Los Angeles: Comeback city

11 Feb 2022 by BusinessTraveller
Sofi Stadium (credit Rich Fury)

Now that the US has fully reopened to UK travellers, the City of Angels is set to put on a dazzling show for visitors in the post-Covid era, with a host of new openings, exhibitions and events.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Miracle Mile

What do Dorothy’s red slippers from The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars’ R2-D2, and a 7.6m-long fibreglass great white shark called Bruce – last seen in Jaws – have in common? They’re just some of the compelling exhibits at the new seven-storey, 2,800 sqm museum run by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, otherwise known as the people who hand out Oscars.

And you’ll see plenty of those little gold figures, too; 20 of them are gathered in a trophy room – including Clark Gable’s best actor award for It Happened One Night – while you can also experience a simulation of what it would be like to receive your own (remember to keep that gushing speech brief). Permanent and temporary exhibitions cover the mechanics of movie-making, selected directors and film genres.

The Broad Downtown

With its avant-garde architecture, you’d expect the contents of this contemporary art museum in downtown LA to be equally arresting. While the permanent collection includes works by painter Jasper Johns, sculptor Jeff Koons and photographer Cindy Sherman, currently you can also view exhibitions of pieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Events, talks and performances are often scheduled – from a DJ set to cutting-edge ballet or a feminist poetry reading.

  • Wednesday–Friday, 11am to 5pm; Saturday, Sunday, 10am to 5pm; thebroad.org

Grammy Museum South Park

If music is your jam, the Grammy Museum will definitely be your bag; exhibits take you through the history of music, musical genres, and the Grammys themselves (the name comes from the word ‘gramophone’, a small gold-plated model of which all winners receive). Fancy yourself a budding producer or recording artist?

Interactive activities let you experience mixing technology and play with instruments, and there are performances, seminars and classes to choose from, as well as occasional musician meet-and-greets. You can even record your own singing or rapping track, and remix it to produce a cover of various pop songs (unlikely to trouble the Top 40, but you never know…).

Grammy Museum (Credit - Yurihasegawa)

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood Burbank

WBSTH took advantage of pandemic shutdowns to expand its already impressive offering and unveil a host of new experiences for avid film buffs. The tour itself highlights almost 100 years of TV and film-making at the studio since it started as a cinema chain in 1923 (its evolution is showcased in a special exhibit, ‘Storytelling Showcase’).

En route, channel your inner Monica or Chandler with a stop off at the Central Perk set from Friends, or visit Sheldon’s apartment set from The Big Bang Theory. There’s also a new grand finale, ‘Action and Magic Made Here’, which features the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series – think props, costumes and ’grammable photo ops – and the DC Universe, where you can explore the new Batcave, and check out three incarnations of the Batmobile. Geek heaven.

LACMA Miracle Mile

It’s almost worth coming to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art just for what’s outside it: ‘Urban Light’ is a striking sculpture made up of 202 restored cast-iron antique street lamps, which come into their own at night. If you do manage to make it through the front door, a regular succession of captivating exhibitions keeps things interesting.

April sees the launch of Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse (until October 9) – a delve into the life and world of the creative fashion genius, while both Francophiles and cinephiles will be drawn to City of Cinema: Paris 1850-1907 (runs until July 10), which explores how film emerged there as a visual culture.

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 11am to 6pm; Friday, 11am to 8pm; Saturday, Sunday, 10am to 7pm; lacma.org

SoFi Stadium Tours Inglewood

Having hosted the mighty Super Bowl on February 13, SoFi Stadium – home to the LA Chargers and LA Rams – will (hopefully) become even more prominent on the sporting scene. Last May, they introduced tours of the stadium, the biggest in the NFL, and one of the most technologically advanced buildings in the world – just check out its revolutionary Infinity Screen, a 360°, 6,500 sqm, dual-sided video board, which means every single fan attending can be immersed in the action. The tour will give you a feel of what it’s like to be a player on game day, run through a player tunnel onto the field, and even test out your (American) football skills before comparing how you fared with the pros.

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA Little Tokyo

Running until June 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s offshoot site is an edgy exhibition consisting of sculptures and video installations by Swiss media artist Pipilotti Rist. Never heard of her? Well, she likes to provoke; the unusual, oversized chandelier hanging above the ticket desk is made not only from underpants, but used ones, while one of her video works depicts a woman shattering the windows of parked cars. We like her style.

Citizen Public Market Culver City

A fairly recent addition to the Los Angeles food scene, the ongoing evolution of new restaurants within its halls makes Citizen Public Market one of the most exciting venues to open during the pandemic. It’s located in an attractive building which used to house the district’s Citizen Publishing Company.

There’s an alluring rooftop terrace (perfect for watching the sun set), 650 sqm of space and, currently, seven food outlets. From killer coffee and freshly baked pastries at Goodboybob, to sustainably-produced seafood at The Jolly Oyster or tacos galore at Mexicology, you’ll find something delicious to sate those jetlagged snack cravings.

Girl & the Goat- Credit Anthony Tahlier

Girl and The Goat Arts District

Renowned Chicago chef Stephanie Izard has opened a replica of her Midwestern restaurant in an airy, glass-fronted brick building in one of the hottest neighbourhoods in town. And yes, goat does feature on the menu, in the form of goat liver mousse, and a Cali take on goat curry, with pickled veggies. Elsewhere, Asian ingredients, including yuzu and gochujang, pep up dishes such as lamb sirloin skewers and beef short rib.

Mother Wolf Hollywood

Chef Evan Funke honed his pasta-making craft in Bologna, and first brought his glamorous take on Italian food to his restaurant Felix, in Venice (not the one in Italy). Now he’s just opened this Insta-friendly space – think vast globe lighting, mirrored pillars and giant pink booths – with a menu that’s an homage to Roman cuisine, from fried artichokes to cacio e pepe. Order a negroni, follow it with a crispy pizza margherita, and imagine you’re on the Piazza del Popolo.

  • Tuesday–Thursday, 5.30pm to 9pm; Friday, 5.30pm to 10pm; Saturday, 5pm to 10pm; motherwolfla.com

For more info, visit discoverlosangeles.com and visitcalifornia.com

Words: Laura Millar

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