If you’re craving big-city buzz with a side of epic events and blockbuster shows, look no further than the City of Angels. LA’s 2022 is shaping up as a year to remember (for all the right reasons): the city’s jam-packed calendar of events also boasts plenty of exciting places to stay, drink and eat during your visit. Here are four big reasons to book that ticket to Los Angeles.
Live music returns
Cancelled for the past two years to the dismay of music fans everywhere, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is making its triumphant return over consecutive three-day weekends in April (15-17 and 22-24).
To the uninitiated, this music festival features global superstar acts playing to a huge crowd of around 125,000 partygoers a day at the Empire Polo Club in the desert near Indio, around 38 kilometres east of Palm Springs.
This year’s headline acts – Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Ye (the artist until recently known as Kanye West) – will be backed by a dizzying roster of performers across musical genres including rap, hip hop, rock, pop and electronica. The music is only the half of it, though. Coachella is all about the spectacle, from large-scale art installations to amusement park rides, food from 15 leading restaurants and a peacocking crowd so intent on making an impression the event has been dubbed “the influencer Olympics”.
Heading to LA later in the year? Cult German electro pioneers Kraftwerk bring their 3D extravaganza to the Shrine Auditorium on 5 July; New Order and the Pet Shop Boys play a double bill at the Hollywood Bowl on 7 and 8 October; and Elton John’s final US shows of his global Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour take place at Dodger Stadium on 19 and 20 November.
Stay: Coachella’s remote location is intended to keep everyone on site (you can camp in style in luxury tents), but all roads to the Colorado Desert site start in LA. Get into the rock’n’roll spirit with a stay at the legendary Andaz West Hollywood, where rock royalty such as Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and The Doors all partied hard. Also in the cool West Hollywood `hood, the recently renovated boutique Grafton on Sunset pays homage to scenesters past and present with murals of concerts, faux fur throws and lipstick-red accents.
Eat: LA’s favourite food son (and sometime Coachella celebrity chef) Roy Choi shot to fame on the back of his Kogi BBQ Taco Truck, which travels the city dishing up his unique brand of Mex-Korean wizardry. The tunes are reliably good at EP & LP, the glam venue from Melbourne DJ and restaurateur Grant Smillie. Enjoy wood-grilled octopus or wagyu tri-tip before heading to the rooftop bar for cocktails.
Opened in September last year, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures celebrates the art, history, technology and social impact of the movies. Home to a great white shark from Jaws, the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, R2-D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars and Okoye’s Black Panther costume, the building's striking glass and concrete design is a blockbuster in its own right. But it’s not just about the memorabilia; separate galleries presenting exhibitions on topics such as animation, props and hair and make-up offer a compelling alternative to tourist hotspot, the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Heading to the city later in the year? The American Film Institute's AFI Fest, from 2-6 November, boasts a world-leading program of debut screenings along with discussion panels and Q&As with filmmakers and actors. The longest-running international film festival in LA, its venues include iconic locations such as the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, the Dolby Theatre and the glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.
Stay: Want to stay where the celebs do? Look no further than the pink stucco glamour of the Beverly Hills Hotel, which has lured a who’s who of stars from Elizabeth Taylor to Cary Grant and Michael Douglas. Golden Age of Hollywood glamour also awaits at the Hotel Bel-Air, complete with a bar lined with photographs capturing stars in unguarded moments.
Eat: The bar and restaurant at storied West Hollywood hotel Chateau Marmont is full of history, as well as current A-listers – and the steak frites aren't too shabby either. For bona fide celeb spotting with a side order of acclaimed nouveau American fare, the sexily lit Gjelina in Venice is the go; the menu runs from buckwheat banana bread to wood-roasted shrimp.
SEE ALSO: How to See the Best of LA in Seven Days
LA’s artistic calendar is jam-packed in 2022. The hugely popular and critically acclaimed Infinity Mirror Room by nonagenarian Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama returns (after a two-year hiatus) to contemporary art museum The Broad. Her work Longing for Eternity features porthole-like windows through which viewers can peer into a dazzling, LED light-filled hexagonal chamber. Tickets must be booked ahead of time. While you’re there, you can also check out the Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kara Walker exhibitions.
Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You at LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) spans four decades of the artist’s work through videos, large-scale vinyl wraps and audio soundscapes. It runs from 20 March to 17 July. At sister institution, the Museum of Art and History, check out the brilliant collision of design and political activism in What Would You Say?: Activist Graphics from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which runs until 17 April.
The California African American Museum’s For Race and Country: Buffalo Soldiers in California explores the history and legacy of the Black soldier regiments who served on the Western frontier in the late 1800s (13 April to 30 October).
Stay: A short walk from LACMA, Kimpton Hotel Wilshire boasts the LA prerequisites of a rooftop pool and restaurant with seemingly endless views. Also perfectly positioned for culture vultures, Dream Hollywood attracts a hip young crowd with its vibrant cluster of surrounding restaurants and bars.
Eat: LACMA’s acclaimed in-house restaurant Ray’s and Stark Bar is worthy of a pit stop, with its huge outdoor patio and a zippy Med-Cal menu. Next to The Broad, the arty Otium riffs on mod-American, from duck croquettes to a mighty tomahawk steak to share. Or take a trip with Aussie chef Curtis Stone’s Beverly Hills restaurant Maude, whose refined 10-course degustation is inspired by a changing roster of the world’s best wine regions.
Hometown baseball heroes the LA Dodgers will make history when they host the 2022 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium on 19 July.
Otherwise known as the Midsummer Classic, this annual game is an all-star showdown between the best selected players of the American League and the National League. For the second time in franchise history the event will be held at Dodger Stadium (the last was in 1980) and the game’s All-Star Week will see Los Angeles put on a show with activations throughout the city and heaps of family-friendly entertainment. (And if you can’t make July, the Dodgers play their regular season until early October.)
Fancy watching the LA Lakers in action? Their season is currently underway at their home stadium, Crypto.com Arena.
Stay: In a Downtown location a short taxi ride from Dodger Stadium, the NoMad Hotel makes an elegant statement with Old World-inspired interiors in a former bank. Or lay your hat at the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown, which towers over the city and offers incredible views.
Eat: Game days see Dodgers fans spilling out the door of Tex-Mex icon El Compadre, which dishes up nachos, jumbo shrimp fajitas and cerveza (beer) a short walk from the stadium. Or grab a burger at Lowboy with a side of hand-cut fries and smoky ketchup.