Well, 2021 certainly had some highlights (particularly about a two-week post-reopening period of optimism where everything felt possible). But we’re ready to shift our attention forward and instead start talking about 2022, because we think there’s plenty about the year ahead in Los Angeles to get excited about.
We’ll fess up: Some of these picks were things we also thought would actually happen in 2021 and, well, they didn’t. So you’ll certainly see a few repeats this time around, and we wouldn’t be shocked if the same thing happens again next year. That said, we think all of these events and openings are things in L.A. that you can confidently promisingly look forward to in 2022.
Broadway is coming back in a big way
Though Hamilton returned in August, 2021 was still a relatively quiet year for L.A.’s Broadway productions. But that all changes in January when Center Theatre Group starts the year at the Ahmanson with coming-of-age drag queen musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, followed by the financial epic The Lehman Trilogy and myth-turned-musical Hadestown, plus notable later-season productions like the return of Dear Evan Hansen and a dark, sexy version of Oklahoma! Up the 101, you’ll find a brief engagement of Rent at the Dolby Theatre and a couple of months of Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Pantages Theatre. Of course, as we write this, we’re watching as stages in New York temporarily halt their productions, so fingers crossed L.A. can fare better.
Both the Super Bowl and (hopefully) the MLB All-Star Game are coming to town
Pushed back first by construction delays and then by the pandemic, the Super Bowl is finally set to arrive at Inglewood’s prodigious SoFi Stadium on February 13. Forget about the football: The halftime show promises a memorable set from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar, while an official off-site concert series will bring Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Green Day and Miley Cyrus to the—deep sigh—Crypto.com Arena.
As for baseball, Dodger Stadium also saw its hosting duties get bumped from 2020 to 2022, but its prospects are a little bit murkier now. If the lockout ends, then the MLB All-Star Game will head to Chavez Ravine on July 19.
Frieze L.A. is moving its fancy art fair to Beverly Hills
This dreamy display of works from 100 international galleries is back from February 18 to 20, but this time around it’ll be leaving behind the surreal Paramount backlot for a bespoke space in Beverly Hills. Frieze L.A. will stage its third L.A. art fair in a to-be-unveiled custom structure next to the Beverly Hilton, with a public sculpture park by the Beverly Hills sign.
And a bunch of major art exhibitions are coming to L.A. museums
We’ve actually put together an entirely separate story about 11 art exhibitions we’re looking forward to next year, but here we’ll call out three of the biggest: LACMA will host a display of Barbara Kruger’s videos and large-scale vinyl wraps in March and an Alexander McQueen exhibition in April that pairs his dresses with related inspirational artwork, while the Academy Museum is examining an extensive overlooked period of Black cinema from 1898 to 1971.
Coachella will return after a three-year break
Back in the spring of 2020, Coachella was one of the very first major events to be called off. By the time it returns in 2022, it’ll have been three full years since its last edition. So what do we know about this upcoming one, slated for April 15 to 17 and 22 to 24? Well… not a ton, as there’s no full lineup announcement yet. We know that Rage Against the Machine will still headline, and that Swedish House Mafia, Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat are on the bill. But Frank Ocean has been pushed back to 2023 and, according to multiple reports, Travis Scott is off the lineup.
Netflix is a Joke: The Festival is staging a staggering number of huge comedy shows
Another pandemic delay (the initial outing had the misfortune of announcing its plans in March 2020), this 11-day comedy fest will host over 130 comedians at more than 25 L.A. venues, with many shows set to be recorded as a Netflix special. The lineup, as you might expect, is astounding. From April 28 to May 8, expect performances and conversations from Ali Wong, Aziz Ansari, John Mulaney, Conan O’Brien, Nicole Byer, Dave Chappelle, Larry David, David Letterman, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Eddie Izzard, Tig Notaro, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias and so many more.
Angel City FC, L.A.’s new National Women’s Soccer League team, will make its debut
Exposition Park’s Banc of California Stadium will have another home team to root for come springtime: Angel City FC, L.A.’s first women’s professional soccer team in over a decade, and one backed by a star-studded lineup of investors that includes Natalie Portman.
Vidiots is reviving an old movie theater in Eagle Rock
Cult-favorite movie rental store Vidiots shuttered its decades-old Santa Monica shop in 2019, but for the past few years it’s been working on rehabbing a 90-plus-year-old theater on Eagle Rock Boulevard. Like just about everything else in the movie world, the opening date has shifted a few times, but around spring 2022 you should be able to watch movies on 35mm and digital and peruse a 50,000-film-strong rental archive at the restored 200-seat Yosemite (now Eagle) Theatre.
LA Pride will return at a mystery location
West Hollywood’s annual LGBTQ+ parade and festival had a bumpy 2020 and sat out 2021, but the enormous event is poised to make its return from June 10 to 12. However, it won’t be in WeHo: Organizer Christopher Street West announced a couple years back that it would no longer stage LA Pride there, though it’s yet to announce a new L.A. location for its next edition.
The drive back from Vegas will get slightly less miserable
Forget the 405: Driving south on the 15 near the Nevada border at the end of a weekend is a special type of automotive agony. Come the end of next summer, though, there should be at least a little bit of relief. A five-mile stretch of freeway south of Las Vegas will turn its shoulder into a lane of traffic during peak periods, hopefully alleviating one of the most notorious bottlenecks in the region.
The new Six Street Viaduct will wrap up construction
The Streamline Moderne-styled Sixth Street Viaduct said “so long” in 2016 after the octogenarian structure was deemed pretty likely to collapse in a major earthquake. Now, come the summer of 2022, local architect Michael Maltzan’s sleek, sweeping replacement will welcome cars, bikes and pedestrians across the L.A. River. Once the span is finished, construction will start on a 12-acre park underneath the viaduct.
Barcelona’s excellent Primavera Sound will make its L.A. debut
After having to push off its slated 2020 debut, Barcelona-born music fest Primavera Sound is—fingers crossed—bound for L.A. again, with Arctic Monkeys, Lorde and Nine Inch Nails atop its 2022 lineup. The three-day event, scheduled for September 16 through 18 at L.A. State Historic State Park, also includes the likes of James Blake, Mitski, Clairo, Darkside, Khruangbin, Arca, Stereolab and Kim Gordon in its first batch of lineup announcements.
A pair of key Metro projects are set to start service
Metro’s projected completion dates have been as slippery as the roads after the first rain of the season, but we’ll choose to be optimistic about two years-in-the-making major rail projects scheduled to be completed at some point in 2022. The Crenshaw Line will link the E Line stop on the border of West Adams and Leimert Park with the C Line stop by LAX (which will see a people mover extension in 2023). Meanwhile, the Regional Connector will allow for single-seat rides between Azusa and Long Beach as well as between East L.A. and Santa Monica by adding extra stations in Downtown L.A. that extend and more seamlessly link up light rail lines with subways.
A fine-dining Korean deli is opening in the Arts District
We’re always looking forward to our next meal, and that’s especially the case when it comes to 2022’s major restaurant openings, from a rooftop space from Stephanie Izard to Niki Nakayama’s n/soto brick-and-mortar to Mother Wolf, the Hollywood follow-up to Evan Funke’s Felix. But we’re most excited about Yangban Society, a Korean-American deli and market in the Arts District. Owners Katianna and John Hong plan on bringing their Napa Valley fine-dining experience and Korean-inspired recipes to a casual, unique sort of hangout.