Greek Theatre Los Angeles

Concert at the Los Angeles Greek Theatre
••• Concert at the Los Angeles Greek Theatre. Adapted from Calvin Fleming/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles has been the site of 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 there.

The Greek — as the locals call it — is 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 the Greek Theater, and SMG Entertainment manages it. It's a fully-modern entertainment venue, with state of the art sound. 

If you like a summer evening concert as much as I do, the Greek Theatre is only one place you can go. Check out more places to go for a summer evening concert in California.

Likes and Dislikes

On its best nights, most people love the Greek Theatre experience.

I rate the Greek Theatre Los Angeles 4 stars out of 5 for a great location, good sound, and an overall enjoyable ambiance. Its size and location make going there less traffic-fraught than it might be for other venues, even though it can still take a while to get in and out.

I don't know if this happens all the time, but when I went, other concert-goers at the Greek detracted from the experience. I estimate a full third of the audience arrived late, creating a constant disruption that lasted up to intermission.

The Greek is technically non-smoking, and while I didn't experience this myself, some online reviewers complain about lax enforcement when people light up (both tobacco and other substances).

They also mention intoxicated patrons causing disruption. 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.

Tips for Enjoying the Greek Theatre Los Angeles

  • Parking fees are not included in ticket prices.
  • Parking is in lots nearby. On busy nights, part of the street out front gets converted into parking space.
  • Some parking is stacked, which means cars are parked in long rows. You may not be able to get out early and will have to wait for everyone in front of you to leave before you do.
  • To avoid parking hassles, take the shuttle. All the details about it are below.
  • Bring layered clothing - it can get cool fast after sunset. And your backside will appreciate and a seat cushion.
  • Leave it home: Bottles, cans, coolers, laser pointers, food, beverages, baskets, cameras, recording devices, umbrellas.
  • 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 there. You can also bring a picnic to enjoy outside.
  • Doors to the venue 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

Check the seating chart before you buy tickets — and avoid the common mistake of thinking the back row is in the front. And read the comments about Section B below, too.

Seating is in the orchestra pit (for some shows), in two levels above that, on an elevated balcony and on terraces where some seats can see the center of the stage but not the sides of it. 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 good 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 Greek Theatre Los Angeles

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 frequently, asking for released House seats. Ticket brokers sell Greek Theatre tickets, but usually above face value. 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.

Greek Theatre Los Angeles Basics

The Greek Theatre concert season runs late April through October. You find all the details, season schedules and ticket sales at the Greek Theatre Los Angeles website.

How to Get to the Greek Theatre Los Angeles

The Greek Theatre is in Griffith Park, near downtown Los Angeles and close to Hollywood.

Some restaurants in the Los Feliz area offer Dine and Ride, which provides a shuttle service to the Greek Theatre if you have a meal with them. If you want to take public transit, the nearest cross street is Los Feliz Blvd and N Vermont Avenue, but it's a bit of a walk from there to the entrance.

You can also park off-site and take a shuttle to the venue. The lot is located at the northeast corner of Crystal Springs Drive and Los Feliz Boulevard.

O​n 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.

Don't let the street going in get you confused. It runs through a neighborhood for a while, but if you follow the signs and keep going, you'll end up where you wanted to go.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of reviewing the Greek Theatre Los Angeles. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.