The Dodger Stadium tour is pretty great and if anything, underpriced

The Dodger Stadium tour is pretty great and if anything, underpriced

Last week I was in LA to get some sun after a dismal cold winter in Oregon. I hung out with my aunt and while she's been a massive Dodgers fan since she was a kid, in the last couple seasons I've followed the Dodgers too so I could keep our daily text chain going. Also, baseball is way easier to watch now that they've instituted play clocks. Most nights, the game is over in a couple hours!

I grew up ten minutes from The Big A, where the California Angels play, and the Dodgers were our rivals and my parents never once ever let me set foot in Dodger Stadium. But it looks great on TV and everyone in LA I know loves going to games there so I figured during this off-season, I'd surprise my aunt and swing by so we could check it out together (me, for the very first time).

The tours are kind of buried on their site, and have too many options, but I wanted to get down on the field so I chose the standard tour. To be honest, I didn't expect much for $30, and quickly reserved a couple spots for the next morning and we drove over to it.

The stadium is in a beautiful spot overlooking downtown LA and though the skies that day weren't totally clear, it was still a great perch to view the city from (They bulldozed an entire neighborhood for the stadium, which was never mentioned on the tour because it's still controversial 60 years later). Since it was my first ever visit, I had no idea the stadium arranged all the parking lots at different elevations on the hillside, according to your seat section, so the ballpark itself isn't surrounded by staircases, you just park at a specific lot on same level as your seats and walk directly in (kinda rad for ADA compliance compared to other stadiums).

We showed up half an hour early and went into the big team store at the top while also enjoying views above the field. Easily, half of the store inventory was dedicated to their biggest new signing of Shohei Ohtani, with tons of shirts and jerseys dedicated to just him. The team store was also filled with people speaking Japanese as he's a legitimate megastar not just here but also in Japan.

The tour kicked off at its scheduled time and there were maybe 10 people total on our tour with two guides. We walked around the top level for a bit, taking in the view while talking about the history of how the stadium was built and why they moved the team from Brooklyn.

The design language

One thing that jumped out immediately is that the design of all the signage at the stadium is remarkable. They must have thoughtful designers on staff because the whole place uses a couple classic fonts and colors are often muted tones, making the entire ballpark look like a perfectly preserved Southern California 1960s drive-in movie theater. Seeing new painted lettering in faded blue colors just drove the feeling home as if it's always been that way.

Going backstage

We spent a good deal of time in the middle sections of the stadium, where most of the operations and offices are and could see people scurrying into and out of doors as we stopped to check out memorabilia and walls of photos. They had old travel trunks they used to load with bats for away games and several trophy rooms with all the World Series trophies and golden glove winners on display.

We eventually made it to the press box where the announcers and journalists work at the games, and it was not only a perfect view of the field, it was great to see how they accommodate sports writers, as every seat had what looked like a power strip for laptops and a small air conditioner to keep them comfortable.

Down on the field

After about an hour of visiting several areas inside the stadium, the last 15 minutes of the tour was spent down on the field, and we got to walk in places only players normally go through. We were confined to the warning track around the field and the visitor's dugout, but it was a remarkable view on a nice sunny day.

Honestly, even if you don't love baseball or the Dodgers—if you're ever in LA, I would highly recommend the tour. It was frankly a bargain at $30, as it gave us an hour and a half in a beautiful spot with gorgeous views down to the city and beyond the home run fence. Half our tour group were Australians that didn't know any of the history of the team or the famous players we saw trophies for, and they seemed to enjoy it as much as I did (I chatted them up, they said American baseball is barely a blip in Oz, as Australian Rules Football and Rugby are king, with NBA basketball and soccer close behind). If you do follow the Dodgers or watch the games on TV, getting to see the place they play up close was a pretty great way to spend a day in LA.