The Los Angeles Dodgers (tel. 866/DODGERS [363-4377]; www.dodgers.com), winner of nine National League championships and five World Series titles, play at Dodger Stadium, located at 1000 Elysian Park, near Sunset Boulevard. Watching a game at this old-school ballpark is a great way to spend the day, chomping on Dodger Dogs and basking in the sunshine. Tickets are reasonably priced, too. And even if you can't score tickets, you can still take a 90-minute "Championship Tour" of Dodger Stadium, including access to the field, the Dodger Dugout, the Dugout Club, the press box, and the Tommy Lasorda Training Center. Tours are offered Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 10 and 11:30am through October. The cost is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (55 and over) and children 14 and under. You can reserve and purchase tour tickets online at www.dodgers.com (click on "Dodger Stadium," then scroll down to "Stadium Tours").
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (tel. 888/796-HALO [796-4256]; www.laangels.com) play American League ball at Anaheim Stadium, at 2000 Gene Autry Way, about 30 minutes from Downtown L.A. The regular Major League baseball season runs from April to October. Log on to either team's website for ticket information.
Los Angeles has two NBA franchises: the L.A. Lakers (www.lakers.com), who have won 11 NBA titles for the city, and the L.A. Clippers (www.clippers.com), who haven't won any. Both teams play in the Staples Center in Downtown L.A., 1111 S. Figueroa St. Celebrity fans like Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ice Cube, and Dyan Cannon have the best tickets, but this 20,000-seater should have room for you -- that is, if you have the big bucks for a Lakers ticket or the interest in watching a Clippers game. The season runs from October to April, with 2 months of playoffs following. For tickets to see either team, call tel. 213/742-7340 or log on to www.staplescenter.com.
Los Angeles suffers from an absence of major-league football, but it gets by just fine with two popular college teams (one of whom many locals refer to either proudly or snidely as our professional team, USC). The college season runs September through November; if you're interested in checking out a game, contact UCLA Bruins Football (tel. 310/825-2101; www.uclabruins.com) or USC Trojans Football (tel. 213/740-2311; www.usctrojans.com).
Getting Dolled Up
If you thought Roller Derby fanned out in the '70s, you've clearly never heard of the L.A. Derby Dolls (1910 W. Temple Ave.; tel. 310/285-3766; http://derbydolls.com/la). The all-female league was reconceived in 2003; it's actually become a campy, cult-favorite activity among young hipsters, nostalgia-loving oldsters, and a whole lotta lesbians. More than just a match, it's an experience, complete with food trucks, funky merchandise vendors, raffles, live music, and an official after-party at downtown dive bar La Cita. The event is 21+ only. Tip: If you want a more mellow after-party, check out under-the-radar 1642 Beer and Wine bar (1642 Temple St.; tel. 213/989-6836); it's walking distance from the venue and often where losing team members and locals show up.
One of the most beautiful tracks in the country, Santa Anita Racetrack, 285 W. Huntington Dr., Arcadia (tel. 626/574-7223; www.santaanita.com), offers racing from late December through mid-April. Set against the majestic San Gabriel Mountains, the track was featured in the Marx Brothers' film A Day at the Races and in the 1954 version of A Star Is Born. On weekdays during the season, the public is invited to watch morning workouts from 5:30 to 10am at Clockers' Corner. Admission is free; be sure to call or check the website for exact post times. Tip: The infield is ideal for picnics (no glass or alcohol), as well as getting an up-close look at the horses and jockeys in action -- it even has a children's playground.
Just down the road from LAX, the scenic Hollywood Park Racetrack, 1050 S. Prairie Ave., Inglewood (tel. 310/419-1500; www.hollywoodpark.com), with its lakes and flowers, features thoroughbred racing from mid-April to July, as well as from mid-November through mid-December. Opened in 1938, it had shareholders that included movie mogul Harry Warner, Walt Disney, and Bing Crosby. Well-placed monitors project views of the backstretch as well as stop-action replays of photo finishes. Races are usually held Thursday through Sunday. Post times are 1pm in summer (7pm on Fri) and 12:30pm on weekends and holidays. General admission is $8; admission to the clubhouse is $10.
The L.A. Kings (tel. 888/546-4752; www.lakings.com) hold court at their Staples Center home ; and down the road in Orange County, the Anaheim Ducks (tel. 714/704-2400; www.anaheimducks.com) play at the Honda Center (formerly Arrowhead Pond) in Anaheim. The hockey season typically runs from October through mid-April, with playoffs following. Tickets are available at either arena or through Ticketmaster.
Way back in 1930, cowboy humorist Will Rogers got a hankerin' to play some polo, so he cleared the field in front of his Pacific Palisades home for a friendly match with his ponies and celebrity pals. Shortly after, he started his famed Will Rogers Polo Club, and of the 25 polo organizations that existed at the time, his polo field is the only one that remains. Matches are still held on weekends from May through early October, and the bucolic setting of wide green fields, whitewashed fences, and majestic oaks is ideal for a leisurely picnic lunch and a bit of respite from the city. The polo field is located at 501 Will Rogers State Park Rd. in Pacific Palisades, off West Sunset Boulevard. For more information, call the club at tel. 818/509-9965 or log on to its website at www.willrogerspolo.org (there's a great feature on "How to Watch a Polo Game").
Since its inaugural season in 1996, the Los Angeles Galaxy (tel. 877/3-GALAXY [877/342-5299]; www.lagalaxy.com) has already won the Major League Soccer Cup and earned a reputation as a major force in MLS. But the big draw these days is soccer superstar David Beckham, who joined the roster in 2007. He and his pop-star wife, Victoria Beckham, made international headlines by making Los Angeles their home. In fact, within the first hour following the announcement, the L.A. Galaxy sold more than 500 home-game tickets. Visitors can catch a regular-season game from March through November at the Home Depot Center, 18400 Avalon Blvd. in Carson. Tickets for individual games are available through the Galaxy box office and Ticketmaster.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.