Visit Newport Beach
An Unmatched Experience

Newport Beach Blog

Reinventing History in Newport Beach, CA

July 20, 2017

Although still relatively young in the scope of world history, Newport Beach, CA is a destination with an ecelectic history. In the early 1800’s it was known as a shipping mecca, by the end of the century it became a popular fishing port, and as the 1900’s approached it became a filmmaker’s paradise, and eventually a Hollywood playground.

Over the years, Newport Beach emerged as a casually luxurious, beach community, reinventing its historic sites offering groups a refreshing experience along the coast.

Venues tapping the history in Newport Beach

Crystal Cove State Beach

Stretching lazily along three miles of uninterrupted coastline, Crystal Cove gives a glimpse into the California of yesteryear. What was once a secret haven for locals, is now a historic site. The beach along with 2,400 acres of undeveloped and conserved woodland is part of California’s ongoing preservation program.

The sleepy little beach cottages dotting the bluffs are protected by the state of California. The most famous of these historic landmarks is the “Beaches” cottage appropriately named, as it was the site of the Bette Midler movie, “Beaches”.

In keeping with the history of Crystal Cove, the area has continued a long-standing tradition dating back to the 1940’s and first started by one Crystal Cove’s residents, Doc Shearer. Every Saturday at four o’clock Shearer gathered a group around the flagpole outside his cabana. Everyone stood and saluted as Doc blew reveille on his bugle and raised a simple black flag bearing the outline of a martini glass. That tradition continues today, and is known as the raising of the martini flag!

Crystal Cove is perfect for a classic beach party.  With an on-site catering and event team to handle all the details and, even better, stunning décor is provided courtesy of the Pacific ocean.

New Port Theater 

Long before Newport Beach had a commercial airport, upscale resorts and a gorgeous ocean view shopping mecca, it had the Port Theater.  A gathering place for locals, where movie tickets cost $1.50 and there was virtually no limit to the items you could bring in, Port Theater was a local landmark.  But, with the opening of large, multiplex theaters business began to dwindle and Port Theater was facing demolition.

In a surprising last minute save, a private investor purchased the old theater reinventing it as the New Port Theater. Now billed as a “hip movie house” complete with reclining leather seats, side tables, fine wines and craft beers Port has once again become a local favorite.

Restored with an art-deco vibe, versatile layout and high-tech audio/visual capabilities, the Port Theater is perfect for presentations, product rollouts, or private screenings and can handle all catering, and décor. This historic venue can accommodate 225 guests for a seated dinner and up to 500 for a reception.

Newport Beach haborfront locations reinvent history

The Cannery

Originating in 1921, The Cannery was the first commercial fish cannery in Newport Harbor.  In the late sixties, the fish cannery was closed and eventually sold to developers who had planned to tear down the building and construct homes along the channel. Fortunately, a longtime resident hoping to preserve the history of Newport Beach purchased the building and restored the Cannery into a thriving waterfront restaurant.

While the outside still resembles the original building, the inside is comfortably chic and houses one of Newport Beach’s most popular bars. Groups enjoying a sunset cocktail cruise can easily pull right up to the Cannery’s docks and head in for a group dinner in the private dining space which overlooks the harbor or in one of the semi-private spaces either inside or outside on its large patio. The Cannery is perhaps the best-known and most frequented waterfront restaurants in Newport Beach.

Marina Park 

Located on over ten acres of land running alongside Newport Harbor sits the newly established, Marina Park. With several docks, a spacious beach and an event room offering fantastic views of the harbor, Marina Park is quickly becoming a  popular space for meetings, events and even intimate gatherings.

One look at the location now and it’s hard to believe that this space was once a campground where families could stay for just 75 cents a day, of course that was in 1919.  The land was eventually converted into an “upscale” mobile home park, an appropriate term thanks to it’s beachfront location and sophisticated surroundings.  The city had big plans for the area though, and in 1983 was pushing to turn it into a public park. Thirty years later, a new chapter in Marina Park’s story begins as it reveals itself as Newport Beach’s window to the bay.

There you have it,  four historic locations that have been reinvented to provide enjoyment for many years to come.

When you’re ready to begin organizing your next group meeting, contact the staff at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA. Visit Newport Beach opens the doors to this Pacific paradise with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships with valuable resources.

Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

Related Meetings Posts

Destination Guide

Start planning your vacation today