The image of the multi-arched band shell, tucked into a natural amphitheater, is widely invoked to represent warm nights, good music and good living, Southern California style. The summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Hollywood Bowl orchestras book internationally renowned conductors and soloists for the classical Tuesday and Thursday nights. The summer Wednesday jazz series has included Herbie Hancock, the Count Basie Orchestra and a pairing of Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy. The concert list is eclectic but always memorable, from Dolly Parton to Sufjan Stevens to Van Morrison to an annual production of a Broadway musical or beloved movies accompanied by a live symphony orchestra. Lease events (ones not produced by the Bowl) are more like typical concerts, such as rock from OneRepublic, Bruno Mars, Alice Cooper, Soundgarden, Kings of Leon, and the annual Mariachi Festival. At those, you may not bring wine or beer inside, but at events run by the L.A. Philharmonic, you can, which makes an evening at the Bowl one of the city's favorite summertime picnic traditions. There are lots of picnic tables in the vicinity (including on the hillside across Cahuenga Blvd.) for pre-gaming. Tip: Be sure you know whether you’ve booked a Philharmonic production or a lease event so you'll know what the extent of your bring-alongs can be.
You can also order a picnic from the onsite caterers via the Bowl's website by 4pm the day before, and if you want to eat at the Bowl's few on-site restaurants and cocktail patios, it's wise to reserve ahead.
Parking can be a nightmare, with vehicles stacked so tightly you can't sneak out early, and hailing an Uber is too hard with so many other attendees, so many people take the Metro's Red Line to Hollywood and Highland and then spend 20 minutes walking up to the entrance from there. A few bus shuttles that spread around town are also available and can be pre-booked via the Bowl website.