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Opening night at the Hollywood Bowl

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Hi, I'm actually a local and have been to the Hollywood Bowl many times over the years but need some advice. I have tix for opening night and want to plan a picnic and use the park & ride. The last several times have been have been all pre-planned group events, the last time I picnic'd was probably back in the 80's. Every time I've gone it seems more crowded and changed. What I need help on is the timing and tips - the show is on Friday June 17 at 8:30, what time should I plan to get there to be able to get a decent picnic spot and have time to relax & enjoy it?

Any recommendations on the park & ride or other transport? I coming from Ventura County - I was thinking of the park and ride in the valley. traffic is going to be ugly on a Friday afternoon, we're not heavy drinkers, I just don't want to drive and its a birthday celebration. The best would be something just for the hollywood bowl (ie: no stops), but that could go on that dedicated bus line through the valley (used by the red line). I also thought about rented car service but I'd rather not have the meter running so we can go early and enjoy ourselves.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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