Fenway Park is the most beloved and legendary park in all of baseball and possibly even sports as a whole.
We recently experienced an ALCS game at Fenway Park versus MLB’s darlings, the Houston Astros, and it was quite the night out.
In this article, I’ll talk about how we found parking, used CLEAR, and what the atmosphere was like for a visiting Astros fan at Fenway Park during the ALCS.
Table of Contents
Getting to the game
There are multiple ways to get to Fenway including using the “T” (Boston’s subway system). If relying on the T, you can take it to Kenmore and Fenway stations via the Green Line.
As for us, because we were coming from Salem, we chose to just drive to the park, which wasn’t a bad drive at all and took about 35 minutes for us tops.
Fenway parking tips
We did some research on Fenway Park and found that one of the easiest ways to park for cheap would be to reserve a spot at one of the various parking garages in the area.
If you’re willing to make a short walk of 20 or 30 minutes you can find some very reasonable rates at around $25 or lower.
It sounds like finding parking is only a major issue for day games when all the workers are still occupying parking garages.
Our game was at night but because this was a playoff game we wanted to make sure we had parking so we used the app ParkWhiz to make our reservation.
Using the app, you can look up your game and select your parking which makes things really easy. Or you can simply select a specific duration of hours (the average MLB game is three hours, 10 minutes).
We ended up reserving a spot at 220 Huntington Ave – The Midtown Hotel Garage.
The price was $25 and required us to walk 20 minutes to Fenway Park but that was all.
We did have an issue checking out, though.
I think it was because the pass was technically only valid until 10:08pm (4 hours after the first pitch) and this game lasted close to midnight.
We couldn’t get out of the garage but the attendant just ended up manually putting us through.
So it wasn’t a huge deal but it something you may want to look into before leaving the garage.
Some of the other parking options you might want to look into on the app include:
- 50 Dalton St
- 35 Westland Ave
- 220 Huntington Ave
If you are willing to shell out more money like $40 to $50 then you can look into these spots:
- 549 Commonwealth Avenue
- 771 Beacon St
- 13 Burlington Ave
You can also find close but pricey options here.
Our unique parking situation
We had already done quite a bit of walking that day so we decided to utilize two separate parking garages while in Boston.
First, we would park in a garage that would allow us to explore a little bit of Boston before the game.
Then, to preserve time, we would later hop to a garage that was closer to Fenway.
We first parked at the Boston Common Garage for $12 — no reservations were needed but the area was very busy.
This allowed us to check out the iconic cobblestoned Acorn Street.
After taking that step back in time, we walked to the North End of Boston which was a beautiful fall evening walk during sunset.
Once there, we were figuring things out as we went and decided to try out a restaurant on a whim.
So we got some Italian grub from Trattoria Il Panino. It’s a nice restaurant offering outdoor dining that served up tasty Ravioli di Ricotta on a sauce pan. It did not disappoint.
Then it was time to try out the legendary cannolis from Mike’s Pastry.
These things were so good that a few weeks later we had some delivered to our house in Arizona via GoldBelly.
Cannoli box in hand, we walked back to our car at Boston Common and then drove to the parking garage that was closer to Fenway.
On the ride over, I decided it was an opportune time to eat one of the cannolis so that I would be super-charged for the game.
Turns out the cannolis were a lot bigger than I thought they were and a lot more filling.
I was ready to burst on the 15-minute walk to Fenway.
I’m not sure our parking strategy was the best plan because we didn’t really save that much walking time.
But there were two perks.
- We were cutting things very close due to eating that spur of the moment dinner so we needed every second we could get.
- We spent less time walking through unfamiliar streets at midnight.
CLEAR at Fenway Park
Fenway Park is one of the select stadiums that offers CLEAR, which is a biometric service that allows you to bypass security lines at airports and stadiums.
Based on the CLEAR website it seems that this may only be available for the MLB postseason but that could’ve also just been the first experiment with CLEAR.
CLEAR might be standard in the future for not just all baseball games but other events as well.
I’ve used CLEAR at the airport before but I had never used it at a stadium so I was really interested to see how it would work.
We initially approached Fenway from the Gate D area where there was an extremely long line about 30 minutes prior to the game.
We really wanted to try CLEAR so, after learning Jersey Street is not open for through traffic on game days, we made the circuitous journey around the park on Van Ness St until we got to Gate E on Lansdowne St.
Here, there was no line for CLEAR and so we were able to get up to the kiosk quickly. (The hardest part was just making it through the throngs of people.)
The agent asked if we had added Fenway Park to our profiles and we previously added all stadiums so we were good to go. (It only takes a couple of seconds to add a stadium in the CLEAR app.)
The CLEAR kiosks did not seem to be as responsive as the machines used in airports.
There was a huge lag in the camera recognition software and it almost felt like these were knock off machines.
We were still able to get through security quickly and show tickets without having to wait in any kind of line so from that perspective it was a success.
The good and bad seats at Fenway Park
We spent $746.50 (inclusive of all fees) on two tickets from StubHub.
Luckily, we had a special offer on our Citi Premier card which allowed us to save $50 so the total price really came out to: $696.50 for two ALCS tickets, which wasn’t that bad considering the bucket list venue of Fenway.
I did want to shed some light on the seats at Fenway.
If you’re sitting in the Grandstand there are a lot of columns that will obstruct your view.
If you’re in one of the upper rows there are TV monitors on the columns you can rely on for when you can’t see what’s going on.
But if you’re up close to the columns you won’t be able to see those TVs without enduring the worlds biggest neck cramp.
I did some specific research on seats that were not obstructed and found this website which broke down Grandstand 27 which is where we were.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure what standard they use for “obstructed” but Row 1, Seat 2 was NOT listed as a seat with an obstructed view even though it was very much obstructed by a huge column.
I thought I had done my research so it was disappointing to see that seat was not so great.
Luckily, we had empty seats to the left of us so we were able to scoot and have a nice few for the most part.
Being a visiting fan at Fenway
We booked a trip back in June hitting up 13 different states in the Northeast region in about eight days.
We were running around DC, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, and then Massachusetts.
It just so happened that the Astros were playing at Fenway on one of the two nights that we were in the Boston area.
It felt like it was a sign that we had to go to the game so we decided to grab a ticket last minute.
That meant that we did not have Astros gear with us.
It would’ve been nice to rep the Astros but also I wasn’t sure how hostile the environment would be so it was kind of nice to be a little under cover.
I had heard stories of opposing fans getting constantly pelted with peanuts and even had beers thrown at them so I was still a little bit undecided on if I would have even worn my Astros gear if I had it with me.
Astros gear or not, it really didn’t matter because after we refused the first round of high fives from surrounding Boston fans they realized we had penetrated enemy lines.
Everyone was still cool with us though.
I also did not see any Houston fans getting harassed in Astros gear.
It seem like as long as you are not talking a lot of smack to other Red Sox fans, you should probably be okay.
The “Fenway feeling”
There’s something I’m calling the “Fenway feeling.”
I’m not even a diehard baseball fan but I am an overall pretty big sports fan. I’m also a huge fan of history.
That’s probably why it felt sort of sublime as the game began.
Thinking about the history of the park and all of the amazing athletes that have played at this field was something special.
And on top of that there is just the bucket-list aspect of attending a game at Fenway.
I didn’t get the same feeling at Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium.
To be fair, the Astros were not the opposing team (and not playing in the ALCS) when I visited those stadiums, so I wasn’t nearly as invested in those games.
But still, maybe it is fact that Fenway is the oldest stadium. Maybe it was the full moon. But something just felt a bit spellbinding watching the game from the grandstand.
I thought about ordering some clam chowder but it felt sort of like a noob move.
Plus, I was pretty much still stuffed from the Italian food from the North End plus the cannoli.
Later on, I heard people talking about how good the chowder was and so I sort of regretted not trying it out.
We did however try out the Fenway Dog which from everything I could tell was just a regular hot dog. It didn’t quite measure up to eating a Chicago dog at Wrigley but it was still pretty good.
Atmosphere during the game
The atmosphere at Fenway was intense, fun, and a little brutal.
I’d never been a visiting fan to any stadium for any sport before, so this was quite the way to get my first visiting fan experience.
As one would expect, there was no shortage of obscene remarks directed towards the Astros.
The boos weren’t your normal boos, either — there was something extra salient about them. You could just feel the hate raining down.
Then there were endless cheers and random shouts of “f**k Altuve!” even when he wasn’t up to bat.
“It’s all a part of baseball,” I kept telling myself.
One of the heckles that stuck out the most was a stadium-wide taunt directed at Astros’ pitcher Zack Greinke.
As he got up on the mound, the entire stands joined together for a chorus of mind games shouting:
“Greinkeeee, Greinkeeee, Greinkeeee….”
A second later, a Boston player ripped a homer over the Green Monster to Lansdowne Street. The venue went into a frenzy.
Meanwhile, I was quietly dying on the inside.
As an opposing fan, I couldn’t believe how intense the atmosphere felt.
What started off as an almost zen-like experience transitioned into what felt like an all-out assault on my home-town tribe.
I started to realize that watching your team in a high-stakes game behind enemy lines comes with its costs.
Normally, I watch big playoff and championship games solo — it’s just easier that way.
Also, if I’m watching in my living room and my team starts sucking, I can just change the channel and then come back a little while later.
But when you’re at an opposing stadium, with tens of thousands of crazy fans, there’s no mute button.
I was getting so into the game my Apple Watch sent me notifications about my heart jumping out of my chest.
To help deal with the intensity of the game, and to appease our curiosity, we made some rounds through the stadium to check out other sections.
In some of the sections, security staff was strict about allowing you to stand in the back against the wall but in other sections they left you alone. It was nice to be able to recharge in these spots.
One area I had to check out was of course the Green Monster, which is probably the earliest baseball park feature I remember being fascinated by as a kid.
Anybody can get pretty up close to the Green Monster section but you need to have a ticket or some type of wristband/stamp to get you through.
Still, I got one good look from the Green Monstah’.
The “Monster Seats” atop the Monster were added in 2003. Before that, a net hung there for decades to keep home run balls from flying over the fence and damaging the nearby businesses.
And now, these are some of the most popular seats and they look really nice too, especially the seats with the counters.
As you can see, the view from the seats is pretty great although you do miss out on some parts of the outfield. I also read that you are exposed directly to the sun before it sets.
Did you know? Morse Code can be found in the white lines of the American League scoreboard which represent initials of former owners Thomas A. Yawkey and Jean R. Yawkey.
Eventually, we returned to our section, reclaimed our seats and continued watching the game.
The Astros ended up putting on an offensive clinic late in the game to run away with it.
Actually, it was probably one of the best road games you could attend as an Astros fan.
The Astros getting the W was great but the Fenway experience would have been sweet enough on its own.
Even though the fans showed no mercy to certain Astros players like Altuve and Correra, the thrill of watching Houston play in Fenway for the ALCS is something that I will never forget. I would gladly go back.
Fenway Park FAQ
Fenway Park is located in the Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It is about 2.5 miles from downtown Boston and 30 miles from Gillette Stadium.
Fenway Park was built in 1912 but was substantially rebuilt in 1934. This means that in 2022, the park will be 110 years old!
The capacity at Fenway park is 37,731. However, record attendance is 47,627.
Yes, Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use.
The Green Monster stands an impressive 37.16 feet tall and is the tallest fence in the MLB but the second highest in professional baseball behind PeoplesBank Park in York, Pennsylvania.
Fenway Park gates open 90 minutes before game time. If you get there early you should be able to spot the “red seat” in right field.
Watching a game at Fenway Park is certainly worth it.
As an Astros fan it is a bit chaotic and overly hostile for some of the players. I like thinking that the players get used to that kind of abuse but something tells me that’s not even 100% possible.
Still, despite the craziness I would absolutely go back to Fenway again and at least I would know what to expect.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.