Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

1855 Main Street,
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium is owned and operated by the City of Santa Monica. It was designed by Welton Becket, who designed many iconic buildings in the Los Angeles area, including the Capitol Records Building, the Pan Pacific Auditorium, and the LA Music Center. The auditorium opened in 1958 as a multi-purpose venue for community events.

The faciliy is unique in that its concrete floor is mounted on hydraulic lifts, making it possible to change the rake of the seating area. This makes the facility adaptable to both traditional theatrical seating and to flat floor exhibit shows. It was the site of several Academy Awards Ceremonies in the 1960’s.

Many Southern Californians of a certain age remember the hall for the surf movies shown there for over a decade. Only two blocks from the beach, the films attracted surfing afficianados who stood in line at the box office, sand still clinging to their clothes. The hall is also famous for its role during the early rock and roll years as the main Southern California venue for concerts of virtually all the famous bands.

It currently serves as a multi-purpose event venue, hosting benefits, consumer shows, exhibits, symphony concerts, fundraisers, banquets, and other events.

Contributed by Glennis Waterman

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 20, 2006 at 11:42 am

When was a movie last shown here? I don’t recall any when I lived in Santa Monica from 1979 to 1984.

GWaterman
GWaterman on August 20, 2006 at 1:01 pm

The surf movies were shown in the 60’s and 70’s.

Here’s a link that includes a poster:

View link

William
William on August 21, 2006 at 9:31 am

They would 4-wall the Civic Auditorium also for the Warren Miller Ski films from time to time.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on May 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm

The auditorium is in danger of being demoed. The city doesn’t have the funds to update/improve it.

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