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The Catalina Casino has been the focal point of Santa Catalina Island entertainment and culture since it opened in 1929. Built in just 14 months by crews commissioned by William Wrigley Jr and the Santa Catalina Island Company, the Casino dominates the Avalon landscape from its regal perch along the harbor. The Casino exemplifies the style and romance of Catalina Island, and has become a premier Southern California location for weddings and special events.
The Catalina Casino gets its name from the Italian language, where “casino” means: a place of gathering or entertainment. There is no gambling at this facility. Rather, the massive twelve-story architectural wonder is divided into three levels, housing an art deco movie theater on the first floor, classic mezzanine on the second floor, and a spectacular grand ballroom on the top floor.
Completely restored just a few years ago, the ballroom retains its original romantic style, including the world's largest circular wooden dance floor at 15,000 square feet, a lavish medley of rose-hued walls, an arching fifty-foot ceiling with five Tiffany chandeliers, an elevated stage, raised seating areas around the dance floor, and a vintage full-service bar in back. Restored to its original condition, the Art Deco, circular icon is a stunning reminder of Catalina’s glorious past, when thousands gathered there to dance to the sounds of the nation's most popular big bands.
Today the Casino hosts most of Catalina’s major indoor events, including major concerts, special parties, the annual New Year’s Eve Celebration, and the Catalina Island Jazz Festival. Tours of the Catalina Casino are available daily through Discovery Tours. First-run movies are shown nightly on the big screen, which raises to the ceiling on occaision to make way for live stage performances.
The building also houses the Catalina Island Museum, an art gallery, workout gym, and scuba center.