Dodger Stadium is a perfect setting for a Major League Baseball game, and an excellent way to spend an afternoon or evening in Los Angeles. In this guide, we’ll cover which seats to choose, what to eat, how to get there from Downtown LA and elsewhere in Southern California.
Note that while this is being published on MLB’s 2020 opening day and probably feels odd, it was originally written last fall when surely the Dodgers were a lock for the World Series. The intention was to publish it at the start of game 1, but then of course the Dodgers lost to eventual world series champion Washington Nationals in the NLDS, not even making the NLCS, let alone the World Series.
It thus made sense to hold off until 2020 Opening Day, after all March was only a few months away. Of course, that didn’t happen and now we’re left with a truncated regular season without fans in the stands. That makes all of this text pretty much irrelevant, but I’m excited for Dodger baseball to be back and wanted to post all of the photos I took last fall at Dodger Stadium. So, just scroll past the text and enjoy the images for now. Hopefully the advice is relevant again at some point down the road!
Located east of DTLA and Chinatown, in between the burgeoning skyline of Downtown LA and the San Gabriel Mountains, Dodgers Stadium has a beautiful home in the Chavez Ravine. Beyond that gorgeous setting and the “cotton-candy sky with a canopy of blue” sunsets (as Vin Scully described them), Dodger Stadium is one of the most beautiful venues in sports. Its clean mid-century modern lines and iconic shade structures reflect one of Southern California’s signature design styles.
As one of the oldest and most storied MLB ballparks, Dodger Stadium has hosted ten World Series and the Dodgers have won four World Championships since its opening in 1962. It’s been the home stadium of countless future Hall of Famers (including at least a few today!), MVPs, and Cy Young Award Winners. It has been home to no-hitters and all-time moments, like Kirk Gibson’s legendary walk-off home run in the 1988 World Series.
Without question, Dodger Stadium is one of the best places to enjoy an MLB game, and the LA Dodgers are one of the most fun teams to watch. Whether you’re interested in visiting Los Angeles to cheer on your home team, see future Hall of Famers, photograph the modern architecture, eat your weight in Dodger Dogs, or enjoy a beautiful sunset and evening in LA, here’s what you need to know to have the best possible Dodger Stadium experience…
When to Go
Night games after definitely better than afternoon ones as Dodger Stadium gets hot and there’s minimal shade. Plus, there’s something cool about enjoying the first few innings in the late afternoon sun with a view of the mountains, followed by sunset, and then the crisp California nighttime air.
If you can, do a Friday night game. On these evenings, the Dodgers do Friday Night Fireworks and fans are allowed to enjoy the pyro from on the outfield grass. The fireworks themselves aren’t the best show you’ll ever see, but it’s a unique experience and there’s typically a good energy to these games.
Throughout the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers also do a number of promotional giveaways such as jerseys, bobbleheads, and tote bags. (See our Billie Jean King bobblehead!) There are also a variety of special nights that honor various groups or have a theme associated with them, such as Star Wars, Hello Kitty, or Dia de Los Dodgers.
Getting to Dodger Stadium
Don’t drive. Just don’t. Angelenos arrive notoriously late, which means getting parked isn’t always a hassle, but freeway traffic can be bad depending upon the start time. Plus, if it’s a close game and you stay until the end, it can be mind-numbingly frustrating to leave the colossal lots.
The best option for getting to and from the game is the free Dodger Stadium Express bus, which picks up at Union Station or the South Bay. Union Station is the transit hub of Los Angeles, with several Metro lines terminating here, as well as regional rail lines, including the Metrolink and Amtrak.
We’ve found the Dodger Stadium Express bus to be incredibly efficient, even on nights when the game is sold out. We’ve never encountered much, if any, of a wait to board the bus from Union Station. Leaving Dodger Stadium at the end of the game means a 10-15 minute line, plus a 15-20 minute ride on a packed bus. Not ideal, but better than trying to leave in your car.
If you don’t mind a bit of an uphill walk, consider taking the Metro Gold Line to Chinatown Station. While Google Maps will show it’s about as fast to walk from Union Station, that’s not accurate–Chinatown is the far superior option, even if it requires a transfer from the Red Line.
There are dedicated Uber/Lyft drop-off zones, but those cars also get stuck in traffic and it’s not exactly efficient. We’ve never used a rideshare service to get to Dodger Stadium, but we’d probably do a drop-off somewhere like Chinatown Central Plaza rather than the stadium itself. It’ll still be a modest walk, but at least you can grab some delicious food before the game.
Which Tickets/Seats to Buy
We’ve done everything from the cheap seats of the Top Deck to the pricey Field Box MVP area behind home plate. Which is right for you really depends upon your priorities. Are you there simply to enjoy a lovely evening in LA with friends? Are you an MLB super fan? Wanting a spot to see and be seen?
If you’re simply going to enjoy the ambiance, we recommend the Top Deck or the lower numbers of the Right Field Upper Reserve. These are the best spots for seeing the San Gabriel Mountains behind the stadium, enjoying a view of the sunset, and catching glimpses back at the Los Angeles skyline.
The great thing about the Top Deck (beyond its bargain pricing) is that this section also has a lot of underutilized lounging space, meaning you can grab a table or standing room spot away from your actual seats. This is one of the better options if the Dodgers game is more of a social activity.
The downside to these Top Deck seats and the Right Field Upper Reserve is that these seats are in the sun for the longest amount of time. If you’re attending a night game, the Left Field side of Dodger Stadium will be in the shade at or around the beginning of the game and the Right Field side will be shaded by the 2nd or 3rd inning.
During a day game, the Left Field side won’t be under shade until the 3rd inning or so, and the Right Field side won’t be under shade until the end of the game. If you’re sun averse, your best option for day games is simply to choose one of the few seats under a roof or overhang.
If you want a swankier seat, consider the Dugout Club seats that wrap around home plate between both dugouts. This section has private restrooms, a free buffet, and in-seat waiter service. You will almost certainly spot a celebrity if you sit in this section.
Not into the VIP treatment (or pricing)? Go for the Field Box MVP seats instead. These have almost all of the upside of the Dugout Club in terms of views, but without the air of exclusivity–or the mark-up. If it matters, you’ll still spot celebrities, you just won’t be able to get up close and personal with them…which is probably in everyone’s best interests.
Eating at Dodger Stadium
The iconic Dodger Stadium meal is a Dodger Dog with garlic fries. Having this is apparently an Angeleno rite of passage, and when we first moved to Southern California, all of our Dodger-loving friends hyped up this meal. I was expecting a revelation, but both are…just fine, I guess?
Either way, because they are so famed/storied/whatever, you should order both to form your own conclusions. Consider splitting both items with someone else to make the determination before committing to a full meal of these fan favorites.
For a more interesting twist on the Dodger Dog, grab the Dodger Sausage, which is a slightly spicy al pastor-seasoned sausage stuffed with pineapple and topped with a pineapple salsa and cilantro-lime crema. I once ordered a stuffed-crust pizza, which is to say a Dodger Dog rolled into a pizza crust. It was a great idea…in theory!
Beyond this, we’d recommend eating before you arrive. The aforementioned Chinatown Central Plaza is stocked with great options, and there are likewise plenty of game day guilty pleasure options in DTLA. There’s no reason to have a huge feast at Dodger Stadium.
To conclude on a relatively random note, one thing we do not recommend doing is bringing your DSLR. On all of our previous visits, I only took my iPhone and had less-than-ideal photos from the games. After consulting the rules online, I brought my smaller, non-professional lenses…and was rejected by security. After some pleading, I was allowed to take in my fisheye, which is my smallest (and apparently, most innocuous) lens. So, if you were wondering why there’s a surplus of fisheye photos in this post…there’s your answer! 😉
Suffice to say, we love Dodger Stadium and highly recommend it to anyone visiting Southern California. It’s a great way to spend an evening in Los Angeles, and is a quintessential LA experience even if you’re not into Major League Baseball. If you’re visiting on a game day and can work it into your itinerary, you’re in for a fun experience!
If you’re planning a trip, check out our Ultimate Guide to Los Angeles or our California category of posts. For even more things to do, The Best Things to Do in Los Angeles: 1001 Ideas is an exceptional resource, which is written by other locals. If you enjoyed this post, help spread the word by sharing it via social media. Thanks for reading!
Have you visited Dodger Stadium? If so, what did you think of experience? Do you agree that it’s one of the most pleasant venues in baseball, or do you think it’s a bit too laid back? Any additional tips to add that we didn’t cover? Would you do another Los Angeles Dodgers game, or do you think it was a ‘one and done’? Was it worth your time and money? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!