SACRAMENTO — As California prepares to enter the New Year, the state's tourism industry is announcing major openings and special milestones that make 2017 an ideal time to visit The Golden State.
"California has long been a magnet for dreamers, inspiring them with our epic landscapes and anything is possible vibe and welcoming their creativity to shape our beautiful state," said Caroline Beteta, president & CEO of Visit California. "In 2017, visitors will have the opportunity to take part in celebrating this rich history while enjoying an abundance of new attractions."
From reviving the spirit of the "grooviest" summer in history to taking a hike through California's largest state park, 2017's milestone anniversaries offer plenty to celebrate. Meanwhile, new hotels and new developments at some of the state's major attractions bring fresh reasons to travel in the New Year.
*50th Anniversary of Summer of Love In 1967, nearly 100,000 young people converged on Haight-Ashbury, turning San Francisco into the epicenter of a cultural phenomenon known as the Summer of Love. In 2017, San Francisco celebrates the 50th anniversary of that summer with a variety of special events and exhibitions. Visitors can also enjoy walking tours, apps and hop-on, hop-off tours that follow the footprints of this seminal summer.
*PIER 39 Celebrates 39 Years In the late 1970s, San Francisco businessman and developer Warren Simmons dreamed of building an urban park along the city's undeveloped waterfront. On Oct. 4, 1978, Simmons' dream became a reality when he transformed a dilapidated cargo pier into PIER 39. Today, more than 11 million guests visit annually. In January, PIER 39 will kick off 39 weeks of fun to celebrate its 39 years of amazing views, fresh seafood, free daily entertainment, unique local shopping and sea lions.
*Culver City Centennial Celebration The history of Culver City begins in 1913 when Harry H. Culver announced his plans for a city at the California Club in Los Angeles; the city was finally incorporated on September 20, 1917. In celebration of its Centennial, Culver City has a year of festivities underway that began on Sept. 20, 2016, centered around its theme, "Culver City - A Century of Change." Centennial festivities include special events every month, concluding on Incorporation Day on Sept. 20, 2017.
*90th Anniversary of TCL Chinese Theatre In May 2017, the historic TCL Chinese Theatre will celebrate its 90th anniversary as a fixture in Hollywood. The venue is home to the unique Forecourt of the Stars, featuring cement handprints and footprints of major movie stars. TCL Chinese Theatre was opened by Sid Grauman in 1927 and currently offers more than 50 events a year including movie premieres, imprint ceremonies and film festivals.
*50th Anniversary of the Anza-Borrego Foundation In celebration of 50 years of partnership, the Anza-Borrego Foundation and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park are inviting visitors to complete two five-hike challenges on some of the most famous (and infamous) peaks and trails in the region. "5 Hikes for 50 Years" is an ideal way for visitors to experience the many wonders of this Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is not only California's largest state park but is located in the only Certified IDA International Dark Sky Community in the Golden State.
*50th Anniversary of South Coast Plaza South Coast Plaza, a renowned international destination for shopping and dining, celebrates 50 years of quality. Located in Costa Mesa, California, South Coast Plaza opened on March 15, 1967. Today, it is home to more than 250 prominent boutiques, critically acclaimed restaurants and the celebrated Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Its unparalleled collection of diverse retailers, along with its customized concierge services, makes it California's premier shopping experience. South Coast Plaza will mark its 50th anniversary throughout 2017 with exclusive collaborations with global luxury brands, arts partnerships, special events, exhibitions, fashion shows, and more.
*Downtown Commons Coming to Sacramento Spring 2017. The opening of the Golden 1 Center arena in October 2016 is the catalyst for the ongoing downtown redevelopment in Sacramento, including several new restaurants that have already opened. Downtown Commons, nicknamed DOCO, will be a 3-acre plaza adjacent to the arena featuring entertainment; innovative restaurants; boutiques; a 250-room Kimpton hotel, The Sawyer; and a place for people to enjoy outdoor concerts and activities.
*Archer Hotel Napa Opening Late Spring 2017. Archer Hotel Napa, a new-build hotel in the heart of downtown Napa, is well underway and on track for a late spring opening. The highly anticipated 183-room, five-story will offer sweeping 360-degree views of Napa Valley from its expansive rooftop. The Charlie Palmer Group will lead the culinary direction of rooftop bar, over 15,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space, in-room dining and the signature restaurant, Charlie Palmer Steak.
*The James Los Angeles - West Hollywood Debuting April 2017 The James Los Angeles - West Hollywood, a Denihan Hospitality's The James luxury brand, will make its West Coast debut in April 2017 with 286 rooms. Located on the hillside corner of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevard in the heart of The Sunset Strip, this much-anticipated property will offer guests stunning panoramic views of the Hollywood Hills and Los Angeles Basin.
*InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown Opening in Summer 2017 The eagerly anticipated InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown will stand 73 stories tall and feature 900 luxury rooms. The hotel will be located at Wilshire Grand Center, which will be the tallest building west of Chicago upon completion in summer of 2017.
*San Diego Zoo Opens Africa Rocks Exhibit in Spring 2017. In spring 2017, The San Diego Zoo will open a new 8-acre exhibit called "Africa Rocks," providing new habitats for African plant and animal species. This $68 million expansion is the largest in the 100-year-old Zoo's history and will completely transform the area that was previously known as the Cat and Dog Canyon into an area with a gently-winding, ADA-accessible pathway.
*Knott's Soak City@ to Open Six New Slides in Spring 2017 .The first Knott's Soak City expansion project in 10 years features a 165-foot water tower with four new slides and a second 150-foot tower with two slides. Visitors will enjoy new shaded areas and cabanas along with a new overall look. The expansion is expected to open in May 2017, just in time for families to start planning their summer vacations.
*SeaWorld San Diego Opening Largest Attraction Yet. Enjoy a summer of amazing fun in 2017 with the largest attraction opening in SeaWorld San Diego's history, with three all-new experiences. While visiting, guests can: dive into Ocean Explorer on the interactive Submarine Quest to unlock some of the ocean's greatest mysteries; be inspired by the new Orca Encounter featuring killer whales' natural behaviors; and attend Electric Ocean's end-of-day spectacle, which will light up the night in a glowing sea of wonder.
*The Mariposa Grove Reopening in Yosemite National Park in Summer 2017. The Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park will reopen in summer 2017, following its closure in 2015 by the National Park Service as part of a restoration project. The Mariposa Grove is home to 500 mature giant sequoias and is the largest of the three groves in Yosemite National Park. The project was begun to ensure the health of the grove and upon completion will include over a half-mile of new accessible trails and boardwalks, a consolidated parking area, removal of commercial activities, and more.
*Greater Palm Springs Welcomes Series of New High-End Hotels In 2017. Four luxury hotels will open in Greater Palm Springs. The new Kimpton Rowan Hotel, scheduled to open downtown in March 2017, features a six-story new build with 155 rooms and a rooftop pool, the first of its kind in Palm Springs. Andaz Palm Springs, slated to open in summer 2017, will also be located in downtown Palm Springs. The 150-room, four-star Hotel Paseo, part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, is slated to open October 2017. And Hyde Hotel & Residences will debut in Coachella Valley in 2017, offering 150 two-bedroom condo units, 40 luxury suites and 10 luxury two-bedroom, standalone villas.