cell, here are a few tips to reduce the hit to your wallet when you go to a Sox game.
-Take advantage of Half Price Monday
This is easily your best option for cutting down the cost of a day at the ballpark, and a way to be able to afford better seats.
On a normal day it will cost you at least $33 to get a seat on the 100 level, but on half-price night you can get very good seats between the bases and the foul pole for $19 a piece.
One thing to keep in mind is that tickets usually go fast for these dates, so you should try to buy them in advance.
-If possible, take the "El" to the game
Parking is plentiful at US Cellular Field, but it will cost you a whopping $23 to get into one of the lots. If you get there early and plan on tailgating that might seem acceptable, but it's a pretty rough expense if you aren't that ambitious.
Public transportation is a convenient and cost effective alternative.
There are two different stops that are within walking distance of the park. One is the "Sox-35th" stop on the red line right outside the park, the other is the "IIT-Bronzeville" stop on the green line, which is a few blocks away. Both of them are easily accessible in "the Loop", where you can transfer from any other line.
Here's another tip: take the green line when leaving the park. There is less congestion and the station and you can still get to the same stops.
-If you do drive to the game, try to tailgate
The one positive to the parking situation at US Cellular Field is a lot of space. There's plenty of room to set up some chairs and a grill if you're more adventurous.
The lots open two hours before the game, giving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy some snacks and beverages. A cooler in the back of your car gives you plenty of flexibility and gives you an alternative to stadium food.
-Go to Halsted for your food and beverage needs before the game
Eating and drinking at the ballpark isn't really an option if you're working on a budget. One run to the concession stands could easily set you back $20, and $6.75 beers don't help either.
Now that Jimbo's is closed, most of your food and beverage options are at Halsted Street. It's a bit of a walk, but if you're not up for it you can easily catch the 35th Street bus to and from the ballpark.
Mitchell's Tap at 3356 S. Halsted is my bar of choice. They don't serve food, but it's a fairly nice bar with a good selection. You can always go to George's, which is essentially across the street, for your basic fast food selection.
Schaller's Pump at 3714 S. Halsted is another popular choice. Though it's nothing special, they have decent, reasonably priced food and beer.
Though it's not on Halsted, another good option is Maxwell Street Depot at 411 W. 31st Street. It's nothing special, but the small stand has good polish sausage, burgers and pork chop sandwiches at good prices. Two people can get a sandwich with fries and a soft drink for $10 or less.
-If you do eat at the park, go with the brisket or pulled pork
A lot of people would suggest the two for one early bird hot dog special or the corned beef sandwich in the right field corner. While both are good suggestions, I'm a big fan of the brisket sandwich stand behind section 149.
It might not seem like a great deal at $6.50, but it's far more filling than most of your stadium options. You get a tasty, decent sized sandwich, a bag of chips and a pickle. At least in my experience I'm a lot less likely to want more food after a brisket sandwich than if I get a $4.75 polish (though those are delicious as well).
I'm sure other people have their own suggestions, these are just my thoughts on ways to improve your experience at the Sox game without spending your life savings. Obviously if you can afford tickets in the Jim Beam Club or the Scout Seats that's even better, and if you are one of those people, I would greatly appreciate an invite.