Conan Tickets & Taping Guide: How to Get FREE Tickets in LA!

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Looking for the inside scoop on how to get tickets to Conan in LA, and what to expect during the taping process? This guide will tell you everything you need to know!

TV show tapings are the best thing ever.

And hands down, the best one I’ve ever been to was Conan in Los Angeles.

Now it’s likely no surprise to you all by now that I’m an absolute pop culture junkie… I’ve waited hours to watch Peter Jackson get his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star and I’ve literally cried at a Harry Potter studio tour in London… so it’s not really a stretch that I would love TV show tapings either. Not only are they free, but they’re absolutely unforgettable and a guaranteed way to see your favourite celebrities up close (yes, even dreamboats like Chris Evans).

So duh, as a die hard Conan O’ Brien fan, it was a no brainer that I would secure a ticket to his show.

Attending a TV show taping is one of those must-try activities that you should do in LA. I’ve attended tapings before (Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper in New York), but my Conan experience was by far the most pleasant and well-organized. This post will tell you all you need to know about the Conan taping experience, from getting tickets to the flow of the actual filming day. Enjoy!

PS: I recently went to a taping of the Late Late Show with James Corden in LA as well. Click here to read more about that process and how to get tickets!

1. Getting Tickets to Conan

Tickets to Conan can easily be booked on the show’s website. A booking calendar powered by iota showcases filming dates up to a few weeks in advance, and indicates ticket availability (i.e. Available or Sold Out). If your desired date is available, simply click on it to book. You can reserve up to 4 tickets, and must make an account with iota to complete your booking.

If you are keen on securing your tickets, be sure to check back on the website often to see whether or not tickets for your desired dates have been released. Tickets are released in batches (usually several weeks released at a time). Shows for my dates opened up on a Monday morning.

When dates say ‘available’, there are two possibilities: 1) If you book early enough, your tickets will be 100% secured at the time of your reservation. 2) You will receive an email saying that your request has been added to the waitlist queue, meaning they’ll notify you in a few weeks if there’s space for you.

NOTE: They don’t announce the guests for each show until the Thursday prior. I would recommend booking as soon as possible regardless, because by the time you know who’s on your show, it might be too late. For my episode, I had Evangeline Lilly from Lost and the Hobbit, as well as comedian Pete Holmes and musical guest, Jackson Browne.
Attending a Conan Ticket by Christina Guan

2. Day-of: Getting to the studio

Conan films at Stage 15 of the Warner Bros studio in Burbank. As noted on your ticket, they provide free parking at Gate 8 after 11am. When you get to the lot, just mention that you’re there for Conan and the parking attendant will hand you a parking pass for the day (with in and out privileges included).

3. Day-of: Checking in

After you’ve parked, head to the entrance side of the parking lot. Here, you will see security guards, a metal detector and a waiting area with benches. After security checks your bags, you get to sit down in the waiting area. For us, they began checking people in around 12:45pm.

After they’ve checked you in, they will hand you three things: 1) Tickets for the show, 2) a group number and 3) wristbands. Your group number will hold your spot in the line, which means that you are free to explore the area, grab lunch and then come back by 3.

How early should you get there to check in? Although the ticket says 2:30pm, you should definitely aim to be there earlier as they overbook all shows! Where you sit in the studio is also dependent on how early you get there. We arrived at about 12:30pm, were sorted into Group 29 and ended up sitting in the 4th row, which is not bad at all. NOTE: The first two rows’ views are often obstructed by cameras.

Conan taping by Christina Guan
Tickets, parking pass and group number

4. Day-of: The Taping

Be back at the waiting area by 3pm. Again, your group number holds your spot in line, so it doesn’t really matter if you get back back super early.

Conan taping by Christina Guan
The waiting area

The waiting area is quite nice, with ample seating room, vending machines and washrooms. For those of you who want to show off your fan spirit, there’s even a table selling Conan merchandise, but you could probably get them on Amazon for cheaper.

Conan taping by Christina Guan

At around 3pm, they start lining people up according to group number, and then send groups off to Conan’s soundstage. First, they bring you several blocks to a second (shaded) waiting area, where you wait for 20-30 minutes until the crew says they’re ready for the audience. At this point, you will walk through WB Studios, passing by various trailers, soundstages, etc. which is very cool!

The first thing you’ll see upon entering Conan’s studio is a giant Conan bobblehead. It’s hilarious, and you’ll want to take photos, but the watchful eye of security will make sure you don’t! You’ll then go up some stairs which bring you into the studio and ta-da… it’s the set you’re so used to seeing on TV!!!

Conan taping by Christina Guan
Couldn’t help but snap a photo as we left the taping.

Conan staff will then fill you into rows based on how many are in your party. Not that you have much say in the matter, but try to go for an aisle seat on the right side of the studio.

This is where Conan will generally go after the show is done to give out high fives or even better, autographs! One lucky guy during my taping snagged an autograph while Conan performed his “end of the show” song, so if you’re an avid autograph collector, don’t forget a Sharpie and something to sign.

Everything will go by very quickly after that. Jimmy Pardo, the warm-up comedian, will come out and get you ready to laugh!

Beware, his style of comedy likes to pick on members of the audience, so don’t speak up unless you’re ready for him to rag on you.

After a hilarious 15 minutes or so, he will then introduce Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band, who come out and entertain the audience with a few awesome songs.

Many of them will come into the audience as they play. As a huge fan of LaBamba (who used to be featured in a lot of segments), I was thrilled when he came right by my seat and sang for a bit. Starstruck!

After a few songs, they’ll cue the Conan theme song and the show will progress just as you see on TV. Conan comes out to do his monologue, then brings out his guests, etc…

The taping will go by super quickly, so be sure to soak in the experience while you can!

For us, the actual taping began around 4:30, and we were out by 5:45. It did take a bit longer as we had to record an extra musical segment for Conan’s website, and Jackson Browne mixed up his verses once so we had to do it again.

Overall, the Conan filming experience is super pleasant and stress-free.

Unlike other show tapings where you’re made to stand/wait for hours and generally treated like an animal, the Conan crew knows how to treat you right! There’s water coolers, washrooms, and I even read on Tripadvisor that they sometime give out popsicles.

Props, Team Coco! Be sure to give this experience a try the next time you’re in LA – it’s really a lot of fun.

Have you ever been to a taping? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!

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37 thoughts on “Conan Tickets & Taping Guide: How to Get FREE Tickets in LA!”

  1. Conan rocks! I’m a diehard fan myself and have seen the show live twice so far (I’d go every time if it wasn’t that far lol). They really do give out popsicles at the waiting area if the weather is too hot, thanks for sharing your experience! #TeamCoco 🙂

  2. Conan rocks! I’m a diehard fan myself and have seen the show live twice so far (I’d go every time if it wasn’t that far lol). They really do give out popsicles at the waiting area if the weather is too hot, thanks for sharing your experience! #TeamCoco 🙂

  3. Hi Christina! I got tickets for the filming and was not sure whether to bother going or not, but you described it as such a stress-free experience that I’m definitely going!
    I was wondering, is there a way to know which guests are going to attend in advance?

    • Hey Chiara! hopefully this isn’t too late but usually Conan announces the line-up of guests the week before. I believe it’s usually the Thursday before (but not sure if that’s changed). Just check on the website! Hope you have a really good time! Conan is great 🙂

  4. That sounds wonderful. I’ve only attended one show taping, Craig Ferguson (when he was a talk show host) and we waited out along the street. I got the displeasure of having to breathe cigarette smoke while standing there. The person was not right next to me, but any scent of it is extremely bothersome. Anyway, despite the tickets asking for people to dress nicely, I was the only one who seemed to have heeded that message. I wore something you might wear to work. It was disjointed in how it was filmed, as well. I’d say we were there about 2 or 3 hours. All of the segments were filmed out of order. It was strange. Knowing Conan’s audience is inside in the shade makes me a little more enthusiastic about trying to see a taping some time in the future. I just recently read about a Jimmy Fallon taping experience on one of those travel advisor websites, and it sounds like a real nightmare.

    • oof yes I attended a Jimmy Fallon taping several years back (before he took over the Tonight Show) and we were treated like cattle! The worst bit was, we had waited forever and had decent seats lined up, but then they plucked me and my friend out of the line to be in the ‘special band seats’ which meant we had to sit in the way back of the studio and then stand behind the musical guests during their performance. It was strange! I reckon it was because we were younger and they wanted young folks to be there for the musical bit? Either way, a bit disappointing.

  5. So helpful! Thank you! Do you know if your whole group has to be there for check in? We might have 2 friends coming a bit later than 230… ?

    • You’re so welcome! If I remember correctly, they did check us in one by one, but it doesn’t hurt to arrive early and then ask if you’re able to check in without your friends. Better earlier than late 🙂 Have a great time!

  6. Hello. About to go tomorrow in NYC. I was wondering if it’s okay to bring my camera?. Although jot planning to take snaps

    • Hey Edeline, that’s awesome! You’re gonna have such a fun time 🙂 Hopefully this post was useful even though it’ll be in a different city. I played it safe and didn’t bring my camera (since I have a big DSLR) but I think if you bring it, you’ll be fine. Worst comes to worst, they’ll keep it somewhere for you to collect after the show. They wouldn’t take it away from you permanently haha. Have a great time!

  7. Hi! I recently requested tickets and on it says that my tickets are available! On my tickets it says “TEAM COCO”. I was wondering if that is what your tickets said too.. or if the “TEAM COCO” tickets get admitted only if there is space after the people with “guaranteed tickets” get admitted!

    • Hi Keith, my taping time was 4:30pm, and we were asked to come back by 3pm. I think there were still some people checking in around that time, but of course since they overbook shows, the earlier you get there the better. Also – I went back in 2014 and I’m not sure if the process has changed much since then. I’d recommend trying to contact the show staff to get a concrete answer 🙂 best of luck! have fun at the taping.

  8. Hi Christina,
    Thanks for the information. I have tickets to an upcoming show on Feb 9th. One person from our group wont land until noon, So we wont make it to the studio till about 1pm to check in. What is the dress code? Will it be ok for us to check in , in casual clothes, then go back to the hotel and get changed and be back by 3.
    We barely made it to a show last year because we were cut off in the line . I want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

    Also, what was the dress code when you went? I havent received that from Conan, but i got a list of things we couldnt wear from a few other shows.

    • Hey Tzee! My taping was back in 2014, so apologies if anything has changed since then, but based on my experience, there was no dress code and everyone was fairly casual. As with most TV tapings though I would avoid any big logos. Solid colours are probably best, but I don’t think it’s a big deal. You’re free to do whatever you want after you’ve checked in so I think it would be fine to go back to the hotel and change. Best of luck and have a blast 🙂

  9. Thanks for your response. One more question. How long did it take you to check after you arrived at 12:45, was there a line that took 30 minutes, or was it a quick checkin ?

    • I remember the check-in moved very quickly after it started. Once the staff arrives, you just form a queue and they check your name off, hand you your number and send you off on your merry way! I don’t remember exactly the length of time it took, but it was quite quick.

  10. Hi Christina,

    went to Team Coco yesterday and it was exactly as described by you. Great experience!! Future visitors should follow your instructions and/or advices. It’ll give them the same amazing experience which I had! Conan is the real stuff!!

    Best, Bernie from Germany (ze german)

    • Yay! Really happy to hear the process hasn’t changed much in the past few years, and I’m stoked that you had a great time. All the best, Bernie 🙂 – Christina (also in Germany right now. hello!)

  11. Just wanted to provide an update. I went on thursday and it was great! There still is no dress code, so we went casual. We checked in at 1:00 pm and ended up being group 37. We were in the middle section 2 rows from the back, still a good view. The check in was probably about 5-7 minutes in total. Had a great time, this blog really help us prepare. Thanks again!

  12. Hi – thanks for this great info. We were planning to go to the warner Bros studio tour on our visit, and just got notified that we got Conan tickets. From the process you describe here I wonder if you think we’d have time for both on the same day? Maybe check-in at 11a and take a 11:30a or noon tour, then be back in time for the 3p check-in? Or do you think it might be too tight to do both? Thanks!

    • Hi!! I’m not 100% sure as I haven’t tried it (and filming/check-in times can vary), but if you want to do both in one day, I think a safer bet might be to take an early morning tour (I just looked at the website and some days have tours as early as 8am) and then do all the Conan stuff after. I’m personally quite paranoid about being late/missing things, so this is the route I would go!

  13. Your post really helped know what to expect. Here’s my notes for the taping last week (1st week of May 2017): for a “3:30 Show time” / “4:30 taping time”. Cheers!

    11:00 arrived early to check out location; parking garage was open ( barriers up – nobody at guard house)
    11:45 went back to park barriers still up. (~12 people already checked in – we sit on the benches in order)
    12:45 staff started checking us in for wrist bands and group numbers – we were 11), ~45 people were there.
    12:55 everyone there was done checking in.
    Everyone was to be back at 3:15. We drove out for lunch, but there was a food truck parked out on the street.
    We got back at about 3:00 and people were still arriving to get their wristbands.
    Group 11 got us front row behind the producer’s podium, which was neat because I could see the script outline and read parts of it.
    Finish taping was finished by ~5:30; left parking garage by ~1800 (There was never anyone at the parking garage booth and the barrier were always up, thus didn’t need parking ticket)

  14. Hi Christina, thanks so much for your post! Everything you wrote helped me out so much throughout the process! I went on May 4th and arrived at Gate 8 a bit late, just before 1pm, and quite a few people have already come and gone from checking in. I was assigned to Group 45, not too far back on the left hand side in the 6th/7th row I believe. They asked me to be back by 3:15. It was such a comfortable and stress free experience that I was able to fully enjoy the show, and just be awed by actually being there LIVE in Conan’s audience. Thank you once again! #TeamCoco

  15. Hi! Glad to hear your taping went well, I’ve only attended a late late show with James cordon taping before and it went extremely well I arrived 30 minutes before check-in closed and I was fine, however I was in the priority ticket group. For Conan, from what I’ve gathered, seems that there is no priority group. My ticket is for July 11 and my check-in deadline says 3:30, but I’m not sure what time check-in opens, what time should I arrive to the check in? I know you said you arrived around 12, should I too? Sorry for all the questions just want to make sure I make my taping as stress free as possible! Thank you!

    • Hey Irma, no worries – I know it’s stressful trying to plan the perfect experience haha. Sorry for the late reply. I went a few years ago so not sure if things have changed since then, but for me they began officially checking people in at 12:45pm (we arrived at 12:30pm). Hard to say when you should arrive, as each day will be different in terms of crowd size, etc. but I recommend reading the comments section here as some others have shared their experience as well. I feel like arriving at 12-12:30 would be a safe bet. Even later would likely be fine, you’d just be sitting farther back. Hope that helps!

  16. I plan on going to a taping in a few weeks; however, we’ll be coming straight from the airport and unfortunately won’t have time to check into our airbnb. Do you know if they allow people to bring in their luggage bags or if there is a storage room/locker to use? Thank you!


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