Famous for its world-renowned cupola and illuminated by more than 1,400 white lights, the Balboa Pavilion has served as the beacon of Newport Beach for almost a century.
The picturesque Victorian building, which opened in 1905, is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and designated a California landmark. From its early days as a terminal for the Pacific Electric Red Car Line and bathhouse for the stylish bathers to the bowling alley in the building once housed, the Pavilion has been the center for many activities that remain important parts of life in the area today. The Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade celebration, held every December, has floated past the Pavilion since 1908, and the Pavilion hosted the first surfboard riding championship in the United States in 1932. When the Big Band sounds of Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and Stan Kenton echoed across the nation, the Pavilion resounded to the beat of thousands of dancing feet as the Balboa Peninsula became known as the birthplace of a dance that swept the nation: The Balboa Hop.