Downtown Walking Tours: A Walk Through History

This event is in the past
February 21 10:00am – 12:00pm, 2015
1436 Second Street Santa Monica, CA 90401

Explore more than 130 years of Santa Monica history in approximately two hours and six blocks. Learn about Santa Monica from its Wild West frontier beginnings to the sophisticated metropolis of today. Take a closer look at the civic leaders whose vision built the growing city, and experience downtown’s diverse architectural heritage, including:

small builders exchange

Builder’s Exchange; photo credit Brian Thomas Jones

  • The 1875 Rapp Saloon, opened the year the city was founded, later served as the first city hall. Having passed through many adaptive reuses in its long life, today it is incorporated into the Hostelling International facility.
  • The Majestic Theatre, later the Mayfair, the city’s first theater built to showcase the nascent film industry, which used the city for film locations.
  • The Keller Block, a splendid example of Romanesque Revival architecture.
  • The Builders Exchange, a restored Churrigueresque/Spanish Revival building, with intact decorative interiors.
  • The Bay Cities Guaranty Building, the city’s first skyscraper, a soaring Art Deco landmark with its signature clock tower.
  • The El Miro Theater, an exuberant Art Deco/Streamline Moderne creation that became the centerpiece for the revitalization of the old mall into the Third Street Promenade.



  • Docent-guided walking tours at 10AM every Saturday morning.
    Location:  1436 Second Street (between Broadway and Santa Monica Boulevard)
    Reservations are suggested.

Please contact for Walking Tour gift certificates.

  • Self-guided Tour booklets are currently out of print, and will not currently be available at the Visitors Center, the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) sites at the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade, and the Hostelling International Travel Store until spring.
  • Group Tours may be booked by special appointment. Leave a message at 310-496-3146 or send email to at least two weeks in advance.


If you are making a reservation on Friday or Saturday, please call 310-496-3146 and leave a message rather than sending an email.