Shopping and Entertainment on Catalina Island

Shopping and entertainment on Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island has been a cherished Southern California vacation destination for over a century. Though the island is just 22 miles long by 8 miles wide, it offers a variety of unique shopping and entertainment that will delight visitors.

In Avalon, the island’s main town, you’ll find boutique shops, art galleries, spas, and tour operators with cozy cafes and bistros. The historic Catalina Casino provides an iconic backdrop for entertainment, from movies to nightclubs. Whether you seek pampering, adventure, or leisurely browsing, Catalina serves it all up with style.

Shopping Avalon’s Boutiques for Island Souvenirs 

Strolling along Avalon’s palm tree-lined streets, such as Crescent Avenue and Metropole Street, offers glimpses of charming storefronts brimming with coastal flair. The island has no large chain shops, only intimate independents. Boutiques sell stylish fashions, island-themed gifts, jewelry, art, and souvenirs.

Catalina Island Shopping

Notable stops include:

  • Island Jewels: The name fits this upscale jewelry boutique, which carries beautiful island-inspired pieces, from classic pearls to creative geode pendants using stones found on Catalina beaches. 
  • Lloyd’s of Avalon: This staple island clothier has sold preppy resort apparel and accessories for the whole family since 1939. 
  • Steamer Trunk: This shop packs nostalgic 1920s to 50s vintage home goods and clothing into steamer trunks, suitcases, and shelves.
  • The Brown Bear: Custom monogrammed shirts and preppy island lifestyle apparel make this Avalon favorite a perfect place for souvenirs.

Don’t overlook toy stores like Z Human’s Galleria Del Re and scholarly browsing at bookstores like Catalina Island Museum Gallery. For art, visit watercolorist Stan Gildred’s studio or Catalina Island Gallery showcasing amazing pieces.  

Popular Shopping Destinations on Catalina Island

When you visit Catalina Island, you’ll discover a variety of shops that offer everything from unique local artifacts to luxury items.

Shopping and entertainment on Catalina Island

Here’s a brief overview of some popular shopping spots that you might want to explore:

Crescent Avenue

Also known as Front Street, this is the main drag in Avalon and your go-to destination for island souvenirs, clothing, and specialty items. Stroll along and stop by the many boutiques and art galleries.

  • Catalina Island Museum Store: Pick up island-inspired gifts and books.
  • Buoys and Gulls: Perfect for Catalina-themed apparel and accessories.

Metropole Market Place

A charming avenue with a distinct European flair, where you can discover a variety of shops nestled in the courtyards.

  • Catalina Bath & Body: Indulge in locally made bath products.
  • The Steamer Trunk: Find resort wear and a selection of fine jewelry.

Avalon Bay

Experience the waterfront shopping with an impressive view of the harbor.

  • Latitude 33: Known for its collection of sportswear and casual fashion.
  • The Shops at Atwater: Offers a mix of dining options and local shops where you can purchase everything from island sweets to arts and crafts.

The Island Plaza

Located at the heart of Avalon, this plaza is a hub for visitors looking to shop for gifts and keepsakes.

  • The Catalina Pottery Bath & Body: Features artisan soaps and skincare.
  • Two’s Company of Avalon: A go-to spot for unique jewelry and decor items.

Remember, these are just a few highlights; there’s much more to explore. Happy shopping!

Top Entertainment Venues on Catalina Island

When you visit Catalina Island, you’re in for various entertainment experiences. Here’s a rundown of some top venues:

Shopping and entertainment on Catalina Island

Catalina Casino Ballroom 

Just above the Avalon Theatre, the Casino Ballroom is noteworthy for its size (being the largest circular ballroom in the world) and for its lavish ambiance. This venue hosts many events, dances, and festivals.

Avalon Theatre 

Located in the historic Casino Building, the Avalon Theatre offers a stunning 1929 Art Deco environment. You can watch first-run movies while sitting under a ceiling depicting a starry sky.

Two Harbors 

Venture to the other side of the island to discover a more laid-back entertainment scene. Two Harbors often hosts live music and beach parties, particularly during the summer months.

Descanso Beach Club 

This outdoor space lets you enjoy live music with your toes in the sand. Sip a cocktail at the beachside bar or relax in a private cabana.

Shopping and entertainment on Catalina Island
VenueType of entertainmentNote
Avalon TheatreMoviesHistoric setting
Catalina Casino BallroomLive events & dancesIconic location
Descanso Beach ClubLive musicBeachside atmosphere
Two HarborsSeasonal parties & musicRelaxed vibe

Each venue offers a unique experience, enriching your Catalina Island visit with local culture and lively entertainment.

Treating Yourself at Island Spas, Salons, and Fitness Studios

With Catalina’s laidback vibe, what better place to indulge in relaxing spa treatments? In Avalon, Joseph Anthony Retreat Spa offers soothing massages, facials, body treatments, and full-day packages in a luxurious cliffside setting. Or visit Island Spa Catalina for a massage in an outdoor cabana overlooking the sea. 

Shopping and entertainment on Catalina Island

Get beachy waves or an updo at island salons like Studio Soho before a night out. Stop into Island Nail Spa for a mani-pedi using organic products. The Kosmos Wellness Collective space has yoga, spin classes, and other island-inspired fitness activities.

Visitors can also pamper themselves at the Island Spa Catalina suite at the Pavilion Hotel. The spacious private spa area allows you to rejuvenate in the outdoor jacuzzi, dry sauna, and steam showers without leaving your room.

Immersing in Avalon’s Arts and Culture Scene 

The Catalina Island Museum exhibits 7,000 years of island history through interactive and engaging displays. The Catalina Art Association Gallery represents over 100 local artists across mediums like painting, photography, jewelry, and ceramics.

Shopping and entertainment on Catalina Island

Check event listings for gallery openings, art classes, and cultural performances at the Avalon Theatre. Enjoy art walks around town hosted by local artists and historians who share insights. The Catalina Culture Pass offers discounted admission and special offers at various island arts institutions and events.

Visitor participation in art-making is encouraged at the Glass Blowing Studio. Take a class to shape your own ornament. Make classic pottery and tiles with a scenic ferry ride to picturesque Two Harbors and Silver Canyon Pottery’s hands-on classes. 

Teeing Off on Catalina’s Iconic Golf Course

Golf has been played on Catalina Island since the 1890s when wild goats trimmed grass. Today, the impeccably manicured Catalina Country Club still incorporates the original 1891 course layout by golf champion “Long Jim” Barnes. 

Shopping and entertainment on Catalina Island

Situated high above Avalon’s town, the 18-hole course takes you from elevated greens down to fairways along rugged canyon cliffs and sparkling Pacific panoramas. Electric golf carts assist in navigating the hilly and winding terrain. On clear days, you might spot offshore whales and dolphins between shots.

The clubhouse has an 1880s ambiance with many vintage photos. Enjoy lunch on the veranda, soaking in one-of-a-kind golfing views. Catalina Country Club is a bucket list course for true golf fans with its long legacy, memorable setting, and famous past members like Winston Churchill.

Movies, Dancing, Bowling, and More at the Catalina Casino 

Opened in 1929 under the ownership of William Wrigley Jr., the Catalina Casino was never a gambling hall but rather a hub for entertainment. Today, the 12,000-square-foot space still hosts an array of events. 

Shopping and entertainment on Catalina Island

Catch classic and contemporary movies screened in the Casino’s lavish Avalon Theatre, the first theater in the world built for talkies. Attend a live concert in the towering circular ballroom under its retractable roof. Bowl a strike in style at the glossy two-lane Catalina Casino Bowling Alley. 

The Casino also contains the Catalina Island Museum, upscale eateries like Avalon Grille, shopping boutiques, and secret tunnels used for Prohibition-era smuggling. With elaborate Art Deco style and neon accents throughout, exploring the Casino transports you to Catalina’s glamorous former grandeur.

Catalina After Dark: Bars, Clubs, Music and Nightlife

When the sun sets on Catalina, Avalon comes alive with intimate hangouts, local dive bars, wine tastings, dancing, and more. Relax with a craft cocktail and panoramic sunset views on the deck at Bluewater Avalon. Or head to Luau Larry’s, with its kitschy tiki-themed decor, for tropical drinks like a Tangaroa Zombie. 

Shopping and entertainment on Catalina Island

Later in the evening, dance the night away with live music and DJs inside the artfully illuminated Avalon Casino Ballroom. You might catch acts like Pink Martini or Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. For a quieter nightcap, cozy around Avalon’s first fire pit at The Sandtrap.

Live local music often plays at Avalon haunts like El Galleon, The Locker Room, or PJs Village Inn. Or get competitive at the 143-year-old bar The Hutch with pool, shuffleboard, dartboards, and good old-fashioned tabletop games. However you choose to spend it, an evening in Avalon offers a lively conclusion to your island adventures.

Still have questions? Check out these answers to some commonly asked questions. 

Does Catalina Island have stores?

Yes, Catalina Island has a variety of stores, particularly in the main town of Avalon. Visitors can find shops selling souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, art, and other unique items inspired by the island’s culture and natural beauty.  

Does Catalina have a nightlife?

Yes, Catalina Island offers a vibrant nightlife scene, especially in Avalon. Visitors can enjoy lively bars and pubs, intimate live music venues, and dazzling cabaret shows. The island also hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year that extend into the night, offering a unique blend of entertainment and community spirit.

Can you walk everywhere in Catalina?

Catalina Island is very pedestrian-friendly. Avalon’s compact size makes it easy to explore on foot, with most attractions, shops, restaurants, and natural wonders within walking distance of each other. Visitors can enjoy scenic walks along the beach, coastal trails, and the charming streets of the town. 

What does Catalina have to offer?

Catalina Island offers a wide range of activities and experiences for visitors, including:

  • Stunning natural beauty: Catalina Island boasts breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters that invite visitors to explore and relax.
  • Outdoor adventures: The island offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and zip-lining.
  • Rich history and culture: Catalina Island has a fascinating history and a vibrant cultural scene, which visitors can explore through museums, guided tours, and cultural events.
  • Unique shopping and dining: The island’s shops offer a variety of distinctive souvenirs, artwork, and clothing, while its restaurants showcase delicious local cuisine and fresh seafood.
  • Vibrant nightlife: Catalina Island’s lively bars, live music venues, and cabaret shows offer visitors entertaining nightlife options.
  • Relaxation and rejuvenation: With its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful surroundings, and various wellness activities, Catalina Island is the perfect destination for those seeking to unwind and recharge.

Can I take art classes on Catalina Island?

Yes, the Catalina Island Art Association offers regular pottery, painting, jewelry-making, photography, and more. The Glass Blowing Studio has ornament-making classes. 

How difficult is the Catalina Country Club golf course?

The hilly terrain makes it challenging but playable for average golfers. Carts ease walking difficulties. Beginners may prefer the par-3 Wrigley Memorial Golf Course.

Are there nightclubs and dancing in Avalon?

Yes, Catalina Casino’s ballroom regularly hosts DJs and bands. Other late-night options include lively bars like El Galleon that often have music and dancing.

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