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Island History/Culture

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Catalina Island History and Culture

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The Enchanted Island Tour lets you discover some of Catalina’s famous residents including Marilyn Monroe’s previous home here in Avalon. You’ll also be enchanted by strange and extraordinary tales of Catalina Island as your experienced guide shares folklore, tales of ghosts and UFO sightings as featured in the book by Jim Watson, “Mysterious Island Catalina.” Traverse Avalon Canyon in a comfortable coach while viewing iconic landmarks such as the Holly Hill House, Wrigley Mansion, and the former spring training site of the Chicago Cubs.

The Avalon Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour will provide you a sneak peek into 6 different restaurants and specialty food shops as you stroll through Avalon for less than 1 mile of walking. Informed, spirited guides will provide insights into the food being served, the history behind the people who prepared it and the location you are visiting. You will encounter the sights, sounds and stories behind our well known historical landmarks, in addition to discovering hidden gems of our enchanted isle’s continuing saga.

Catalina is known for it’s tile and pottery and at Silver Canyon Pottery not only will you will learn all about pottery and tile production past, present and future but you’ll be able to create your own easy to make genuine Catalina tile souvenir.

Tour Catalina’s iconic landmark, the famous Casino Building via the Casino Walking Tour to see and learn about this amazing building and its history. If you’re enchanted by times past when big band leaders were king and “talkie” motion pictures were the latest fad, the Casino Behind The Scenes Tour may be right up your alley.

Chuck Liddell is a Catalina Island native and considered by many to be our town’s Best Historian, offering island insights that are unrivaled in the tour business. Over 30 years of experience and hundreds of raving reviews, his TOUR is considered to be one of the best attractions on Catalina Island.

The Catalina Island Museum‘s mission is straightforward: to collect, preserve and promote the culture and history of Santa Catalina Island and to bring unique exhibitions to Catalina. The museum’s amazing collections are comprised of artifacts from and about Santa Catalina Island. The museum features a large and comprehensive collection of Catalina pottery and tile which was manufactured on the island from 1927-1937. The museum has over 10,000 photographs and negatives documenting island life from the early 1880s to the present day. The museum collection also contains boat models, sport fishing items, artifacts from the island’s steamships and much more. The museum is the repository for all archaeological digs on the island and has one of the largest collections of Tongva and Gabrielino artifacts in the world. Exhibits change regularly, and events occur frequently – check out the current calendar!

Uncover Avalon’s deepest, darkest secrets when you participate in one of these ghost tours. Voted Top Ten Best Ghost Tour in the United States!

It’s true!  Catalina Island has vineyards and even its own bottled wines!  Plans are in place to bring wine tasting to the island soon at the Wrigley family’s El Rancho Escondido in the middle of the island.  In the meantime, you can sample and purchase Catalina Rusack wines at Ristorante Villa Portofino and at CC Gallagher right in Avalon.

Catalina Film Festival, an annual celebration of film on the only California Coast resort island, features more than 90 films, nightly events and entertainment. From Charlie Chaplin to Marilyn Monroe, celebrities and filmmakers flock to Catalina for this special annual event. Films are screened at multiple venues around the island, including the iconic, art deco, 1,200-seat Avalon Theatre— the world’s first sound theatre.

The Catalina Art Association holds one of the longest running and most acclaimed art festivals in California each September, with a smaller version each April.

The Catalina Island Conservancy offers jeep tours out in the interior of the island led by island naturalists with extensive knowledge of the island. Did you know that as a member of the Conservancy you can receive discounts on lodging with us, as well as many other perks and benefits? The Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Gardens is a beautiful and peaceful place to see California island endemic plants (plants which grow naturally on one or more of the California islands, but nowhere else in the world). Many of these plants are extremely rare, and some are on the Endangered Species list. The conservancy also offers the most update information on our island fox and bison, and you can even view our bald eagles via the Eagle Cam.