It’s not just about the weather. Sure, the average high never drops below 67 degrees Fahrenheit in Los Angeles in January and February, but there are so many more reasons to go there this winter beyond avoiding blizzards and bomb cyclones. From the nation’s largest restaurant week to three art fairs over Presidents Day weekend alone, here is AFAR’s selection of the most exciting things to do in L.A. this season.
Reserve a table for Winter dineL.A. or Off Menu Week With 430 participating restaurants in 65 neighborhoods across the city, the Winter dineL.A. program is the largest restaurant week in the United States. If you need help narrowing your choices, consider booking a table at two of L.A.’s most exciting new restaurants. Openaire, the new seasonally driven restaurant at the LINE Hotel run by chef Josiah Citrin, is offering $25 two-course lunch menus and $59 three-course dinners during dineL.A. Over in Silver Lake, Ma’am Sir was named to the Los Angeles Times’s list of 101 best restaurants in L.A. even though it’s only been open since June 2018. During dineL.A., guests get a three-course dinner for $39 with a complimentary glass of wine at this buzzy Filipino spot. Through January 25, 2019; discoverlosangeles.com
The following month, Resy is hosting its own spin on restaurant week with its first-ever Off Menu Week in L.A. For one week, diners can get exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at upcoming menu items at restaurants, including exciting new spots like Freedman’s Jewish deli in Silver Lake and Ronan, a wood-fired pizza joint on Melrose Avenue. February 25-March 3, 2019; blog.resy.com
Experience a weekend full of art Over Presidents Day weekend, three art fairs are coming to town, including the inaugural edition of Frieze Los Angeles at Paramount Pictures Studios. As with the annual Frieze fairs in New York and London, expect contemporary art from both local and international galleries along with a series of talks and site-specific projects from such artists as Cayetano Ferrer and Lisa Anne Auerbach centered around the studio’s New York Street backlot. February 15-17, 2019; 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, from $22, frieze.com
stARTup L.A. takes place the same weekend at The Kinney Venice Beach hotel. Instead of relying on traditional gallery spaces, the hotel rooms will serve as the backdrop for 60 artists—including Tang Wei Hsu, Patricia Rubio, and Amy Ahlstrom—to transform. February 15-17, 2019; 737 West Washington Boulevard, Venice, $20, startupartfair.com
The 10th edition of Art Los Angeles Contemporary is taking place once again at The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Recognized as the international contemporary art fair of the West Coast, it will bring together work from more than 60 galleries from the United States as well as Asia, Europe, and Latin America. February 13-17, 2019; 3021 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, from $25, artlosangelesfair.com
Head east for Desert X 2019 Desert X, the exhibition that brought Insta-famous installations like Doug Aitken’s Mirage and Phillip K Smith III’s The Circle of Land and Sky to the Coachella Valley in 2017, is returning for the second time this February. While the lineup of artists won’t be announced until late January, expect more site-specific installations that play off the surrounding desert landscape. Stay tuned for more updates here. February 9-April 21, 2019; Coachella Valley, Free, desertx.org
open-uri20190116-6044-ttjof2Drink at LA’s new hi-fi bars
The newest nightlife trend in Los Angeles takes its cues from Tokyo’s vinyl bars, where sipping craft beer and cocktails and listening to the owner’s record collection on hi-fi stereo systems takes precedence over socializing. In Sheep’s Clothing opened in August 2018 behind an unassuming door inside Lupetti Pizza in the Arts District, while Gold Line’s October opening underneath Stones Throw Records’s headquarters made Highland Park an even more desirable destination to drive out to the next time you’re in L.A.
Hotels to keep an eye out for... The last few years saw everything from the opening of the NoMad Hotel Los Angeles to the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, but the city’s hotel boom isn’t slowing down anytime soon. While you can’t check into these new properties yet, look forward to a Hoxton Hotel in Downtown L.A., Proper Hotels coming to both Santa Monica and Downtown L.A., and a 1 Hotel West Hollywood—all opening in the spring and summer of 2019.
>> Next: Plan Your Trip with AFAR’s Guide to Los Angeles