Top 6 Things to Do in Los Angeles for Sports Fans
A city that could have its own sports edition of the Walk of Fame, Los Angeles is the perfect destination for sports fans. Often regarded as a city synonymous with movie and television stars, Los Angeles, or “LA”, is quickly becoming one of the world’s biggest sporting meccas. It is now home to two teams in the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball League (NBL), as well as teams in Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS).
Sports fans from around the world can find a buffet of high-quality sporting action throughout the year with talented teams such as the Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Kings.
With more than 300 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve hit this one out the park, uncovering the ultimate sport-based activities and experiences around Los Angeles. We’ll even show you the easiest way to catch a live game.
1. Top Things to Do for American Football Fans
In America, football is a national pastime. On any given Sunday, Monday or Thursday you’ll see bars packed with patrons, hands curled around bottles of beer and eyes focused on screens playing the latest games. Home to two teams, the Rams and Chargers, Los Angeles is now America’s biggest football city, hosting about 16 games throughout the season.
Tailgating, oversized jerseys, war paint and team songs are all part of the football season experience, which usually runs from August until February every year. With games lasting between three and four hours, you’ll want to settle in for exhilarating football action between some of the greatest players in the world.
Los Angeles Rams Gameday
The Rams originated in Cleveland, before moving to Los Angeles, then St Louis and back to LA in 2016. The only team to win three NFL championships in three different cities, the Rams have achieved great success over the years and were even dubbed “The Greatest Show on Turf” in 1999, thanks to a record-breaking offence.
With about eight home games each season, you’ll need to check the official Rams schedule before planning your trip. Tailgating before the game is a must, with both home and away supporters setting up barbeques, bars and mini campsites around Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, turning the area into a bona fide football village complete with The Rams Fan Fest kids’ activities.
The team’s stadium, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a National Historic Landmark and revered for its sporting history, which includes hosting two Super Bowls, two Olympiads and one World Series. There is on-site parking available, but with heavy traffic and game day road closures, your best bet is to ride on the Metro Expo Line, which runs every six minutes from Downtown LA and Santa Monica.
Along with a range of American and international restaurants, the stadium is surrounded by high-quality hotels including Vagabond Inn Los Angeles-USC, beloved by HotelsCombined visitors for its clean rooms and excellent location.
Los Angeles Chargers Gameday
The city’s newest football team, the Los Angeles Chargers, are a highly competitive squad with some of the greatest players in the modern game. The team recently moved from San Diego (another must-visit California city), where they enjoyed Super Bowl and playoff appearances, along with a collection of Hall-of-Fame players.
The Chargers’ arrival into LA has created a thrilling rivalry, with a fierce competition between the city’s two home teams whenever they play each other. Batman vs. Superman and Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed have got nothing on these two. Los Angeles is the home of big-screen action, and the Chargers couldn’t be better suited for the bright lights of football in LA.
Sporting one of the league’s better uniforms, Chargers supporter gear is easy to find in any of the local sporting shops including Niky’s Sport and Big 5 Sporting Goods. Come gameday you’ll want to represent the team colours as you find like-minded folks at StubHub Center. This 30,000-seat stadium is quickly packed out and booming with avid fans from around the country.
Getting to StubHub Center is easy, thanks to specific Uber drop-off areas, the convenient Metro Silver Line or Metro Blue Line, and numerous parking options including valet.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
As one of America’s oldest stadiums, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is a popular sight within its own right. There are various guided and self-guided tours available throughout the year including the Los Angeles Coliseum Historic Tour. This immersive experience includes insider stories about the Coliseum, information on the unique architecture and exclusive access to locker rooms, press boxes and other normally off-limit areas.
Did you know … The largest attended event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was one of Billy Graham’s evangelistic campaigns, which attracted 134,254 people.
2. Top Things to Do for Basketball Fans
Having won gold in basketball at six of the last seven Olympics, it’s clear the United States knows basketball better than anywhere else in the world. Some of the world’s biggest sporting stars, such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and LeBron James, have graced America’s basketball courts.
Los Angeles has seen its share of national prestige, with the 16-time NBA champion Lakers and two-time NBA Division Champion Clippers. The city is also a launching pad for legendary players and coaches including Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Phil Jackson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Both the LA Lakers and LA Clippers play at the renowned Staples Center, a state-of-the-art multi-purpose arena.
The regular season for the NBA typically begins around October and ends in April. Preseason starts in August and playoffs continue deep into May. So if you think there isn’t enough time to catch a basketball game in LA, think again.
Los Angeles Lakers Gameday
The Los Angeles Lakers originated in Minneapolis in 1948 before moving to LA in 1960, where the team has enjoyed numerous championship runs including three back-to-back NBA championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002. When the Lakers play at Staples Center, the entire arena is covered in yellow and purple, thanks to fans packing it out to full capacity.
These aren’t just your average Joe supporters, and you might be lucky enough to see some of the Lakers’ A-list supporters including actor Jack Nicholson and Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis.
The seating at Staples Center ranges from general admission to baseline seating and private suites. With multiple bus lines, Metrolink services and parking lots, getting to this arena is as easy as LeBron James making a tomahawk dunk. For basketball fans, some games have that extra spark, particularly rivalry competitions. If you can time your visit for when the Lakers play the Clippers, Boston Celtics or the San Antonio Spurs, you’ll be in for a heated match.
There are few better LA hotels than JW Marriott Los Angeles LA Live when it comes to proximity to Staples Center. This four-star hotel boasts a rooftop terrace overlooking the arena, along with an on-site spa and fitness centre. Other than an exciting basketball game, you can also explore nearby attractions such as the Grammy Museum and Grand Central Market.
Los Angeles Clippers Gameday
The Los Angeles Clippers are a relatively young team, originating in Buffalo in 1970, and were considered “little bro” to the LA Lakers until recent dominance. These days, the Clippers are consistently performing at the top of their division, thanks to the likes of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.
The Clippers also play at Staples Center, so make sure you plan your travel dates around the LA team you want to see the most. However, it is possible to see both teams play in LA during one week, and sometimes even against each other. Along with edge-of-your-seat basketball action, a Clippers game promises high-energy supporters, pre-game fan parties and a pumped-up atmosphere from start to finish.
Clippers merchandise can be purchased from the team’s official store online or at the game, or from one of the many sporting stores around LA.
3. Top Things to Do for Baseball Fans
For about six months of the year, from April until October, baseball consumes households and bars all around America. Each MLB team plays at least 162 games during the season, giving you plenty of opportunities to catch this iconic American sport in Los Angeles.
One of the country’s most multicultural sports, baseball in America features players from Central America, Asia, South America and the Caribbean, along with many hometown legends. The game is a marathon, not a sprint, with many going far beyond the usual nine innings to determine a clear winner. For baseball lovers, this simply adds to the excitement.
Los Angeles Dodgers Gameday
Six-time World Series Champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers boast a storied history as the first team to sign an African-American baseball player, Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. The team’s home field, Dodger Stadium, has been the site of classic games since 1962 and ensures an excellent view from any seat, thanks to cantilever grandstands.
The Dodgers face off against many rivalry teams throughout the season including the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Cincinnati Phillies and Los Angeles Angels. If you’re looking to add some extra spice to the innings, aim to see them play against any of those four teams.
Although tailgating isn’t allowed at Dodger Stadium, there are plenty of bars nearby perfect for a pre-game drink with the local supporters. The Short Stop is a fan favourite for its drink specials, Dodgers memorabilia and lively atmosphere.
The best way to reach the stadium on gameday is via one of two Los Angeles Metro express routes. The Union Station route runs 90 minutes before and 45 minutes after the game, while the South Bay route runs two hours before and 45 minutes after the game.
Los Angeles Angels Gameday
Fancy a road trip? Head down to Anaheim to watch the Los Angeles Angels take to the field against the rest of the MLB including rivals the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. Having won multiple division titles and one World Series, the Angels are constantly poised for a big game.
Only one hour from LA, Angel Stadium is known as “The Big A” and is the fourth-oldest MLB stadium, yet maintains a reputation for being a modern ballpark with an immaculate pitch and state-of-the-art multimedia. If you’re looking to make the most of your road trip, spend the night near the stadium at Ayres Hotel Anaheim. Recommended by HotelsCombined visitors for its breakfast and comfortable beds, this affordable hotel also has a cosy bar, golf course and heated pool.
Anaheim is perfect for a family-oriented baseball trip, with some of the country’s most popular theme parks all located nearby, including Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and Adventure City.
One of baseball’s most historic fields, Dodger Stadium is best experienced during a live game, but also during a behind-the-scenes tour. There are multiple tours to choose from, including pre-game tours that allow early access viewing of batting practice, and clubhouse tours that take visitors to the bullpen, weight room, batting cage, clubhouse and more.
Did you know … Only five home runs have been hit completely out of Dodger Stadium, including a 478-footer by Giancarlo Stanton in 2015.
Want a more immersive experience of Angel Stadium? Ballpark tours typically take a little over one hour and include exclusive access to the field, Angels Dugout Suite, Visitors’ Clubhouse, press conference room and broadcasting booth. Public tours run throughout the week, or you can opt for a private tour.
Did you know … Angel Stadium has featured in many movies over the years including Angels in the Outfield, The Fan and Taking Care of Business.
4. Top Things to Do for Ice Hockey Fans
Predominantly a winter sport, ice hockey offers a jam-packed calendar of games every year, running from October until June, when the two best teams face off for the Stanley Cup. Attending an NHL game means witnessing some of the best athletes in the world carve up the ice. Legends such as Wayne Gretzky, Guy Lafleur and Sidney Crosby have all dazzled crowds at one time.
Teams from both the USA and Canada compete in the NHL, including the Los Angeles Kings who have made their mark on the league with two Stanley Cups and three conference championships. When it comes to ice hockey, there’s never a bad seat in the house to witness the exciting physical and competitive nature of the games.
Los Angeles Kings Gameday
Few teams have fought back from greater adversity than the Los Angeles Kings, who survived financial difficulties and a six-year playoff drought before winning two Stanley Cup championships in three years. This “never give up” attitude is reflected on the ice where the Kings players put their bodies, and often teeth, on the line for victory.
Staples Center is transformed from a basketball court to an ice hockey rink when the Kings host opposing teams. This state-of-the-art arena delivers an unforgettable experience with halftime shows, lively music and excellent seating. If this is your first live hockey game experience, remember to keep your eyes peeled for fanatic supporters decked out in skin suits and other crazy getups.
Those who stay after the final buzzer will be able to watch the game’s three best players recognised for their achievements. Some players skate around the rink tossing pucks and shirts to keen fans. Early birds, however, have a chance to watch the players warming up and even get a few autographs.
5. Top Things to Do for Soccer Fans
Soccer is quickly becoming part of the American sporting tradition, with its popularity soaring since its humble beginnings in the 1960s. It is now the third most-played sport in America behind basketball and baseball.
Running from March to December, the MLS competition is comprised of 22 teams from the US and Canada. Teams compete for two trophies, including the regular season Supporters’ Shield, awarded to the team with the best record, and the postseason MLS Cup, awarded after a series of playoff matches. Currently, the Los Angeles Galaxy is the most-decorated team in the league, winning the MLS Cup five times.
Los Angeles Galaxy Gameday
Founded in 1994, the Los Angeles Galaxy are a relatively young sporting team that have achieved more than most in their short lifetime. One of the most successful clubs in the MLS, the LA Galaxy have a penchant for luring famous players over to the bright lights, including David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole.
StubHub Center has been the home of the LA Galaxy since 2003 and is now considered one of the best stadiums to watch soccer in America. Along with a friendly mascot called Cozmo, the team is supported by numerous fan bases including the original Galaxians and the Angel City Brigade, both of which can be seen at any home game.
Soccer fans will find kindred spirits at Galaxy matches, along with certain pubs around the city including Joxer Daly’s, an Irish pub that plays all the biggest soccer matches. You can stay close to the action at Holiday Inn Torrance, which is about two miles from the stadium and features on-site dining, a golf course and express check-in and check-out.
If you’re staying further afield, there’s no need to stress thanks to the Galaxy Express. This free non-stop shuttle bus operates every 10 minutes before and after the game, picking up from Harbor Gateway Transit Center and Del Amo Station. Tailgating begins three hours before the game, so be sure the arrive early for some friendly banter and drinks with the locals.
The StubHub Center stadium tour offers an in-depth look at life beyond the football pitch for the LA Galaxy players. Once you’re on the tour, you immediately join elite company as you walk in the footsteps of famous players down the tunnel and onto the pitch. The TV studio, weight room, team lounge and trophy case are also included in the tour.
Did you know … Along with soccer, StubHub Center has hosted international friendlies featuring Real Madrid and Club America, the ESPN’s X Games, Reebok CrossFit Games and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
6. Top Things to Do for College Sports Fans
For many, college sports in America is where true excitement can be found. Attracting more than 100,000 spectators, college games in America are unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s here that you could be witnessing future legends performing for their schools while thousands of face-painted fans cheer them on in a frenzy.
The atmosphere at college games is truly unique, challenging professional leagues when it comes to unbridled support, halftime shows and the level of athleticism on display. Los Angeles is home to two of the nation’s most-recognised colleges, both of which are leaders when it comes to the sporting domain.
Best Sports to See at UCLA
With 113 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships and counting, UCLA boasts the best sporting record of any American college in the NCAA. Called the “Bruins”, each sports team from UCLA has that added motivation to do their name proud.
If you’re looking for the complete UCLA sports experience, time your Los Angeles holiday to coincide with the football, basketball, baseball, softball or volleyball seasons. Dominating the league, UCLA has won more NCAA championships in volleyball than any other sport.
Watching a football game at the historic Rose Bowl is a must-do experience for any football fan, as teams always lift their performance when playing in front of a home crowd. UCLA’s iconic stadium was built in 1922 and has hosted multiple Super Bowls, FIFA World Cup finals and, of course, the annual college Rose Bowl Game. The Westin Pasadena provides four-star accommodation close to the Rose Bowl and is highly recognised among HotelsCombined visitors for its on-site bar and impressive views of the surrounding city.
Best Sports to See at USC
If you see anyone dressed in red and yellow or chanting for the “Trojans”, you know you’ve made it to USC. This highly-decorated college has won more than 100 NCAA National Championships including 21 in tennis, 12 in baseball, 13 in water polo and seven in volleyball.
These sports provide a range of fairy-tale stories, exhilarating action and considerable success. You’d also be amiss not venturing to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to watch USC’s top-flight football team take on whoever is unlucky enough to face them that week. Voted National Champions 11 times, USC Trojans Football has seen the likes of Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush and Marcus Allen play for its highly successful teams.
For something slightly different to the usual American games, you can also check out a rugby match, USC’s oldest sport. If you’re craving that college atmosphere off the sporting field as well, head down to Study Hall, a gastropub serving craft beers and burgers alongside live sport on multiple TVs.
UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame
One of the most historic colleges in America, UCLA is unsurprisingly home to its own hall of fame. The UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame is the best place to gain a deeper understanding of the rich sporting traditions that have shaped not only this college but the sports standards in the United States.
While wandering around the Hall of Fame, you’ll be able to see the original Heisman Trophy, along with other prestigious trophies and awards. Video highlights and photo stories showcase the highly successful Bruins athletes, while fans get their deserved praise in an entire section devoted to cheerleaders, marching bands and tailgate parties.
The City of Angels is Heaven for Sports Fans
Football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, soccer and college sports; it seems Los Angeles can’t get enough of storied franchises and highly-successful players. All this adds to the city’s allure, and it is quickly becoming one of America’s best destinations to experience a variety of exciting sporting events.
With high-quality and affordable hotels close to the events, along with frequent and reliable public transport to the stadium, it’s easy to reach the games for a bit of tailgating or family fun before the live action begins. Forget the Hollywood celebrities; the real stars are sweating it out for glory in LA’s most popular sporting arenas.
What sports teams do you want to see in Los Angeles? Let us know in the comments below.