A must-see on the itinerary of any serious baseball fan, Fenway Park is a throwback to all that’s great about the sport. Sure, it’s been added onto over the years with box seating and a swanky new player’s club — but not at the expense of all of the lore and nostalgia going back to the park’s opening in 1912. Daily tours between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. (or three hours before the game) take you inside the stadium to learn about Pesky’s Pole, Ted Williams’ seat, and of course, the Green Monster — and literally inside the scoreboard, which is still operated by hand. But there’s no better way to experience the game than by buying a ticket and root, root, rooting for the home team — especially when its arch-rival, the Bronx Bombers, are in town.
The key to a successful trip with your kids is planning, so here’s a game plan to get you through the experience with minimal stress!
Sign Up for Red Sox Kids Nation
Even before you look for tickets, you’ll want to head online and sign your children up for Red Sox Kids Nation. Basic membership is free and includes one ticket per child (with a paying adult), access to exclusive Kid Nation events, one Kid Nation Passport and 10 percent off at the Red Sox team store. You can also spend $40 and get the All-Star membership for your kids, which comes with lots of cool gear, including a jersey and backpack.
Tickets are often hard to get, but if you can manage it, go with pavilion roof seats on the third base side. You’re going to pay more for these than bleacher seats, but if you’ve got young kids it’s worth it because it’s less rowdy in this section and the concession stands aren’t nearly as crowded. There is also more room for kids to walk around and chill out at tables when they’ve grown too fidgety for their seats.
Get To the Game
Once you’ve got your tickets, you’ll need to figure out the best way to get to the game. You can drive and park at one of the crowded and expensive lots, but expect lots of traffic and to pay roughly $35 (even more if you want to be closer to Fenway). Frankly, I don’t suggest this. My family lives 45 minutes south of the city, so my son and I take the train (nicknamed the T for locals). Look up the MBTA commuter rail schedule and see which station is closest to where you’re staying.
I probably shouldn’t tell you this tip because it’s been a nice secret, but I’ll tell you my routine. I drive into Brookline Village and look for a metered parking spot on Station Street or Kent Street. Most Red Sox games start in the evenings and the metered spots are free any time after 6 p.m. This leaves plenty of time to find free street parking before jumping on the Green Line ($2.50 per person, each way) for two stops, and finding your seats with plenty of time before the first pitch. It can get a little crowded (especially after the game on the way back), but it’ll save you lots of money. As an added bonus, my kids love the train and this usually serves as one of the highlights of the trip.
Navigate Fenway Park With Ease
Once you arrive at the ballpark, it’s sensory overload and your kids will probably freak out with excitement. Head to Yawkey Way and stop to buy a program before you go through the ticket gate. Everything is cheaper outside of Fenway. Once you go through the turnstile, you’re in and free to enjoy the organized chaos. There are food vendors and the Souvenir Store with every Sox knick-knack and piece of merchandise you could ask for. Normally I’d advise buying Sox gear beforehand to save money, but there’s something to be said for spending a little extra and letting an awestruck kid pick something out in the shadow of Fenway Park.
Also, look for the guy on stilts as well as the several bands that are always playing outside. If you don’t want to go to the popular Yawkey Way, Red Sox ownership has created something brand new for parents to try. New for 2015, families can enter a new gate called “Gate K” that’s just for kids and families. According to CBS Boston, Gate K leads to a great new Kids Concourse with team mascot Wally the Green Monster’s clubhouse, face painting and balloon animals will keep kids entertained if the actual game isn’t working for them.
Fuel Up to Finish Strong
Once you get to your seats and the game starts, everything is going to depend on your children and the flow of the game. For me, it was all about the food. No trip to a Red Sox game is complete without a Fenway Frank, so hotdogs were the first order of business. Since my then-4-year-old was bored of the game after two innings, I had to get creative. We got cotton candy and ice cream, and he conned me into a stuffed animal, which bought me a few more innings. We only made it to the seventh inning before he started melting down, but it was still a great time. If I had had these tips beforehand, maybe I could’ve gotten through the entire game.
So good luck and good job passing down a love of baseball to another generation. Fans have been enjoying the Fenway Park experience for more than 100 years, and hopefully these tips allow you and your family to do the same.