MLB Opening Day Traditions for the Los Angeles Dodgers

There are lots of ways Los Angeles Dodgers fans celebrate Opening Day—but tailgate parties in the Dodger Stadium parking lot are definitely not one of them, since they're prohibited. You don't want to spoil your fun by getting a ticket, so here are some other, totally legal things to do. So go have fun, and go Dodger Blue!

1. Raise a glass to a winning Dodgers season at the Short Stop.
This venerable Echo Park dive bar, just a quick stroll away from to the stadium's Sunset Boulevard entrance, has been the place to go to cheer or commiserate with fellow Dodgers fans for years. Originally a hangout for cops (the Los Angeles Police Academy is also within walking distance), it's now popular with fans and hipsters. There are game day drink specials, plus a dance floor, pool table and photo booth for your pre- or post-game entertainment.

2. Enjoy Dodger Stadium cuisine before the crowds arrive.
The stadium opens two hours before the game starts, so there's plenty of time to enjoy a meal before the ceremonial first pitch. While an Opening Day tradition is a grilled Dodger Dog with all the fixings, peanuts and a frosty beer to wash them down, there are lots of other food options, from Italian fare at former manager Tommy Lasorda's Trattoria, to carne asada at LA Taqueria, to barbecue sandwiches at Think Blue BBQ, and much more.

3. Bring your own picnic inside the stadium.
While tailgating is a no-no, fans are allowed to bring soft-sided coolers no larger than 16-by-16 inches inside the stadium (but ice inside them is a no-no). Don't try to bring in bottles, cans, thermoses or alcohol. Non-alcoholic beverages in plastic bottles are allowed, as long as they're unopened and a liter or less.

4. Take a hike in Elysian Park.
Elysian Park will be packed before the game (although it's a good place for a picnic—if you can find a spot), but afterward it's a great place to work off all that stadium food and drink. Take an almost 3-mile hike on the Angel's Point trail, which loops and climbs around the northwest corner of the park. If the skies are nearly as blue as a Dodgers cap, you'll be treated to spectacular views of the San Gabriel Mountains, downtown skyline and Hollywood Sign.

5. Check out popular Downtown L.A. spots.
Dodgers ticketholders can take the free Dodger Stadium Express bus from Union Station to the stadium and back. You can park at Union Station and take a short walk to Olvera Street, Chinatown, or other popular downtown spots before or after the game.

Laura Goldman is a freelance writer, lifelong Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. Check out her i Still Love Dogs blog and follow her on Twitter.

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