What’s New in California This Spring

What’s New in California This Spring
APRIL 2018
There are more ways than ever to plan a trip to California with authoritative, up-to-the-minute information. Visit California has launched a new digital video series, “California 101” that is housed on Visit California’s Dream365TV network and also viewable on YouTube. The series includes 35 videos categorized into five themes: beach, national parks, road trips, resorts, and “5 Amazing Things to Do in…” Additionally, Visit California’s new user- and mobile-friendly blog, California Now, showcases unique and timely happenings throughout the Golden State.

This spring, new lodging offerings pay homage to both the American road trip and high tech, restaurants highlight phyllo and fried chicken, and museums examine animation and rum. Add gravity-defying roller coasters and movie tours, and there’s something for everyone in California this year.




A historic Art Deco gem, the Utica Hotel in Angels Camp is undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation and will open in phases. This spring guests can enjoy spirits and entertainment at the new cocktail area, located in the underground section of the hotel once known as the Miner’s Lounge, and sample fresh brews at one of the first self-dispensing beer tap machines in the country.

Paying homage to the great American road trip, the 50-room Calistoga Motor Lodge and Sparecently debuted at the northern end of the Silverado Trail, with rooms taking on modern interpretations of a camper van. The MoonAcre Spa and Bathsoffers a playful “mix your own” mud bar.

The first Autograph Collection hotel in Los Angeles, the westdrift Manhattan Beach, opened in January 2018 with 392 luxury guest rooms and a nine-hole golf course.

RV meets luxury at the Cava Robles RV Resort in Paso Robles, due to open in May. The resort will include 200 motor coach sites, 20 freestanding cottages, two swimming pools, a fitness center and a covered picnic area.

Tech-focused YOTEL will open its first West Coast hotel in early 2018. YOTEL San Francisco will boast 208 rooms with cutting-edge designs and features ranging from sky cabins to retractable beds, optimized with best-in-class tech from keyless entry to self-service check-in.

La Peer, a boutique Kimpton Hotel, opened in January in the West Hollywood Design District. Amenities include La Peer Passport, a pocket-size neighborhood guide with stamps for exclusive hotel benefits; custom-designed bikes to borrow for a ride around West Hollywood’s 1.9 square miles; and Viale Dei Romani, a restaurant created by James Beard award winner Casey Lane.


Celebrity Chef Richard Blais has launched The Crack Shack, a popular fried chicken eatery using only locally raised, free-range poultry, in Costa Mesa.

There’s nothing simple about the crisp, flaky layers of phyllo dough surrounding creative fillings atSimply Strudels in Petaluma. Savory and sweet versions range from sweet potato pulled pork to fresh Meyer lemon cheese.

Helmed by Chef Anthony Porras, the new Havana 1920 restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter serves classic Cuban fare as well as more than 150 rums, used in signature cocktails like the Havana 1920 Daiquiri, made with Havana Club añejo rum, fresh lime juice and sugar cane syrup.

Fans of Sonoma County wines have a new wine region to explore. The Petaluma Gap American Viticultural Area (AVA) recently became Sonoma County’s 18th official wine appellation. The 200,000-acre region in southern Sonoma County and northern Marin County includes 4,000 acres of vineyards planted mainly with Pinot Noir.

Rum: Sailors, Pirates and Prohibition” is the newest exhibit at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The interactive exhibit traces rum from 17th-century Caribbean sugar cane plantations to today’s trendy cocktail lounges, and examines its role in slavery, piracy and Prohibition.

This spring the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco will unveil two special exhibitions. “Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane,” which runs through Sept. 3, 2018, highlights the work of the renowned Disney artist who created some of the most indelible animated characters of modern time, including Tarzan, Pocahontas and Ariel. “Nine Old Men,” opening May 15, shows how Disney’s talented lead animators collectively elevated character animation to a respected art form.


A new fireworks spectacular and the return of two favorite parades mark Pixar Fest, the biggest Pixar celebration ever to come to Disney Parks, beginning April 13, 2018, at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

Coaster enthusiasts will want to check out two new roller coasters debuting this summer. In Orange County, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park will welcome HangTime, the only dive coaster on the West Coast and only the second roller coaster in the Western Hemisphere to feature a negative-g stall loop, which gives riders the sensation of floating. Slithering in to SeaWorld San Diego in May, Electric Eel will accelerate to more than 60 mph in seconds and rocket skyward 150 feet, offering riders an upside-down view of Mission Bay.


The award-winning, free DogTrekker mobile app has gotten even better. The early 2018 release of Version 3.0 adds dog-friendly events throughout California plus statewide and local alerts.

Featured in more than 200 films, Monterey County has premiered Monterey Movie Tours. Film fans can take a guided tour around the region, passing sites where such classics as “Mutiny on the Bounty” and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” were filmed. Fans of the small screen might enjoy the self-guided “Big Little Lies” Road Trip, where they can walk in the footsteps of stars like Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon past locations used in the hit HBO series.


Visitors to Placer County can speed across a 700-foot zip line 120 feet above the canyon floor at the new Quarry Park Adventures in Rocklin.

In Santa Cruz, the new Jack O’Neill Park offers spectacular coastline views and is the latest way visitors can experience the legacy of this legendary surfer and wet suit inventor.


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