Chicago’s Wrigleyville Rooftop History
Where it all began! Since 1914, the Wrigleyville rooftops of adjacent residential buildings have been used to view Cubs baseball games or other major events at historic Wrigley Field. The term “Wrigley Rooftops” has been used primarily by Chicago sports fans for the past several decades to describe the beautiful structures surrounding the ballpark. The term has become etched in the baseball and concert experience at Wrigley Field.
The rooftops began as a primitive way to experience the Chicago Cubs baseball games with small gatherings of a few lucky fans and neighborhood folks perched atop the buildings lining Sheffield and Waveland Avenues. The fortunate fans would sit on folding chairs, garden furniture, coolers, overturned buckets and blankets to separate themselves from hot tar of sun scorched roofs, just for a glimpse of Cubs gameday action. Building owners would grant access to family and tenants by climbing to the top floor attic of a residential apartment complex. For decades, broadcasting legend, Harry Caray would say “hello” to persistent Wrigley Field rooftop fanatics during his televised broadcasts. Thus, making an invite to a rooftop a coveted prize.
In the 80’s the Cubs experienced a revived popularity and interest in the team, some entrepreneurs began constructing more sophisticated seating arrangements on these once crude rooftop properties. Some owners began to charge admission to their establishments. This did not bode well with the Cubs organization. Management tolerated these entrepreneurial endeavors for almost a decade, until the rooftops became organized and profitable businesses. The Cubs believed this encroached on their business and used the Cubs for personal and financial gain”.
Discussions quickly began between the property owners and the Chicago Cubs. In 2004, 11 of the 13 established rooftops settled and agreed to pay 17% of gross revenue in exchange for official endorsement. The Cubs now endorse their “Official Rooftop Partners” on their team page at MLB.com.
Today, Wrigley rooftops have become a bucketlist item, to watch Cubs baseball games and summer concerts. Rooftop venues now feature bleachers, beverage service, specialty food menus, meeting space, and a unique game-day atmosphere without the huge crowds, long lines, crowded restrooms and raucous fans. Wrigleyville today stands as a structural paradise, with newer renovations and hotels becoming apart of the history. The Cubs organization has made advancements in office space, accommodations and even ice arenas. There is plenty more to come here in Wrigleyville.