Best Seats in the House


Photograph courtesy

Best of LA, July 2008

Taper Courtyard at the Skirball
Showgoers may fill the courtyard floor during the free “Sunset Concert” series, but head up higher for the better spots. From the wisteria-draped balcony you can clearly see the stage, the performers, and the reflecting pool that catches the last rays of the sun setting over the Santa Monica Mountains. » 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. , Brentwood, 310-440-4500 or 

Walt Disney Concert Hall
At an L.A. Phil concert, the hall’s cheaper seats offer sound as good as that of the front orchestra section. From the orchestra-view balcony—which overlooks the musicians’ backs—the hall’s glorious design and the conductor’s intense expressions are on full display. Padded bench seating with no armrests means freedom for cuddling and easy whispering. » 111 S. Grand Ave.,downtown, 323-850-2000 or

The Smell
The only place to sit in downtown’s art-punk mecca is in a tattered chunk of stadium seats that once lined Royce Hall. Pushed against a brick wall, any one of these four stained cushions provides splendid views. The Smell charges $5 to get in, and competition is light for the seats. » 247 S. Main St., downtown, 

Hollywood Bowl
If the proximity of the Super Seats to the sound booth isn’t hint enough, their name should be. The plastic folding seats with cup holders are in the Bowl’s midsection, between the boxes and the benches. Here acoustics and sight lines are optimal. For example, seats 105 and 106—at the center of row 1, section H—are only $45 each for Beck’s show in September. » 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, 323-850-2000 or 

Nokia Theatre L.A. Live
Don’t be misled by the blinding advertisements outside or the metal gray interior—comfort rules here . Wherever you sit, the seats are plush and the acoustics precision tuned. That said, the center loge’s first row offers an optimal combination of affordability, legroom, and unobstructed views. » 777 Chick Hearn Court, downtown, 213-763-6030 or