Pre-game attractions for Fenway Park

The Pre-game attractions for Fenway Park
by Malcolm MacMillan
  • Give yourself ample time to wander around Fenway
  • Yawkey Way provides scores of things to see and do before games
Give yourself time to explore Yawkey Way, a bustling outdoor extension of Fenway Park.

Depending on the length of your stay in Boston, you can check out the Freedom Trail, U.S.S. Constitution or any of the other scores of tourist-friendly sights in Beantown. Before the Red Sox game, though, focus on the spots to see around Fenway Park. At the center of the pre-game festivities is Yawkey Way, which runs along the west side of the ballpark. One side of the street is lined with merchandise shops and eateries, including the team’s official merchandise shop, while the brick building on the other side of the street needs no introduction. On game days, you’ll find a variety of types of entertainment, including live music, games for kids and stilt walker Big League Brian. Before weekend games, you can also sit to have your likeness captured in a caricature. Yawkey Way is essentially an outdoor concourse and is blocked off to vehicles three hours before game time. You’re free to wander around the street but shortly before gates open, you’ll be asked to retreat to either end and re-enter with your ticket. If you don’t get time to tour Yawkey Way before the game, you’re free to return during the game, provided you don’t leave the area.

If you’re hungry before the game and want a fun, sports-centric atmosphere, look no further than the Bleacher Bar. One of the most unique eateries you’ll find in baseball, this bar is actually located inside Fenway Park’s outfield fence. With a bit of luck, you’ll be able to score a seat at one of the window openings and watch pre-game activities on the field. The Bleacher Bar has an extensive beer menu and typical sports bar fare. It gets packed in the hours leading up to game time, so consider an early visit to ensure you get a spot.

Jerry Remy’s is located on Boylston Street, within the shadow of Fenway Park. Named after the former Red Sox infielder and current team broadcaster, Remy’s has an extensive food and drink menu and is notable for its rooftop bar. It’s always packed on game days. Boston Beer Works and Cask ‘n Flagon are located on the corner of Brookline Avenue and Lansdowne Street on Fenway Park’s northwest corner. Like Remy’s, both establishments are also popular spots and provide a perfect venue for enjoying a pre-game snack or drink and watching the pedestrian traffic. In 2007, Cask ‘n Flagon appeared on ESPN’s top-10 list of sports bars and restaurants. Game On!, located on Lansdowne Street, is another pre-game hotspot.

Regardless of how early you get to the neighborhood, do yourself a favor and take a lap or two around the perimeter of Fenway Park. The whole neighborhood breathes Red Sox baseball, and whether you’re looking for a spot to grab a Sam Adams, buy a Red Sox cap or just take photos, the pre-game experience is one of the best you’ll find in baseball. Be sure to take in the World Series banners along Yawkey Way and the retired number banners along Van Ness Street. Especially photo worthy is the statue called “Teammates,” which features Red Sox greats Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio. At the mouth of Yawkey Way, keep an eye out for the NESN pre-game show and you might be able to spot longtime baseball personality Peter Gammons. Give yourself plenty of time; the park’s gates open 90 minutes before first pitch, and you’ll want to get inside as soon as you’re able.

If you want to be sure you don’t miss a thing during your visit to Fenway Park, buy a ticket for the ballpark tour, which runs on game days and off-days alike. The tour weaves its way through the historic ballpark and includes a stop on the Green Monster, which is ideal if you’re not lucky enough to score Monster tickets for the game. Tour tickets are available at the ticket office on Yawkey Way.

For me, no ballpark visit is complete without a lap around the park, but in Boston, I must have walked around Fenway nearly 10 times in two days. It’s one of those experiences that you’ll remember forever. Everything in the area breathes baseball and tackling Fenway in two days allows you ample time to be sure you see everything.