Events + Tours

Downtown Walking Tours

A Walk Through History

Every Saturday at 10 am
Free tours on April 8, 15, 22, 29

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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:

The 1875 Rapp Saloon, which opened the year the city was founded and 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.

Builders Exchange detail 2

Photo Credit:  Brian Thomas Jones.

The Bay Cities Guaranty Building, the city’s first skyscraper, a soaring Art Deco landmark with its signature clock tower.


Photo Credit:  Brian Thomas Jones.

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.

Three Ways to Tour Downtown

1. Docent-guided walking tours at 10AM every Saturday morning.
Location:  1436 Second Street (between Broadway and Santa Monica Boulevard)
Reservations are suggested. Gift certificates are now available. Please contact

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2. Self-guided Tour booklets are available for $3 at the following Santa Monica Travel and Tourism sites: Main Visitors Center (2427 Main Street), Visitor Information Cart (1300 block of Third Street Promenade), and the Palisades Park Kiosk (1400 Ocean Avenue).  Click here for information on these centers.

3. 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.

OrangeThis tour is sponsored by Downtown Santa Monica Inc., a public-private management company that promotes the economic stability, growth and community life within Downtown Santa Monica and the Third Street Promenade.