Guaranteed Rate Field

Chicago White Sox

Last visit: June 7, 2024

Guaranteed Rate Park is the Ryan Seacrest of ballparks: an awkward misfit in its early days before maturing into a presentable adult.

Opened in 1991, it was the last park built before the Camden Yards-led retro park boom. Designed with revenue maximization in mind, New Comiskey was built with 2 levels of suites, a club level separating the upper and lower decks, and a glassed-in pretentious Stadium Club. It raised many of the small businesses in its immediate area for team-controlled parking lots. And it was universally panned for being an antiseptic, boring park that replaced a quirky classic.

Since then, the White Sox have made several changes to vastly improve the stadium experience. While some of the fundamental issues can’t really be fixed (such as the parking lots creating a buffer from the neighborhood, the park not facing Chicago’s iconic downtown skyline, and the upper deck being incredibly steep and quite distant from the field), it’s actually a really nice place to catch a game, especially if you’re in the lower bowl.


Exterior aesthetics 7/10; Interior & Concourse Aesthetics 8/10; Sightlines 2/5; Seating 4/5; Traffic flow 3/5; Scoreboard 9/10; Amenities & entertainment 4/5; Bars & Restaurants 4/5; Celebrating history 4/5; Grand entrance 4/5; Sense of place 10/25; WOW Factor 4/10. Total 64 points divided by 2 for 32

This may be too low given everything they’ve done. There are still some serious flaws, but I’m not sure any park built in the last 40 years has done a better job in making their facility better.


  • There’s a pleasing symmetry to the stadium. The team didn’t manufacture quirks, but rather created a pure baseball park without anything jarringly out of place.
  • You can walk around the entire park from the lower level concessions area and see the game. This was one of the first parks to do this. The outfield concourses are particularly nice as they are open air.
  • The dark green seats and black steel trellises look and feel like a ballpark.
  • In the lower bowl, the rows in the infield box seats are very short (in many cases only 8 seats across) enabling fans quicker and less disruptive access to the concourse
  • The scoreboard is among the better ones in baseball. The White Sox kept the classic pinwheels but digitized everything. The result is a beautiful large videoboard that seamlessly blends into the batters’ eye.
  • There are many statues honoring Chicago White Sox legends around the park (including one of legendary bastard Charles Comiskey, but not one of Shoeless Joe Jackson)
  • The Fundamentals kids’ area focuses solely on baseball rather than other forms of entertainment. Kids can have fun, but stay in “baseball mode”.
  • They brought the Comiskey shower over from the old park. It’s a cool quirk, but potentially useful on a sweltering Chicago summer day.
  • They ripped out several rows in the upper deck and built a canopy to provide some shade and add some visual beauty
  • The rightfield subterranean bar and The Vizzy View Bar (and sometimes, the centerfield Fan Deck) provide areas for people to congregate and socialize regardless of where they’re seating


  • The upper deck is far. A seat in the first row of the upper deck is further from the pitcher’s mound than the last seat in the upper deck was at old Comiskey. It’s a product of 3 levels of club/suite seating.
  • The upper deck is steep. Knowing it would be away from the action, the team wanted to keep you closer by increasing the pitch. But the steepness can feel a little intimidating, and it puts you into the sky after row 6 or so.
  • Despite being less than 4 miles from the Willis Tower, you can’t see any of the Chicago skyline from your seat. The park faces southeast giving you a view of…nothing. In fact, there’s no real sense of place here.
  • Getting up and down from an upper deck seat is a pain in the arse. You’re likely using a slow ramp since there are relatively few escalators.
  • The large parking area around the stadium gives it more of suburban feel even though it’s a very urban park

Of note to ballpark chasers: The Sox have intermittently enforced that Ticket holders in the 300 and 500 levels can not access the main level. In 2024, the club has suspended this policy allowing you to roam freely. But this changes frequently, so beware. But even with the relaxed policy, I believe that a lower bowl ticket is essential here unless you’re a part-time Sherpa, which is a rather significant flaw.

FOOD 8/10

The food is generally really tasty and really artery clogging. More so than other parks, the Sox tend to focus more on stadium classics, but they do those very well. Historically, the food here has been the better of the two Chicago parks.

The sausages are among the best in baseball. The Beggar’s deep dish pizza is good as well (it better be, it’s Chicago!). There’s a good selection of Mexican goodies as well including burritos, tamales, Chicharrónes, churros, nachos, and elote (corn off the cob served with butter, lime, cojita cheese and cayenne pepper). Local faves like Buena Italian Beef, Garrett popcorn and Vienna beef Chicago dogs are also available. You can also find some stuff like cheesesteaks, smashburgers, hot chicken sandwiches, Italian grinders, Cuban sandwiches, smothered fries, mac and cheese, and empanadas. And in 2024 the Sox introduced the Campfire Milkshake, a s’mores-inspired chocolate shake with marshmallows, graham cracker crumbles, whipped cream and a mini Hershey’s bar. (You need to go to the Vizzy bar in left field to get one, and they sell out by the mid-innings, but they’re worth the effort.)

My personal fave: While the shake almost took over, I’ll still give first place to the Italian sausage with peppers, grilled onions and marinara. Take extra napkins.

BEER 9/10

The park offers 90+ different beer, which rivals Petco Park for the most in the MLB. The only difference between Sox Park and Petco is that you have to hunt a little more here.

The roving vendors hawk MillerCoors products, Corona and Modelo. You have to go find the better stuff. A couple of Midwest Craft beer stands offer liquid gold such as Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter, Bell’s Oberon, 3 Floyds Gumballhead, Maplewood Son of Juice, Pipeworks Mango Guppy, as well as more widely available, but still delicious options such as Lagunitas IPA and Goose Island Green Line.

But the real winner here is the Leinenkugel’s Craft Lodge. This under-used large subterranean bar located under the rightfield stands has the cooler of a beer fan’s dream. 75 different beer from 46 different breweries. You can get some harder-to-find local stuff from brewers like 18th Street, Around the Bend, Dovetail, Funkytown, Hop Butcher, Marz, Noon Whistle, Old Irving, Off Color, and Revolution; as well as renown faves from brewers like Bell’s, Deschutes, Founders, New Belgium, and Stone.

All in all, you won’t go thirsty at a Sox game.


Unlike their northside brethren, the Sox are not a neighborhood park. With the exception of the team-owned ChiSox Bar & Grille located just outside Gate 5, you have to walk a little further to get to a pre-game bar.

The neighborhood has a reputation for being unsafe, something that may have been truer before they tore down the Robert Taylor housing project just east of the ballpark. Sure, the area is a little gritty, but it’s not outright dangerous. Still most people get in and get out, choosing to tailgate if they drove in.

If you’re willing to walk a bit and have an intrepid spirit of adventure, within 1.4 miles of the park are a couple of the better drinking establishments in the city. Maria’s Packaged Goods is to the northwest (a place where I’ve pre-gamed often), and Marz Collective Brewing is due west. If you want to stay within sight of the ballpark go north for Turtles and Cork & Kerry, or south to The Ballpark Pub on Pershing. Stix n’ Brix, just north has pizza and a pretty good tap list, and 35th Street Red Hots, just west, has a good dog served with the fries inside. If you’re willing to walk to Halsted, you can hit classic dives like Mitchell’s Tap and Bernice’s Tavern.

But Wrigleyville it isn’t.

COST 3/5

Parking is steep, but that’s true everywhere in Chicago. Concession prices seem fair. Tickets are priced reasonably at the box office, and good seats can often be had on the secondary market for low prices. On Tuesday nights a Miller Lite/Modelo, Beggar’s pizza slice, or Vienna beef frank cost $5 each. And it’s WAAAY less than a Cubs game.


Sox Park is one of the easiest urban ballpark to get to. Were it not for Chicago traffic, this would earn a rare 5/5 score.

Just off the Dan Ryan Expressway, it’s a relatively easy trip from wherever you’re coming. There is ample parking right on site. Beware of scam artists charging you to park well ahead of the parking entrances; they aren’t legit. And don’t look for legal side street parking in the neighborhood, it doesn’t really exist.

If you’re staying downtown or River North, you can take the red line. The green line also stops close by. Metra commuter train also has a nearby stop.


Cold and/or rainy April and even May games are likely, and the nip in the air often returns late season. Summers can be great, and sometimes crazy hot.

VIBE 16/25

The Sox are the second team in the Second City. As such, the place is often half full, and perhaps a third full when the team is outright bad.

The fans who DO show up tend to be good fans though. Sox fans are knowledgeable, loyal, loud and a tad edgy. I usually feel like I’m among my own (even though I’m not a Sox fan). Just sometimes, I wish there were more.

While the get in/get out vibe of the place works well on a Monday night game, it’s a bit of buzzkill for a weekend tilt. (Too bad. Given the beer selection, you probably have a buzz.)

On the plus side, the pregame hype videos are traditionally really strong. The old “exploding” pinwheel scoreboard, while now digital, stills lights up after a hometown home run and is a lot of fun. The organist who replaced the legendary Nancy Faust still has subtle zingers for opposing players and bad umpire calls. It smells like a ballpark should, likely due to the grilled onions from all the sausage carts. And there are a lot of roving beer vendors; were it not for the great beer in the stands, it’d be very easy never to leave your seat given the frequency of visits.

While it was originally built for the sole purpose of extracting as much revenue as possible, it matured into a good baseball facility with the focus squarely on the game. It’s a purist’s park and that’s not a bad thing.



Three fun Chicago restaurants:

  • Lou Malnati’s (Several locations, one in the South Loop. One of, if not THE best deep dish in the city)
  • Ricobene’s (Armour Square about 1 mile north of the ballpark. Old-school Chicago comfort food staple, most famous for their breaded steak sandwich)
  • Al’s Italian Beef or Billy Goat Tavern (River North. Two venerable Chicago institutions in decidedly non-fancy digs. Hit the former for a classic Chicago sandwich. Get it dipped. The latter, underneath Michigan Ave, was the inspiration for the classic SNL “Cheezborger, Cheezborger” sketch. )

Three places to imbibe before the game:

  • Maria’s Packaged Goods (Bridgeport. One of Chicago’s best beer bars. A long walk or short drive from the ballpark.)
  • Cork & Kerry at the Park (Ballpark. Probably the best bar close to the stadium.)
  • Antique Tacos (Bridgeport. You’re here for the tacos, but there are also usually a few local gems on tap.)

One bar in the area worth hitting:

Monk’s Pub (The Loop. An OG beer bar with a more Euro bend.)

Three craft breweries in the area worthy of your time:

  • Marz Collective (Bridgeport. Some fun and funky stuff here. “Walkable” from the park, but easier with wheels.)
  • Whiner Beer Company (Back of the Yards. The neighborhood is a little gritty, but the Belgian-style brews make it worth the effort.)
  • 18th Street Brewery (Hammond, IN. A 25-minute drive from the ballpark lies one of the top minority-owned taprooms in the nation)

Three fun tourist attractions in the area:

  • Museum Campus (Field Museum of Natural History/Shedd Aquarium/Adler Planetarium. Hit all three for a day of learning and entertainment, or just the aquarium if you only have the time for one.)
  • Museum of Science and Industry (South side. Not just for kids, though kids would like it too.)
  • Willis Tower Skydeck (Loop. You need to do it once.)


Guaranteed Rate Field is a fine ballpark that still pays for the sins of its youth amongst ballpark aficionados. The renovations really improved things and have made it a good park. If your seat is infield lower deck, you’ll find it to be very good. If stands are relatively full because fans are cheering meaningful baseball, it’s very, very good. It lacks the neighborhood vibe as other “more notable” parks, and the upper deck really drags this score down. She may not be the most “exciting” park, but there’s a purity to the presentation; it’s really all about the baseball (accompanied by really good beer).