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Where to Experience the Year of the Centennial Across California

Where to Experience the Year of the Centennial Across California

In 2023, Golden State landmarks and icons are celebrating their 100th year in style

Posted 11 days agoby Allison Hata

In the Roaring Twenties—a time of technological advancement and economic expansion—California was coming into its own. A century later, museums, landmarks, cultural icons, and businesses built in this era of prosperity have achieved legendary status, and many are celebrating that nascent year of 1923 with fun festivities to mark the occasion. From north to south, here’s a look at some of the Golden State’s most exciting centennials and how to experience them, listed south to north.

Torrey Pines Lodge

Not to be confused with the luxe La Jolla resort, this historic structure made from sun-baked adobe bricks was built to be the gateway to San Diego. Once a restaurant, it’s now a ranger station and visitor information center with exhibits showcasing old-time tableware and menus, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve native flora and fauna, and archival photographs.

Disneyland Resort

All aboard Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railroad, a brand-new dark ride that opened in Disneyland Park’s Toontown this year as part of The Walt Disney Company’s Disney100 anniversary celebration. Other Disney100 festivities include World of Color–ONE at Disney California Adventure Park, which introduces Star Wars and Pixar characters to the nighttime water-and-laser spectacular for the first time; the return of the fan-favorite Magic Happens parade; and the new Wondrous Journeys fireworks show.

California Centennials

Ojai Valley Inn

Though it opened as a private country club and golf course, Ojai Valley Inn is now a luxury resort on a 220-acre property in the heart of Ojai. Play a round of golf, book a spa treatment, or dine at the on-site restaurant, Farmhouse, which is featuring a series of guest chef dinners in 2023. Celebrating its centennial in epicurean style, the resort is also hosting the inaugural Ojai Food + Wine Festival from October 26–29, drawing James Beard Award–winning chefs out to the coastal valley for a series of 40 culinary events.

Hollywood Sign

Originally reading “Hollywoodland,” this emblem of Los Angeles sprawling across 400 feet of hillside announced plans this year for a new visitors center that will showcase the sign’s storied history. With no opening date set yet, some of the best ways to see the landmark are to hit the Griffith Park hiking trails on Mount Hollywood or stop by the Griffith Observatory.

Warner Bros. Studios

The Warner Bros. Studios Tour Hollywood has a new exhibit in its welcome center chronicling 100 years of cinematic history. While the exhibit is free to the public, you can hop on a paid tour to see working sound stages, costumes from shows like Game of Thrones, and backlot sets. Candlelight concerts featuring scores and moments from Warner Bros.’ films are also taking place across the Golden State in cities including Los Angeles (May 9), San Diego (May 27), and Sacramento (June 24 and July 21).

Millennium Biltmore Hotel

A favorite of past presidents and A-listers alike, the historic five-star hotel in downtown Los Angeles is ringing in its centennial at a 100th Anniversary Ball in October 2023. Until then, you can book an overnight stay, walk under the opulent frescoes in the Gold Room (a Prohibition-era speakeasy turned event space), or sip afternoon tea in the Rendezvous Court.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Home to countless sporting events, star-studded musical performances, and opening and closing ceremonies for two Olympics, this National Historic Monument is marking its milestone with a Coliseum Forever celebration featuring fan giveaways and special events. In addition to the regular USC Trojans football season, the Hard Summer EDM music festival headlined by Kaskade and Skrillex is returning to the City of Angels August 5–6. Also, the 50th anniversary of the SuperMotocross World Championship is scheduled for September 23.

Steinhart Aquarium

While the original 1923 building has since been torn down and rebuilt, San Francisco’s Steinhart Aquarium continues to care for nearly 40,000 animals as one of the oldest public aquariums in the U.S. If you can’t make it to Golden Gate Park to explore the seven habitat-focused exhibits, California Academy of Sciences—the museum campus on which the aquarium is housed—invites the public to share memories of the last 100 years in a digital scrapbook.

San Francisco Opera

For its centennial season, the oldest surviving opera company on the West Coast planned eight mainstage productions including a new interpretation of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly (June 3–July 1). The San Francisco festivities culminate on June 16 at the 100th Anniversary Concert, which brings together generations of opera stars on one stage. If you’re flying into San Francisco Airport, SFO Museum also has a special centennial exhibition featuring costumes, stage props, and photographs from the opera’s archives.

Redwood Highway

Completed in 1923, the final major slice of Northern California’s most scenic stretch of road connected Crescent City to Eureka. Spot the famous towering trees from the road or head into the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park to enjoy old-growth redwood forests, rugged cliffs, and crashing waves. 

California Winery

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