The top trends, openings, and exciting developments we're eager to watch around the West this year
1 of 12Photo by Guilian Grenier
San Francisco’s new waterfront
America’s Cup is the premier sailing competition in the world, so when San Francisco was named a host city of the 2013 regatta, it was huge. For the first time in a long time, the city will actually feel like a port town. The northern waterfront (for decades a tangle of dilapidated piers) begins renovations this summer, and two weeks of races kick off in August. americascup.com
The brand-new Western Garden Book hits bookstands in February. This latest edition includes more than 2,000 full-color photos, an all-new PlantFinder, and no-fail gardening tips for flowers, vegetables, natives, and more. Order at sunset.com/wgb.
3 of 12Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Elaine Johnson
Vegan goes gourmet
Flirting with vegan cooking? Cast away any thoughts of bland bowls of tofu and brown rice. The new vegan cooking is all about bold flavors, colors, and textures, like the pictured Cashew, Coconut, and Pumpkin Curry--one of our favorite vegan recipes.
Small, family-run resorts are beloved for short lines and cheap tickets, not amenities. Now that’s changing. Mt. Baker (pictured; $51 lift ticket;mtbaker.us) in the Cascades just added a charming midmountain lodge; Brundage Resort near McCall, Idaho ($55;brundage.com), has a sparkly new restaurant and spa at nearby Shore Lodge. And Utah’s Eagle Point ($50;skieaglepoint.com) reopened with slopeside massages, day lodges, and a high-wattage chef.
5 of 12Written by Johanna Silver
Photo by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
The veggie mother lode
Do not miss the 2nd annual National Heirloom Exposition, September 11-13 in Santa Rosa, CA. You visit with over 250 farmers and producers and taste varieties of vegetables you never knew exists. theheirloomexpo.com
6 of 12Photo by Ebbe Roe Yovino-Smith; written by Elaine Johnson
Good any way you slice it
Move over, cupcakes. The pie craze has us drooling over a new wave of shops serving up everything from savory Frito pie, veggie potpie, and beef and Pinot Noir hand pies to sweet chocolate and peanut butter pie and even pie shakes.
Just when the concept seemed destined to go the way of the Dewey decimal, the new West Hollywood Public Library blows the dust off musty stereotypes of the stacks. Meet the sexy librarian of libraries—part modern art gallery, with splashy Shepard Fairey murals, and part coffee bar/tech hub, with views of the Hollywood Hills. 310/652-5340.
Head to Castroville, CA for the 2nd Succulent Extravaganza On September 30 and October 1 at Succulent Gardens. There'll be tours of the grounds and top experts speaking about some of the most intriguing plants around. sgplants.com/events
9 of 12Photo by Jeffery Cross; written by Elaine Johnson
Beer's got flavor
Something is happening at high-end gastropubs and breweries. Herbs, spices, exotic fruit, and even vegetables like beets and mushrooms are making their way into sophisticated beers. Turns out these special ingredients not only enhance beer's natural flavors, they create some addictive combos that might even beat out wine for food-friendliness.
The summer opening of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure is a big, big deal. The most ambitious addition to the Disney landscape in a decade, the 12-acre Route 66–themed universe draws on the Disney-Pixar Cars blockbusters. Its signature ride is Radiator Springs Racers, which will zoom you through a hopped-up rendition of the Southwest. disney.com
It’s not just a mall. The new City Creek Center, which opens in March, is a complete rethinking of Salt Lake’s urban landscape. Wrecking balls tore down the two city blocks flanking Main Street to make way for the open-air mall (with a retractable roof), reinvigorating Main Street. In the past year, chic restaurants and one-off shops have moved in. shopcitycreekcenter.com