Full Menu of Fun -- With Jams on the Side

Times Staff Writer

If you like football, hockey, baseball, outdoor music concerts or street festivals, Greater Los Angeles is the place to be Saturday.

But it you like to drive, it might be a good day to stay away.

Tens of thousands of people are poised to crowd into four of the region’s major sports arenas for a much-anticipated Dodgers-Mets playoff game, USC and UCLA football games and the start of the Kings hockey season.


Tens of thousands more are expected at festivals in downtown, Eagle Rock and on the Miracle Mile.

Freeway traffic will be awful.

“The best advice? Take public transit. Leave early,” said MTA spokesman Marc Littman. Even buses could be delayed by detours and congestion, he cautioned. “It’s best to take light rail. You don’t have to worry about parking.”

Sports fans may see a lot of the 110 Freeway as they make their way to the Coliseum for a 12:30 p.m. game between USC and Washington, the Rose Bowl for a 4 p.m. game between UCLA and Arizona, Dodger Stadium for a 5:05 p.m. game against the Mets and Staples Center for a 7:30 p.m. game between the Kings and St. Louis.

The USC game coincides with the campus Parents’ Weekend, meaning even more people at the tailgate parties and after-game events.

“With 92,000 people in the vicinity, we just urge people to plan ahead and arrive early,” said John Henderson, USC’s assistant athletic director.

Elsewhere, the third annual Grand Avenue Festival will be held along Grand Avenue between Temple and 4th streets from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival will include sidewalk chalk drawing at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, mimes outside the Colburn School, taiko performances at the Japanese American National Museum and music -- lots of music.

The L.A. Weekly Detour Festival has groups such as Beck and Queens of the Stone Age, beginning at 2 p.m. near City Hall.

Two more street festivals will be held in Eagle Rock, on Colorado Boulevard, between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Argus Street from 5 p.m. to midnight, and in the Miracle Mile area with films at 6 p.m. and a party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Back downtown, an estimated 1,000 people will see how fast they can climb the 1,500 steps and 75 stories at the U.S. Bank Tower, starting about 8:15 a.m. And thousands of others will take part in numerous charitable activities.

Organizers are calling the mass of events virtually unprecedented.

“In my four years here, I think this would be the first time we have multiple festivals going on,” in downtown, said Mindy Rosen, communications director at for the Downtown Center Business Improvement District, co-sponsor of the Grand Avenue event.

Special staffing is planned by the Los Angeles Police Department and the city Department of Transportation. Some streets will be closed. Officials recommend looking at event websites for information about activities, parking and directions.

So much downtown activity is expected that it is eclipsing a film shoot. Filming for “Live Free or Die Hard” was planned for Saturday but has been pushed back until Sunday.