With the onset of summer concert season comes an LA rite of passage: picnicking at the Hollywood Bowl. The iconic amphitheater is a sublime place to see a show, thanks to its idyllic hillside setting in Hollywood and its consistently stellar lineups. But Hollywood Bowl regulars know that wining and dining outdoors before a show is the key to making the experience that much more memorable (and for snagging a primo parking spot). Before you go, here's everything you need to know about the Bowl's picnic and alcohol policy.
BYOB is A-OK
A concert venue where we can bring our own wine? We're in love. The Hollywood Bowl permits concertgoers to bring wine bottles, wine glasses and beer bottles onto the grounds and inside the venue itself. However, you can't throw a full-blown party at the Bowl: no kegs or hard liquor are allowed. And don't think about taking that party to the parking lot, instead—tailgating is strictly prohibited.
There's one important caveat to the alcohol policy: lease events. Most of the summer shows at the Hollywood Bowl are produced by the LA Phil, but a few outliers are listed on the calendar with a "Lease Event" banner. Those mostly non-summer shows (primarily May, June and October) have their own policies, including no alcohol; you'll have to buy any drinks inside the grounds.
Once inside the venue, you'll find two full service restaurants as well as numerous takeout windows with an extensive wine list. There's also an option to preorder prepared picnic boxes.
What else to bring
You're welcome to bring small containers, picnic baskets and coolers. However, any containers you bring have to be able to fit under your seat. If you have a ruler handy, that means nothing larger than 15" wide, 15" high or 22" long (this is also true for lease events). It may sound small, but it shouldn't be a problem to pack everything you need; we're consistently surprised each summer with concertgoers' compact, resourceful and stylish picnic gear.
Where to picnic
You could just pop a squat on a curb somewhere, but the Hollywood Bowl has 14 designated picnic areas on site. The parking lots and their adjacent picnic spots open four hours prior to showtime, and we recommended showing up as early as possible if you absolutely want to guarantee a seat and a table. It's totally kosher to have one person go and claim a table for the rest of your group.
Nearly all of the picnic areas are located along parking lots. Highland Camrose Park and the area behind the Hollywood Heritage Museum are particularly shaded (but also popular); these are also open to reservations for groups of 30 or more people—have fun—through the Group Sales Office (323-850-2050). You'll also find a few small picnic areas just outside of the seating area; the gates to the Bowl open two hours before classical and jazz shows and lease events, and two and a half before all other concerts.
Here's a helpful map of all of the picnic spots below: