Today’s proms tend to be held off campus and at swanky venues all over the Southland. After all, why dance in a sweaty old gym when you can boogie at the same places celebrities party at? Downtown Los Angeles is a popular destination for high schools throughout Southern California. But country clubs and hotels in other Southland cities also get their share of prom bookings. Here are some of the more glamorous ones:
214 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
The landmark former St. Vibiana’s Cathedral housed Pope John Paul II on his 1987 visit to Los Angeles. Today, it’s one of the city’s most stylish venues for weddings, fashion shows and red carpet events. This year, it’ hosted proms for several local high schools, including Calabasas High School, Torrance’s South High School and San Marino High School.
The Natural History Museum
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
The city-owned Museum isn’t shy about pitching its gorgeous, diorama-filled halls as event space:
“You might decide to display your group’s silent auction against our Dueling Dinos or crown your school’s prom king and queen amidst the jungles of Africa. Either way your gala will be as unique as your organization!” it says on the Museum’s website. Best of all, schools and other non-profits get a 20% discount.
Among the schools that selected the Museum for this year’s prom were Saugus High School, Torrance’s West High School and Chatsworth High School.
800 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
At first thought, this seems an unusual place to hold a prom — especially when students are given directions to their nearest Metrolink station. But that’s exactly the scenario this year for three Inland Empire high schools (San Gorgonio, Summit and Chino), whose prom package included discounted rail tickets and dinner before dancing at the classic 1939 Mission Revival landmark.
Jim Henson Studios
1416 N. La Brea Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Steeped in Hollywood history, Charlie Chaplin’s old production offices were modeled after his boyhood home in England and can now be rented for corporate and social events. And according to their website, their special events staff “can help make your imagination come to life!” One has to think that was a factor when Granada Hills Charter High School selected this spot for their May 12 prom: It had a circus theme.
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
The entrance to this popular tourist attraction is the “Blue Cavern”: a dramatic three-story window into the kind of habitat featured off Catalina Island. It’s beautiful and a romantic place to hold a dance. That must be why so many local high schools selected the Aquarium for their 2011 prom: from Glendale High School, La Mirada High School, Gardena’s Junipero Serra High School and Rancho Cucamonga are just a few.
It looks like “Under the Sea” isn’t so corny, after all.
Donna Schwartz Mills grew up in Southern California and is now the mother of a teen here, too. She blogs at SoCal Mom.