If you are planning an RV trip and the SoCal region is part of the journey then catching a UCLA Bruins game at the historic Rose Bowl should certainly be on the list of things to do. Located just northeast of Los Angeles in Pasadena, California, the Rose Bowl is a venue known worldwide and it has been noted as the 15th largest stadium on the planet with a seating capacity of over 92,500 people. This is the venue where you will find Joe Bruin and Josie Bruin, a pair of brown bears, cheering on their team every home Saturday of football season.
The Rose Bowl, which is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, opened in 1922 and is best known for hosting the Rose Bowl Game annually on New Year's Day. The Bruins have been using the facility, including multiple Super Bowls, since 1982 after moving from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Bruins have been a successful team throughout their history and the Rose Bowl is always a sight to see when filled with the striking blue and gold of the home team.
University of California, Los Angeles is a school where the football program isn't the only player in town. The UCLA Bruins basketball team is historically one of the very best in the country. The Bruins hold a record 11 NCAA titles, and the weather in Los Angeles makes going to a basketball game in November or December just as viable as attending a football event. Whatever sport you want to watch, the UCLA Bruins are likely to provide a memorable part of your RV adventure.
The best way to ensure that your game day experience with the Bruins goes off without a hitch is to buy your tickets in advance of your trip through the UCLA ticket office online. The Bruins have a number of different packages for their sports at tiered pricing levels. Expect to pay more for the Bruins conference and rivalry events such as games against the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinals.
The Rose Bowl is not located directly on the UCLA campus with games taking place just over 25 miles away in Pasadena. This is a stretch of road that will get incredibly busy on game day, so make sure you have plenty of time (at least a couple of hours if we are being realistic) to drive to the game if you are heading that way from the city of LA or the campus itself.
The best way to get to the Rose Bowl is by the Califonia freeway system. This often means taking CA-134 from the west, CA-110 from the south, or I-210 from the north and east. Follow signs to the stadium and beware of local road closures.
Single-game parking for cars is sold in certain lots around the Rose Bowl. These passes have been $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the game in recent years. Lots open six hours in advance of the game. The RV game day parking lot is on West Drive. Single-game passes have been sold for $100 in advance and $150 on the day in recent years. Note that RVs must approach the parking lots via Linda Vista and Seco Street.
Taking the Metro Gold Line to the Memorial Park Gold Line Station gives you a 2.4-mile walk to the Rose Bowl stadium. Alternatively, fans can walk a couple of blocks following signs to a shuttle station, which is at the Parsons Building. This free shuttle takes fans directly to Lot B of the stadium and begins three hours before kickoff. Pasadena Transit 51 bus also goes directly from Memorial Park Station to the Rose Bowl. Car sharing services and taxis are also always available.
There is no overnight camping allowed at the Rose Bowl in any of the official parking lots. This goes for both RV camping or using a tent in the back of your car. Lots in the Pasadena area that are not directly tied to the Rose Bowl may allow RV parking overnight. If not then, be prepared to stay offsite and drive in the morning of the game. Pasadena RV campgrounds are often as close as 45-miles or even less.
A nearby stay depends on if you are looking to be close to the campus, which is more entrenched in the City of LA proper, or if you are okay staying out by the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This area backs up to the Angeles National Forest, where there are over a dozen campground options with varying levels of amenities. For those looking for more of a vacation experience, Los Angeles North KOA is 45 miles away from the Rose Bowl following the freeway system.
Walking from the closer parking lots and taking a shuttle from those further from the stadium (and those coming from Memorial Park Station) are the best ways to get to the gates at the Rose Bowl. All gates are ADA accessible and wheelchair assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis to transport guests from the gate to their seats and back again at the end of the event if needed.
Travelers often experience plenty of sun in the LA area, so one essential item of clothing is a cap or hat for protection from the rays. Make sure everything you are wearing on game day is both climate and UCLA appropriate, with the blue and gold of the team front and center. There are plenty of vendors booths at the stadium, or you can prepare in advance by buying your t-shirts (in the early season) and maybe a hoodie for that California casual look when going to November evening games.
Going into the Rose Bowl it is best to keep your gear to a minimum. Stick to basics like your phone and your wallet to avoid having to travel back to the RV while the game is being played. Where you can make the most of your gear is at your own personal tailgate where you may want to have UCLA lawn chairs, napkins, and maybe even an awning to protect you from the sun. Just make sure nothing is the gold and cardinal of the USC Trojans.
Sunscreen is important in SoCal as the weather here is likely to be sunny and bright for the majority of your trip. Lip balm would also be a good idea to protect your skin, as would aloe, and be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated in the heat. Sunglasses are a good idea, too, as football stadiums are often bright places. If you start to feel heat sick, then get out of the sun immediately and find a way to cool down.
Check your campsite rules to see what is and isn't allowed when you are cooking at your vacation base. Open flames are not allowed at the Rose Bowl, and charcoal grills are not permitted in the RV parking area so bring your gas grill instead. This might mean you take a tow vehicle to the game to park in an area where charcoal grilling is allowed if you prefer that method of cooking. Prepare any sides in advance of your trip to make the best use of your time, and also make sure that you use containers that are not made of glass for any food or beverages.
Anyone looking for good restaurants will know that Los Angeles is not a place that will disappoint. Everything from fine dining to hole in the wall Mexican joints can be found here, with a sizable number of options for any budget. Options near the stadium tend to be on the pricier side, but fans will not be in short supply of choices within an hour's drive of UCLA.
If you still need to eat after cooking at the tailgate and eating in the restaurants, then Rose Bowl vendors may be your next stop. The stadium has a wide variety of food types, ranging from national chains to local stadium fare. These include both savory and sweet options, with classics like hot dogs, pretzels, and churros being sold in multiple areas around the stadium.
Rose Bowl Stadium runs a clear bag policy with only small clutches allowed into the facility as an exception. The bag must be no bigger than 12" x 6" x 12" and will be subject to search by a security team member to make sure no prohibited items are being taken into the stadium. Give a little extra time when arriving; the security line typically includes a metal detector and bag check.
The weather for UCLA games is often about as good as you will find anywhere in the country. Highs in the 70s and 80s for early season games with lows dipping into the 60s in the evening are common. In the fall, you might want to keep an eye on the potential of a storm or unexpected weather event, but these are unlikely to cause problems except on rare occasions.
There are first-aid stations and medical personnel on hand at the Rose Bowl if you need attention at the game. Alert a member of staff for directions if they are needed. There are also a number of world-class medical facilities within a short drive of the stadium should something serious occur. Be sure your RV is stocked up with any meds you may need and that they haven't passed their expiration date.