The Greek Theatre is a Los Angeles icon. Over the years, it has hosted many landmark concerts including Elton's John's AIDS benefit, Sting's Children in the Rainforest Concert, and Ray Charles' 10,000th concert. If you're going to Los Angeles in the summer, you should think about going to a concert at The Greek - as locals call it.
The LA Greek Theatre isn't one of those tired places that get by on past glory, either. In fact, it's often rated as North America’s best small outdoor venue by entertainment industry magazines. Locals love it because it's smaller than other places, which makes for less traffic going in and out. While it might be too large to be called "intimate," it doesn't feel crowded even during a nearly sold-out concert.
The Greek Theatre has been around since 1930, built in a natural amphitheater on a hillside in Los Angeles' Griffith Park. The City of Los Angeles owns it and managing the shows is SMG Entertainment. It's a fully-modern entertainment venue, with state of the art sound.
If you like a summer evening concert, the Greek Theatre is only one place you can go in LA. Check out more places to go for a summer evening concert in California.
The Greek Theatre Experience
On its best nights, most people love the Greek Theatre experience. Online reviewers generally give the Greek Theatre high rating, with an average of 4 out of 5 at Yelp. They say it's one of those concert venue gems that makes the happy to be an Angeleno and praise the sound quality, food and drink selections, and friendly staff.
Complaints include stacked parking and high prices for food and drink. Some reviewers also say they don't enforce the non-smoking policy and the whole place can smell like weed. While this may seem normal for concerts these days, it doesn't happen at every LA concert venue, and for those who don't want to take in second-hand smoke, it's a definite negative. You can read more reviews on Yelp.
Unfortunately, other concert-goers at the Greek can also detract from the experience. Sometimes a full third of the audience arrives late, creating a constant disruption that lasts up to intermission. You may not be able to control their rude behavior, but you can adjust by getting seats that are away from aisles and walkways.
Tips for Enjoying the Greek Theatre Los Angeles
- Wear and carry layered clothing - it can get cool fast after sunset. And your backside will appreciate a seat cushion.
- Prohibited items include bottles (even empty ones), cans, coolers, food, beverages, baskets, recording devices, selfie sticks, and umbrellas. You can find a complete list on their website.
- Besides the concert stage, you'll find picnic areas, and refreshment stands inside the gates.
- Many concerts feature only the headliner with no opening act. If you arrive late, you'll miss part of the show.
- You can order a picnic basket to pick up or buy something to eat inside. You can also bring a picnic, but you will have to enjoy that outside. To avoid a long trek to your car to stow your picnic gear, bring only disposable items.
- Doors to the entry plaza open 1.5 hours before show time. Shows end no later than 11:00 p.m., so they don't keep the neighbors up past their bedtime.
Greek Theatre Los Angeles Seating
Before you buy tickets check the seating chart. The Greek has lots of levels, and it's easy to mistake the back row for the front. Also, read the comments below about Section B.
Seating is in the orchestra pit (for some shows), in two levels above that, and on an elevated balcony. Above that are on terraces where some seats can see the center of the stage but not the sides of it. However, lower levels of the terraces can be closer to the stage than parts of Section B. Bleacher seating is at the back of Section C.
Views are excellent from most seats. The reservation system mentions limited views, but they don't include the center front of Section B. In the first rows of that section people walking by can be distracting, especially near stairways. In the middle of it, you'll be behind a short wall. It doesn't obstruct the view but does make you feel cut off.
Tickets and Reservations for the LA Greek Theatre
The Greek Theatre concert season runs from late April through late October. You find all the details, season schedules and ticket sales at the Greek Theatre Los Angeles website.
Age restrictions vary from show to show. Check the event page to see if age restrictions apply. Anyone who attends needs a ticket.
If tickets are sold out, try StubHub or call the box office to ask about released house seats. Ticket brokers sell Greek Theatre tickets, but usually above face value. However, they may lower prices at the last minute if seats are left.
You can get discounted tickets for some performances through Goldstar. Find out what Goldstar is and how to use it.
How to Get to the Greek Theatre Los Angeles
The Greek Theatre is in Griffith Park, near downtown Los Angeles and close to Hollywood.
On concert nights, the DASH Observatory bus runs late. It makes 10 stops between the Metro Red Line Vermont/Sunset station and along Hillhurst Avenue in Los Feliz, including the Greek Theatre and the Observatory. And best of all, the fare is less than a dollar per person.
When you drive in, don't feel confused if you find yourself going through a neighborhood. If you follow the signs and keep going, you'll end up where you wanted to go.
If you use a ridesharing service, tell your driver to enter through Commonwealth Ave. They can drop you off and pick you up at the rideshare zone in Lot D.
The former Dine and Ride, service which provided a shuttle service to the Greek Theatre from area restaurants has been discontinued.
Parking at the Greek Theatre
On busy nights, part of the street out front gets converted into parking spaces.
Parking is in lots nearby, and parking fees (which are high) are not included in ticket prices. And if you don't use cash much these days, make a stop at an ATM on the way because it's the only payment they take. Check the current parking rates, which are on their website.
Some parking is stacked, which means cars are parked close together in rows. If you want to get out early, you may not be able to. And if you stay until the end of the concert, expect to wait for everyone in front of you to leave before you do.
You can also park off-site (which is less expensive) and take a clean air shuttle to the venue. The lot is located at at 4400 Crystal Springs Dr.
Whatever you do, don't park on residential streets in the area, which will get you towed for sure. And don't be that jerk who block someone's driveway.
To avoid all these parking hassles, take the shuttle. All the details about it are above.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of reviewing the Greek Theatre. It has not influenced this review, but Tripsavvy.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.