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California welcomes 2018 with major openings and special milestones

Exciting new attractions, hotel openings and city-wide anniversaries make the New Year a great time to visit the Golden State

Sacramento, Calif. (13 December 2017) – California will welcome visitors with an abundance of new experiences and special events throughout 2018, with major hotel openings, new theme park attractions and milestone anniversary celebrations all on the horizon.

'California’s dream big spirit is reflected in the state’s continual growth and innovation — and 2018 will be no exception,' said Caroline Beteta, president & CEO of Visit California. 'This year is the perfect time to plan an adventure in the Golden State.'

From the openings of beach-front resorts and a seaside rollercoaster, to anniversaries celebrating sparkling cider, wine, baseball, art and more, the New Year brings new reasons to travel to the Golden State. Read below for more details on what’s to come.

For the most up-to-date news, plus fresh trip ideas and destination tips throughout the year, check out Visit California’s new blog, ‘California Now’ at

Major openings

DreamWorks Theatre and Hello Kitty debut at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2018
Universal Studios Hollywood introduces an all-new attraction, DreamWorks Theatre. The newly designed venue will play host to a variety of action-packed DreamWorks Animation themed attractions, beginning with a multi-sensory adventure inspired by the global blockbuster franchise Kung Fu Panda. Hello Kitty, the beloved global pop icon created by the Japanese company Sanrio, also joins Universal Studios Hollywood in 2018.

Exciting new adventures at SeaWorld
Slithering in just in time for summer 2018, Electric Eel, the tallest and fastest rollercoaster in SeaWorld San Diego’s history, will accelerate to more than 60 mph in seconds and rocket 150 feet skyward, with an upside-down view of Mission Bay! Also new for 2018, SeaWorld will be the only place in California where guests can see a new neighbourhood street party parade featuring everyone’s favourite Sesame Street friends in May and June.

First Autograph Collection hotel comes to Los Angeles
Debuting as the first Autograph Collection hotel in Los Angeles, the 26-acre westdrift Manhattan Beach will offers 392 luxury guest rooms, 112 of which also feature private balconies with views of the golf course. The property includes a nine-hole executive golf course, a signature indoor/outdoor restaurant featuring a 360-degree bar, a CrossFit-inspired fitness centre, and more than 35,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meetings and event space.

Lido House opening in Newport Beach
Just steps away from Lido Marina Village, Lido House will debut as an Autograph Collection hotel in Newport Beach this year. The hotel will feature five custom three-story cottages, each styled by a local designer. The property will feature The Mayor’s Table, along with Topside, the only rooftop bar in Newport Beach. Other highlights include a saltwater pool with private cabanas, a luxury fitness centre and Boost Spa.

Marriott Irvine Spectrum debuts in time for 2018
Open last December, Marriott Irvine Spectrum is the only full-service hotel in the Irvine Spectrum area. The property features 271 guest rooms including 50 Premier suites, a full-service restaurant, a 3,500-square-foot rooftop bar, and more than 13,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space. Located within walking distance of Irvine Spectrum Center, the retreat will be a sophisticated urban oasis and the new centrepiece of the Irvine skyline.

Monterey Conference Center reopens
Monterey County celebrated an exciting new year with the grand reopening of the £42 million newly renovated centre.. The conference center, located in the heart of the historic City of Monterey, will be a modern, LEED-certified meeting facility with more than 40,000square feet of flexible meeting space and a capacity of 3,200 people. The facility is adjacent to the newly renovated Portola Hotel & Spa and connected to the Monterey Marriott.

Pasadena to enhance guest experiences in 2018 with multi-million dollar hotel renovations
Pasadena is undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation, more guest rooms, larger meeting spaces and new hotels. Among the changes in store are a £14 million renovation of guest rooms, lobby and meeting spaces at Sheraton Pasadena; an £18 million renovation of guest rooms, lobby, bar and meeting spaces at Hilton Pasadena; a recently completed £8 million guest room beautification at Westin Pasadena; construction of a rooftop pool, meeting space, fitness centre and 30 new rooms at DusitD2 Hotel Constance Pasadena; and a new 186-room upmarket Hyatt Place hotel in Pasadena’s most popular retail and entertainment centre, The Paseo, scheduled for completion by the end of 2018.

Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito will open in summer 2018
Santa Barbara’s highly anticipated beach-front resort, Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito, will open in summer 2018. Spread over nearly 16 acres, the resort will offer 124 guestrooms and 37 suites, many of which will be located in single-story cottages and bungalows. Amenities will include an ocean-facing bar and restaurant, two swimming pools, a Sense® spa, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, and one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in Santa Barbara.

Rugby World Sevens in San Francisco
In July 2018, AT&T Park will host Rugby World Sevens. More than 40 teams from six continents will descend upon San Francisco to play in the biggest rugby event to ever on US soil.

Milestone anniversaries

Cannery Row commemorates 60 years
In 2018, Cannery Row in Monterey will celebrate 60 years since its revitalisation. Formerly a canning district, the 'Sardine Capital of the World' was all-but-abandoned when the sardines disappeared. In 1958, the City of Monterey officially changed the name to 'Cannery Row' in honour of John Steinbeck’s 1945 novel of the same name and the rebirth and transformation began. Today, Cannery Row welcomes approximately four million visitors each year to experience its luxurious waterfront hotels, enticing restaurants and captivating boutiques.

Historic Truckee Monument celebrates 100 years
Standing 22 feet tall to represent how high the snow was in 1846-1847, the iconic Donner Pioneer Monument will celebrate 100 years in 2018. This designated California Historic Landmark honours pioneer families who crossed the Sierra Nevada in search of a better life and is within walking distance of Donner Lake and the new state-of-the-art Donner State Park Museum and Visitor Center.

Martinelli & Company celebrates 150 years
2018 marks S. Martinelli & Company’s 150th anniversary. Founded in 1868 and still family-owned and operated, this well-known juice producer is headquartered in agriculture-rich Watsonville in Santa Cruz County. Visitors can sample Martinelli’s juices, sparkling ciders, mulling spices and limited-edition products in a family-friendly tasting room, while learning about its history. Once producing champagne cider using apples from California’s first commercial orchards, Martinelli’s shifted production once prohibition was enacted.

City of Watsonville's 150th anniversary
The City of Watsonville is also celebrating 150 years in 2018 and will host a Birthday Celebration rel="noopener noreferrer" on 30 March 2018. Visit for a complete list of other events throughout the year celebrating south Santa Cruz county’s rich history and cultures.

Laguna Art Museum celebrates 100 years
Unlike any other museum in the state, Laguna Art Museum collects only California art. The museum traces its origins to the Laguna Beach Art Association, formed in 1918 with artist Edgar Payne as president. In 1929, headed by Laguna Beach painter Anna Hills, the LBAA opened a grand, custom-built gallery which survives within the present museum building. The museum offers art education, presenting programmes in music, dance and film as well as the visual arts. To celebrate this legacy, the museum is hosting a year-long series of exhibitions, special events, programmes and celebrations.

Oakland A’s celebrate 50 years in 2018
The Oakland Athletics will celebrate their 50th anniversary in Oakland with a season-long celebration, including appearances by A’s alumni, special promotions, events and giveaways. On 17 April 2018 – exactly 50 years after the A’s inaugural game at the Coliseum – the anniversary celebration continues with a 7.05 pm game against the Chicago White Sox that will be free for all fans.

Temecula Valley Wine Country celebrates 50 years
Temecula Valley Wine Country celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, recognising the people, passion and perseverance that has made this Southern California destination a globally recognised and respected wine region. There will be special promotions and events all year long. Everyone is invited to come and celebrate their 50th and receive a special souvenir. #cheersto50years

Visit California is a non-profit organisation with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programmes – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-the-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, spending by travellers totalled £90.5 billion in 2016 in California, generating 1.1 million jobs in the state and £7.4 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California and for a free rel="noopener noreferrer" California Official State rel="noopener noreferrer" Visitor's Guide, go to For rel="noopener noreferrer" story ideas, media information, rel="noopener noreferrer" downloadable images, video and more, go to


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