This week in Los Angeles, Harry Potter finally comes to the West Coast. Celebrate with a magical day at Universal Studios, or raise a glass from afar at the new Firestone Walker in Venice. Then brace yourself for a triple feature at the Aero Theatre or live a bibliophile's dream at the L.A. Times Festival of Books.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
April 7 | Attraction opening
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
It’s pretty hard to believe that it’s been nine long years since a J.K. Rowling Harry Potter midnight release party. For West Coast fans that have been born in the interim, it’s a world that lives on in books and film but never in real life. Until now, that is. After envying Universal Studios Florida since 2014, Hollywood finally has The Wizarding World of Harry Potter all to itself. Opening on Thursday, this newest incarnation is beyond magical, just as we’ve imagined it. The Butterbeer is flowing, the Quidditch is racing, and Gryffindor is at the top of its game—or Slytherin, if that’s your bag. No judgment.
Times vary | Universal Studios Hollywood, 100 Universal Hollywood Dr., Los Angeles | (818) 622-3801 | From $90 | website
April 7 | Restaurant opening
The corner of Lincoln and Washington has been waiting for brew master Matt Brynildson’s unique ales and American-style small bites for quite some time now. Thankfully, “The Propagator,” as this Venice location has been dubbed, does not disappoint. The wait is finally over to drink and grub, although permits for the in-house brewery are still in the works. A delectable brisket, pork belly tacos, and Idaho potatoes are all calling your name and, of course, all pair beautifully with Firestone Walker’s beers and ales. Order up.
3204 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles | (805) 225-5911 | website
April 8 | Film
Triple Feature (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight)
There’s no way around it: Watching three movies in a row takes some serious commitment and effort. It’ll be worth it for this triple feature, though, where you’ll catch Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight. Richard Linklater directs with such beauty and passion, and regardless of how much time has passed, the characters are familiar and fascinating. Once you watch one, you will be hungry for the next. So, a triple feature actually makes a lot of sense. Load up on caffeinated soda and snacks and settle in for the long haul.
7:30 p.m. | Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica | (323) 466-3456 | $11 | website
April 9–10 | Book festival
L.A. Times Festival of Books
There’s a reason why this festival draws big crowds—and by big, we mean upwards of 150,000 people who are all passionate about everything book-related. You will find your favorite authors, lots of top-notch panels, cooking demos, and workshops, among other fun activities. The entire USC campus is transformed into a nirvana for book lovers. From punk rock feminist Carrie Brownstein to astronaut Buzz Aldrin, it really is out of this world.
Times vary | USC, 3551 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles | (213) 740-2167 | Prices vary | website
April 9–10 | Escape the city
Temecula Valley often gets overlooked by those who have their eyes set on Napa Valley, but this well-kept secret is a much closer alternative for Angelenos looking for a place to relax with vino in hand. There are over fifty different varieties of wine being grown in Temecula, from Cabernet Sauvignon to a smooth Chardonnay, as well as lesser-known varietals like Mourvedre and Viognier. Stay at Ponte Vineyard Inn, which has a winery on its premises, and treat yourself to a massage and al fresco dining.
Ponte Vineyard Inn, 35001 Rancho California Rd., Temecula | (951) 587-6688 | website
Eva Glettner is a writer and a native Angeleno. She loves art, travel, coffee, and skateboarding.
>>Next: The Pinkest Place in Mexico