Aside from a shaky start, 2022 in L.A. actually felt kind of normal—or, you know, as normal as things can feel in a world where the only clouds floating above L.A. are the ones constantly threatening environmental and political collapse.
But let’s get that bit of doom and gloom out of our system, because instead we want to look at what near-future developments and events promise a better and even more exciting L.A. From restaurant openings and art exhibition debuts to major transit projects and museum expansions, here’s what we’re most looking forward to in 2023 in L.A.
(Oh, and we’re limiting this story to things that we’re fairly confidently will actually occur in the year ahead. So the Cinerama Dome’s maybe-by-late-2023 revival? Eh… Frank Ocean’s headlining Coachella set? We’ll believe it after the first weekend of the fest.)
All aboard Disneyland’s newest ride
Somehow, after nearly seven decades, Mickey Mouse is just about to get his own ride at Disneyland. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will find guests hopping aboard a Goofy-engineered train that transports them into a colorful cartoon world. Its opening on January 27 kicks off an entire year of Walt Disney Company centennial celebrations (including new fireworks and “World of Color” shows) at the comparatively young theme park.
A slice of Mexico City is expanding to Frogtown
We loved LA Cha Cha Chá when it opened in the Arts District (and landed on our best new restaurants list of 2021), and still love it now—which makes us extra excited that the Mexico City-inspired rooftop is opening a second location. Za Za Zá will bring similar design details and a seafood-focused menu to Frogtown in late January, at an indoor-outdoor spot just off the L.A. River.
The Mushroom Kingdom is warping into Universal Studios Hollywood
It’s been teased since 2016, but Super Nintendo World will finally make its way to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2023. The Mario-themed land will debut on February 17 with a new restaurant (helmed by an adorable animated Chef Toad), a plush-filled retail shop and an augmented reality-enhanced ride dubbed “Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge.”
Metro’s short but significant subway expansion will open
Have you tried to take the Metro from Northeast L.A. to L.A. Live and been flabbergasted that it takes three separate train lines to follow a route tackled by a single freeway? That all changes with the completion of the Regional Connector.
It first broke ground in 2014 and has seen a series of delayed opening dates, but by the winter of 2023—fingers crossed—many trips through Downtown L.A. will become a one-seat ride. The 1.9-mile tunnel will add a pair of new stations (one behind the Broad, another at 2nd and Broadway) and reconfigure the Little Tokyo one, and more seamlessly link all of DTLA’s transit lines: The L (Gold), A (Blue), E (Expo), B (Red) and D (Purple) Lines will now all serve the 7th Street/Metro Center station. In other words, you’ll be able to go from Azusa to Long Beach or East L.A. to Santa Monica without ever changing trains.
A desert-spanning art biennial is back
Desert X will once again bring premieres of free-to-visit, site-specific installations to about 40 miles of the Coachella Valley. Remember the mirror house? Or the Hollywood Sign-style “Indian Land” sign? Yep, that’s this event, which runs in 2023 from March 4 to May 7.
A landmark play about the 1922 L.A. Uprising makes its return
Anna Deavere Smith’s one-woman play, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, turned firsthand interviews about the still-fresh riots into an astounding documentary-theater piece. Three decades later, the play comes home for a run at the Mark Taper Forum (Mar 8–Apr 9), this time around as an ensemble piece—which during its Off Broadway run in 2021, our theater critic in New York awarded five stars and called “a work of brilliantly sustained deep focus.”
The Hammer Museum will wrap up its expansion
A few years and millions of dollars in the making, the newest iteration of the Hammer Museum will debut on March 26. The block-long building, dubbed the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Cultural Center, will look less opaque from the outside (and add a sculpture terrace), and inside you’ll find more space than ever for art. And just as exciting: There’ll finally be a proper pedestrian entrance on the corner of Wilshire and Westwood.
L.A.’s best pasta maker is opening a new three-level restaurant
We would’ve been perfectly satisfied if Evan Funke never followed up Felix Trattoria, a Venice pasta restaurant that’s so excellent that we’d sit out any level of Westside traffic just to dine there. But he did, and with the standout Mother Wolf, which landed in the runner-up spot in our list of the year’s best new restaurants. Now, come March, he’ll make it a trilogy with Funke, a three-level regional Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills that boasts a rooftop and a private dining room.
English history and pop music mix with the arrival of Six
The most boisterous music you’ll find about divorces and beheadings, Six (May 9–June 10) tells the story of the six wives of the 16th-century monarch Henry VIII as they each try to persuasively sing about who suffered the most. Our New York critic says that the snappy musical sees “the queens sing their heads off and the audience loses its mind.”
A major Keith Haring exhibition heads to the Broad
Keith Haring’s colorful, energetic street art designs—like his barking dogs or crawling stick figure-like radiant baby—have become instantly recognizable pieces of pop art over the past four decades. Now, the Broad will examine that body of work with “Keith Haring: Art is for Everybody,” (May 27–Oct 8) a display of over 120 artworks and archival materials (plus a gift shop inspired by the late artist’s own 1980s New York retail space).
A Michelin-starred Jiro Ono protégé is opening a new sushi spot
Yes, as in Jiro Dreams of Sushi’s Jiro Ono. The acclaimed chef’s longtime apprentice, Daisuke Nakazawa, is set to open an eponymous restaurant in West Hollywood sometime next year. If it’s anything like the other Sushi Nakazawa locations, expect to find around 20 courses of edomae-style sushi.
Taylor Swift is finally playing SoFi Stadium
Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” has mostly captured headlines for turning just about anybody with a credit card passionately against Ticketmaster. But locally, we also see her five nights at SoFi Stadium (Aug 3–5, 8, 9) as a milestone in the recovery of L.A.’s live events scene: Swift was set to inaugurate SoFi Stadium back in the summer 2020 with her Lover Fest West concerts, but the world, of course, had other plans when it came to massive gatherings. Good things come to those who wait, though: In this case it’s the beloved Valley girls in HAIM, who open all five shows.
In-N-Out is throwing a burger and drag racing-filled birthday party
In a video full of Sunday, Sunday, Sunday energy, owner and president Lynsi Snyder announced that the beloved burger chain will host a 75th birthday celebration on October 22 at the In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip—the future name of what’s now the Auto Club Raceway on the corner of the Fairplex property in Pomona. Expect drag racing, a car show, rides, live music and, of course, In-N-Out food trucks.
Cinema’s most beloved filthy filmmaker is getting a retrospective at the Academy Museum
Between Hairspray and Pink Flamingos, writer and director John Waters has redefined the possibilities of independent cinema—an impact that the Academy Museum will dive into with “John Waters: Pope of Trash,” which opens in the fall. Around the same time, you’ll also find the museum’s new, permanent “Hollywoodland” display on the industry’s predominantly Jewish founders; earlier in the year in February, expect to see more second-floor gallery rotations, including deep dives into Casablanca and Boyz n the Hood.
Getting to LAX will become a little less awful
LAX can be a pretty overwhelming place any time of the year, but during the holidays it’s downright dreadful—which makes us flat-out antsy for the arrival of the airport’s Automated People Mover, or APM. Starting sometime in 2023, 44 automated train cars will begin ferrying passengers for free along an elevated 2.25-mile line that connects the airport terminals with a new parking garage and pick-up and drop-off area, as well as a consolidated rental car facility. In 2024, the APM will link up with the K (Crenshaw) Line—meaning, yes, you’ll finally be able to take a train to LAX, with no bus transfers required.