Every day is “something day,” as we’ve reminded you for quite a while now.
Did you know that January 25 is “National Plan for Vacation Day”? Yes, there is such a thing. And Covid-dependent, it might be a good time to plan your own statecation.
Fortunately for locals, California has a wealth of great experiences and places to offer from iconic attractions to new spots. Throughout 2022, California will celebrate the opening of several new luxury hotels, and new theme park experiences, along with rich educational and cultural offerings.
“California is open for business and continuing to create innovative new experiences for every type of visitor, demonstrating the entrepreneurial spirit and Dream Big attitude that draws travelers to the Golden State year after year,” said Caroline Beteta, president & CEO of Visit California. “With so many new offerings to explore, now is the perfect time to plan a trip to California.”
More than 30 hotels and resorts opened in California in 2021, accounting for over 5,200 additional rooms.
New hotel openings in 2022 include Stanly Ranch, Auberge Collections Napa; The LINE SF; 1 Hotel San Francisco; Conrad Los Angeles, and the Sensei Porcupine Creek, an intimate wellness retreat set in the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Rancho Mirage.
And there are new attractions opening up all over the state.
Built over the tops of the Presidio Parkway highway tunnels in San Francisco, the Presidio Tunnel Tops site comprises 14 acres of new national park land, set to open in May 2022. Designed by James Corner Field Operations (the firm behind New York’s High Line), the Presidio Tunnel Tops will feature scenic overlooks with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the City, paths and gardens, a welcome plaza with food and visitor services, a campfire circle, picnic grounds and more. Guests can learn about nature, explore and have fun at the expanded Crissy Field Center, the “Outpost” natural playground, and new drop-in Field Station.
Closer to home, a 1.3-mile stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard, the spine of Los Angeles’ Black community, is undergoing a transformative infrastructure project that will boost the community through economic development, job creation and environmental healing, while elevating Black art and culture.
When completed in 2022, Destination Crenshaw will be a thriving commercial corridor featuring architecturally stunning community spaces and pocket parks, hundreds of newly planted trees, and over 100 commissioned works of art.
If you’re headed east on the 10, the new Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza in downtown Palm Springs will feature the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, the Spa at Séc-he and an outdoor Oasis Trail. The new museum will celebrate the history, culture and modern times of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and the state-of-the-art spa will showcase the Tribe’s ancient Agua Caliente Hot Mineral Spring. Inspiration for the Cultural Plaza’s design includes Agua Caliente traditions such as basket weaving and pottery, and elements found in nature.
In a zoo mood? the Santa Barbara Zoo plans to open the Australian Walkabout this month, a 15,000 square-foot habitat designed to transport guests Down Under, where they can walk among the wallabies, kangaroos, emus and native birds. The nearly $3 million Australian Walkabout Capital Campaign will remind visitors about the importance of conservation locally and around the world.
Projected to open in spring 2022, the Monterey Bay Aquarium will display Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean. The special exhibition will bring the deep sea’s strange and fascinating animals to the public with a unique opportunity to view the bloody-belly comb jellies that live along the Monterey coast. The groundbreaking exhibit collects and brings animals to the surface with robotic submarines that navigate through complete darkness. Once at the surface, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s innovative technology mimics deep-sea conditions.
If you’re thinking smaller and bluer, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, will welcome the Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins in summer 2022. Little Blue Penguins weigh just two to three pounds and are the smallest penguins in the world. They are known for their unique blue color and big personalities. In the new 2,900-square-foot exhibit – the only one in the western United States to feature the birds – guests will observe the penguins socializing, interacting and nest building.
The exhibit also will include a discovery cave for children to closely observe Little Blue Penguins on land and inside nesting burrows.
Speaking of San Diego, phase one of the new Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park opened in November of 2021, enabling visitors to see exciting and fun exhibits, art and images connected to comics, and popular art while serving as a meeting place for the community of its fans.
The grand opening is scheduled for July 2022 and will include expanded interior display space and educational areas. Museumgoers can expect 25,000 square feet dedicated to rotating exhibits; a 6,000-square-foot education center; a 4K video theater and presentation space; a gift shop filled with comics, graphic novels, branded souvenirs and more; and learning-focused labs, classes and seminars.
In the OC, the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA)’s new home at the SCFTA campus is scheduled to open in October 2022. The state-of-the-art, 53,000-square-foot building will double the size of the museum’s previous location and provide an exciting indoor-outdoor experience.
The inaugural year of programming will bring back “California Biennial,” curated by Elizabeth Armstrong, Essence Harden and Gilbert Vicario. In a salute to OCMA’s 13 female founders, the opening collection exhibition will be “Thirteen Women,” organized by new CEO and Director Heidi Zuckerman.
Maybe you and the kids would prefer something a little more, um, thrilling?
In that case, Six Flags Magic Mountain’s record 20th coaster, the most at any theme park in the world, the WONDER WOMAN™ Flight of Courage, will debut summer 2022 as the tallest and longest single-rail coaster on the planet. Riders will fly single-file over 3,300 feet of track, towering 13 stories and soaring at speeds up to 58 miles per hour.
The ride will be in the 6-acre DC UNIVERSE™ area of the park, which will be expanded and remodeled to include a new, innovative restaurant and bar experience, plus retail locations. As guests enter the ride queue, influenced by Greek architecture and featuring tropical landscaping, they will be immersed in the story of her life and how she obtained her super powers.
The new LEGO Ferrari Build and Race is coming to LEGOLAND® California Resort in spring 2022. Featuring a life-size LEGO Ferrari F40 developed by the LEGO® Group, Build and Race puts guests in the driver’s seat as they make their way through the “garage” to the “racetrack” using their creativity and imagination to build, test and race their own LEGO Ferrari at one of three race tracks. Build and Race features three zones designed to be interactive and inspiring. Guests can also digitally scan their vehicle, further customize their Ferrari and compete against other drivers for the fastest lap time as they race on a LEGO race track based on the Pista di Fiorano.
Sesame Place, opening March 2022, will feature seven Sesame Street-themed rides, an interactive musical play area, and 11 water attractions including a 500,000 gallon wave pool – one of the largest in Southern California.
The park will also have an interactive Sesame Street Neighborhood complete with the iconic 123 Stoop, live character shows, an award-winning daily parade, unique photo opportunities, and everyone’s favorite furry friends. Sesame Place San Diego will open as a Certified Autism Center (CAC), featuring a park-specific sensory guide, designated quiet spaces, and staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training.
In March 2022, thrillseekers can dangle and drop more than 143 feet into a dive plunge when riding Emperor, SeaWorld San Diego’s all-new coaster. Soaring more than 60 mph, Emperor is the tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in California and the only floorless dive coaster in the state.
On the hair-raising ride, guests will be suspended on a 45-degree angle before plunging down a 143-foot facedown vertical drop into exhilarating loops, a tribute to emperor penguins’ amazing underwater diving abilities.
More information about what’s new in California is available at media.visitcalifornia.com.