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A Day at Historic Newport Pier

December 9, 2013

If you find yourself on Balboa Peninsula at the Newport Pier, you are in for a historical treat!

Newport Pier and Balboa Pier are the two piers we have in Newport Beach on Balboa Peninsula. Situated at Oceanfront Boulevard and 21st Place, the Newport Pier area is a popular destination for beach goers, those interested in fishing, strolling and dining.

You will not only fall in love with the beach, fresh air and people watching, but also with the local pubs and haunts that have a touch of history.

Start your visit at the base of Newport Pier at McFadden’s Square, one of Newport Beach’s rich historical sites.  In fact, some say McFadden Square is where Newport Beach began.

The McFadden brothers Robert and James built the wharf in the late 1800’s. Back then, it was connected by railroad and was originally a center of shipping and commerce.

Go to the bronze globe and discover how the city has evolved. Feel the globe, read the inscriptions and walk the footsteps surrounding it.

This tiny tour is fun for adults and children of all ages. Close your eyes and imagine what life was like many years ago – just the sand, sea and very few inhabitants.

Next, look to the right of Newport Pier and see the small old world market, Dory Fleet Fishing Market. Since 1891, Dory Fleet Fish Market (the last of the Dory fleet in the US) has kept Newport Beach’s fishing roots alive and thriving by setting sail everyday and bringing back fresh catch for buyers.

The day’s bounty can range from rock and spider crab to octopus and lobster.  Make sure to get there early in the morning because the doors close at noon!

Continue your tour by walking the pier, enjoying the view, and taking in the fresh air and gentle breezes. Watch the waves crashing onto the shore and the fishermen relaxing with their poles.

After you have had time to stroll, you may be looking for a bite to eat. Our boardwalk sports the usual beach cuisine: corn dogs, lemonade, ice cream, gelato, snow cones, and pizza, and of course a Newport Beach local treat, frozen bananas and balboa bars.

If you are looking for formal fare, head to 21 Oceanfront. In the 1950’s, 21 Oceanfront used to be a snack shop. Now locals and visitors can indulge in prime steaks and fresh seafood. Head to the bar where the bartender who has worked there for over 20 years will serve you from their award-winning wine list while you gaze out at the Pacific.

No historical day by Newport Pier would be complete without a stop at Blue Beet, Newport Beach’s oldest bar and historic jazz joint.  Exit 21 Oceanfront and turn right onto the boardwalk, make your first right through the small walk way to get to your next stop, and Blue Beet is located to the left.

The Blue Beet was established in the early 1900’s and has quite the history. The establishment has had many lives, once operating as a prohibition speakeasy, rumored brothel and a general market and cigar shop. The Blue Beet has also served as a hangout for Steve Martin, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and John Wayne. Still a hip spot, the bar boasts live music every night, great drinks and loads of locals.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out Newport Beach’s historical pubs located in McFadden Square. Stag Bar + Kitchen was built in 1914. Belly up to the 100-foot mahogany and copper bar, the longest bar in Newport Beach, and order a drink of your choice.

Need a place to stay? This area is home to some of Newport Beach’s most charming boutique hotels. Located on the second floor of 21 Oceanfront is Doryman’s Oceanfront Inn. No two rooms are alike and each of the ten guestrooms is crafted with bespoke classic Victorian designs.

For a true romantic escape, stay at Newport Beach Hotel.  Like Doryman’s Inn, Newport Beach Hotel is located steps away from the sand. Their guestrooms are exquisite, with beachy white, yellow and blue accents that provide a homely, coastal feel.

I hope you have a wonderful time exploring the historical sights and sounds of Newport Pier!

Written by Visit Newport Beach

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