The Best of Los Angeles in 2013

Photo courtesy of, Flickr

Los Angeles is one of the world’s most dynamic cities, constantly evolving and expanding its possibilities. Even frequent visitors and longtime residents who think they know LA can always discover something new in this exciting metropolis. Read on to find out more about the numerous developments taking place in the City of Angels. How many of these must-sees will you scratch off the bucket list this year?

1. Visit the Space Shuttle Endeavour

Space Shuttle Endeavour on its final flight | Photo courtesy of Joshua Gunther, Flickr

2. Relax in an Urban Oasis

City Hall viewed from Grand Park
City Hall viewed from Grand Park | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority

Visitors and locals alike can now enjoy Grand Park, an urban oasis in Downtown that stretches from Grand Avenue at the Music Center to Spring Street at City Hall. The park's restored Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain has already become a favorite amongst photographers, especially in the evenings, when its changing colors create a magical scene.

3. Prepare for Battle and Skip the Line

Whether you're a longtime regular or it's your first time visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, don't miss Transformers™: The Ride 3D, an immersive, next generation thrill ride that blurs the line between fiction and reality. Fusing HD 3D media and flight simulation technology, this epic ride creates an experience unlike anything this planet has ever seen. Based on the popular movie franchise, this mind-blowing Transformers adventure puts riders in the middle of the ultimate war zone.

Book the VIP Experience for the ultimate behind-the-scenes visit to Universal Studios Hollywood. Limited tickets to the VIP Experience are $289 per person and include amenities such as:

  • Tour the backlot in a special trolley that lets you disembark and explore areas not open to the general public.
  • VIP guide who immerses you in Universal Studios history, gives you no-wait VIP access to all rides in the park, and finds you the best seats at any show.
  • Gourmet lunch in the private VIP dining room, valet parking, and VIP entry and exit from the park.


4. Board the World's Greatest Naval Ship

Photo courtesy of Port of Los Angeles, Facebook


Hollywood Bowl | Photo courtesy of Redfishingboat, Flickr

Every year, Los Angeles welcomes the biggest names in music, and 2013 is shaping up to be another stellar year for concerts. Legendary performers include The Who at STAPLES Center (Jan. 30), Fleetwood Mac at the Hollywood Bowl (May 25) and Barry Manilow at the Greek Theatre (June 14-16). A new generation of superstars are featured at STAPLES Center this summer, with Justin Bieber (June 24-25) and Taylor Swift (Aug. 19-20, 23-24). Alternative highlights include Soundgarden at The Wiltern (Feb. 15-17) and Morrissey with Patti Smith at STAPLES Center (March 1). Jazz fans can look forward to Herbie Hancock at Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl (June15-16). Other popular annual events at the Bowl include Mariachi USA (June 29) and the July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, featuring Josh Groban.


Photo courtesy of LA PRIDE

West Hollywood is home to Southern California’s largest LGBT community, and it's the site of the annual Gay Pride parade (June 7-9), as well as the Halloween Costume Carnaval, the largest Halloween street party in the world. For more Halloween fun, head to Universal Studios Hollywood, where hundreds of thousands of horror fans make Halloween Horror Nights the scariest event in LA.

Multicultural highlights include the 114th Annual Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown (Feb. 16), Fiesta Broadway in Downtown (April 28), and Nisei Week in Little Tokyo (August TBA).

The holidays in Los Angeles are unlike any other city, with numerous outdoor ice skating rinks, the Hollywood Christmas Parade and the LA County Holiday Celebration.


"Urban Light" at LACMA
"Urban Light" at LACMA

Los Angeles has more museums than any other city in the country. This year, LA's world-class cultural attractions host landmark exhibits, celebrates milestone anniversaries, and continues to grow with highly anticipated openings.

Now on view through June 30, 2013 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Stanley Kubrick is the first major retrospective in the United States of the notoriously scrupulous filmmaker’s work. Featuring annotated scripts, production photography, lenses, costumes and props, the exhibition spans the entire range of Kubrick’s work and offers viewers insight into the uncompromising vision of one of cinema’s greatest directors.

Designed to continue the momentum of last year’s groundbreaking Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945–1980, a new series of exhibitions and accompanying programs and events will run in Los Angeles from April through July 2013. Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in LA celebrates one of Southern California’s most acclaimed and lasting contributions to post-World War II cultural life: modern architecture. The exhibition offers a wide-ranging look at the region’s modern architectural heritage, as well as the significant contributions of LA architects to national and global developments in architecture. Programming for Modern Architecture in LA includes lectures, films, tours and panel discussions.

North Campus at Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County | Image courtesy of NHM

In July 2013, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) opens Becoming Los Angeles, the third in a series of new indoor exhibitions. Located in NHM’s newly-renovated 1913 and 1920s buildings, Becoming Los Angeles is a 14,000-square-foot exhibit that offers a unique take on Los Angeles history. A visually striking canopy will symbolize the sweep of local history and lead visitors through the exhibit’s major sections or historical eras, from the pre-Spanish landscape to Los Angeles as a global city of the 21st century.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is in the midst of the greatest transformation in its 100-year history. This year, NHM is scheduled to open its North Campus, a 3.5-acre urban wilderness that includes a pond for native and non-native turtles, a vegetable garden and a 1913-style garden. A scientific hub called the Nature Lab bridges the gap between NHM’s indoor research and collections, and the outdoor North Campus.

Interior of Italian American Museum of Los Angeles
Italian American Museum of Los Angeles interior | Rendering courtesy of IAMLA, Facebook

The Italian American Museum of Los Angeles (IAMLA) is the only museum in Southern California dedicated to the Italian-American experience. IAMLA is being built in the historic Italian Hall, located adjacent to Olvera Street in Downtown. The now-restored Italian Hall was constructed in 1908 as a social and cultural center for the Italian community, in what was then the core of the city's Little Italy. The interactive museum documents the history and continuing contributions of Italian-Americans. It also highlights the once-vibrant Italian community in early Los Angeles with historical photographs and memorabilia, plus an oral history and research archive. IAMLA was selected to receive a National Trust for Historic Preservation grant to help develop design and exhibit concepts. Scheduled to open in 2013, IAMLA will be cooperatively administered by the Historic Italian Hall Foundation and the City of Los Angeles.

Rendering courtesy of Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Facebook

The $50-million Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is currently under construction and expected to open in fall 2013. In addition to transforming and preserving the historic Beverly Hills post office into a 150-seat theater, the center will also include a 500-seat contemporary theater designed by Zoltan Pali of SPF:architects. The 1930s post office will be retained largely intact, and a city block will be transformed into a vibrant new cultural destination


Walt Disney Concert Hall at night
Walt Disney Concert Hall | Photo courtesy of Candice Montgomery, Flickr

Several of LA’s top cultural attractions are celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2013:

  • The Natural History Museum Centennial Celebration (July 2013) - Following $168 million in renovations and expansions, LA’s oldest continuously-operating museum is marking its 100th anniversary with a year-long series of special events and exhibitions.
  • Fowler Museum at UCLA 50th Anniversary Celebration (Sept. 2013) - The Fowler Museum at UCLA will mark its 50th anniversary with a year-long series of special exhibitions and programs that draw on the Fowler’s significant holdings of global arts.
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall 10th Anniversary Celebration (Oct. 2013) - The iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall will host a series of special concerts to mark this milestone anniversary.
  • The Getty Center 15th Anniversary (Dec. 2013) - The $2.8 billion Getty Center art complex in Brentwood will mark its 15th anniversary with a series of special exhibitions.

9. Cheer for Champions Across the City

Photo courtesy of LA Marathon

On Sunday, March 17, 2013, thousands of runners will navigate their way from Downtown LA to Santa Monica in the 28th annual LA Marathon. The 2013 LA Marathon will be the fourth running of the iconic “Stadium to the Sea” course, which takes runners from Dodger Stadium to the Pacific Ocean. Runners will pass many of LA’s world‐famous landmarks along the way, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, TCL Chinese Theatre, the Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive and the Santa Monica Pier. Reflecting its status as a premier race, the LA Marathon received the coveted designation as the nation’s best big city race in the January 2013 issue of Runner’s World magazine. Read More


Whist at The Viceroy Hotel | Photo by Stacey Sun

In July 2013, dineLA’s Restaurant Week returns for its second Summer Edition. For 12 days, diners can get a taste of the vibrant Los Angeles restaurant scene with specially-priced $15, $20, and $25 lunch menus and $25, $35, and $45 dinner menus from hundreds of LA county’s most exciting restaurants. From lobster tacos and ceviche along the coast one night to osso bucco and bruschetta in Downtown the next, dineLA’s Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to explore LA’s diverse neighborhoods, cuisines, and dining experiences at a great value.

This summer, dozens of celebrity chefs and hundreds of internationally acclaimed wineries are showcased in events throughout the city, when the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival returns in August 2013. Guests will enjoy intimate access to chefs and winemakers throughout the weekend at themed parties, dining experiences, wine seminars, cooking demos and a charity auction brunch. The epicurean event matches celebrities from television, film, music and sport with celebrity chefs to enjoy the very best in food and drink culture.


The $1.7-billion New Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will be a world-class terminal offering better passenger convenience, amenities and services, and solidifies LA’s role as an international gateway when it opens mid-2013. The architectural design of the 1.2-million-square-foot facility, the centerpiece of LAX's multibillion-dollar capital improvement awareness campaign, features arched stainless steel that stretches over column-free structures, mimicking the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification, the New Tom Bradley International Terminal is anticipated to be completed in phases, with the West Gates and a Great Hall featuring dining, shopping and other passenger amenities. scheduled to open in spring 2013.  In total, the new terminal will offer 18 gates, nine of which will comfortably accommodate passenger loads for new-generation aircraft. This is the largest public works project in LA history and will create 4,000 jobs over four years.


The Broad, rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro
The Broad | Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, courtesy of The Broad Art Foundation

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