Kathy McAdams, VP of Citywide, Convention Sales for the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board shares her take on the renaissance happening in downtown Los Angeles.
What is one thing people might not know about downtown Los Angeles?
I have been working on convention sales in Los Angeles for more than 20 years, and there has never been a more exciting time for downtown. Development has really exploded, and new hotels, new restaurants and amazing nightlife have brought a great energy to the neighborhood. Although I recently moved back to the East Coast, when I lived in Los Angeles, I lived downtown, in the Arts District. I loved being able to walk out my front door and be within walking distance of everything. That's the number one thing people don't realize: there's a perception that Los Angeles is a sprawling city, but downtown is very compact. You can actually use our virtual tour to walk around and explore different venues.
What are some of your favorite new hotels and restaurants?
We've had four major hotel openings in the past year alone. The new Intercontinental hotel has quite literally changed the landscape of downtown. The 889-room hotel offers luxury restaurants and the tallest open-air roof bar in the West. Just down the street, the new boutique Hotel Indigo is just two blocks from the Los Angeles Convention Center and offers stunning views of L.A. LIVE from its penthouse cocktail lounge, 18 Social. The Freehand, a unique hotel with a variety of room options, has quickly become known for its lively rooftop bar, Broken Shaker. And most recently, the luxurious Nomad Hotel also opened in an historic building in the heart of downtown. With a rooftop pool, European-inspired décor and easy walking distance to tons of bars and restaurants, the Nomad is sure to be a new favorite for visitors.
Michelin-starred chef David Chang (of Momofuku fame) just opened his first L.A. restaurant in a warehouse in Chinatown, and now Majordomo is all anyone is talking about. I also like Inko Nito in the Arts District because the trendy, robata grill really surprises people who don't expect that kind of food innovation coming out of downtown. Another classic is Otium in Bunker Hill, which has a great location right next to the Broad Museum.
What's next and further out on the horizon for downtown?
The newly-restored Hotel Figueroa reopens this month after a two-year renovation. And the Banc of California Stadium, which will be home to a Major League Soccer team, opens later this spring. And there are numerous construction projects under way that will mean truly grand openings in the next couple of years: Oceanwide Plaza across from L.A. LIVE will add a five-star Park Hyatt hotel along with residences, luxury shops and restaurants to the South Park neighborhood. It's expected to be completed in 2019, along with the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center at the CA Science Center, which will be home to the Endeavor Space Shuttle. The new Academy Museum will also be completed in 2019 and will pay tribute to the industry that made L.A. famous. I could go on, but you can learn more about all the upcoming projects happening in Los Angeles on our website. As L.A. prepares to host the 2028 Summer Olympics, there will huge progress, not just in downtown, but throughout the city as a whole. It's an exciting time, and the best part of my job is sharing that excitement with anyone who is considering Los Angeles for a meeting or event.
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