19 Reasons You Must Visit Los Angeles in 2019

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures | Rendering ©Renzo Piano Building Workshop / ©A.M.P.A.S.
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Los Angeles is one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Even frequent visitors and longtime residents who are familiar with L.A. can always discover something new in this exciting metropolis. Read on to find out the latest attractions, greatest events and new hotel openings taking place in Los Angeles. How many of these must-sees will you scratch off your bucket list this year?

1. Visit the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Concept illustration of Imaginary Worlds gallery from "Where Dreams Are Made" at Academy Museum
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies, concept illustration for “Imaginary World” gallery. ©Academy Museum Foundation/Gallery Design, Rick Carter and Gallagher & Associates, Artist Illustration, Erik Tiemens

2. Experience FRIEZE L.A. (Feb. 15-17, 2019)

Sarah Cain, "Now I’m going to tell you everything," 2017
Sarah Cain, "Now I’m going to tell you everything," 2017. Installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2017 – 2018. Courtesy of the artist

3. Be the First to See Art By CHUCK D & LEE QUINONES

"Chuck D: Behind the Seen" at Gallery 30 South
Chuck D | Photo courtesy of Gallery 30 South

Two pioneering artists from the worlds of hip-hop and graffiti will be exhibiting in L.A. for the first time in separate must-see shows.

A multi-platinum recording artist and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Chuck D needs no introduction. On view at Gallery 30 South from March 1-31, Chuck D: Behind the Seen is the first exhibition of fine art by the legendary frontman of Public Enemy and Prophets of Rage. Much of the work in this exhibition was completed while on tour, giving each piece an incomparable vitality.

Opening January 12 at Charlie James Gallery in Chinatown, IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK is the first-ever solo gallery show by Lee Quiñones in Los Angeles. IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK features a series of framed “tablets” – writings on slabs of drywall and wood paneling that were once the walls of his studios, which were painstakingly removed in recent years.

4. View Landmark African American Art Exhibits

"Charles White: A Retrospective" at LACMA
"Charles White: A Retrospective" | Photo courtesy of LACMA Store

On view at The Broad from March 23 to Sept. 1, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 celebrates the work of Black artists made over two decades beginning in 1963, at the height of the civil rights movement. The exhibition devotes individual galleries either to groups of artists working in a particular city — with three galleries dedicated to artists living and working in Los Angeles – or to a different kind of art production. The exhibition showcases communities engaged in robust artistic dialogues, while also revealing disagreements about what it meant to be a Black artist at this time. Artworks in the exhibition are both figurative and abstract, and range from collage, assemblage and photography to painting, sculpture and performance.

Charles White: A Retrospective is the first major 21st-century museum retrospective on this famed mid-century artist. On view at LACMA from Feb. 17 to June 9, the exhibition traces White’s career and impact in the cities he called home: Chicago, his birthplace; New York, where he joined social causes and gained acclaim; and Los Angeles, where he developed his mature art and became a civil rights activist. The exhibition includes approximately 100 drawings and prints along with lesser-known oil paintings. A superb draftsman, White focused on images of both historical and contemporary African Americans, depicted in ideal portraits and everyday scenes. He extolled their dignity, humanity, and heroism in the face of the country’s long history of racial injustice and encouraged his viewers and fellow artists of color to project their own self-worth.

5. Sing Along with Legends

Paul McCartney "Freshen Up" at Dodger Stadium
Paul McCartney "Freshen Up" at Dodger Stadium

Elton John will perform at STAPLES Center on January 22, 23, 25 & 30. Farewell Yellow Brick Road is the superstar’s last-ever tour, marking the end of a half-century on the road for one of pop culture’s most enduring performers.

The Rolling Stones “No Filter” Tour will touch down in Los Angeles and head to Rose Bowl Stadium on Saturday, May 11.

Paul McCartney brings his "Freshen Up" Tour to Dodger Stadium on Saturday, July 13. Fans will enjoy nearly three hours of the greatest moments from the last 50 years of McCartney's solo, Wings and of course Beatles music catalogs.


 Jurassic Park: The Ride became extinct in September 2018. But "life, uh, finds a way" so prepare yourself for Jurassic World, coming to Universal Studios Hollywood™ in 2019. Journey to where living dinosaurs roam the earth in the part expedition, part heart-pounding water ride based on the blockbuster films.

Tighten your laces and stretch your hamstrings, the first-ever Running Universal kicks off on May 11 featuring the mischievous Minions! As your 5K adventure begins you'll rush through the Front Gate and Upper Lot of the theme park. Next, you'll find yourself at the Universal Backlot where you'll run past some of the most iconic film sets in Hollywood. Finally, race to a picture-perfect finish at the 5 Towers on Universal CityWalk™ which will host a spectacular party with live music, food, and post-race swag.

7. Check Into L.A.'s Newest Hotels

Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel
Downtown L.A. Proper | Rendering courtesy of Proper Hotels

Proper Hotels is slated to debut its Downtown L.A. hotel at the site of the former Case Hotel in the summer of 2019. The 13-story property, which was built in 1924, will have 148 rooms, two presidential suites, two restaurants, as well as a rooftop that includes a restaurant, bar and pool.

AccorHotels’ Fairmont badge will take over the landmark Century Plaza hotel in Century City when the property is redeveloped. Scheduled to open in September 2019, the Fairmont Century Plaza will have 394 rooms and 63 luxury residences, down from the hotel’s 726 rooms when it shuttered in 2016. The project will also have 290 luxury residences in the project’s two new 46-story towers.

8. Have the Best Date Night Ever at dineL.A. (Jan. 11-25, 2019)

Starlight Booth at La Boucherie
Starlight Booth | Photo courtesy of La Boucherie


The Manufactory at Row DTLA
The Manufactory at Row DTLA

Spanning 40,000 square feet at Row DTLA, The Manufactory is a collaboration between a trio of James Beard Award-winning chefs: Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson of San Francisco’s famed Tartine Bakery, and Chris Bianco of Phoenix’s legendary Pizzeria Bianco. The Manufactory is scheduled to open in phases, beginning with an all-day cafe, Tartine Bianco in January. In the weeks that follow, openings include a Coffee & Ice Cream window, the dinner-only Alameda Supper Club, and the Market. And if all that isn't enough, three more standalone cafes are slated to open in L.A. in 2019.

10. Step Into a Movie IRL

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper perform "Shallow" in "A Star Is Born"
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper perform "Shallow" in "A Star Is Born" | Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, and whether you're a first time visitor or a lifelong Angeleno, there's nothing like experiencing the magic of the movies IRL.

One of the seminal movies in the modern superhero film genre, Batman is celebrating its 30th anniversary this fall. Directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader and Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Batman was a cultural phenomenon that spawned three sequels and won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction. Bat-fans can imagine themselves wearing the Dark Knight's cowl when they book the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, which includes a visit to the "Batcave" and its collection of Batmobiles and other famous vehicles used in the film franchise.

11. Raise a Glass at L.A.'s Best Bars

The Varnish
The Varnish | Photo by Daniel Djang, courtesy of Thirsty in LA 

Hidden in the back of Cole's French Dip in Downtown L.A., The Varnish is a speakeasy-style bar with classic cocktails and live jazz. Opened in February 2009 and celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, The Varnish was named Best American Cocktail Bar at the 2012 Spirited Awards, aka the James Beard Awards of the bar industry. 

Housed within a former Red Line trolley car, the historic Formosa Café was originally opened as The Red Spot in 1925 by former prizefighter Jim Bernstein. Known as the place “where the stars dine,” hundreds of autographed photos of the Formosa's famous patrons once lined the restaurant's interior. A glass case above a booth displayed Elvis porcelain figurines that were given to former chef and owner, Lem Quon by Presley's manager, Col. Tom Parker. Closed since December 2016, the Formosa Café is being restored to its former glory and will be managed by 1933 Group, which received widespread acclaim for its renovation of Highland Park Bowl. 

Originally opened on New Year's Eve 2006-07 in Manhattan's East Village, Death & Co was named Best American Cocktail Bar at the 2010 Spirited Awards and recently opened a location in Denver. Scheduled to open in the Arts District this year, Death & Co joins other New York-based hospitality brands that expanded to L.A. such as Employees Only and The NoMad.

12. Relive 20 Years of Greatness at STAPLES Center

Shaq's monster dunk after an alley-oop from Kobe Bryant
Shaq's monster dunk after an alley-oop from Kobe Bryant | Photo courtesy of Lakers Nation, Facebook

13. Celebrate Centennials: Musso & Frank + The Huntington

Classic Martini at Musso & Frank Grill
Classic Martini at Musso & Frank Grill | Photo by Daniel Djang

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens is home to the largest private library to one of the world’s great independent research libraries, with more than 9 million items, spanning the 11th century to the present. The Huntington’s art collections focus on European art from the 15th to the early 20th century and American art from the late 17th to the late 20th century. Spanning 120 acres of the 207-acre grounds, the Huntington's botanical gardens contain more than a dozen principal garden areas, including the acclaimed Garden of Flowing Fragrance and the historic Japanese Garden.

The Huntington's Centennial year opens in September 2019 with "Nineteen Nineteen," a major exhibition that draws from the library, art, and botanical collections to examine that historic year across the globe and the founding of The Huntington in the context of international events. Throughout the celebration year, The Huntington will present special programs that look at the collections in new ways and explore their potential impact into the future. The "Huntington's Hundredth" rose will be available for sale at The Huntington beginning in January (as bare-root plants at the monthly Second Thursday Garden Talk and Sale on Jan. 10), and at the Spring Plant Sale from April 26 through 28.

14. Give a Standing Ovation to "Frozen" (Fall 2019)

"Frozen" at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre
"Frozen" at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Located at the iconic intersection of Hollywood and Vine, the stunning Hollywood Pantages Theatre opened in June 1930 and is renowned for presenting spectacular Broadway productions.

Arriving at the Pantages this fall, Frozen opened to critical acclaim this past March: The New Yorker calls it "thrilling" and "genuinely moving" and applauds its "inspired stagecraft;" Newsday writes, "the show has all the makings of a serious megahit" and The Telegraph declares, "Frozen will burn up Broadway for years to come!" People writes that the dozen new songs by Oscar®-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez "blend seamlessly with favorites like 'Love Is an Open Door' and 'For the First Time in Forever,'" from "Elsa's earth-shattering anthem 'Monster'" to "Anna's 11 o'clock heartbreaker 'True Love' that...will have you reaching for the tissues."

15. Discover L.A.'s Cultural Festivals

Dragons at Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown
Golden Dragon Parade | Photo courtesy of JerryDP, Flickr

The Lunar New Year is the most celebrated holiday of the year for nearly 1.5 million persons of Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese descent in Southern California. The highlight of Downtown L.A.’s Chinese New Year festivities is the 120th Annual Golden Dragon Parade, taking place in Chinatown on Saturday, Feb. 9. Each year, more than 110,000 spectators view the parade, which features dozens of floats, marching bands, entertainers, local business leaders, and cultural groups. The parade starts at Hill and Ord Streets and concludes at Broadway and Cesar Chavez. The 2019 Grand Marshal is TBA. Previous Grand Marshals include everyone from legendary martial arts master Bruce Lee to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.

Dating back hundreds of years, Día de los Muertos ("Day of the Dead") is celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world. During the multi-day holiday, family and friends gather to honor and celebrate those who have passed away. One of L.A.'s quintessential Día de los Muertos festivals takes place at Hollywood Forever, featuring a traditional procession with Aztec blessings and regional musical-dance group dedications; music and theatrical performances; hundreds of Aztec ritual dancers; art exhibition in the Cathedral Mausoleum; children’s arts project area; arts and crafts; and food vendors.

16. Sail to LA Fleet Week (Aug. 30 - Sept. 2, 2019)

Fireworks at Battleship IOWA during L.A. Fleet Week
Fireworks at Battleship IOWA | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Fleet Week, Facebook

LA Fleet Week® is a celebration of U.S. armed forces at the nation’s #1 port, the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Taking place over Labor Day Weekend, the four-day festival will host active military ships along the LA Waterfront and feature public ship tours, military exhibits, aerial demos, live music and entertainment, food and fireworks, educational programs, and more.

LA Fleet Week will take place at various locations along the LA Waterfront, including the Los Angeles Cruise Terminal, Battleship IOWA, and Downtown Harbor. Hosted by the Port of Los Angeles, event partners include the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Coast Guard, Bob Hope USO, and Battleship IOWA.


With the San Gabriel Mountains as the spectacular backdrop, it's no wonder that Santa Anita Park was once described by Sports Illustrated as "The Most Beautiful Racetrack in the World." One of thoroughbred racing’s most prestigious international events, The Breeders’ Cup will return to Santa Anita Park, the site of some of its most memorable moments, for a record-breaking 10th time on the weekend of November 1-2. The Breeders' Cup began as a one day, seven-race event and has grown into a two-day, $30 million extravaganza attracting the best horses, trainers, and owners from across the globe.

18. Get Behind the Wheel at the LA Auto Show (Nov. 22 - Dec. 1, 2019)

Founded in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show®) is world-renowned as the first major North American auto show of the season. Whether you're a lifelong car enthusiast or just looking for something the entire family will enjoy, don't miss the Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show®), open to the public Nov. 22 - Dec. 1 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Each year, the LA Auto Show offers more than 1,000 cars on display including numerous North American and global unveilings; test drives of nearly 100 of the latest models; and the newest in customized, tuner and aftermarket cars and trucks in The Garage. Whether you’re in-market for a new vehicle or planning for the future, the LA Auto Show is your one-stop-shop for hassle-free, stress-free comparison shopping for cars, trucks, SUVs, electric vehicles and more.

19. Dare to Ride West Coast Racers at Six Flags Magic Mountain

With 19 roller coasters, Six Flags Magic Mountain holds the world record for the most roller coasters in an amusement park. The "Thrill Capital of the World" will add a record-breaking 20th coaster when it opens the world’s first racing launch coaster, West Coast Racers in 2019. The one-of-a-kind coaster will feature two side-by-side tracks with four individual high-speed launches. The race covers two complete laps, multiple airtime hills, extreme high-banked turns and exhilarating over/under near misses. A highlight of the ride is an immersive real time “pit stop” designed and produced by world famous West Coast Customs that will provide riders with a racing experience unlike any other.

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