There’s more to Los Angeles’ star status than its resident lineup of celebrities. The Downtown, Mid-City and Miracle Mile areas, along with nearby West Hollywood, boast an ever expanding list of arts and culture venues that prove the depth of talent endemic to this SoCal centerpiece.
“Planners doing events in L.A. become producers,” said Darren Green, senior vice president of sales for the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, noting the city’s “embarrassment of riches.”
He continued, “Here you can coordinate an event like in no other city.”
Downtown cultural staples include the multiple venues at Music Center, one of the three largest performing arts centers in the nation. Options for groups include space at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theater, Mark Taper Forum and Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Meanwhile, the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live features four floors of exhibits and interactive experiences. Groups can take over the fifth-floor Target Terrace, an outdoor mezzanine with views of Downtown.
“There are a lot of theaters Downtown—more theaters than on Broadway,” Green also noted.
The 1926-era Beaux Arts Orpheum Theatre offers groups space for private events, and the Theatre at Ace Hotel—a restored 1,600-seat movie palace from the 1920s with a three-story, 2,300-square-foot grand lobby—is the former flagship movie house of United Artists and can host conferences as well as performances.
Nearby, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) invites groups to use its Sculpture Plaza, with 5,600 square feet of outdoor space, for receptions up to 500 as well as the rooftop terrace for 200 standing.
A recent buzz in the art world, The Broad is home to nearly 2,000 works of art and welcomes groups for private tours. For art and movie buffs, in the works is the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art—a $1 billion new museum showcasing George Lucas’ personal collection of art—which recently broke ground in Exposition Park in Downtown L.A. Opening in 2021, the museum will feature 10,000 paintings and illustrations, such as works by Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and R. Crumb, along with Hollywood memorabilia including, of course, Star Wars.
While Los Angeles has plenty on offer for performing and fine arts, there is room for groups to create their own experience.
“Groups can use blank canvases utilizing unique spaces outside traditional space,” Green said. “A lot of theme options bring meetings to life.”
Themes range from GRAMMY Awards parties to the Oscars. The Millennium Biltmore Los Angeles, former host of the Academy Awards, is a popular Oscars theme party venue for groups.
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One new option for groups is the City Market Social House, a contemporary warehouse event space located in the Downtown Los Angeles Fashion District and anchoring the new City Market South development. Groups can use its 12,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, 2,111 square feet of outdoor courtyard space and catering services from Wolfgang Puck Catering.
Versatility is also key at Vibiana, which was L.A.’s first Archdiocese Catholic cathedral, using its Main Hall and Garden Courtyard for dining and craft drinks programs.
“We have a monastery that is an incredible event space for 800 people,” Green said.
For libations, groups can also host events at the year-old Lost Spirits Distillery in the Arts District, which features everything from talking computers to a “deranged” carousel. Rums can be sampled in a candle-lit jungle, or peated malts in a safari tent surrounded by a bamboo forest.
There are 29 new hotels under construction and an additional 35 in final planning stages countywide, which will deliver more than 9,200 new hotel rooms to the L.A. County area by 2020. Last year was busy as well with the opening of InterContinental Downtown Los Angeles with 95,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and Hotel Indigo Downtown Los Angeles, among others.
Upcoming, Oceanwide Plaza, a $1 billion mixed-use development project across from STAPLES Center, will include L.A.’s first hotel under the Park Hyatt luxury badge with 184 rooms and 34 suites when it opens in early 2019. W Los Angeles Downtown is slated for 2020.
Mid-City, including a booming Koreatown and Miracle Mile’s Museum Row are magnets for groups looking for arts outlets. Top billing goes to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), which offers groups exclusive opportunities for private exhibition viewings. Another icon, the Art Deco El Rey Theatre, now a live-music venue, offers space in its VIP balcony lounge and grand ballroom.
The Petersen Automotive Museum recently underwent a $125 million transformation and offers 25 new galleries and 50,000-plus square feet of event space. Groups can host an alfresco gathering on the rooftop terrace or combine the interior galleries for receptions up to 2,000 guests.
On the horizon, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is working on a 2019 opening for its Renzo Piano-designed Academy Museum, which will offer special event spaces.
West Hollywood features among its highlights, the renowned Sunset Strip and the Design District, known for its one-of-a-kind art galleries and Pacific Design Center, which can cater to groups.
To help promote the region, the West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board recently unveiled a new logo that includes the city’s full name rather than using its WeHo nickname.
“When I started a year and a half ago we were Visit WeHo and quickly found once you get away from L.A., people have no idea what WeHo is,” said the organization’s CEO, Tom Kiely.
According to Kiely, there is a plethora of after-hours venues to suit groups, including the Viper Room, Roxy and Whiskey A Go Go, an anchor on the Sunset Strip since its opening in 1964. All are open to hosting buyouts. The Cactus Lounge also offers music performances at The Standard hotel.
The Rooftop Pool at the Andaz West Hollywood can host groups, as can the Rooftop Pool Deck at London West Hollywood. The property also offers private rooftop space, private dining and a penthouse suite for 300. Its 110-seat Screening Room is also open to groups.
New hotel product in 2017/2018 increased the city’s inventory by almost 20 percent, including the 105-room La Peer Hotel, a Kimpton property that opened this year in the heart of the Design District.
Formerly known as Le Montrose Suite Hotel, the Montrose West Hollywood unveiled a renovation this July to include 133 suites and public spaces celebrating Hollywood’s past and present in the music industry. Meanwhile, the 286-room Jeremy West Hollywood will transform into the 1 West Hollywood.
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Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board