Step Inside History at the LA Memorial Coliseum

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If you’ve walked by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with the kids on the way to the Science Center or Natural History Museum, they’ve probably wondered aloud what that large (and often silent) structure is all about. Wonder no more, because now history buffs, sports fanatics and curious kids can take a new tour of the “greatest stadium in the world” and dream some Olympic or Trojan dreams.

coliseumfacade.jpg.exportingphoto: LeTania Kirkland

Get Schooled On Exposition Park
First, your tour guide will tell you how the Coliseum came to be.  The University of Southern California took over Exposition Park with the mandate of making it a family friendly venue and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was commissioned in 1921 in honor of World War I veterans.  Opened it 1923, it was then expanded in 1930 to host the 1932 Olympic Games.

Fun Fact: The Olympic Torch is still lit during the fourth quarter of USC football games and other special occasions (like when the Olympics are hosted in another city or in memoriam of tragedies or the deaths of world leaders).

footballsignsphoto: LeTania Kirkland

The Coliseum has been home to the Dodgers, the L.A. Rams and Raiders, two Super Bowls and two Olympic Games (and possibly in 2024 we can add a third Olympics to that list) just to name a few. Before you step into the stadium, you can take a moment to learn about the remarkable athletes who have played on the field and the inspirational people who have spoken and performed to inspire audiences.

olympiadphoto: LeTania Kirkland

Walk through the Court of Honor
Once through the Olympic Gateway, you’ll step into the Court of Honor. Here history buffs can take in some names they may recognize: athletes like Jackie Robinson and world leaders like Nelson Mandela are among the greats listed on these walls. Plus, there are plaques dedicated to all of the Gold Medal winners of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. This spot is definitely worth a gander.

lockerroomphoto: LeTania Kirkland

Step Inside
Once your littles have learned a bit about the Coliseum it will be time to hit the locker rooms. The Coliseum is home to the USC football team and if you have a little Trojan (or other football fan), this is a big highlight. There’s plenty of space for them to run around (within reason) while learning about some historic games in the team’s history.

onthe fieldphoto: LeTania Kirkland

Hit the Field (Well, Very Close to It)
You’ll step out of the locker rooms and walk down the same corridor as the USC players. Though visitors can’t actually walk onto the field, your explorers can get very close. The kids can listen to some of the tales of time gone by and imagine the games played in this expansive space. In addition to sports, the field has been home to concerts and amazing world speakers. There are interesting tidbits of history for everyone to learn.

pressboxphoto: LeTania Kirkland

Up To The Top
Next stop: up to the press box. Your tour guide will begin at the roof press box where the family can take in one of the great (secret) vista points in the city. See from the Hollywood sign all the way west toward the ocean. Back inside, let the kids have a seat in the box and imagine the action on the field.

Good to Know: The Coliseum offers guided tours that provide access to all the highlights featured above. There are also self-guided tours available, which will give you access to the Olympic Arches, Peristyle Court of Honor and views of the field.

coliseumuptopphoto: LeTania Kirkland

Parking and Admission
Parking is available in the adjacent lot (just off of Exposition Blvd) for $10. Hang out after the tour and visit a museum or two to make a whole day of it and really get your parking money’s worth! Exposition Park is home to the California African American Museum, The California Science Center and the Natural History Museum.

Tours are offered Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Guided tours are $25 but kids 5 & under are free. Self-guided tours are $10 with no time limit.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Historic Tours
3911 S. Figueroa St.
Exposition Park

Have you seen a game played at the Coliseum?  Would you like there to be another Olympic Games take place here in 2024?  We’d love to hear your Coliseum memories in the comment section.

—LeTania Kirkland