Remember those glorious Hollywood Bowl nights sipping vino under the stars while listening to the soaring sounds of the LA Philharmonic? A thing of the past now that you have kids right? Or wrong? With kiddos to wrangle and sitters to book, it can be challenging to escape to the Bowl like you used to but did you know you could check it out in a whole new way? Sans the crowds, sans the parking headaches and even bring littles along for free? We’ve got the scoop on LA’s best-kept secret: Here’s how you can see summer rehearsals for free (yes, free!) at the Hollywood Bowl.

photo: Hollywood Bowl via @dizzydove via Facebook

The Details
Hollywood Bowl rehearsals are open to the public this season beginning Jul. 10 through mid-Sept. on Tues. and Thurs. (the LA Philharmonic usually performs that night). They typically run from 9 a.m. – noon. But that’s not all! Rehearsals may also be available for certain shows on additional days, so your best bet is to call on Fri. or Sat. the week before you’re thinking of attending to confirm open rehearsal schedules.

Loads of free parking is another major incentive for visiting the Hollywood Bowl during rehearsal mornings. No stack parking to fret over or pricey pay lots requiring you to take a second mortgage on your house. Simply pull up and park directly behind the amphitheater and enter via the artist’s entrance. Helpful Hollywood Bowl staffers will show you right where to go so you can kick back and enjoy the show.

photo: Christina Montoya Fiedler

What to Expect
Rehearsals make you feel as if you’re attending a private concert—you so fancy! With zero crowds, open seating for miles and unobstructed views for pint-sized music lovers, you’ll wonder why you’ve never taken advantage of this before! Your littles will love watching the conductor and orchestra do their thang and will get a wonderful lesson in music and teamwork listening to different sections practice their individual parts then collaborating to make music magic.

Good to Know: While the LA Philharmonic happily welcomes tykes to their rehearsals, out of respect to the musicians, they ask that parents remind children to use low “inside” voices while artists are on stage (even though you are outdoors). If kiddos become disruptive, they may be asked to leave, so be sure to have this important conversation with talkative tots ahead of time.

photo: Hollywood Bowl via Facebook

What to Bring
Whether it’s a full picnic spread or a handful of munchies to appease hangry kids, feel free to bring food and drinks to all rehearsals! Since rehearsals take place under the bright morning sun, don’t forget sunscreen, hats, plenty of water and seat cushions to keep those tushies comfy while you boogie to the music. Strollers can be parked off to the side, but with loads of stairs, you might want to leave them at home. It’s easier to carry tots with tired little legs or bring a sling for baby.

photo: Hollywood Bowl via Facebook

Summer Shows
The Hollywood Bowl’s summer schedule is filled with amazing shows that kids of all ages will dig. Like we mentioned, just be sure to call ahead to confirm these rehearsals will be open to the public. In addition to weekly LA Philharmonic classical shows, some notable productions this summer include Annie, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: A New Hope, Randy Newman (hello, Pixar!), The Nutcracker, John Williams – Maestro of the Movies and Sing-A-Long Sound of Music.

photo: Meghan Rose

Where to Play
We’re realists and know kids may only want to sit quietly and listen to the music the whole time. If they start to get antsy, take them outside the seating area where they can run around, play and climb to their heart’s content before returning to the bleachers to listen to the rest of rehearsal. The picnic area at the top left side of the Hollywood Bowl has lots of trees, grass and stunning city views, if you need a space to burn off some extra energy.

photo: Hollywood Bowl via Facebook

History Lesson: Hollywood Bowl Museum
The Hollywood Bowl has been an iconic venue showcasing some of the world’s biggest artists and composers for over 100 years, so it’s well worth a stop by the Hollywood Bowl Museum during your visit (another free activity). Little ones will love seeing photos, videos and more of famous performers that have rocked this famous stage over the years. It takes about 20 minutes to go through the museum but you may want to stay longer to enjoy the air conditioning.

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The Hollywood Bowl
2301 N. Highland Ave.
Hollywood
323-850-2000
Online: hollywoodbowl.com

–Christina Montoya Fiedler & Jennifer O’Brien

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