To start, I downloaded the source code from github. I had some local environment issues to fix such as installing Go and a series of other dependencies. I saw the docker distribution and tried that rather than worry about my local environment.
Unfortunately I had issues with docker that proved even more difficult so I went back to configuring my local environment, setting environment variables, configuration files in ̃̃ /.lnd/, admin.macaroon, etc.
Rather than download the entire blockchain, I configured LND to use neutrino. Finally got it working and ran ./lnd from the command line. Opened another terminal.
Then I used lncli to set up a wallet and generate a bitcoin receive address. Deposited some bitcoin to the node. Spent some time studying the various endpoints that could be called with lncli and the API signatures. Tested out a bunch of lncli commands to get a feeling for interacting with the node endpoints.
I decided to open an initial channel of 200,000 sats. I picked a well-connected and well-known node to open a channel with, fulmo.org. I noticed there was an option in the command to open a new channel which allowed for pushing a balance to the remote node.