Nestled in Chavez Ravine and framed on one end by the steep San Gabriel Mountains and on the other by a jumble of Downtown LA skyscrapers, Dodger Stadium has always been heralded for its beauty. On the day it opened in 1962, shortstop Maury Wills proclaimed it was “the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
It’s especially striking when the sun sets. “A cotton-candy sky with a canopy of blue—looks good enough to eat,” legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully once said.
The third-oldest continually used stadium in the U.S., with a capacity of 56,000, Dodger Stadium is a picture-perfect setting for a ball game, and a time-honored way to experience Los Angeles.
One of the biggest story lines in baseball this year is whether the Dodgers can clinch the title after two back-to-back appearances in the World Series. Third time is charm, right?
Before they can compete in the championships, however, they’ve got to best the Washington Nationals. After winning their seventh consecutive National League West title, the Boys in Blue return for postseason play this evening for game 1 of the National League Division Series. They’ll also host game 2 at 6:37 p.m. If a fifth game is needed, they’ll be back Wednesday.
Whether you’re a true fan headed to the stadium to cheer on the best players in the league, or an Angeleno or visitor looking to soak in the history and modern architecture (and down a few Dodger dogs), here’s how to make the most of your visit.
Names to know
- Clayton Kershaw: The Dodgers boast a superb pitching staff, from Hyun-Jin Ryu to Walker Buehler to Rich Hill to Kenley Janson, but Kershaw is the team’s one-time ace. Beset by injuries, he doesn’t throw as hard as he used to, but he’s a still dominant force who will likely down as one of the best pitchers in history.
- Justin Turner: One of the top hitters in the game, says SB Nation’s Eric Stephens, and “the gift that keeps on giving.” The Southern California native hit a thrilling and unforgettable walk-off home run at home in game 2 of the 2017 NLCS.
- Walker Buehler: The “precocious right-hander with an electric fastball” is taking the mound in game 1 of the National League Division Series.
- Joc Pederson: A superb postseason batter.
- Enrique Hernandez: As a utility player, he has a “part-time role,” says the New York Times, but he “has been a major contributor to the team’s heart and soul and sense of humor.”
- Cody Bellinger: The young lefty earned the Rookie of the Year award in 2017, when he tied Mike Piazza’s franchise record for a rookie. Then he had a frustrating 2018 season. Now he’s “primed to make an October impression.”
Traffic is a nightmare. If you don’t have to drive, don’t. The best option is to walk up Vin Scully Avenue from Sunset Boulevard. It’s a bit of a steep walk, but it’s only .5 miles, and it’s a pleasant stroll.
Another reliable non-car option is the free Dodger Stadium Express, which picks up at Union Station. It’s free for ticketholders, and runs from Union Station and the Harbor Gateway Transit Center. As LA’s main transit hub, Union Station is served by pretty much every rail line in the region, including Metro's Red, Purple, and Gold lines, along with Metrolink and Amtrak.
For those who live on or near Sunset Boulevard, Metro’s 2 bus is your best (a one-way trip is $1.75; pay with change or a pre-loaded TAP card). It travels along Sunset, all the way from Westwood to Echo Park, and drops off at Vin Scully Avenue.
If you have to drive, save money by paying in advance online.
Where to sit
Sure, some sections are fancier than others, but truly, even in the nosebleeds, there are no bad seats. The stadium was designed without pillars and posts, so views from every seat are totally unobstructed.
If you’re attending a day game, the one factor you should take into consideration is sun. It can get scorchingly hot, especially in August and September. Here’s a helpful map from the Los Angeles Times of the stadium’s shadiest sections.
Ready to drop a good chunk of change? Go nuts at the Dugout Club, where an individual ticket costs $500 to $1,050. These seats wrap around home plate between both dugouts. Fans have their faces right up in the action and are treated to private restrooms, a free buffet, and in-seat waiter service.
On a budget? Consider the cheap seats in the Top Deck area (TD 1-13 on a seating map). The view of the game is great from that high up, and the chances of getting hit in the face by a foul ball decrease greatly.
What to eat
The classic Dodger Stadium meal is a Dodger dog and garlic fries. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, here are some new fun options, per Eater LA:
- Al pastor-seasoned sausage: topped with pineapple salsa and cilantro-lime crema ($12.50); available in sections Field 10, Loge 133, and Reserve 4
- Esquites: grilled corn tossed with mayo, cotija cheese, and spicy aioli ($9); at Field 22 and 23, and Top Deck 6
- Beyond Meat burger: on either a brioche or gluten-free bun ($14); on Field Section 47 and Reserve section 29
If you want to grub really hard, buy a ticket (from $33) to the all-you-can-eat section in right field, where you can get down on unlimited Dodger dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, and soda.
But you’re also allowed to bring in your own eats. Defer to this Eater LA map of where to grab take out before going to a game at Dodger Stadium. Or, if you have enough time before first pitch, snuggle into one of the leather booths at El Compadre on Sunset Boulevard, down a flaming margarita and chile relleno, then walk about a mile to the stadium.
A midcentury gem
Originally a display of fashionable design and modern conveniences, the stadium has stood the test of time. A time-traveling visitor from the 1960s would recognize the clean midcentury modern lines, an architectural style that has come to define LA.
Construction of the modernist stadium was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken in Los Angeles. The design by Emil Praeger called for terraced entrances, acres of exposed concrete, and undulating aluminum shade structures above the outfield bleachers.
Construction crews moved about 8 million cubic yards of earth to carve out the stadium’s foundation and flatten the surrounding terrain to create the venue’s massive, baseball-glove-shaped parking lot.
In 2013, a massive $100 million renovation modernized the venue with the addition of high-definition video screens and more powerful WiFi but stayed true to the original colors and materials with new details like hand-painted wayfinding signs.
As beloved an LA landmark as Dodger Stadium has become, some ugly things happened to get it built. Chavez Ravine, now home to the ballpark, was once a Mexican-American community occupied by hundreds of families.
In 1950, it was selected as the site of a new housing project designed by modernist icon Richard Neutra, and most of the families were displaced by the city through eminent domain. The housing project was eventually shot down, and the city sold the land to Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley at a lowball price. When construction began on the new stadium, police dragged longtime Chavez Ravine residents from their homes so that demolition could begin.
That didn’t cork excitement for the stadium; some 500 Angelenos turned up for groundbreaking ceremonies in 1959. But not everyone shared the enthusiasm.
On opening day in 1962, a teenager who had lived in Chavez Ravine hurled tomatoes over the fence and into the outfield, according to the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper reported that in 2000, some of the displaced families took communion with Dodgers executives at Mission San Conrado Catholic Church in Elysian Park.
As one of the oldest Major League Baseball stadiums in the nation, Dodger Stadium has given Angelenos more than 50 summers of memories—with many more to come.
— Associate editors Bianca Barragan and Elijah Chiland contributed to this guide.