This month, our little corner of the city will host the largest festival of travel and hospitality in the world. The third annual Airbnb Open, previously held in San Francisco and then Paris, will take place Downtown November 17-19. “The event is really meant to celebrate the transformative nature of travel,” says Chip Conley, Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality, “as well as the transformative nature of being a host, of offering hospitality to someone else in the world.”
Guests and hosts from more than 100 countries will be at the event. Local hosts will open their homes for attendees to visit and give neighborhood tours throughout the city. There will be keynote speeches from Airbnb founders and supporters, including “Eat, Pray Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert, Airbnb enthusiast Gwyneth Paltrow, and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who will discuss topics ranging from hospitality to cultural diversity.
“We think [Downtown] is the most dynamic and evolving part of the greater L.A. area,” Conley says of his location choice for the Open. “It really represents the creative spirit that makes Los Angeles what it is.”
It’s an apt fit: Of all the local spaces listed on Airbnb, the homes and lofts of Downtown tend to capture a segment of the city’s history that other neighborhoods can’t. Some of the city’s oldest landmarks are located here, like Olvera Street, the Bradbury Building, and the Million Dollar Theater, one of the first movie palaces built in the whole country. Yet Downtown is also home to some of the most rapidly evolving developments. Guests looking to stay here will find listings that range from classic industrial to sleek and modern, as well as businesses that reflect our diverse mix of people and cultures. In Downtown, sometimes all of these variations will coexist within just one block. It’s the unique patchwork aesthetic that the entire city is famous for.
“You go to a city like Paris, and you sort of know where to find the landmarks,” Conley says. “But L.A.’s landmarks are less obvious, there are so many hidden treasures. It’s the kind of place where you might really want a host who can show you how to explore the city.”
Yet the Open is not only intended for us and those we host — it’s a way of celebrating and showcasing the entire city, beyond its Airbnb users’ circle. Just the Saturday Night Spotlight alone, a street festival that will include live music, the premiere of the new film “La La Land,” and a Cirque du Soleil performance, might be one of the most fun events in the Broadway District this year.
To check out the event and buy passes, visit airbnbopen.com.
Written by Rayna Jensen
Photographed by Christian Thomas & Air Bnb