Sun, sand, sightings of celebrities in their natural habitat: tourists have long been flocking to Los Angeles for a combination of the above. If you’re into that cocktail, rest assured it’s still on sale — wrestle your way to a coastal hot spot like Nobu Malibu or Giorgio Baldi and enjoy it to your heart’s content.
But Los Angeles has more to offer than the obvious. New, genre-transcending restaurants and bars have cemented the city’s status as the culinary capital of the world. Stages, outside and inside, are fully booked with acts, large and soaring. Museums, including the long-delayed $484 million tribute to Hollywood, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, draw crowds. Travelers arrive in droves.
“Los Angeles’s comeback story is well underway,” said Adam Burke, the president and chief executive officer of the city’s tourism board, adding that Los Angeles is expected to attract more than 46 million visitors this year, close to home. at the all-time high of 50.7 million tourists in 2019. “We are optimistic that we will see a full recovery in Los Angeles by the end of 2023,” said Mr. burke.
While California lifted nearly all regulations on Covid masks in February, officials in Los Angeles still require masks at public transit and transportation hubs, including airports, buses and rideshares. (On a late April morning, about half of travelers at Los Angeles International Airport appeared to be wearing masks. “It’s not really enforced,” one check-in agent said.)
Restaurants and Bars
If Los Angeles wasn’t previously the nation’s premier sushi city, it is now. Sushi Tama, Morihiro, and Kinkan are some of the high-end streamers of omakase, chef-curated tasting menus, which opened during the pandemic and won fans over with takeout boxes of fish glistening like jewels. Now you can reserve seats at their respective sushi bars, but plan in advance: Seats at the Kinkan counter, where meals range from $125 to $250 per person, can be especially hard to find.
The Black Lives Matter movement brought renewed attention to Black businesses in Los Angeles, especially restaurants. Critics rave about Berbere, an Ethiopian-inspired vegan restaurant that opened in 2021 in Santa Monica (most dishes are under $20), and it’d be hard to find a nicer latte than the one served at Bloom & Plume, a coffee shop and cafe that famed florist Maurice Harris opened just before the pandemic next to his flower shop on the east side (espresso drinks start at $3.50). Several websites offer guides to the best Black-owned restaurants in the city; Thrillist’s is particularly robust.
Low-carb clichés are damn, pizza is having a moment. Pie after pie flies out of the open kitchen of Mother Wolf, Hollywood’s most vibrant new restaurant — fans include Rihanna and Michelle Obama — which occupies a gilded Art Deco landmark, the Citizen-News building. (Heard at the bar, “When you squint, it’s almost like you’re in New York.”) Downtown, De La Nonna serves granny-style pies ($16 and up) and crispy Negronis. In Echo Park, on the eastern side of the city, Grá advocates pizza as a health food, with its organic sourdough base, “seasonal ferments” (kimchi, pickled cucumber salads) and natural wine, which, incidentally, are so many new bars, you might think someone on an underground supply had been interrupted.
In Silver Lake, Melody, which opened in 2017 and was revamped during the pandemic, Voodoo Vin and La Pharmacie Du Vin are all within a mile of each other. The neighborhood also caters to cocktail connoisseurs, with Bolita, a Cuban-inspired cocktail bar that opens in February, and De Buena Planta, a Tulum-inspired patio, open in March, specializing in tequila and mezcal. Non-drinkers, know that elixirs without ABV (alcohol by volume) can be found all over the city: Bolita, for example, serves several spritzes ($8 and up) you won’t get a hangover.
Museums and Live Events
Los Angeles’ major museums have reopened: From May 21, the Broad will showcase a new collection of works by Takashi Murakami, as well as a range of art themed around the American flag. Many of the city’s museums, including the Broad, the Getty, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which opened in September and features six floors of movie industry memorabilia, require advance reservations and have their own masking and vaccination protocols. It is best to check their websites before visiting them.
There is no shortage of events that unite lovers of different styles. The Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theater, Los Angeles’ premier outdoor performances, have returned with a full set of concerts. Foodies will be breaking bread on May 21-22 at EEEEEATSCON LA (yes, that’s really how it’s spelled), a May food festival hosted by restaurant review website The Infatuation (tickets from $10); baseball fans gather at Dodger Stadium on July 19 for the MLB All-Star Game; just south of Los Angeles, jazz aficionados gather for the Newport Beach Jazz Festival in June. Rockers Cheer: Pasadena’s This Ain’t No Picnic brings together dozens of rock bands this August, including The Strokes and LCD Soundsystem.
Sports fans take note: With the addition of Angel City Football Club to the National Women’s Soccer League, Los Angeles now has 11 professional sports teams — the most of any city in the country. NFL fans have flocked to Inglewood’s newly opened SoFi Stadium, where future quarterbacks can take a tour and test their skills on the field where the Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl in February.
Located in the same complex as SoFi Stadium, the new YouTube theater will host a robust lineup of Latinx artists, including Rosalia, Gloria Trevi and Sebastian Yatra this summer and fall.
Travel trends that will define 2022
Looking forward. As governments around the world ease coronavirus restrictions, the travel industry hopes this will be the year when travel comes roaring back. Here’s what to expect:
Los Angeles’s Pride Festival & Parade has been one of the largest LGBTQ Pride events in the world for decades, and it will be back in full effect the weekend of June 11. Old attractions have been updated: the Warner Bros. Studio Tour has reopened with a state-of-the-art welcome center and Universal Studios Hollywood has added a “Secret Life of Pets” ride.
Los Angeles has added 2,100 new hotel rooms in 2021 and there is a home away from home for every type of traveler. Downtown, the Kelly Wearstler-designed Proper Hotel (1100 South Broadway, rooms from $349) has become a destination for both locals and out-of-towners with its art-deco meeting-modern globetrotter aesthetic. Pendry West Hollywood (8430 Sunset Boulevard, rooms from $525) brings a dose of maximalism to the Sunset Strip, with lavish rooms designed by Martin Brudnizki, a rooftop restaurant headed by Wolfgang Puck, and a vibrant pool scene.
The Maybourne Beverly Hills (225 North Canon Drive, rooms from $1,095) brings a little bit of Britain far west of the pond; the high tearoom, managed by sister hotel Claridges, will debut later this year. For YOLO supporters with money to burn, the Beverly Hills Hotel (9641 Sunset Boulevard, rooms starting at $735), which turns 110 this year, offers its signature McCarthy salad for $1,912 — in addition to lettuce, it comes with gold flakes, lobster, caviar, a bottle of Dom Pérignon, and the bloated sense of superiority that comes with ordering a salad that costs more than the average monthly mortgage.
Losses and Incarnations
While Hollywood’s iconic Cinerama Theater closed in 2021, it’s reportedly slated to reopen this year under new management. Some beloved restaurants have met a similar fate: Ray Garcia, the executive chef of Broken Spanish, which closed in 2020, can now be found at Asterid, a new restaurant at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Bon Temps, an acclaimed French restaurant in the downtown arts district, will close in 2020 but will have an incarnation in Chef Lincoln Carson’s new Hollywood eatery, Mes Amis, opening this spring.
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