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10 “Must See” Laguna Beach Landmarks

Published: 02/01/2016
1. 2nd Smallest Church in the World - St. Francis by the Sea is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the second smallest Catholic Church in the world. The church was built in 1933 with rubble salvaged from the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, and has a total of 42 seats. The National Sick Cell Sets Museum (Last Rites) is housed in the choir loft. It is located at 430 Park Ave.

2. Whaling Wall - Wyland, the world-famous marine artist, posted his first Whaling Wall on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, not more than 100 yards from the very place he'd seen gray whales as a child in 1970. The mural was dedicated on July 9, 1981 by Mrs. John Wayne. Since then it was repainted in 1986 and then tiled in 1996. It is located at 509 South Coast Highway.

3. Heisler Park - Located just north of Main Beach, it offers spectacular views of the Laguna Beach coastline. Enjoy a half-mile walk along the paved path, relax with a picnic on the grass, or gather for a barbecue. In 2011, a sculpture incorporating two metal beams salvaged from World Trade Center debris was installed here. Artist Jorg Dubin designed "Semper Memento," which also links the Twin Towers to The Pentagon and the Pennsylvania field where Flight 93 crashed. The Park is also home to "Monument Point," dedicated to service veterans. One of its plaques (placed here in 1977) denotes a time capsule, which is scheduled to be opened on May 30, 2027.

4. Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters - Voted one of the top three festivals in the U.S., this festival has been a summer tradition for more than 80 years. Held at the Festival of Arts grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road.

5. Hotel Laguna - This was the first hotel built in Laguna Beach and the first substantial business building. It remains today one of the most well-known structures in the city and has a history that dates back to 1888. The structure as it now stands was built in 1930. It is located at 425 South Coast Highway.

6. Laguna Art Museum - It is the oldest museum in the State of California. The museum is situated on one of the busiest streets of any coastal town, and is about 300 feet from the ocean, making it one of the most spectacular and impressive sites of any museum in the world. It is located at 307 Cliff Drive.

7. The Laguna Playhouse - It is the oldest continually operating not-for-profit community theater on the West Coast. Celebrating more than 95 years in existence, it was founded in 1920. Noted for its artistic excellence, wide-ranging performing arts programming, award-winning youth education offerings and community partnerships, it serves more than 100,000 patrons each season. The Playhouse has featured many talented performers on stage, including Leslie Caron, Val Kilmer, Ed Asner, Hershey Felder, Linda Purl, Rita Rudner, Lee Rocker, ballerina Misty Copeland, Harrison Ford and Bette Davis. It is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road.

8. The Greeter - Eiler Larsen became the official Laguna Beach "Greeter" in the 1940s. While in his mid-thirties, with his flowing tresses and full beard, he was cast in the Pageant of the Master's "Last Supper" scene. For a great photo opportunity, take a selfie with him and post it on Instagram tagging @VisitLaguna and #MyLagunaBeach. Two statues in town memorialize him; they are located at 329 and 1200 South Coast Highway.

9. Welcome to Laguna - The famous gate that welcomes you to the city and reads: The Gate Hangs Well and Hinders None, Refresh and Rest, Then Travel On," was built in 1935. It still stands at the corner of Forest and Park avenues.

10. Shipwreck - Discover a shipwreck 175 yards off Laguna Beach's coast at Cleo Street. The Foss 125, was a 432 ton, 130-foot steel barge that once ferried Coast Guard supplies along the shore. Built in 1943 at the Terminal Island shipyard by the Foss Launch & Tug Co. of Tacoma, Washington, it went down November 1958. A large amount of sea life now calls its ghostly hull home.


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