Los Angeles

Its major export might be its silver-screen movies, yet Los Angeles regularly sets the bar as a major destination for meetings. 

WHY HERE?

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 LOS ANGELES  

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.

GOOD TO KNOW

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.

GETTING HERE AND THERE

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 now 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 Venues

COMING SOON

• A two-year, $2.5 billion renovation is transforming Hollywood's iconic Century Plaza. When it opens in late 2019, 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 in the first quarter of 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 early 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. Both hotels are scheduled to open in early 2019.
 
• 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.

VENUES

• 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.

RECENT ADDITIONS

• 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.



Things to Do

 

STAY ANOTHER DAY

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.

GET ACTIVE

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.

GOOD SPORTS

• 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.

ON THE TOWN

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.

Good Eats

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.