Looking for a fun family date night? Look no further than the Hollywood Bowl. We finally made a visit to this iconic Los Angeles venue only to realize what a great date night this is for the entire family. We saw E.T. with the LA Philharmonic playing the score live. It was amazing. What was so amazing about it was that the orchestra didn’t miss a beat. If you didn’t look down at the stage, you would have thought it was pre-recorded. It was so spot on.
Granted, showing a movie is not the norm for the Hollywood Bowl, but while researching more about visiting the Hollywood Bowl with our son, we heard from many friends how this is their go to summer family date night tradition. Pretty cool I think.
It is a bit nerve wracking thinking about attending an evening show with a small child, but honestly there were so many families there. From what I hear, it’s a pretty regular occurrence too. How to get rid of the nerves? Be prepared on what to bring and where to park!
Tips to See a Show at the Hollywood Bowl
Where to Sit
The best advice on where to sit is to purchase whatever tickets you can afford. On Tuesday and Thursday nights during the summer, you can often find bleacher seats for very cheap. You won’t have an up close view of the musicians on stage, but there are several big screens to give you close up views.
If you want to make your visit to the Hollywood Bowl a once off special event, splurge for the box seats. If you want to create a summer family date night tradition, go for the bleacher seats and enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow show goers. Get your tickets at the Box Office (for no additional fees), online, through Ticketmaster, or by phone 323. 850.2000.
What to Bring
The three main essentials to enjoying a show at the Hollywood Bowl are:
- An awesome picnic dinner with your favorite easy to eat foods, drinks for the kiddos and wine or beer for the grown ups. Don’t forget to include napkins, a ‘trash bag’, utensils and bottle openers!
- A light blanket, sweater and seat cushions (or rent one for $1) when the sun sets and it starts to cool down
- Cash, which you will need for parking – no matter where you park. See below for more on parking.
Where to Park
Parking is the one thing about attending a show at the Hollywood Bowl that always stressed me out. Parking on site is stack parking. If you haven’t ever experienced stack parking before, it is basically several long narrow lanes packed with cars one in front of the other with no possible way out until the people in front of you leave. If you do park at the bowl, know that it will take anywhere from an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour to actually get out of there. For kids who sleep in the car, it’s not so bad.
But, still, stack parking with a child is a bit stressful. No matter how much we might want to stay for the entire show, oftentimes, life (with kids) has other plans. If this is a major stress for you like it was me, you have several other options – park at Hollywood & Highland by the church for around $10 or park at Franklin and Highland (enter on Franklin) for $15-20. These lots are not stack, but they do require quite a little hike to/from the Bowl. For all parking options, you will need anywhere from $10-$25 cash.
You can also consider doing the park/ride or taking an uber. If you plan to uber, you will be better off leaving the show before it ends as the crush to find your uber can be a nightmare! If you live further afield, consider the park and shuttle ride option. For more information on how to get to the Hollywood Bowl, check their helpful guide for newcomers.
How to Avoid the Crowds
If you or your children are not into big crowds, make sure to arrive early where you can enter the Hollywood Bowl at your leisure. Doors open 2 hours prior to most shows. Walk in before the crowds, spread out and have your food before the crowds pour in close to show time.
When the show is over, if you are sitting on the left side of the amphitheater, head to your left and walk down the steepish hill, which dumps you at the back VIP parking lot. You will eventually join up with the masses again, but this route helps reduce the hustle of trying to get down the stairs and escalators with the other thousand plus people.
Things to Know
Strollers are typically not permitted inside the Hollywood Bowl, but can be checked in at the Operations Desk if you must have one. If you have a small child who you envision will be asleep by the time you leave, make sure to bring a carrier. If that doesn’t work, plan to have your partner pick you up half way down Highland (if you didn’t park at the bowl) at Camrose (on the East side – your partner can enter the road on Whitley off Franklin to avoid the crush of traffic moving up Highland.
Going to a new place at night with a young child can seem daunting, but trust me, a visit to the Hollywood Bowl will be worth it! There are only a few shows left this season, so if you can’t make it this year, remember that you have all of next summer to create a new family tradition!