Destination Main Streets

Avalon (Catalina Island), California

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The city of Avalon is located on Santa Catalina Island (Catalina Island for short), one of the Channel Islands, off the coast of southern California, about 22 miles from Los Angeles. In the early twentieth century, many developers attempted to develop the area into a resort destination but most failed. In 1919, chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley, Jr. gained control of Avalon and oversaw its development, including construction of the Catalina Casino.

Avalon is the only incorporated city on Catalina Island and is the southernmost city in Los Angeles County. Most people get to the island by sea. Cruise ships and ferries visit the island regularly. Ferries leave from San Pedro, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Dana Point. Once you arrive in Avalon, it is only a short walk to the area's Main Street, which is Crescent Avenue, where you will find the shops and restaurants. There is plenty to do on the island just like any other resort area, so don't be afraid to pack a bag and book a room. You'll find beaches, golf, hiking, biking, museums, fishing, scuba diving, and more. The Visitor Centers are located where you board and disembark from the ferries and can provide you with plenty of additional details so get ready to have fun.

Photo Gallery Tour

Okay, we start our tour of Avalon, not in Avalon, but in downtown Long Beach, California, where we had to pick up the ferry to take us out to Catalina Island, where the city of Avalon is located.
Okay, we start our tour of Avalon, not in Avalon, but in downtown Long Beach, California, where we had to pick up the ferry to take us out to Catalina Island, where the city of Avalon is located.
Here is a picture of the Catalina Express, the ferry, that took us out to Catalina Island, home to Avalon, California, the town we will be featuring in this Photo Gallery Tour.
Here is a picture of the Catalina Express, the ferry, that took us out to Catalina Island, home to Avalon, California, the town we will be featuring in this Photo Gallery Tour.
And as the sign says, "Welcome to Avalon."  This is where we will return to later to take the ferry back to the main land.
And as the sign says, "Welcome to Avalon." This is where we will return to later to take the ferry back to the main land.
In the distance is a Carnival cruise ship, which makes frequent stops on Catalina Island.
In the distance is a Carnival cruise ship, which makes frequent stops on Catalina Island.
Across Avalon Bay, we can see the Catalina Island Casino & Avalon Theater.  Don't let the name fool you.  The place gets its name from the Italian term for "gathering place."  There is actually no gambling allowed here.  Today the building contains a movie theater and a ballroom.  We'll end our tour there later as we curve around the bay.
Across Avalon Bay, we can see the Catalina Island Casino & Avalon Theater. Don't let the name fool you. The place gets its name from the Italian term for "gathering place." There is actually no gambling allowed here. Today the building contains a movie theater and a ballroom. We'll end our tour there later as we curve around the bay.
Here is another view of Avalon Bay.  This time we see the boats, yachts, and other pleasure craft docked in the harbor.
Here is another view of Avalon Bay. This time we see the boats, yachts, and other pleasure craft docked in the harbor.
This is a view back on land, heading away from the ferry terminal.  You can see many of the visitors have even brought their luggage with them since many are staying over.  Signs by the local civic organizations welcome the visitors.
This is a view back on land, heading away from the ferry terminal. You can see many of the visitors have even brought their luggage with them since many are staying over. Signs by the local civic organizations welcome the visitors.
Here is a statue of Old Ben, a large and unusually friendly seal that would frequent the area from 1898 into the 1920s.  As the plaque details, he would affably pose for snapshots on the Pleasure Pier and accept a raw fish snack in payment.
Here is a statue of Old Ben, a large and unusually friendly seal that would frequent the area from 1898 into the 1920s. As the plaque details, he would affably pose for snapshots on the Pleasure Pier and accept a raw fish snack in payment.
As we approach the main shopping district this is a view looking up one of the side streets, Claressa Avenue.  You can see the beautiful mountains of Catalina Island in the distance.  Also, notice the electric cars parked along the curb.  You'll find many of these on Catalina Island.
As we approach the main shopping district this is a view looking up one of the side streets, Claressa Avenue. You can see the beautiful mountains of Catalina Island in the distance. Also, notice the electric cars parked along the curb. You'll find many of these on Catalina Island.
This is a view of Crescent Avenue as viewed from the beach.  Crescent Avenue is Avalon's Main Street.  It gets its name from the crescent shape it takes as it curves around Avalon Bay.  On one side of the street are shops and restaurants and on the other is the white sandy beach.  Notice in the distance the houses perched along the steep cliffs.
This is a view of Crescent Avenue as viewed from the beach. Crescent Avenue is Avalon's Main Street. It gets its name from the crescent shape it takes as it curves around Avalon Bay. On one side of the street are shops and restaurants and on the other is the white sandy beach. Notice in the distance the houses perched along the steep cliffs.
Here is yet another view looking out at Avalon Bay.  Here you can see the boats, yachts, cruise ships and ferries.  This is pretty much your view while shopping along Crescent Avenue in Avalon on Catalina Island.
Here is yet another view looking out at Avalon Bay. Here you can see the boats, yachts, cruise ships and ferries. This is pretty much your view while shopping along Crescent Avenue in Avalon on Catalina Island.
And this is a view looking northwest along Crescent Avenue.  You can see the shops, restaurants, and hotels on the left.  On the right is the beach and in the distance are the scenic mountains.  As the sign states, this stretch of Crescent Avenue is pedestrian only.  They pretty much don't allow anything else, including dogs.
And this is a view looking northwest along Crescent Avenue. You can see the shops, restaurants, and hotels on the left. On the right is the beach and in the distance are the scenic mountains. As the sign states, this stretch of Crescent Avenue is pedestrian only. They pretty much don't allow anything else, including dogs.
Here is another view looking back.  The white house with the red dome in the hills is known as the Holly Hill House and was built in 1890 in the Queen Anne style of architecture.  It was built by Peter Gano, a civil engineer, who developed the water systems for Pasadena and Altadena.  When completed his fiancée balked at moving to the island, so he chose the house over his fiancée.
Here is another view looking back. The white house with the red dome in the hills is known as the Holly Hill House and was built in 1890 in the Queen Anne style of architecture. It was built by Peter Gano, a civil engineer, who developed the water systems for Pasadena and Altadena. When completed his fiancée balked at moving to the island, so he chose the house over his fiancée.
This is a row of shops and restaurants as seen from the beach.  On the left is a hotel that comes right up to the beach.  Landscaping and benches are also built right on the beach.
This is a row of shops and restaurants as seen from the beach. On the left is a hotel that comes right up to the beach. Landscaping and benches are also built right on the beach.
Here is a close up view of the hotel along with its courtyard area.  Space heaters are installed for when it will get cooler in the evening after the sun goes down.
Here is a close up view of the hotel along with its courtyard area. Space heaters are installed for when it will get cooler in the evening after the sun goes down.
The Green Pleasure Pier juts out into Avalon Bay.  This is where you can go to grab a snack or a beer or just watch people fish.  Small boats dock here so you can also grab an excursion such as one with the Catalina Island Undersea Expedition.  You'll find public restrooms here as well.
The Green Pleasure Pier juts out into Avalon Bay. This is where you can go to grab a snack or a beer or just watch people fish. Small boats dock here so you can also grab an excursion such as one with the Catalina Island Undersea Expedition. You'll find public restrooms here as well.
Another view of the Green Pleasure Pier.  They were filming some sort of travel show while we were there.  Catalina Island must be very popular, we saw more than one filming crew that day.
Another view of the Green Pleasure Pier. They were filming some sort of travel show while we were there. Catalina Island must be very popular, we saw more than one filming crew that day.
This is the intersection of Catalina Avenue and Crescent Avenue.  Signs mark the location of out of the way shops, restaurants, and other services for visitors.
This is the intersection of Catalina Avenue and Crescent Avenue. Signs mark the location of out of the way shops, restaurants, and other services for visitors.
This is a view looking up Catalina Avenue away from Crescent Avenue and the beach.  You can see the mountains rising in the distance.
This is a view looking up Catalina Avenue away from Crescent Avenue and the beach. You can see the mountains rising in the distance.
Here is a view of more shops and restaurants and another large hotel along Crescent Avenue.  Notice the benches and the information kiosk off to the right.
Here is a view of more shops and restaurants and another large hotel along Crescent Avenue. Notice the benches and the information kiosk off to the right.
And as we head northwest along Crescent Avenue, we continue to take the time to look back at the views "across the street."  It's well worth it.  Here we see the Green Pleasure Pier, the water, the beach, plenty of palm trees and even the hills off in the distance.
And as we head northwest along Crescent Avenue, we continue to take the time to look back at the views "across the street." It's well worth it. Here we see the Green Pleasure Pier, the water, the beach, plenty of palm trees and even the hills off in the distance.
As we continue along, we pass by more shops, eateries, and also more hotels.
As we continue along, we pass by more shops, eateries, and also more hotels.
Visitors who probably just got off the ferry walk past gift shops, wheeling their luggage along side them.
Visitors who probably just got off the ferry walk past gift shops, wheeling their luggage along side them.
We get to the corner of Crescent Avenue and Sumner Avenue where we see a drug store and other shops.
We get to the corner of Crescent Avenue and Sumner Avenue where we see a drug store and other shops.
This is a view looking up Sumner Avenue with shops and restaurants on either side.
This is a view looking up Sumner Avenue with shops and restaurants on either side.
Here is a picture of a restaurant on Sumner Avenue in Avalon on Catalina Island.  Check out the airplane coming through that window.
Here is a picture of a restaurant on Sumner Avenue in Avalon on Catalina Island. Check out the airplane coming through that window.
The plants in this shot could use a little love, but besides that the street signage is pretty fancy in the area, complete with benches too.
The plants in this shot could use a little love, but besides that the street signage is pretty fancy in the area, complete with benches too.
Some more boutiques and galleries along Sumner Avenue in Avalon, California on Catalina Island.
Some more boutiques and galleries along Sumner Avenue in Avalon, California on Catalina Island.
Here is another view of Sumner Avenue in Avalon, California.  Of course you want pizza when you're this close to the beach.  And there are some more of those electric cars you see all over Catalina Island.
Here is another view of Sumner Avenue in Avalon, California. Of course you want pizza when you're this close to the beach. And there are some more of those electric cars you see all over Catalina Island.
We make it back down to Crescent Avenue.  This ends the portion that is pedestrian only.  The signs warn you to move over to the sidewalks and not to walk out into traffic.  And, oh yeah, don't forget to throw away your trash.
We make it back down to Crescent Avenue. This ends the portion that is pedestrian only. The signs warn you to move over to the sidewalks and not to walk out into traffic. And, oh yeah, don't forget to throw away your trash.
This area is known as Wrigley Plaza and this is a memorial to Carl "Mr. Big" Bailey called the World's First Seagoing Disc Jockey as he would broadcast while sailing in Avalon Bay.  Behind the memorial is an upscale seafood restaurant with waterfront views.
This area is known as Wrigley Plaza and this is a memorial to Carl "Mr. Big" Bailey called the World's First Seagoing Disc Jockey as he would broadcast while sailing in Avalon Bay. Behind the memorial is an upscale seafood restaurant with waterfront views.
We continue along Crescent Avenue and find more gift shops and art galleries.  Up ahead we even see a day spa.
We continue along Crescent Avenue and find more gift shops and art galleries. Up ahead we even see a day spa.
If we turn left, we look up Metropole Avenue and see more shops and even a grocery store in the distance.  To the right is the Metropole Hotel.
If we turn left, we look up Metropole Avenue and see more shops and even a grocery store in the distance. To the right is the Metropole Hotel.
Here is another view of the Metropole Hotel with balconies above and shops on the ground floor.
Here is another view of the Metropole Hotel with balconies above and shops on the ground floor.
Inside the Metropole Hotel you'll find a courtyard with more shops and even an arcade.
Inside the Metropole Hotel you'll find a courtyard with more shops and even an arcade.
Also inside the Metropole Hotel courtyard area along with the shops, there are also cafes and even live music.
Also inside the Metropole Hotel courtyard area along with the shops, there are also cafes and even live music.
We reach another plaza where we see the Hotel Villa Portofino.  That retro bus coming down the hill adds a nice touch as well.
We reach another plaza where we see the Hotel Villa Portofino. That retro bus coming down the hill adds a nice touch as well.
Also, in the plaza, we see a couple drive past in an electric car.  You can rent them while on Catalina Island and take a tour of the area, which is exactly what we did while we were there.
Also, in the plaza, we see a couple drive past in an electric car. You can rent them while on Catalina Island and take a tour of the area, which is exactly what we did while we were there.
Here is a view of Avalon nestled in between the hills of Catalina Island.  This was a picture I took while we were driving one of those rented electric cars.  Below you can see the Crescent Avenue, the Green Pleasure Pier, and Avalon Bay.
Here is a view of Avalon nestled in between the hills of Catalina Island. This was a picture I took while we were driving one of those rented electric cars. Below you can see the Crescent Avenue, the Green Pleasure Pier, and Avalon Bay.
After that slight detour we're back in town right where we left off.  Via Casino is the name of the pathway leading towards the Catalina Island Casino & Avalon Theater.
After that slight detour we're back in town right where we left off. Via Casino is the name of the pathway leading towards the Catalina Island Casino & Avalon Theater.
Along the way, we pass the Tuna Club of Avalon.  The private club dates back to the nineteenth century but the building dates back to 1916.  It may look familiar.  It was used as a filming location for the movie Chinatown where it was renamed the Albacore Club.
Along the way, we pass the Tuna Club of Avalon. The private club dates back to the nineteenth century but the building dates back to 1916. It may look familiar. It was used as a filming location for the movie Chinatown where it was renamed the Albacore Club.
Here is another view looking across Avalon Bay, this time from the northwest side of the bay.
Here is another view looking across Avalon Bay, this time from the northwest side of the bay.
We're getting closer to the Catalina Island Casino.  The movie theater is on the ground floor and the ballroom is on the upper floor.  The building is as tall as an eleven or twelve story building.
We're getting closer to the Catalina Island Casino. The movie theater is on the ground floor and the ballroom is on the upper floor. The building is as tall as an eleven or twelve story building.
Here is a closer look at the Casino, which opened in 1929.  You can see some of the impressive tile work and its Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival influences.  Many move studio tycoons would yacht out to the casino to preview their movies in this theater, such as Cecil B. DeMille, Louis B. Mayer, and Samuel Goldwyn.  We will end our tour here, but there is still a lot to take in on this island.
Here is a closer look at the Casino, which opened in 1929. You can see some of the impressive tile work and its Art Deco and Mediterranean Revival influences. Many move studio tycoons would yacht out to the casino to preview their movies in this theater, such as Cecil B. DeMille, Louis B. Mayer, and Samuel Goldwyn. We will end our tour here, but there is still a lot to take in on this island.

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