Evening games at Dodger Stadium trail off into the night with brilliant spectacles of athletic triumph. Born and raised a lifelong Dodger fanatic, my family has spent dozens of days enjoying Los Angeles before nighttime games. If your family is passionate about twilight baseball like mine, yet skeptical about what daytime activities the local area provides, you may be surprised to learn the staggering variety of adventures that are abound.
Numerous short drives from the park offer unique culinary feasts, urban trailblazing, photographic opportunities and plenty of time for a return trip to your night game. Easy freeway and major Los Angeles boulevard access makes each drive a convenient option. Through my many daytime adventures, I have also discovered quick routs into Elysian Park that are devoid of the impending downtown traffic crunch awaiting those arriving from lengthier excursions.
Permit a Los Angeles resident to detail four of these excellent opportunities for daytime bonding with your family:
Hiking Griffith Park
Griffith Park is your family’s oasis from the concrete jungle about Dodger Stadium. Shaded picnic areas, miles of evenly graded hiking trails, carousels, horseback riding and even a museum where you and your children can ride atop scaled down trains make the park an exciting family destination. I have found daytime is the usually best time to visit, due to the lack of trail visibility and inconsistent parking lot lighting which often occurs when the sun begins to set. You may also choose to switch your tickets to a day game to coincide with the nighttime movie series happening each summer. Make your way south to a night game in Elysian Park along Highway 5 or Riverside Drive. (Distance from Dodger Stadium: 6.8 Miles)
Take the Downtown Gate onto Stadium Way, east over the 110 Freeway to N. Broadway and you will immediately find yourself in historic Chinatown. This is a fantastic destination for baseball fans with only a couple of hours to explore before the first pitch. Chinese, Korean and even Mexican food are plentiful on every corner. Local convenience and gift stores provide endless amounts of inexpensive shopping. Festivals with parades and dancing about the streets run nearly every weekend throughout the summer and fall. My favorite Chinatown foods are the black teas, iced coffees and fruit drinks uncommon to most Southern California communities. Each makes an appropriate light snack, in direct contrast to my family’s “savory” culinary favorites just across the freeway at Dodger Stadium. (Distance from Dodger Stadium: 1.6 Miles)
Exploring Studio City
Just past Hollywood up the 101 north from Dodger Stadium, “over the hill” as L.A. residents say, are Studio City and the expansive San Fernando Valley. I recommend surpassing the tourist bustle of Universal Studios, instead exiting Lankershim Boulevard south or Ventura Boulevard east. Unique boutiques, plenty of fun cafes and a wide variety of restaurants with international cuisine align both streets. Hike the Ventura waking path just north of the boulevard to enjoy a bit of exercise before sitting for three hours at the game. Coffee houses and vintage stores are the local flare, providing refreshment to trekkers who may also attempt to conquer the winding pathways of Laurel Canyon. Please take my advice and remain well hydrated, as the S.F. Valley temperature often exceeds that of L.A. by 8 -10 Degrees Fahrenheit on the average. (Distance from Dodger Stadium: 11 Miles Lankershim, 14 Miles Ventura Paths)
To avoid the more unsavory parts of Hollywood Boulevard, I recommend forgoing the Highland “Complex” area unless your family is hankering for a tour of the Dolby (formally Kodak) Theater. Instead, head southeast to the Sunset and Vine area where more family friendly shops and cafes with eclectic designs run about every street. Walk of Fame stars your family will recognize (including Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and my favorite George Carlin) are about this area. Side roads such as Gower Street offer tours of filming studios and picturesque rising views of the Hollywood Sign. Head back northeast to join a photograph tour of the Egyptian and Pantages Theaters. Drive, or be adventurous like me and bike, Sunset Boulevard to and from the stadium through the West Elysian Park Avenue Gate. (Distance from Dodger Stadium: 6.8 Miles)
Day trips are just the thing the entire clan needs to refresh and recharge before their next nighttime baseball adventure.