Catalina Island Casino

Catalina Casino
Catalina Casino  Image: Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce

The Catalina Casino is the most iconic landmark on Santa Catalina Island and is visible upon first entering the harbor. The Art Deco, circular building is the epitome of style and sophistication and is still the place for most major events and festivities on the island, including the Catalina Island Jazz Festival and the New Year’s Eve Celebration. Catalina Casino history dates back to 1929. Since then, this iconic landmark has been a predominant feature of the island. Many people might think that the Catalina Casino actually has a casino in it, but there is no gambling here, only the Catalina Island Casino ballroom and the marvelous movie theater, as casino was a word in the days of yore for a place such as this. The New Year's Eve Celebrations and the Catalina Island Jazz Festival are two major events that take place here. Weddings are also very popular at the Catalina Island Casino.

The twelve-story building is primarily occupied with the ballroom and the movie theater, but also includes a museum, a bar, and an expansive dance floor within the ballroom. The rose and gold hues on the walls of the Catalina Island Casino ballroom accentuate the formidable, 50-foot ceiling with ornate decorations and chandeliers. It is not difficult to understand why the biggest events are held here and why so many weddings take place here. One tour of Catalina Island Casino and you’ll see what makes this place so special.

The ballroom is rounded out by an awesome, full-service bar in the back. When the music is jamming and the big band is roaring, the dance floor is alive with action and it hearkens back to the glory days of the opening of the Catalina Casino in the 20s and 30s. There was a time when Hollywood and Catalina Island intermingled as the island developed as a resort destination, and there is no better evidence of the islands glamorous past than at the Catalina Island Casino Ballroom.

Catalina Casino history tells us that William Wrigley Jr. (who purchased the entire island and intended to turn it into a vacations resort destination) and David Renton built the Catalina Casino on the location of what was called the Sugarloaf Casino to accommodate the growing number of visitors to the island. The establishment grew in popularity and became a favorite vacation spot for Hollywood celebrities. It was only a matter of time until Catalina Island would be fully developed. Today, there are plenty of hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues to keep everyone who visits happy, even on an island that is only about twenty miles long by eight miles wide.

What is sure is that there are plenty of things to do on Catalina Island, including golfing, diving, and fishing. To create the perfect balance for your trip, you should try to work in some sightseeing on the island as well. Check out the interior and the island’s wildlife including buffalo and bald eagles, or take a trip to Two Harbors or Descanso Beach, but be sure not to miss the iconic Catalina Casino. The modest fee to take a tour of the facility is well worth it, but it would be even better if you travel during a time when you can attend a performance or event at the legendary venue.

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