As the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles rolls out the red carpet for meetings and events, from intimate gatherings to large-scale conventions. Los Angeles is also a major hub for international trade and commerce and a cultural icon for arts, fashion, and literature, with more museums and theaters than any other city in the U.S. From theme parks and studio backlots to beachfront resorts, the extraordinary variety of Los Angeles event venues can't be matched anywhere else.
The city is seasoned at hosting world-class events. With top-notch accommodations and facilities, a year-round sunny climate, and a culture rich in diversity, in Los Angeles, everyone is welcome.
Meeting planners should reach out to Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, the city's official destination marketing organization, for specific planning requests. They are experts with the inside scoop and a host of free services to help meeting planners get the best of their Los Angeles experience.
By plane, train, or automobile, visitors to L.A. will have no trouble arriving in style. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) processed more than 87 million people in the last year. The fourth-busiest airport in the world, it serves 175 destinations domestically and abroad, with nearly 900 daily flights. The city's accessibility is further heightened by several additional airports, all of which are less than 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles -John Wayne (Anaheim); Hollywood Burbank Airport (formerly Bob Hope Airport); Long Beach Airport; and Palmdale. L.A./Ontario International in Ontario, about 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, is the area's other international airport, serving Guadalajara, Mexico, as well as mainly West Coast destinations. Palm Springs International is also about 100 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
The county's Metro system of 165 bus routes and six rail lines connects visitors to most neighborhoods in the area, while the quick, affordable DASH Downtown buses offer service to points of interest such as Chinatown, Union Station, and L.A. LIVE. With the new Metro Expo Line extension, visitors can now travel from downtown L.A. to sunny Santa Monica Beach in under 45 minutes, and further expansions of the public transportation system are already in progress.
Entering downtown, planners can enjoy a wealth of meeting facilities suited for groups of all sizes. The stunning glass-and-steel Los Angeles Convention Center, the city's principal events center, boasts the sought-after Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) designation from the United States Green Building Council. Within walking distance to a number of world-class L.A. meeting hotels, the convention center boasts 720,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, 147,000 square feet of meeting space, and a 299-seat theater.
The convention center, along with the STAPLES Center and Xbox Plaza, is part of the L.A. LIVE complex, a 5.6-million-square-foot entertainment campus. This 27-acre mixed-use development boasts more than six blocks of entertainment facilities, restaurants, cinemas, bowling lanes, music clubs, and museums, including the 7,100-seat Microsoft Theatre, The GRAMMY Museum, and four hotels: the 878-room JW Marriott Los Angeles, 123-room The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, 174-room Courtyard by Marriott L.A. LIVE, and the 219-suite Residence Inn L.A. LIVE.
Meeting sites in Los Angeles can take any form. Need something cutting edge? The stainless-steel Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, can seat 2,265 people and is home to the city's philharmonic orchestra.
What about a taste of Old Hollywood? Host to countless premieres and three Academy Award ceremonies, TCL Chinese Theatre has been one of the most sought-after locations for private events and screenings since 1927.
Groups can soak up the California sun by hosting an event among the 18,000 plants at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Or, wait until the sun goes down to make the most of L.A.'s vibrant nightlife. Restaurants such as Cal Mare, Spago (Wolfgang Puck presides over two Michelin stars), 71Above, and Sky Bar at the Mondrian Hotel offer fine food and trendy music to liven up events of all sizes. Sought-after event spaces include Two Bit Circus, Banc of California Stadium, and the High Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach, where the views and entertainment will make attendees forget they're in the second-largest urban landscape in North America.
International trade, entertainment, aerospace, technology, fashion, medical research, and tourism dominate L.A.'s economy. The contiguous ports of L.A. and Long Beach also make up one of the busiest ports in the world. Los Angeles is home to 200 colleges and universities, including the University of Southern California, UCLA, and Pepperdine University.