History & Culture of Pico
Pico runs parallel south of Olympic Boulevard and is one of the southernmost major streets leading into Downtown Los Angeles, running north of Venice Boulevard.
Major landmarks include Santa Monica College, Santa Monica High School, the Westside Pavilion mall, Fox Studios, the Hillcrest Country Club, the Staples Center, and the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Pico Boulevard starts in the city of Santa Monica and enters the city of Los Angeles near the intersection with Centinela Avenue. The neighborhoods of Los Angeles through which Pico Boulevard travels are among the most culturally diverse in the city. From west to east, they include the Japanese and Persian neighborhood of West Los Angeles, the predominantly Caucasian neighborhood of Rancho Park, the business and entertainment center of Century City, the primarily Jewish neighborhood of South Robertson, the largely African American and Latino Mid-City district, the heavily Korean neighborhoods of Country Club Park and Koreatown, the predominantly Central American neighborhoods of the Byzantine-Latino Quarter and Pico Union, the redeveloping South Park, and the Garment District of Downtown Los Angeles.
Pico Boulevard is served by two major bus lines: Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus Line 7 (along with express service on the "Super 7") and Metro Line 30, which both meet in Mid-City. In Downtown Los Angeles, Pico Boulevard intersects with the Blue Line light rail, and is served by the Pico Station, directly adjacent to the Staples Center, the Los Angeles Convention Center, the Nokia Theater, and several new housing and entertainment developments in the South Park district.
Landmarks along Pico Boulevard
- Santa Monica State Beach - California State Park operated by the City of Santa Monica. It is two miles (3 km) long, has a picnic area, shops and pier. Visitor activities include volleyball, basketball and a bicycling and running path along the beach.
- Casa del Mar hotel - luxury hotel at base of Pico Boulevard, Club Casa del Mar originally opened in 1926 as a beach club. The building, built in a Renaissance Revival architectural style, became a hotel and recreation center for U.S. service personnel during World War II. After the war, the building underwent different incarnations, becoming, among other things, a drug rehabilitation center and a Pritikin Longevity Center. In 1998, The Edward Thomas Hospitality Corporation acquired the building and converted it into a luxury hotel.
- Shutters on the Beach Hotel - located at the base of Pico Boulevard, Shuttes is a 198-room luxury hotel; opened in 1993 and extensively renovated in 2005.
- The Viceroy Hotel - 1810 Ocean Avenue; located at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Pico Boulevard.
- RAND Corporation Headquarters - opened in November of 2004, the RAND Corporation new headquarters facility was awarded the U.S. Green Building Council's Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the environmentally responsible design of the headquarters campus, along with the Los Angeles Architectural Award for corporate headquarters design.
- Santa Monica Civic Auditorium - 1855 Main Street (at Pico); 3,000 seat auditorium opened in 1958 and designed in the international style by Welton Becket; home of the Academy Awards ceremony from 1961-1968.
- Santa Monica High School - 601 Pico Blvd.; public high school opened at same location since 1906; alumni include Dean Cain, Ry Cooder, Carson Daly, Robert Downey, Jr., Daryl Dragon (Captain & Tennille), John Ehrlichman, Emilio Estevez, Glenn Ford, Rob Lowe, Sean Penn, Charlie Sheen, and Heather Thomas.
- Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica - 1847 14th Street (at Pico); celebrities buried at Woodlawn include Glenn Ford, Paul Henreid (Victor Laszlo in Casablanca, Charles Bickford (three-time Oscar nominee), Irene Ryan (Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies), Ted Bessell (boyfriend Donald on That Girl)
- Santa Monica College - first opened in 1929 as Santa Monica Junior College, current enrollment is 32,000 students; the college also has one of the largest international student populations of any community college in the US, with approximately 3,000 from more than 100 countries.
- McCabe's Guitar Shop - Located at 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, McCabe's is a musical instrument store that opened in 1958 specializing in acoustic and folk instruments: guitars, banjos, mandolins, dulcimers, fiddles, psaltries, bouzoukis, sitars, ouds, ethnic percussion. Since 1969, McCabe's has also been one of the most noted forums for folk concerts.