From looking at me, you probably wouldn’t assume I like sports. And you’d be right. I’m more music and art than I am a balls and bats. I’ve been to more countries than I have sporting events. But I do like learning a little bit about the local culture, and if the local culture is fanatical about their sports, that can be fun, too. And there’s almost no culture more fanatical about sports than the people of Boston. So on a visit to Boston, I recommend taking a Fenway Park tour to learn a little bit more about the Red Sox and their historic ballpark.
Before you do a Fenway tour, attend a game at Fenway Park
Doing a Fenway Park tour didn’t even occur to me until the third time I went to Boston, because I think baseball is the most boring sport. But my second time in Boston happened to be in 2013, the last time the Boston Red Sox won a World Series. I was with a friend who actually likes baseball (for some reason), when we realized that the Red Sox would be playing two playoff games at home during our trip. So we knew we had to go.
Our first idea was to go to Bleacher Bar whichis part of the park complex and has an actual view of the field by way of anentire section of the wall under the ballpark bleachers. Of course, the areadirectly in front of the viewing section was packed, by fans undoubtedly moreinvested than we were. But Bleacher Bar is worthwhile in and of itself. Theyhave seriously incredible sandwiches, and of course, beer.
The atmosphere before the game at Bleacher Bar was extremely festive and exciting, so it’s a perfect place to pregame if you have game tickets. Of course, we did not. The game was obviously sold out, and the tickets on StubHub were ridiculously priced. But by some miracle, we got some cheap seats from a rude scalper outside the park.
It was freezing up there, and the game was horrible. No one scored until the last inning and the Red Sox lost by one. But the atmosphere in the park was so. much. fun. I’m from Miami, where people start to leave halfway through anything to beat traffic, and it really warmed my heart that all the fans were packed into the park until the bitter end, standing up for every at-bat, thunderously cheering in the stands. It was also the year of the Boston Marathon bombing, so the city really needed a win. So I guess you could say I became a fan, not of the Boston Red Sox, but of the Boston sports fans.
So why do I recommend attending a game before doing a Fenway tour? Mostly because it’s more exciting to get to walk around the parts of the park that are normally off limits if you’ve actually had a chance to sit in the park as a spectator. It’s a pretty enjoyable tour even if you’re not a huge fan, because Fenway is after all the oldest ballpark in baseball. And sometimes history is not just about government buildings and monuments. History can be about the ballgame, too.
What you need to know about the Fenway Park tour
The Fenway Park tour takes you inside a lot ofspecial areas of the iconic ballpark. You’ll get to sit on the park’s originalwooden seats, see inside the visiting team locker room, the press box, and you’llget to sit on top of the Green Monster, the famous high left field wall, whereyou probably can’t afford to ever otherwise sit. You’ll also get to see theWorld Series trophies and championship rings.
Along the way, your guide gives you information about the history of the park as well as Red Sox history, including fun tidbits like the origins of the rivalry with the New York Yankees and why there’s a single red seat in the bleachers. You finish up at a mini museum that has a ton of Red Sox goodies like old newspapers, uniforms, and championship bats and signed baseballs. If you’re a baseball fan, this is where you’ll probably have a lot to geek out over.
Practical information about the Fenway Park tour
Public tours of the ballpark depart at the top of every hour and cost $20. Hours vary depending on time of year. They’re held from 9 am – 5 pm except November through the end of March, when the first tour begins at 10 am instead of 9 am. It’s an hour long, which is nice; it won’t take a whole lot of your time. In fact, I did the Fenway Park tour on a short stopover on a flight out of the country.
Tour tickets are on a first come first serve basis, and be in higher demand at certain times (like probably immediately after the Red Sox win another World Series). But you can book them online to secure the date and time of your choice.
Other Fenway Park tours
Fenway in Fifteen
A shorter tour called “Fenway in Fifteen” gives you a more condensed tour around the ballpark to the Archives and the Right Field Roof Deck, where you’ll have a pretty panoramic view of the park and the Boston Skyline. If you really don’t have any time, this is a good option, but for $15, you get more bang for your buck if you do the full hour.
The Pregame Tour
During regular season, you can also do a tour of Fenway three hours before the game. The tour sounds a lot like the regular tour, except when you get to actually watch some of the players who happen to be warming up. It is $35 or $45 for premium games like against the Yankees. These tickets are not available online. You can only get them in person before the game.
Get the GPS-guided version of this and other Boston guides on GPSmyCity here.