Visiting The Dolby Theatre at Hollywood and Highland
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The Dolby Theatre, formerly known as the Kodak, has been around since the early 200s. Since then it has been home to the Oscars, and more recently has become the home of Broadway shows like Escape to Margaritaville. You can visit The Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood and Highland Center that offers views of the Hollywood sign.
If you enter the Hollywood and Highland Center from Hollywood Blvd under the big Dolby Theatre sign you will be led to the grand entrance. This is the entrance where the red carpet takes the stars on their way to the Oscars. This hallway is lined with spaces for each Best Picture Winner as shown below.
I have been to the Dolby more than a few times over the years for various events. Before I start explaining all of the various ways you can visit the theatre I would like to provide some helpful information to know before you go.
Parking in Hollywood can be costly. If you decided to park at Hollywood and Highland please note that unfortunately, the Dolby Theatre does not provide validation. Other places do including the visitors center. They will give you validation for one hour for free. You can take the metro directly to the shopping center if you choose.
Entering the Theatre
There are two entrances to use depending on your ticket. The lower level entrance is for orchestra seats, though if you need to go to the box office you’ll have to go to this level as well. At the top of the grand stairway, you will find the other entrance.
Bringing a small child?
Ask for a booster seat from one of the ushers.
This not a typical theatre venue and as such they have more of a bar than a concession stand. Definitely eat before you come to an event here. Please note that if you try to sneak in snacks and the staff sees they will throw them away.
The theatre is stunning
While the theatre does not have the history and charm of others like the Pantages it is beautiful. I think it is at it’s best when it is decorated for the Oscars. Thanks to being able to attend the After Oscars Show three times I have seen how fantastic it can look. But, even on just an ordinary day, it is not too shabby.
Take a Tour of the Theatre
I had been to the theatre several times before I took the tour. The tour gives you a chance to get on the stage and see the building with new eyes. I used the Go LA Pass to take the tour which gave me access to several other places around LA. Please note that you will need to contact the theatre or visit their website for tour dates. They are not offered when special events are happening.
I took the tour on Wednesday, January 9th at 11 am and was so lucky to be in a small enough group that no one else was in my stage photo. Our tour guide told us that typically there are 50 people in a group so it’s impossible to not have other people in your photos.
What to expect on the tour. It is a pretty quick tour lasting less than 30 minutes with my experience, but again I had a very small group so we were able to move quickly. It could be longer when you have a lot more people. You get to go backstage and be on the stage which was really exciting for me. They take you down the winner’s walk that the Oscar winners do with their award. The walk leads to the press area and shows how the theatre connects to the Loews Hotel.
You do get to go inside the Dolby Lounge where you’ll see an Oscar on display. Honestly, besides getting to be on the stage nothing else about the tour really makes it a must-do. But, I highly recommend attending an event here.
- Adults $25
- Seniors (65 & over) $19
- Youth (17 & under) $19
- Children (under 3) Free
- Family 4 Pack (2 Adult & 2 Youth): $80
(strollers will be checked at the door)
Broadway In Hollywood
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More recently, Dolby started hosted Broadway shows. We are so lucky in Los Angeles to have several options for venues for these types of shows. The Pantages will continue to be my favorite place to see a show but the Dolby is a pretty great venue as well. In February, I won tickets to see Escape to Margaritaville at the theatre. Tip: Follow Hollywood & Highland on Instagram and participate in their giveaways.
It was so great that I was able to go to the opening night of the show. Jimmy Buffet came on stage to surprise everyone at the end which was the icing on the cake. I was also excited to get one of the Escape to Margaritaville beach balls that they threw from the ceiling.
When the show was over I had to go down to the front and sit in Leonardo DiCaprio’s seat from the 2020 Oscars.
For their current Broadway in Hollywood season they are scheduled to host shows like Mean Girls, My Fair Lady and more. At the moment though everything is on hold due to COVID 19 so we will have to see what happens moving forward. In the future be sure to look for tickets to the shows on Goldstar which almost always has good prices for the events.
What is PaleyFest? It is an event that takes place every spring, in the Dolby Theatre, featuring the casts of several television shows. I have seen the casts of Better Call Saul, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Jane the Virgin at this event. It is such a fun experience to hear the cast talk about the show and their experience.
One of the best reasons to attend this event is that if you get a seat in the orchestra section you have a great chance to meet members of the cast after. Please note that on nights where more than one show is there you would only have a chance to meet the show that comes on last. You can read more about PalyFest here.
The Oscars are an invite-only event. Even being a seat filler is limited to those with connections to the Academy. However, you can still enjoy an Oscar event at the Dolby Theatre. The morning after the show Live with Kelly and Ryan hosts an After Oscar Show. This is such an incredible experience because you get to be in the theatre while it is still decorated from the show. Plus, occasionally some of the winners will make an appearance. Brie Larson came the second year that I went to the show. Tickets are free and you can read all about that experience here.
Back in 2013, I won the Oscars lottery which meant I got to be on the side of the red carpet seeing the stars like Jennifer Lawrence on their way to the Dolby for the show. You can read more about that experience here.
Compared to its neighbor the TCL Chinese Theatre, the Dolby does not host that many movie premieres. However, it is used for premieres at least a few times throughout the year. I have attended the premieres of Pitch Perfect 3 and The Legend of Tarzan here. If you’re interested in attending movie premieres you can check out this post here.