The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival may be the hottest Los Angeles event not in Los Angeles. Each year Angelenos have flocked from the big city to the desert town of Indio for a weekend of unrelenting shows from the hottest musical acts plus art exhibits, eateries and more.
Past events sold out so quickly that organizers have expanded the event to two weekends this year, with the same artists and vendors appearing twice to satisfy demand. The Black Keys lead the lineup on April 13 and 20, with additional performances from Arctic Monkeys, Refused, M83, the Rapture and others. Festival favorite Radiohead headlines the main stage April 14 and 21 with bands such as Bon Iver, the Shins, David Guetta, Miike Snow and Feist supporting. On April 15 and 22, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg end the night after performances from Justice, Florence + the Machine, At the Drive-In and the Hives. Rates are $285 for each three-day weekend pass. Camping pass, $82.50. Empire Polo Field, 81–800 Avenue 51, Indio, 800.745.3000. coachella.com
If you’re planning a road trip out to the concert and need a pit stop along the way, Ra Pour restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga serves chef-driven food and craft cocktails in a chic ambiance, half way between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley. Stop in for one of their Coachella-themed cocktails the entire month of April. Selections include the Arctic Monkeys-inspired R U Mine (bourbon, raspberry vodka and vermouth); Gary Clark Jr.’s Bright Lights (tequila, rum, grand marnier and a lime/pineapple juice flourish); and Gin N Juice (gin and elderflower liqueur with grape garnishes), mixed in honor of Sunday headliners Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Stay for cuisine designed by accomplished local chef Greg Stillman (The French Laundry, Patina Restaurant Group). Stillman pays meticulous attention to detail when it comes to the perfect combination of ingredients in a dish and their presentation. Menu favorites include tempura mushrooms, lobster “pops,” truffled popcorn, ahi tuna and crispy pork belly for appetizers. For mains, try the planked Loch-Duart salmon, chipotle-braised short rib, and Liberty Farms duck breast. The lobster mac and cheese—a sophisticated presentation that features large portions of lobster served on top of mascarpone-enriched orzo—is a must, as are any of the wood-fired pizzas, especially the rock shrimp and pesto; and wild mushrooms, roasted garlic and robiola cheese. Among the desserts, the potato doughnuts and Arbequina olive oil panna cotta top the list.
Ra Pour also offers a Sunday jazz brunch for anyone who may want to bail after Coachella’s stellar Saturday lineup. Brunch fare includes the eclectic list of wood-fired pizzas from the dinner menu, along with standbys like Benedicts, omelets and steak and eggs. Highlights are the duck confit hash, that (in the very true words of our server) is a “confetti of flavor,” combining duck confit, beets, potato, bacon and herbs in the hash that is topped with poached eggs; cinnamon brioche French toast; yogurt parfait with seasonal berries; and chicken and waffles, which, on their own, makes Ra Pour a road trip destination worth stopping for. Ra Pour, Victoria Gardens, 7900 Kew Ave. LT, Suite 5410, Rancho Cucamonga, 909.899.7999. rapourrestaurant.com
If you need to sleep off the weekend, or want a break in the middle of your drive home, Starwood’s W ALoft hotel concept offers a hip-casual option in the area. The rooms come fully equipped with Starwood’s signature beds and Bliss Spa products. Their w xyz bar shakes cocktails all night long and could quite be the center of nightlife in Rancho Cucamonga after Ra Pour’s last call. Aloft Hotels, 10480 East 4th St., Rancho Cucamonga, 909.484.2018. www.aloftontario-rc.com
Find shopping in abundance in and around Rancho Cucamonga. Victoria Gardens, where Ra Pour is located, is an open-air shopping complex inspired by a downtown city center. Macy’s anchors 1.4 million square feet of shopping that also includes stores such as Banana Republic, H&M, Sephora, Urban Outfitters and more. Victoria Gardens, 12505 North Main St., Suite 200, Rancho Cucamonga, 909.463.2830. victoriagardensie.com
Closer to the ALoft hotel, find Ontario Mills; with its 1.7 million square feet, this is California’s largest outlet shopping destination. Among its 200-plus stores are Polo Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, DKNY, Tommy Hilfinger and Calvin Klein, as well as anchors Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack and Last Call by Neiman Marcus—plus a 30 screen cineplex. Ontario Mills, One Mills Circle, Ontario, 909.484.8300. ontariomills.com