The Chicago White Sox were one of the American League’s inaugural teams in 1901 and have been located on the South Side of the city since. Their home at 35th and Shields — named Guaranteed Rate Field on 2016 — holds more than 40,000 fans and hosted the World Series Champions in 2005. In addition to stadium giveaways like bobbleheads and sweatshirts, fun is had throughout a game with fireworks after home team home runs and kids can run the bases on Sundays.
Kids ages 3 and under (or shorter than the 36-inch turnstile arm) don’t need a ticket to enter the gates at Guaranteed Rate Field, but must sit on a parent’s lap throughout the game (who are we kidding, toddlers don’t sit). This is great for a kiddo’s first game, because you won’t feel bad if they melt down early and you don’t make it through the seventh-inning stretch.
If your kiddos can manage a seat, pick your tickets wisely. For families, not 100 percent familiar with the seating at Guaranteed Rate Field, it’s worth the phone call to the ticket office (312-674-1000) before purchasing tickets to find availability under an overhang or with shade, and near the back of a row or on the aisle for quick bathroom exits for young families.
If your family loves baseball, but doesn’t have unlimited funds, Coca-Cola Family Sundays tickets as low as $5 in the upper level and $15 in the lower level with parking set at $10 per car. There are also special kid-focused activities throughout the concourse and the opportunity to run the bases after games (weather permitting). There are 12 family Sundays during the 2019 season.
While strollers are permitted, outside food or drink could be confiscated at security check-in. The good news is that you’re at a baseball game, so there are hot dogs, pretzels and chicken fingers galore. Kid-sized ice cream cones are readily available at the Creamery locations (which also sell soft-serve in a helmet), and if you’re filling a juice cup, apple juice can be found at the hot dog stand behind Section 122.
For the foodie families, the White Sox have upped their fare, with new additions to the concourse menu, including dessert fries, loaded fries and burgers galore. Fan favorites like Bacon on a Stick, novelty ice cream and walking tacos can be found around the concourse.
The tiered play decks of the Xfinity Kids Zone specially designed for kids under 13 are welcoming to toddlers as well. In addition to a great view of the ballgame, kids can race Tim Anderson, play Wiffle ball, make an out at first base and throw pitches to a moving catcher. They can also “measure up” against some of the tallest, shortest, longest and highest-jumping players in Sox history. The area is toddler/parent-friendly and there is also a kiosk to sign up for the Kids Club, where young fans receive an official lanyard that they can show for prizes at return weekend games until they reach teenagerdom.
- In time for the 2019 season, the team introduced two family-friendly suites: a Nursing Room and a Sensory Room. The Nursing Room is located near Section 352 and comes with four plush chairs, a changing station and plugs for moms who are pumping. The Sensory Room is located in Suite 460 and is a quiet space for those with sensory needs, including textured walls, specialized lighting, weighted lap blankets and cushy chairs.
- The White Sox have upped their first-game certificate and included a button for new fans to wear for the day. Stop behind Section 154 at the official booth to pick up the certificate embossed with a name, the game’s date and opponent. Pro tip: while most people think this is just for kids, adults can also pick up certificates all the time, which is a great way to mark a first trip to the ballpark for a kid at heart.
- Strollers are absolutely allowed at the ballpark. Keep in mind the crowds and where you’ll be pushing your kiddo around. You’ll want something easily collapsable (umbrella stroller, yes; tricycle stroller, you’ll have to check it at guest services) but sturdy enough that you can maneuver through the concourse. If you have a stroller and want to head up to the Xfinity Kids Zone, which is usually accessed by stairs, follow the signs to Ramp 6. Make friends with the usher in your section and you might be able to stow your stroller behind the last row of seats near you for ease of accessibility.
- There is a baby changing station in every restroom, and for those with toddlers on the potty training plan, family bathrooms are located near Section 107 (if you hope to buy your tickets close to a family-friendly restroom).
- Fans with sensory needs can pick up a KultureCity sensory bag filled with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools and verbal cue cards. Those are available at Guest Services, located behind home plate on each level.
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