Most everyone who goes to Red Sox games at Fenway Park has two recommendations on getting there: don’t drive, and take the “T”.
Driving to and parking at Fenway Park can be done (especially with the aid of a Fenway Park E-Guide), but it can be a struggle to find affordable parking close to the ballpark, and even if you do, getting out will take some time. In some places you’re at the mercy of someone who has parked you in, never a good thing. Unless you’re familiar with the area, you’re much better off using the “T”, as Bostonians refer to it.
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) operates several subway lines across the city of Boston proper, and they are among the cleaner and more efficient of big city transit systems. There are four color-coded subway lines; Red (for the crimson colors of Harvard University where it originally ended), Blue (for the water on the nearby shoreline and Boston Harbor), and Orange (for Orange Street at the middle, now called Washington Street) all connect with the Green Line at some point, which in turn takes riders to the Kenmore Station, a short stroll over the Massachusetts Turnpike to Fenway Park. The Green Line is so named because it passes through the “Emerald Necklace” section of Boston.
The Green Line has four separate routes: B, C, D and E, all of which end at different stations. All but E stop at Kenmore; the E train veers off north of Kenmore but stops at the Prudential Center, which is about a ten block walk to the ballpark. The D route of the Green Line stops at a “Fenway” Station; this is not terribly far from the ballpark but is not the actual Fenway Park exit. This may be for the benefit of Yankees fans, to wear them out before the game.
You should use the T for no other reason than to share the whole Fenway experience. On game days the Green Line becomes packed with Red Sox fans heading to Fenway, and after games trains become similarly sardine-packed. But this is of no nevermind to Red Sox fans, many of whom were smart enough to stay slim in order to fit into those Grandstand seats. A member of Red Sox Nation has no problem sharing a small space with a fellow member in good standing. And if they don’t feel like being crammed into a train, they wait out the crowds at fine establishments like Cask-N-Flagon or Boston Beer Works.
If you’re looking for more spacious alternatives, you could use the E route on a nice day if you don’t mind the walk, which would keep you out of the standing room only crowd that only knows to not use the E. Or you could use the Orange Line and get off at the Back Bay Station–this is a few blocks east of the Prudential Center. That one’s a hike, but you can get a good look at a beautiful city along the way. There used to be a “Ruggles Shuttle” that took riders from the Ruggles Station on the Orange Line to Fenway, but that is no longer active as of this writing. You can still use a bus from there but you have to pay for it.
A ride on a T train is $2 as of this writing; it’s cheaper for seniors and students and free for children 11 and under riding with an adult. So a two-train ride to the park and back is $8 a person, plus whatever you may pay for a park-and-ride lot (somewhere around $7). Considering that some nearby places charge upwards of $30 for parking and the traffic you will encounter, Boston may be the one baseball city where public transportation is a better option than anywhere else, even more so than Chicago, Washington or New York.
The T is fast, efficient, and generally safe; yes, trains do get extremely crowded on game days, but remember, all of these people know Fenway is worth it.
Not many folks drive to Fenway Park. They just don’t. So remember, don’t drive and use the T.
Recently, thanks to my wife giving me the best birthday present ever, we went to Boston for a game at Fenway Park. I married up.
Having researched Fenway for the Fenway Park Guide I have written, I well knew not to try to park there. Not only is Beantown a difficult city to navigate in, you won’t likely park anywhere within a half mile of Fenway for less than $30. There’s a reason those Green Line trains get so packed.
But if you are a large group that would rather not buy a whole bunch of train tickets, I suppose you could use the Prudential Center’s lot. The Pru, as Bostonians call it, currently charges just $16 on game days to park in their garage, and they pronounce it the best parking deal you’ll find, which is mostly true (although my Fenway Park E-Guide has a few secrets in it).
The Pru also has a food court where you can get a cheaper pre-game meal than you will likely pay at the park. There are several chain restaurants, including a Legal Seafood clam chowder joint.
The only thing is that the Pru Center is a good hike from Fenway Park, a walk that most people believe to be about ten minutes but one that I put closer to 20. This can be alleviated by grabbing a Boston Pedicab (see “Take A Rickshaw To Fenway” in this blog), but if you’re not a stiffer on tipping people, that would pretty much negate the money you’ve saved on parking, especially if you use one again to return to the garage after the game. It might be more fun than trying to find a spot near the park, but it’s not going to save you any money.
Given the choice between parking at Alewife or Wellington and transferring to the Green Line or parking at the Prudential Center and doing the walk, I’d probably still go with the train. The T in Boston is still a cleaner ride than public transit in most cities, and while I don’t mind walking a long ways, I’m not crazy about a long hike while I could be missing pre-game festivities.
Still, it’s not a bad deal considering, and if you’re going to down an El Tiante Cuban sandwich and a sausage outside, you could probably use the exercise.
Only rookies drive their car to Fenway Park, or anywhere in Boston, for that matter. Narrow streets and world-class congestion have combined to make a less than stellar public transportation system pretty popular in Beantown.
Public transportation certainly has its drawbacks, especially for those using it to get to a ballgame. I can tell you from the experience of nearly having my face pressed against a windshield for entire Green Line rides that trains coming to and leaving games at Fenway Park get mercilessly jammed with Red Sox fans. And far be it for me to suggest that Boston fans smell any worse than fans of any other teams (they don’t) but let’s face it, after a game on a muggy day there’s probably going to be someone kicking foul near you, and that can make for a long ride.
But I did find one way to ease some (although not all) of the hassles that go along with trying to enter or exit the Fenway Park area by car.
Boston Pedicabs is a clever local outfit that employs young, fit college students to pedal bicycles attached to rickshaws around the city of Boston. There are plenty of them available near Fenway, but the gentleman I e-mailed asking where best to find them (forgive me for temporarily losing the e-mail with his name) informed me that the parking lot at the Prudential center some blocks east of Fenway is a good spot. The Prudential lot is much cheaper than the lots closest to Fenway, and the Center is basically a mall with quite a few good pregame dining options.
The fellows riding the bicycles are friendly and will have a conversation with you as they’re pedaling you through murderous traffic to the park, and you can actually look around at the city rather than waiting for the driver in front of you to finally move.
Best of all, they’re free. But not really. The Pedicab drivers subsist entirely on tips, so don’t let me hear of anyone who reads this stiffing them.
Boston Pedicabs website: www.bostonpedicab.com