Hollywood Bowl

  • 01 of 10

    Hollywood Bowl Overview

    The view from the benches at the Hollywood Bowl
    ••• The view from the benches at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    The Hollywood Bowl is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Los Angeles after the Hollywood Sign. It is the largest natural outdoor amphitheater in the United States. The concert venue is the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra as well as hosting a myriad of concerts and music festivals from jazz to pop to R&B. Many of the biggest musical names in history have performed and continue to perform there.

    The location of the Hollywood Bowl, just north of Hollywood and Highland, makes it easily accessible for visitors. There are many convenient shuttle locations and if you're a regular walker, it is within walking distance (uphill) of several hotels. There are also inexpensive park & ride shuttles to the Bowl from surrounding cities.

    The Hollywood Bowl concert season usually runs from June to late September or early October. Most events at the Bowl are produced in house, but there are also Lease Events, which have different arrangements for parking and...MORE different rules for picnicking.

    The Hollywood Bowl
    2301 North Highland Avenue
    Hollywood, CA 90068
    MAP
    (323) 850-2000
    www.hollywoodbowl.com
    @HollywoodBowl
    Tickets can be purchased online or by telephone with a service charge or in person at the Box Office with no fee. Box office hours vary; check the website for details. It is free to park up to 4:30 pm. You can sometimes find discount tickets to Hollywood Bowl Concerts at Goldstar.com.

    Parking is very limited at the Hollywood Bowl itself. The lots are expensive and all the parking is stacked, so you can't leave until every car in front of you has left. A better option is to park at one of the free Satellite Lots at Universal City (2 lots on Ventura Blvd) or the discounted parking garage at Hollywood & Highland ($2 for first 2 hours, $13 max) and pay a small fee for the round trip shuttle. There's also a shuttle from the free parking lot at the LA Zoo. Check surrounding parking.

    Metro: You can take the Metro Red Line to Hollywood & Highland or Universal City and transfer for free to the same Hollywood Bowl Shuttles that serve the satellite lots, which are located at the Metro stations. Your round trip Metro ticket will also get you back on the return shuttle. Metro buses 156 and 222 also serve the Bowl.

    There are also Hollywood Bowl Park & Ride Shuttles departing from free parking lots in the following cities/neighborhoods:
    Arcadia
    Chatsworth*
    Culver City
    Downey
    East L.A.
    El Monte
    Lakewood*
    Pasadena*
    Rowland Heights
    Santa Monica
    Sherman Oaks
    Torrance*
    Westwood*
    Westchester

    *Shuttles for Lease Events run only from these locations.

    Discounted Park & Ride Shuttle tickets can be purchased online. You can also buy full price tickets on the bus, but only if there are still seats available.

    Hollywood Bowl Overview
    History
    The Hollywood Bowl Experience
    Hollywood Bowl Schedule
    Seating
    Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl Museum
    The Bowl Store
    Hollywood Bowl with Kids
    Tips and Extras

    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Hollywood Bowl History

    Hollywood Bowl
    ••• Hollywood Bowl. Photo © 2016 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Although people often think the name Hollywood Bowl refers to the dome-shaped band shell on the stage, it is actually a reference to the natural bowl-shaped area surrounded by the Hollywood Hills formerly known as the Daisy Dell. The site was originally purchased around 1919 by Christine Wetherill Stevenson and some friends as a location to perform a religious production called the Pilgrimage Play. When her partners objected to limiting the site's use to religious productions, she sold them her share of the property and built the theater across the street that became the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre (formerly the Pilgrimage Theatre) to host her show.

    Her partners went on to create the Hollywood Bowl. According to Hollywood Bowl archives, in 1920, Soprano Anna Ruzena Sprotte and composer/pianist Gertrude Ross trucked in a piano to test the acoustics from a platform at the bottom of the hill to figure out how best to situate the stage. The first large-scale production at the Bowl was...MORE the Easter Sunrise Service of 1921, which is still an annual tradition.

    On July 11, 1922, the Hollywood Bowl officially opened as the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where they performed under a simple awning to an audience on wooden benches. In 1926, the landscape was re-graded to create better seating, but it had the negative effect of reducing the natural acoustic advantage of the location.

    The Hollywood Bowl went through several band shells in its first few years, including two developed by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, before they built the arched dome, created by Allied Architects, that has become a model for outdoor stages around the world. The 1929 shell had a lot of acoustical problems over the years, and it was finally replaced in 2003 with a new, larger dome with better acoustics. The new dome was designed by the architectural firm Hodgetts and Fung, with a structural concept by the local office of the international engineering company Arup. It is based on the best acoustic elements of two earlier 1920s Lloyd Wright designs, incorporating new technology and retaining the primary form of the 1929 landmark shell.

    The entrance to the Hollywood Bowl on Highland Avenue is adorned with a sculpture of the three muses by George Stanley, best known for designing the Oscar statuette.

    References:
    http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/about/history.cfm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Bowl
    http://underthehollywoodsign.wordpress.com

    Hollywood Bowl Overview
    Hollywood Bowl History
    The Hollywood Bowl Experience
    Hollywood Bowl Schedule
    Hollywood Bowl Seating
    Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl Museum
    The Bowl Store
    Hollywood Bowl with Kids
    Hollywood Bowl Tips and Extras

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    The Hollywood Bowl Experience

    A tight squeeze in the cheap seats at the Hollywood Bowl
    ••• A tight squeeze in the cheap seats at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo © 2016 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    The Hollywood Bowl hosts top-notch musicians, including their "house band," the LA Philharmonic orchestra, as well as occasional theatre productions. However, any Angeleno will tell you that more than the music, you go to the Bowl for the experience - a picnic to live music under the stars surrounded by the Hollywood Hills. Some people don't even bother to check to see what's playing before deciding they feel like a night of live music under the stars, and just show up to see if there happen to be tickets available. However, I would recommend that if you really want to include the Hollywood Bowl in your visit to LA, that you check the schedule and choose a night with the kind of music you prefer, since there's a big difference between the classical, jazz or rock concert vibe.

    The venue is huge, seating 18,000. If you're in the cheap seats, you'll be squeezed in tight with your neighbors and their picnic gear and you really can't see much on the stage, so...MORE bring your binoculars (you can also rent some) and a friendly attitude. The big screens that were added to either side of the stage help some, but if you want to SEE the concert and not just hear it, you'll need to pay for the better seats. For orchestra concerts, it's not a big deal, but the set-up is not really conducive to the theatrical productions that are periodically staged here.

    The ultimate experience is to be in the box seats where you actually have little fold out tables to enjoy your picnic or you can order from the menu. When you're finished, you can fold the tables out of the way to enjoy the concert. 

    Leave the fancy dress at home and dress for a picnic, even in the front of the house, and be prepared for temperatures to dip significantly once the sun goes down. 

    Hollywood Bowl Overview
    Hollywood Bowl History
    The Hollywood Bowl Experience
    Hollywood Bowl Schedule
    Hollywood Bowl Seating
    Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl Museum
    The Bowl Store
    Hollywood Bowl with Kids
    Hollywood Bowl Tips and Extras

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    Hollywood Bowl Schedule

    Concert at the Hollywood Bowl
    ••• Concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo © 2016 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    The Hollywood Bowl is primarily the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic so the schedule is dominated by LA Phil concerts. In addition to the Classical Music Series, the Bowl also has a World Music Series and a Jazz Series, with other events added each year.
    Summersounds for Kids - Summer weekday morning program for kids
    Full Summer Concert Season 

    Annual Lease Events:
    The Playboy Jazz Festival - June
    Mariachi USA Festival - June

    Most pop and rock concerts at the Hollywood Bowl are Lease Events, so be sure to check that section of the website for additional concerts in addition to the Full Season Schedule. Both types of events are listed on the Calendar.

    You can sometimes find discount tickets to Hollywood Bowl Concerts at Goldstar.com.

    Some performances at the Hollywood Bowl include a fireworks show, including three nights around the 4th of July. Check the website to see which shows include fireworks.

    Hollywood Bowl Overview
    Hollywood Bowl History
    The Hollywood Bowl Experience
    Hollywood...MORE Bowl Schedule
    Hollywood Bowl Seating
    Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl Museum
    The Bowl Store
    Hollywood Bowl with Kids
    Hollywood Bowl Tips and Extras

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Hollywood Bowl Seating

    Aerial View of the Hollywood Bowl
    ••• Aerial View of the Hollywood Bowl. Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    In a venue that can seat 18,000 people, clearly not all seats at the Hollywood Bowl are created equal in comfort, view or listening experience.

    Box Seats
    The Box Seats up front have canvas deck chairs that you can move around. So for your pre-show picnic, you can sit facing each other around a small table, then turn all the chairs to the stage for the concert.

    Super Seats
    What the Hollywood Bowl calls Super Seats are molded plastic auditorium seats like those that you'll find at most sports arenas. These are immediately behind the Box Seats.

    Bench Seats

    Most of the seats at the Hollywood Bowl are slatted wooden bench seats with backs. It can be a tight squeeze in the benches with people bundled up against the chilly evening and carrying all kinds of picnic gear. Cushions are available for rent, or you can bring your own. You'll definitely want one.

    There is NO lawn seating.

    Hollywood Bowl Overview
    Hollywood Bowl History
    The Hollywood Bowl Experience
    Hollywood Bowl Schedule
    Hollywood Bowl...MORE Seating
    Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl Museum
    The Bowl Store
    Hollywood Bowl with Kids
    Hollywood Bowl Tips and Extras

    Continue to 6 of 10 below.
  • 06 of 10

    Picnicking and Dining at the Hollywood Bowl

    Picnicking at the Hollywood Bowl
    ••• Picnicking at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Although it was once forbidden, since 1952, at the instigation of philanthropist Dorothy Buffum Chandler, picnicking in the boxes and benches at the Hollywood Bowl is encouraged (restrictions apply). Picnicking in the boxes is great, and tables are provided before the show that can be removed to turn all the seats front facing when the show starts. If you have bench seats, I recommend getting there early and picnicking in one of the picnic areas. There are several areas with picnic tables and various stretches and corners of lawn available for that purpose. When the bench seats inside the concert area are full, there's really not much room to maneuver your picnic gear there.

    If you're traveling and it's not convenient to pack a picnic, there are many dining options on site. Starting with the 2016 season, all food services are now provided by Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne of celebrated local restaurants Lucques, a.o.c., Tavern, and The Larder. You can have sit-down service...MORE at the al fresco Backyard Wood-Fired Grill, or the Wine Bar by a.o.c.; order take-out from multiple food stands including burgers, bahn mi, hot dogs, BBQ and sweets; or build a picnic from hot and cold items from the Marketplace or Buzz McCoy’s Marketplace. You can also order a gourmet meal delivered right to your box seats. Lucques at the Circle is a fine dining option only available for subscribers of the Pool Circle. More on Dining at the Hollywood Bowl.

    Hollywood Bowl Overview
    Hollywood Bowl History
    The Hollywood Bowl Experience
    Hollywood Bowl Schedule
    Hollywood Bowl Seating
    Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl Museum
    The Bowl Store
    Hollywood Bowl with Kids
    Hollywood Bowl Tips and Extras

    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    Hollywood Bowl Museum

    The Hollywood Bowl Museum
    ••• The Hollywood Bowl Museum. Photo © 2016 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    The Edmund D. Edelman Hollywood Bowl Museum features exhibits on the history of the Hollywood Bowl and changing, family-friendly interactive exhibits related to music and the Bowl. The upstairs Resource Center provides access to additional archived materials via computer workstations.

    Visitors can also peruse the video library of all the honorees in the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, including John Williams, Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Henry Mancini, Sarah Chang, Bernadette Peters, Frank Sinatra, and many more.

    The Hollywood Bowl Museum is open year-round and is free to the public during the day, and to ticket holders in the summer from 4:30 pm until show time.

    Additional exhibits can be found on the Bowl Walk, with interpretive panels at 10 points of interest scattered around the Hollywood Bowl. You can get a map at the museum or box office or download it here.

    Concert Season Museum Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – show time, Sunday: 4 p.m. – show time

    Off-Season Hours: Tue...MOREsday – Friday: 10 am – 5:00 pm, Saturdays, groups of 30+ by appointment.
    Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year's Day. 

    For group tours, call the museum at (323) 850-2058 or send e-mail museum@laphil.org.

    Hollywood Bowl Overview
    Hollywood Bowl History
    The Hollywood Bowl Experience
    Hollywood Bowl Schedule
    Hollywood Bowl Seating
    Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl Museum
    The Bowl Store
    Hollywood Bowl with Kids
    Hollywood Bowl Tips and Extras

    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    The Bowl Store

    The Hollywood Bowl Store
    ••• The Hollywood Bowl Store is open before each performance, during intermission and for half an hour after the show. Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    The Bowl Store sells souvenirs of the Hollywood Bowl as well as music-related gifts, books and CDs. It is open before each performance, during intermission and for about a half hour after the show. The Bowl Store is only open during concert season. The LA Philharmonic has another store open year round at their winter home, the Disney Concert Hall.

    Hollywood Bowl Overview
    Hollywood Bowl History
    The Hollywood Bowl Experience
    Hollywood Bowl Schedule
    Hollywood Bowl Seating
    Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl Museum
    The Bowl Store
    Hollywood Bowl with Kids
    Hollywood Bowl Tips and Extras

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Hollywood Bowl with Kids

    SummerSounds at the Hollywood Bowl
    ••• Children enjoying SummerSounds at the Hollywood Bowl. Photo courtesy of the Hollywood Bowl

    Hollywood Bowl evening concerts are not a great experience for little kids who can't hold still for two hours. A better option is to bring your kids to one of the SummerSounds music and art programs designed especially for kids.

    A daytime visit during a rehearsal is another option because you can listen to the music for a while, and then move on to explore the grounds and the interactive exhibits at the Hollywood Bowl Museum. Pick up a map for the Bowl Walk from the museum to explore the architectural highlights, artwork, flora and fauna of the Hollywood Bowl, or you can download it here.

    When there's no rehearsal going on, you might even get a chance to get up on stage and sing a song.

    Parking at the Hollywood Bowl is free during the day.

    Hollywood Bowl Overview
    Hollywood Bowl History
    The Hollywood Bowl Experience
    Hollywood Bowl Schedule
    Hollywood Bowl Seating
    Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl Museum
    The Bowl Store
    Hollywood Bowl with Kids
    Hollywood Bowl...MORE Tips and Extras

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Hollywood Bowl Tips and Extras

    Hollywood Bowl
    ••• Hollywood Bowl. Photo © 2005 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com

    Free Rehearsals

    On many weekday mornings in the summer, you can enjoy the sounds of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl while they rehearse. It's free to listen, free to park, and you can explore the grounds and visit the free Hollywood Bowl Museum. Call (323) 850-2000 to see when rehearsals are scheduled.

    Dollar Seats

    If you're on the ball when the first tickets for the Hollywood Bowl Summer Concert Season go on sale at the beginning of May, you might be able to grab some of the back bench-seat tickets for Tuesday or Thursday classical shows for just $1. Those tickets sell out fast, and people line up at the box office to get them.

    Senior Rush Tickets

    A limited number of Senior Rush Tickets may be available at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office for $10 on the day of a performance for some Tuesday/Thursday concerts. Call (323) 850-2000 for availability.

    You, On Stage

    Visit the Bowl on a weekday afternoon and wait for a lull between tour groups to climb up on stage and test...MORE your pipes. Or if you're visiting with a school group or choir group, you can arrange an official tour including a chance to sing on stage. For group tours, call the museum at (323) 850-2058 or send e-mail museum@laphil.org.

    Dressing for the Hollywood Bowl

    Regardless of whether it's a rock concert or the LA Phil, the dress code at the Hollywood Bowl is casual. Bring a jacket! No matter how hot it is during the day, once the sun sets, LA temperatures dip significantly. I usually wear fleece AND bring a blanket. Closed, comfortable shoes are also a good idea for keeping your toes warm and for keeping your footing on the steep walkways.

    Smoking at the Hollywood Bowl

    There is NO smoking inside the concert area. Smoking is only permitted in designated smoking areas on the grounds. There is a smoking area to the left of the Box Office, one on the bridge behind the popcorn stand near the D entrance, across from the restroom at 3rd Promenade East and at the 4th Promenade East Entrance.

    Hollywood Bowl Overview
    Hollywood Bowl History
    The Hollywood Bowl Experience
    Hollywood Bowl Schedule
    Hollywood Bowl Seating
    Picnicking and Dining Options at the Hollywood Bowl
    Hollywood Bowl Museum
    The Bowl Store
    Hollywood Bowl with Kids
    Hollywood Bowl Tips and Extras