Your Ultimate Hollywood Bowl Guide: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Concert-Goers

As one of the quintessential summertime things to do in Los Angeles, the outdoor concerts at the Hollywood Bowl offer a positively perfect night out except for one thing: Parking. Skip the shuttling, schlepping, and standstill traffic exiting the Bowl parking lot afterwards and take an Uber.

Here are seven more essential things to know before you go:

Scoring Cheap Tickets

Outside of leased events, price points are lower at the Bowl than almost any other major concert venue in the area. But the real value is the classical music shows from Tuesday through Thursday, all summer long. If you act quickly, you can buy $1 seats in the X and V sections in the top tier, but they sell out shortly after single event tickets go on sale in early May. However, can buy $8 tickets in the W sections for these shows at any point in advance or even day of at the box office.

Must-See Shows for First-Timers

Any show featuring fireworks is a must. There are fireworks shows during the July 4th holiday weekend or just look for fireworks icon on the online calendar. Also, catching an orchestral show where celebrity LA Phil Gustavo Dudamel is conducting is cool, as well as the themed sing-a-longs, like the “Sound of Music” tribute. Because the venue is downright epic for live music, don’t miss a leased event when your favorite artist performs.

Unique Pre-Made Picnics

If you’re not partial to packing your own picnic, LA is home to plenty of restaurants that offer to-go gourmet picnics. Located in Culver City, Picnic LA offers dishes that can easily be taken on the go, but they also sell perfect picnic supplies such as flannel blankets to denim totes to various sizes of baskets. It may sound strange to do a sushi picnic, but Sugarfish‘s to-go boxes are stellar with all the sauces and a variety of rolls, sashimi and edamame. For an “uber” splurge, pick up a Petrossian picnic basket that includes caviar, pork saucisson, sardines, crème fraiche, blinis, baguette toasts and chocolates.

Food Options at the Bowl

There’s an entirely new Hollywood Bowl food scene, compliments of the new chef on deck: James Beard award-winning Suzanne Goin of Luques Group (A.O.C., Larder, Tavern, etc). You can pre-order a basket here or order at one of the many restaurants and food stands, such as Kitchen 22 (burgers), the Wine Bar by a.o.c. (artisanal cheese and charcuterie), the backyard (family-style wood-grilled meats and fish), and street food (hot dogs, bahn mi, s’mores) at stands throughout.

When You Can and Can’t BYOB

Leased events (when a touring act comes in and rents out the concert hall) are called out clearly on the Bowl’s online calendar. You can’t bring in booze for those but you can still bring a picnic and non-alcoholic drinks. All other shows are fair game for BYOB.

Where to Picnic at the Bowl

Unless you’re in box seating that is equipped with a table, there are 14 dedicated picnic areas in and around the Bowl grounds. They’re all first come, first serve—best to arrive no later than 6:30 p.m. to snag one. Picnic areas with tables are located both outside the grounds before you walk through the turnstiles and inside. The ones inside the are more scenic, but you’re taking more of a chance because if they’re full, you can’t go back to the ones outside. You can always makeshift a picnic in your seats, but that’s not as comfortable and tailgating is not allowed. Pro Tip: try Hollywood Camrose Park, a hidden gem of a park that’s incredibly well maintained and only two blocks away (five-minute walk) from the Bowl on Highland Ave. There are a plethora of picnic tables, clean bathrooms and it’s usually pretty sparsely populated.

What to Bring

Bring a wine key, although if you forget one, chances are someone within arm’s reach will have one to borrow. It’s best to wear layers since it can get chilly after sunset so grab a light jacket, blanket, or scarf. If you’re not in a box seat in the shade, bring a big hat for sun protection, as umbrellas are not allowed. Most seats are bench seats and cushions will make your experience that much better (cushions are available to rent onsite for $1). There are big screen TVs to watch, but if you don’t want to be subjected to what the camera person wants to focus on, bring binoculars if you’re sitting in seats located in the middle to top tier.

Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi

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