Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Los Angeles

Learn why you should host your next meeting, event or conference in Los Angeles, California.

Why Los Angeles for Your Next Meeting or Event?

Los Angeles' major export might be its lineup of silver-screen movies and star-studded celebrities, yet America’s second-largest city regularly sets the bar as a major destination for conducting any-size meetings and conventions. Boasting an idyllic year-round climate, transformative public transit, a beachcombing coastline, big-league attractions and so much more, L.A. has a lot to offer.

Last year, Los Angeles hosted 50 million domestic and international visitors — a 3.1-percent increase over 2017 — marking the city’s eighth consecutive year of tourism growth. Tourism officials attribute the growth to several factors, including an increase in international seat capacity at Los Angeles International Airport, the addition of nearly 2,000 new hotel rooms, a growing reputation as a hot culinary and cultural destination, and the success of L.A. Tourism’s global campaign that amplified the city’s "Everyone is Welcome" initiative.  

Only in L.A.  

A 38,000-square-foot micro-amusement park — the first of its kind in the world — has opened at the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District. Two Bit Circus is a new type of social play space that features an ever-changing landscape of immersive entertainment, including multiperson virtual reality, narrative escape/story rooms, indie arcades, an interactive theater, molecular mixology, a robot bartender and more. Crafted to host 500 to 700 guests, the scintillating, free-to-enter park offers a spell-binding menu of guest amenities, attractions, and food and beverage options that are accessed via prepaid playing cards or cash/credit.

Travel Essentials

Taxes: Sales tax, 9.5%; room tax, 14%; LATMD assessment on hotels with 50 rooms or more, 1.5%; state tourism fee, 0.195%. Total tax if 50 rooms or more in L.A., 15.7%
 
CVB: Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Convention Center: Los Angeles Convention Center; exhibit space, 770,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 64
 
Within Walking Distance: Good eats can be found near the LA Convention Center. Among them are Tom’s Urban, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, the Palm Los Angeles, Arashi Sushi and Broken Spanish. Nearby retailers include The Bloc, the Los Angeles Mall and FIGat7th.

Transportation 

Los Angeles International Airport, 17 miles from downtown district. Transfer cost to downtown by taxi, about $60; Uber from LAX to the LA Convention Center starts at $28
 
• A $516 million overhaul of Los Angeles International Airport's Terminal 1 has been completed. First opened in 1984 in advance of the 1984 Summer Olympics, the modernization exclusively services Southwest Airlines flights with major upgrades in dining and retail experiences as well as offering new self-service ticket kiosks and expanded security checkpoints.
 
• A $1.6 billion modernization project designed to reinvent Terminals 4 and 5 is underway at LAX, the fifth busiest airport in the world and second busiest in the United States. The project's $287 million first phase will shuttle travelers directly between terminals, parking and ground transportation facilities in order to ease congestion at the airport and in surrounding communities.

Convention Center Expansion

Los Angeles city officials have given critical initial-step approvals for a proposed $500 million transformation of the Los Angeles Convention Center. The expansion would bring the facility’s total useable space to more than 1.2 million square feet, including 250,000 square feet of additional meeting space and a new 51,000-square-foot ballroom; total contiguous exhibition space between the existing South and West Halls would expand to 250,000 square feet. The initiative is part of a larger $1.25 billion public/private proposal that would also result in a new 40-story, 850-room tower added to the adjacent JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live. The city, which is partnering with Anschutz Entertainment Group, has approved nearly $98 million toward the project thus far. AEG operates the convention center and owns the L.A. Live complex. Read more here

Public Transit Update 

• Los Angeles is pursuing a 40-year, $120 billion public transit system designed to fundamentally transform mobility in the region. Included in the endeavor is a light-rail project that in 2023 will connect LAX's Automated People Mover at 96th Street to Aviation Boulevard. Also underway are various subway and Metro Regional Connector projects that will link downtown L.A. to Westwood, UCLA, the Little Tokyo/Arts District, Historic Broadway and Grand Avenue/Bunker Hill.
 
• L.A.'s Metro Expo light-rail extension from Culver City to Santa Monica has opened. It's the first passenger train to serve Santa Monica in more than 50 years, allowing riders to quickly travel from Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica's sun-splashed beaches in about 45 minutes.

    Meeting & Event Venues

    Looking to Plan a Los Angeles Meeting?
    Learn everything you need to know about this beautiful locale at Destination California, Northstar’s premier event for meetings and incentive pros looking to book biz in the area.

    New & Coming Soon to Los Angeles

    • A two-year, $2.5 billion renovation is transforming Hollywood's iconic Century Plaza. When it opens in the summer of 2020, the rebranded Fairmont Century Plaza will offer 394 rooms and suites, 63 condominiums and, in the near future, two 46-story towers with 290 private residences. Perks include a variety of restaurants and bars, retail, a two-acre garden, a 14,000-square-foot spa with fitness club and rooftop swimming, and 23,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 1,500-seat ballroom, 13,000 square feet of prefunction space and a 120-foot LED digital media wall designed by San Francisco's Obscura Digital.
     
    • Mexico City-based Grupo Habita has purchased a 109-year-old brick industrial warehouse in the Arts District and is building a modern 66-room boutique hotel complemented by a restaurant and retail space, plus a rooftop pool, lounge and garden. It's slated to open later in 2019.
     
    • Nestled among L.A.'s oldest theaters and movie palaces, chic British brand Hoxton will debut a new 174-room hotel in a transformed 1925 building that was headquarters of the L.A. Railway Authority. Located in the city's historic downtown core at 11th and Broadway, the 10-story Hoxton LA will feature three restaurants, multiple bars and a rooftop pool when it opens in September 2019.
     
    • L.A.-based Proper Hospitality is making headlines following the purchase of the former L.A. Press Club and Case Hotel building and rebranding it into the 148-room Proper Hotel Downtown LA with two restaurants, rooftop swimming and 6,800 square feet of meeting space. And just a few blocks from the Palisades Park and beach is the new 271-room Santa Monica Proper, which is embellished with three restaurants, a fitness center, rooftop swimming and 8,000 square feet of meeting space. The Santa Monica property is now open, and the downtown hotel is expected to debut this fall.
     
    • The new Academy Museum, touted as the world's leading movie museum, is being built by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Los Angeles' Mid-City neighborhood. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the six-story, 300,000-square-foot building celebrates movie magic with galleries, props and costume displays, educational areas, a restaurant and special-event spaces including a rooftop terrace and an outdoor piazza. Slated to open in late 2019, it also features two theaters seating 1,000 and 288, respectively, and is available for group rentals, accommodating up to 2,500 guests.
     
    • Speaking of silver-screen enchantment, the $1 billion, 290,000-square-foot Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has broken ground in Exposition Park, site of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the California Science Center and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Featuring art and artifacts from George Lucas' personal collection, the curvaceous, spaceship-like structure will also curate 10,000 paintings and illustrations by Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and R. Crumb, along with Hollywood memorabilia from films like Star Wars and The Ten Commandments. The museum is scheduled to open in 2022.

    Hotel & Venue Additions

    • Just in time to celebrate its 65th anniversary in 2020, Beverly Hills’ iconic Beverly Hilton has begun rolling out a comprehensive hotel-wide refresh that will encompass all 569 guest rooms, key public spaces, the poolside restaurant and the property’s expansive conference settings. The eight-story luxury property’s just-completed first-phase efforts entail major upgrades to the more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space, including state-of-the-art technological enhancements and detailed renovations to its two ballrooms, plus the addition of a trio of sun-splashed events spaces called the Gardens Collection. To be completed in early 2020, renovations are also scheduled for the Oasis Lobby & Courtyard, the main reception lobby and CIRCA 55, the signature poolside restaurant that will pay homage to the hotel’s eclectic 1950s beginnings.

    • A new Marriott-flagged property — the 180-room AC Hotel Los Angeles South Bay —  has recently opened, just minutes from Los Angeles International Airport and the surrounding South Bay beach cities. Situated in El Segundo’s bustling business district, the European-inspired six-story hotel features 2,177 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center and a rooftop bar and restaurant that offers bird’s-eye views of the new Los Angeles Stadium.

    • The 156-room Wayfarer DTLA is slated to open this fall, one block north of L.A. Live in Downtown Los Angeles’ historic Broadway Corridor. Owned by Pacifica Hotels, it follows the first Wayfarer-flagged hotel that opened five years ago in Santa Barbara. The 12-story DTLA will feature event space, a rooftop bar, a stairwell gym, a communal kitchen and two other dining options. The new property replaces the 180-room Ritz-Milner Hotel, which shut down in August 2017.

    • The 395-room Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel, has completed a renovation of its premier event spaces, adding even more elegance and luster to this iconic Beverly Hills property. At the forefront is a $1 million refresh to the 880-capacity, 14,500-square-foot ballroom, including new carpeting, hand-painted trim, and new entry chandeliers and sconces. The Le Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon event spaces also have been upgraded with new mirrors, lighting and furniture. Opened in 1928, the Beverly Wilshire has 25,529 square feet of meeting space, including 10 meeting rooms that in total accommodate up to 1,670 people.

    • North Hollywood’s chic and celebrated The Garland has completed a $1 million renovation to its 5,100-square-foot Garland Ballroom, further complementing the 257-room luxury property with modern technological upgrades as well as high-design touches. The room's 13-foot elevated ceilings are embellished with hand-crafted gold ring pendants, new geometric-pattern carpeting, wood wall accents and additional doors that encourage an easy flow to and from the hotel’s exterior courtyard. The reimagined ballroom now offers enhanced lighting and A/V capabilities -- including a LiteLab Busport System for theatrical lighting and simplified projector installation -- plus Armstrong noise-dampening tiles and a noise-canceling ballroom partition.

    • Montage Hotels & Resorts announced the groundbreaking of its newest portfolio addition, a 149-room luxury property that will be debut in 2020 along the famed Sunset Strip. Pendry West Hollywood will feature a rooftop pool and bar, a multipurpose live entertainment venue and screening room, a bowling alley, a spa, a fitness center, a curated public art collection and 40 private residences. Further, it will offer multiple Wolfgang Puck restaurant concepts, as well as interiors crafted by the Martin Drudnizki Design Studio.

    • Ocean-view elegance will become the telling hallmark of the former Oceana Beach Club Hotel, which has undergone a $25 million head-to-toe transformation and will re-emerge as the all-new Oceana this May. Located in Santa Monica, 16 miles west of the Los Angeles Convention Center, the 70-suite JRK Hotel Group boutique property will feature a fitness studio and spa, an outdoor courtyard lounge and pool, indoor/outdoor dining and meeting space for up to 60 guests.

    • Sydell Group has transformed a historic 1923 building into the 241-room NoMad Los Angeles. Decorated with custom-designed furnishings and original artwork, the 12-story Downtown L.A. hotel property also offers a rooftop pool with panoramic city views, multiple food-and-beverage venues and 650 square feet of meeting space.
     
    • A $30 million renovation has transformed downtown L.A.'s historic Hotel Figueroa. Featuring a new contemporary aesthetic with a touch of Spanish flare, the 268-room property now boasts 57 new suites, expanded bathrooms, a new pool bar, a new lobby and a rooftop garden. Highlights include Breva — a tapas-style restaurant serving Northern Spain- and Southern France-inspired dishes — and Bar Alta, a 28-seat bartender's table.
     
    • A multimillion-dollar renovation of the Marriott Manhattan Beach has completely transformed this 26-acre property. The reflagged westdrift Manhattan Beach — the first Autograph Collection hotel in Los Angeles — features 393 luxury guest rooms, a nine-hole golf course, a restaurant, a fitness center and 35,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space including 18 meeting rooms, a ballroom and three industrial-chic venues.
     
    • The Los Angeles Convention Center has installed a 5G wireless network, making it the first convention center in the United States to deploy a technology that dramatically increases wireless speeds and capacity for AI, VR and video calling services. The cutting-edge tech was successfully deployed in September.

    More Event Venues

    • Universal Studios is rife with a bevy of mind-blowing attractions, including its newest themed adventure, Jurassic World—The Ride. Opened in July and inspired by Universal Pictures’ and Amblin Entertainment’s Jurassic World blockbuster films, the experience includes a water-infused thrill ride, an elaborately themed Raptor Encounter, an interactive Dino Play children’s area, two cocktail-serving cafés and a souvenir-selling Jurassic Outfitters retail store. Meeting venues and private tours are available, as is preferred access to the park’s all-new Universal CityWalk Hollywood and its 18 redesigned auditoriums, a 369-seat IMAX theater and an outdoor concert stage.

    • Singular, standing-ovation-level venues can be discovered in the movie-magic screening rooms, backlot sets, museums, theater and dining room of Warner Bros. Studios. Boasting capacity for an intimate retreat of 20 attendees or an extravaganza of 5,000, the studios’ special-events department can handle the spectrum. And as of late June, planners can now host their gatherings among the original sets from television’s groundbreaking series, The Big Bang Theory. Fans can step into various sets from the 12-year-run comedy, including Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment, the CalTech Physics Lab Cafeteria, and The Foyer and its working elevator. Attendees also can experience an ever-increasing catalog of popular films and shows such as Friends, Batman, Harry Potter, Shameless, Casablanca, Wonder Woman and more.

    • The first open-air stadium to be built in Los Angeles in 30 years has opened. Banc of California Stadium, home to Major League Soccer's new expansion team, the Los Angeles Football Club, features 22,000 seats and various spaces for meetings and events, all equipped with premium hospitality. Highlighting the new venue is the Sunset Deck, which, in addition to offering panoramic views of downtown L.A. and the iconic Hollywood Sign, features two enclosed multipurpose rooms for corporate meetings, lunches and parties, plus a rooftop venue suitable for banquet-style events or trade shows.
     
    • A newly renovated, 7,523-square-foot meeting center has debuted near LAX at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel. The Hub Conference Center features a new stadium-seated auditorium, an executive boardroom and 17 meeting rooms to accommodate up to 50 attendees.

    The Sowden House, an only-in-L.A. venue purchased last year by CBD entrepreneur Dan Goldfarb, is a storied Hollywood abode available to rent for events, shoots and all manner of gatherings. Originally opened in 1926, the venue is an impressive collection of ominous textile block walls, soaring ceilings and massive, crowd-friendly courtyards — all designed by Lloyd Wright, the son of Frank Lloyd Wright. The 6,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, multi-story property is also the stuff of Hollywood legend, the site of the notorious “Black Dahlia” murder of aspiring Hollywood actress Elizabeth Short in 1947. The Mayan temple-inspired styling was originally designed to host performances, fundraisers and artistic events, replete with concert-quality acoustics and eye-turning appointments that have appeared in music videos, television and movie scenes — among them the Martin Scorsese-directed “The Aviator.” The Sowden House today supports a number of nonprofit organizations by hosting fundraising events on-site; a percentage of all event-related proceeds go towards those causes.

     



    Things to Do in Los Angeles

     

    Extending Your Trip

    Some of the best day spas on the planet are in health-conscious Los Angeles. Beverly Hills is synonymous with world-class, ahh-spa luxury, especially at the Montage Beverly Hills, the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Beverly Wilshire.

    Getting Active & Outdoors in The City of Angels

    Los Angeles provides extensive opportunities to add premier outdoor experiences to the agenda or on down time. Among the area's five-star recreation roster is cliff-side paragliding; Malibu Paragliding offers wind- and motor-powered tandem rides and lessons. Go on horseback at Sunset Ranch Hollywood or discover L.A.'s breathtaking backyard with hikes or runs in Griffith Park's Bronson Canyon Trail, Malibu's Grotto Trail, Malibu Creek State Park or atop 10,064-foot Mount Baldy.

    For water sports, try your hand at paddleboarding around Marina Del Rey (Method Paddle provides lessons and rentals), or catch a wave or two at Malibu's celebrated Topanga Beach and Zuma Beach; Malibu Coastal Rentals provides lessons, boards and more.

    Los Angeles Sports Scene

    • Forward-thinking planners might take stock of Los Angeles' upcoming decade of high-profile sporting events, which includes hosting the 2019 Breeder's Cup, the 2020 MLB All Star Game, the 2022 Super Bowl, the 2023 College Football Playoff Final and the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
     
    • The new Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District in Inglewood is scheduled to open in 2020. Site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack, the year-round venue will include a 70,000-seat stadium — centerpiece for the 2028 Summer Olympics and future home to the NFL's Rams and Chargers — plus 300 hotel rooms, modern conference and meeting space, family and fine dining, and 25 acres of public parks. Currently, the Rams play at the LA Coliseum, while the Chargers' home games are hosted at the StubHub Center.

    Out & About

    With all due respect to its legendary theme parks, champion sports franchises, renowned theater productions, thriving nightlife, five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, many of L.A.'s activities are absolutely free. Attendees can check out no-fee attractions like the Getty Center and the Getty Villa, the California Science Center and the California African American Museum; discover the area's myriad multicultural neighborhoods like historic Leimert Park and the NoHo Arts District in the Valley, and take in an iconic Pacific Ocean sunset from the sandy surrounds of Santa Monica Pier.

    Top Restaurants in L.A.

    Planners craving a singular group activity in Los Angeles can enroll aspiring foodies at the League of Kitchens, a unique cooking school where students learn regional specialties from some special women, recent immigrants who are exceptional home cooks and inspiring teachers. Workshops range from 2.5-hour “taste of” workshops (which include a welcome snack and beverage, hands-on cooking instruction, a small meal, a recipe packet and a shopping guide) to 4.5-hour “immersions” (a light lunch and beverage, hands-on cooking instruction, a full dinner, a recipe packet and a shopping guide). Classes are priced from $120-$175 per person and are often held at the instructors’ private homes — or they can be scheduled privately for corporate functions and events. Additionally, the League of Nations offers specialty-shopping tours that entertain and enlighten via multiple stops at markets, butchers, bakeries, spice shops and home-goods stores. All tours ($95 per person) include food samples, insider tips, a family-style feast and a shopping guide.

    • The Michelin Guide has awarded two stars to the 297-room SLS Hotel Beverly Hills’ upscale restaurant, Somni. At the restaurant, which opened just 15 months prior, guests are offered an unconventional 10-seat chef’s counter that challenges the common notion of a dining room, as well as the relationship between cook and server. A variety of cooking techniques combine to offer a modern approach to global culinary traditions — and simple dishes from Chef Aitor Zabala’s childhood in Spain. Three categories of wine pairings scale from unique finds to iconic bottles from library releases and private collections.

    • Los Angeles has furthered its stellar foodie reputation with the naming of 24 metro-area restaurants in the recently published 2019 Michelin Guide California selection. In fact, the guide lists seven new two-star distinctions, of which six are in Greater Los Angeles, including n/naka, Providence, Somni at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, Vespertine, Sushi Ginza Onodera and Urasawa.
     
    Michelin also awarded one-star distinctions to 18 Greater L.A. eateries, further underscoring the city’s reputation as a premier gastronomic destination. Winners included Bistro Na, Cut, Dialogue, Hayato, Kali, Kato, Le Comptoir, Maude, Mori Sushi, Nozawa Bar, Orsa & Winston, Osteria Mozza, Q Sushi, Rustic Canyon, Shibumi, Shin Sushi, Shunji and Trois Mec.

    Or dine at some of the other most popular places in La-La Land:

    1. Raffaello Ristorante - Italian
    2. Sushi Gen - Japanese
    3. Brent's Delicatessen - American
    4. Redbird - American
    5. Raffi's Place - Mediterranean, Persian
    6. Angelini Osteria - Italian
    7. Maccheroni Republic - Italian, Asian
    8. Carlito's Gardel - Steakhouse, Argentinean
    9. Culina - Italian
    10. Tatsu Ramen - Japanese
    Los Angeles' Top 10 Attractions

    L.A. is home to some of the best museums and attractions in the country. Here are some top attractions to visit while in town.

    1. The Getty Center - museum
    2. Griffith Observatory - museum
    3. Universal Studios Hollywood - amusement park
    4. Petersen Automotive Museum - museum
    5. Battleship USS Iowa - military museum
    6. The Broad - museum
    7. Griffith Park - park
    8. Staples Center - stadium
    9. The Grove - shopping
    10. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) - museum