I spent the holiday in Southern California, making it to three ballparks for three games. Like I said last week, my flight was sponsored by my friend’s father, Bruce Christopher, so that was a big burden lifted for me since flying out west multiple times is going to be a little tough. I got to LA and rented a car from Alamo since public transportation sucks royally in Los Angeles (you’d think all those green folks would try harder!).

Car renting during a holiday is a huge hassle since the rates are up and there are a limited number of vehicles available. Also, make sure you are dropping off the car at the same place or you will end up spending double on your rental. This was a fun start but determined to enjoy myself, I took the car up to explore Santa Monica and Venice Beach. I hadn’t been there since I was little and I’ll never go back. Granted it was the holiday, but Venice Beach was packed and uber dirty. Just go to Manhattan Beach or another beach south if you want to see the ocean! Much nicer and not as freaky a crowd. I gave up headed to Veggie Grill for a late lunch and made my way up to Chavez Ravine for some much-needed baseball therapy.

Dodger Stadium is located up a large hill in the middle of a bad neighborhood. Parking is $10, though if you’re brave, you could park down on the neighborhood streets for less, but I’d advise against that. There are the Dodger Express buses that are free with a game ticket ($1.50 without) that drop fans off next to the park from Union Station, a good option for fans near a metro stop. I parked, took a picture of my section, and noted what side of the park it was on. The parking lot is humongous, so make sure you check or you’ll be sorry after the game!

Walking around this stadium is a bit of a workout- there are steps up and down to different levels all the way around from third to first base, only the area behind the bleachers is flat. Dodger Stadium’s outside is nifty powder blue siding with white scoreboards and trademark wavy outfield rooftops. The park has a very vintage look to it and the palm trees around the park give it a beachy, summer fun vibe. It’s currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, so there are banners hung on either side of the park facing the bleachers. The bleachers are cut off from the rest of the park, so you can only enter from these gates with a bleacher ticket. All fans can enjoy the area behind the scoreboards, though, with Dodger team shops on either end and little garden alcoves.

I stopped at a ticket booth which was located further from the park and got a great deal on a field level ticket. Since I bought a ticket day of with a Mastercard, I received $25 off a field level ticket. My ticket ended up being $25 and I had full access to the park. Dodger Stadium is another one of those parks that the levels are segregated to ticket holders. The cheapest tickets are Top Deck, but only worth it if you just want to see the game and not walk around the park.

Once I entered the park, I was greeted by the smell of garlic. Garlic fries and Dodger Dogs are this stadium’s delicacies, the former producing quite the pungent aroma. The first time I was at the park in 2010 I thought the dude next to me had mad BO before realizing I was just getting whiffs from the concessions! I made my way through the main concourse, which is one somewhat open walkway from left to right field and headed down to the field to catch the remainder of the Reds batting practice.

The field level seats are split up near the field into suites and premium seating and then normal seats (with pads). Standing here I was able to fully take in how large Dodger Stadium is! The place is mammoth compared to most MLB parks, holding around 56,000 (normal parks are in 30,000-42,000 I believe). The seats are really stacked in the upper levels, so even though they’re high up, they still feel close to the field.

After batting practice, I took the escalator behind home plate to the 200 level, which has a more cramped concourse. There’s plenty of standing room around the park at this level and I liked all the player pictures decorating the walls to each section. The view from here was about the same as the field level, just slightly elevated, nothing fancy. Seats started at $32 here for this game, so I saved money paying with a Mastercard and was down a level!

I continued my ascent hopping off the escalator at the 300 level, which isn’t much besides clubs, suites, and the press box. What I did find of interest was a control room that is very closely monitoring the parking lot- away fans rejoice! Not that other parks don’t have cameras and security, but I really noticed it at Dodger Stadium. For fans weary on this park, I’d say just be smart and don’t engage in heckling and you’ll be fine.

I had to take the stairs up to the 400 level, and those were a little creepy. Oddly Dodger Stadium doesn’t have ramps. The concourse opens up to a sort of rooftop scene on either outfield with views of the parking lot and landscaping around the park. Though there’s room, they don’t let you stand behind the seats in this section and it’s pointless to anyways. After I chatted with a few fans (people were friendliest at this level), I headed back down to the field level for one last exploration before finding my seat.

On either end of the stadium are the 1st and 3rd Base Clubs for special ticket holders and the suite entrance is near the escalators. I liked the wavey bubble pattern of the glass to these and along with the concession signs- they added some life into this aging park without looking out of place. I parked myself in my seat for about half the game before getting restless (I need to stand during games!). There are plenty of places to stand at this level, though the area behind home plate is a little tricky since the seats are elevated.

I watched the remainder of the game (Dodgers won 3-1) before heading down to the field for the fireworks show. This took a while to set up, but I was able to take in the post-win atmosphere with the blinking lights around the park and the singing of “I love LA.” There’s nothing better than fireworks at the ballpark and this show was awesome since it was the 4th.

After the game came the fun part, waiting in traffic! Be prepared to sit in the lot for 30 minutes- an hour if the game is packed. I killed some time sitting on the lot edge with some other fans watching the firework shows across the city go off (picture doesn’t do it justice- it was amazing!), before finally taking off back to my hotel.

For this trip, I ended up spending $223 on my car (for four days), $14 on food, $10 on parking, $25 on my ticket, and $75 on my hotel room for the night ($347 in all). Not bad, but not great either. I love Dodger Stadium- it has a great vibe and is very baseball-centric. This team has a history and is back on track under manager Don Mattingly. Expect a great All-American ballpark experience!

For more pictures of my visit to Dodger Stadium and my other ballparks of baseball trips, check out my Flickr account. For a guide to help you plan your trip, click here!

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