It is common knowledge to Los Angeles sports fans that Dodger Stadium was built in 1962 and stands as the third oldest stadium in Major League Baseball. I have been attending games in Chavez Ravine for over three decades, yet every time I come to see my “Boys in Blue,” I notice something new about the park. Sometimes it is a curio at a gift stand or a new food item added to the endless culinary delights served on the Reserve Deck. Just as often, there are moments when I stumble upon a sight more dumbfounding than a throw into the stands and nearly as amazing as a walk-off homerun.
Here are five interesting hidden spots and services that will inform and perhaps puzzle your brain:
Like any major construction project in the United States, a dated plaque has been attached to the stadium’s structure commemorating the opening of general service. Dodger Stadium’s plaque is difficult to spot, yet it’s right in front of thousands as they enter and leave the park. Use the central stairwell to go to the top deck, find the Top of the Park Gift Shop, and look left just outside the entrance door. You will find a metal plaque there cemented to a brick wall nearly as humble as the paper name plaque on a student’s desk. Read and learn. While you are on the top deck, look for…
A Hidden Money Machine
For some odd reason, Dodger Stadium has an Automated Teller Machine beside the exit door of the famous Top of the Park Gift Shop. During a home game, ATMs around the stadium have huge lines that often take upwards of two innings away from your Dodger experience. Unless they have gotten wise during the last home stand and ripped this puppy out, take advantage. There is also a row of virtually unused drinking fountains on the adjacent wall, looking possibly unmodified since the day the stadium opened. They could really use a pull.
The Best View of Downtown
Perhaps the best view of downtown in Chavez Ravine is not even close to the stadium. Instead, find the “10 Ball” lamp in the parking lot behind home plate and head away from the stadium until you get to a metal rail. Bring binoculars and a camera with a powerful zooming lens, because before you will be an elevated, south-facing, spectacular view of downtown Los Angeles.
Visiting the Stadium Without a Ticket
The Elysian Park entrance gate is guarded yet open during the afternoon nearly year-round, even on non-game days. Visitors must inform a guard at the gate that they wish to visit the box office or gift shop. After parking near the top deck, go on through any open entrance gate on that level, where you may or may not have to inform a staff member that you are there to sit and shop. You can then purchase items from the Top of the Park Gift Shop or take an empty seat toward the top row and enjoy an amazing view with your previously packed lunch. This is a courtesy extended by the ownership when no game or event is scheduled on the day you visit.
Health Food and Vegan Beer
Health food ranging from sushi to gluten-free beer is served at Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Plate eating establishment inside the stadium. Although I usually enjoy Dodger Dogs and a large sugary beverage before the game, these alternatives sound extra enticing during a long summer’s afternoon at the park.