More Hello Kitty Cafes coming to North America as character celebrates 50th anniversary


As Hello Kitty celebrates her 50th anniversary this year, parent company Sanrio is bringing a slew of programs and experiences for U.S. fans, including new Hello Kitty Cafe openings across North America.

Breaking the news: Sanrio announced its plans in a press release Thursday to mark the beloved Japanese anthropomorphic cat’s 50th birthday. It remains to be seen where, when and how many of the new cafes will open.

At present, there are three branches of the Hello Kitty Cafe in the U.S.: a Grand Cafe store in Irvine, California, which opened on Sept. 14, 2018, and two others in Las Vegas at MGM’s The Park and Fashion Show Las Vegas, which opened on July 12, 2019, and July 8, 2022, respectively.

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Other surprises: Sanrio also announced a "supercute" art exhibit in Los Angeles, exclusive collaborations, limited-edition products and special appearances by Hello Kitty at major sporting events. Online, fans can expect original content on the "Hello Kitty and Friends" YouTube channel, new Hello Kitty metaverse experiences on “Roblox” and celebrations in “Hello Kitty Island Adventure” on Apple Arcade, to name a few.

A cherished history: Designed by illustrator Yuko Shimizu in 1974, Hello Kitty made her first appearance as a character on a coin purse for young girls in 1975. She arrived in the U.S. in the mid-'70s.

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The adorable character, originally depicted as a white cat with a red bow on her head, has been credited as one of the driving forces for the growth of Japan's "kawaii" culture in the '80s and '90s. Since then, her impact has been global, spawning TV shows, films, video games and countless products, from school supplies to wines to even jets.


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