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Industry Briefs
Los Angeles Reinvents Itself As The Place To Meet, Vacation And Be Entertained
Solomon J. & Gloria M. Herbert

If you haven’t been to Los Angeles recently, you haven’t been to Los Angeles!

This West Coast meeting and travel hotspot has reinvented itself in recent years with a number of long anticipated developments, not the least of which was the rebirth of Hollywood (which transformed one of the city’s most visited points of interest from an over-hyped, run down and often disappointing destination for out of town guests to a dazzling array of theaters, eateries and attractions). Heading the list of must see attractions is the Hollywood & Highland Center and it’s legendary Kodak Theatre; along with iconic landmarks such as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Pantages Theatre, and the El Capitan Theatre; and fabled hotels such as the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the Renaissance Hollywood.

Without a doubt, however, the buzz these days is all about the development of LA LIVE, the $2.5 billion entertainment compound that has ignited a renewed interest in Downtown Los Angeles while luring conferences and leisure travelers from far and wide. The entertainment campus, which was first conceived almost 15 years ago, boasts the spectacular Nokia Theatre and Nokia Plaza, and a number of enticing clubs, restaurants and entertainment venues including Club Nokia, Lucky Strike Lanes and Lounge, the Conga Room, The Farm of Beverly Hills, Yard House, ESPN Zone, Trader Vic’s, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill, Rosa Mexicano, Katsuya, Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, and Lawry’s Carvery. The district features 13 eateries in all.


The center’s piece de resistance is The GRAMMY Museum, positioned at the intersection of Figueroa Street and Olympic Boulevard, and serving as the cornerstone of L.A. LIVE. The four-floor, interactive Museum celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music while exploring the creative process along with the history of the GRAMMY Awards. Highlights at the museum include a tunnel filled with life-size figures of Grammy-winning artists and an 18-ft. table where visitors can listen to 130 kinds of music. The Museum, along with many of L.A. LIVE’s restaurants and nightclubs, has the capability to host full-service meetings and events.

Within easy striking distance from LA LIVE is the L.A. Fashion District (the nation’s largest, where serious shoppers can find outstanding bargains in apparel, and the Jewelry District (second largest in the world, and renowned for wholesale prices to the public on precious gems, watches, platinum, gold, silver, diamonds, pearls and all types of fine jewelry). A number of area operators offer shopping, architectural and other types of tours.

Want even more reasons to visit LA Live? How about the recent openings of the spectacular JW Marriott Hotel at LA LIVE and the gleaming and luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles. The new 878-room JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE is a striking addition to the silhouette of the City of Angels, sharing space with the 123-room Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles and The Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. LIVE in a unique 54-story tower. Combined, the complex offers 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space.

Both properties are located only one block from the Los Angeles Convention Center, which offers a 347,000-sq. ft. South Exhibition Hall, a 210,000-sq. ft. West Exhibition Hall, 147,000 sq. ft. of meeting space in 64 rooms, and a full-service business center. Plans are in development to replace the West Hall with a sports stadium that can double as additional exhibit space, and add a new exhibit hall to the center. There are over 92,000 area hotel rooms, including more than 7,500 rooms downtown with more on the way. LA LIVE was home to the 2010 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition, which took place August 21-24. Anyone who had any doubts about the ability of LA LIVE to provide the perfect setting for a memorable convention was blown away by the enthusiastic response from attendees to the highly touted event..

  Open seven days a week, L.A. LIVE is located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles adjacent to STAPLES Center, home of the Lakers and Clippers. STAPLES also features an outstanding conference center to complement the meeting spaces at the Convention Center and area hotels. The Music Center is LA’s premier performing arts complex. Beginning with the Walt Disney Concert Hall there are several spaces to host an event, including the 2,265-seat main auditorium and two small amphitheaters. Other unique venues include the Amanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum.

As enticing as the Downtown corridor has become, it is by no means all the dynamic, multicultural Los Angeles has to offer. LA’s African-American heritage attractions alone could fill up a meeting group’s leisure time itinerary. The list includes the following popular venues:

California African American Museum in Exposition Park,
600 State Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037-1267
(213) 744-7432

The Museum occupies a 44,000-sq. ft. facility that includes 3 full-size exhibition galleries, a theater gallery, a 14,000-sq. ft. Sculpture Court, a conference center/special events room, an archive and research library, administrative offices, exhibit design and artifact storage areas.

The Museum of African American Art
4005 Crenshaw Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90008-2534
(323) 294-7071

Located inside a fully operational Macy's store, MAAA is believed to be the only museum of its kind in the nation. The museum operates based on individual and corporate donations; the generous support of Macy's, which donates space inside its Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza store.

Leimert Park Village Area
Address: 3347 W 43rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90008
Phone: (323) 299-9789

Leimert Park, as filmmaker and resident John Singleton noted, is “the Black Greenwich Village.” Located in the Crenshaw District in the heart of Los Angeles, the Leimert Park Village area features art deco buildings housing afro-centric art galleries, shops, restaurants, theaters, nightclubs and cultural centers.

The William Grant Still Community Arts Center
2520 W West View St Los Angeles, CA 90016-2815
(323) 734-1164

The William Grant Still Art Center was dedicated in honor of the legacy of African-American composer-conductor, Dr. William Grant Still. The Art Center focuses on the artistic efforts of the community and has a variety of programming throughout the year reflecting the multicultural diversity of its neighborhood where Still resided for twenty years.

The Ray Charles Memorial Library
2107 W. Washington Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90018
323-737-8000 Telephone

The library is located on the ground floor of the Los Angeles building Charles designed for his offices and recording studio. Housed in the studio and office building Charles built in South Los Angeles in the early 1960s, the library features interactive exhibits about the musician's life and career. Touch screens invite guests to explore Charles' most memorable recordings, while exhibits feature some of his Grammy awards, stage costumes, old contracts and ever-present sunglasses.

Biddy Mason Park
Broadway Spring Center
333 South Spring Street

A memorial to a former slave who helped found the city’s First A.M.E .Church , Biddy won her freedom and settled in Los Angeles to work as a midwife. Ten years later she bought a house where she operated an orphanage and eventually founded the city's First African Methodist Episcopal Church on land she had purchased and then donated to the church.

Dunbar Hotel
4225 South Central Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90011

The Dunbar Hotel, originally known as the Hotel Somerville, was the focal point of the Central Avenue African-American community in Los Angeles, California during the 1930s and 1940s. Upon its opening, it hosted the first national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to be held in the western United States. Other noteworthy people who stayed at the Dunbar include W. E. B. Du Bois, Joe Louis, Ray Charles and Thurgood Marshall. Former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson also ran a nightclub at the Dunbar in the 1930s.

EsoWon Bookstore
4331 Degnan Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90008
(323) 290-1048

ESO Won Books is more than a warehouse of reading materials. It is your personal gateway to inspiration, adventure, laughter, healthy living, social etiquette, history, and so much more. Eso Won has played host to a variety of authors from Presidents Obama and Clinton, intellectuals Michael Eric Dyson and Cornell West, to comedian Bill Cosby.
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