The Unique Old World Charm of Alpine Village

Just five miles east of the sandy shores and fishing piers of Redondo Beach sits a small Germanesque village that looks as if it should be dusted with snow and the Alps peeking above it. This slice of Germany is Torrance’s Alpine Village, a small shopping center and restaurant that opened in 1968.

The sign for Alpine Village, a large red and white sign shaped like a house. The top edge is red scalloped, small red letters spell "Visit" larger green letters outlined in red read "Alpine Village"

A side of a building has a massive black arrow painted on it, with yellow text reading "Market Entrance" and below, in old fashioned letters reads "Willkommen" meaning "Welcome" in German.

Myself, standing in front of a massive mural of hanging meats and wedges of cheese. Large gothic red letters reads "Alpine Market."

Alpine Village is the brain child of two German immigrants, Joseh Bischof and Johann “Hans” Rotter, who arrived in America in the 1950s. Rotter had purchased a former landfill and revamped it into a soccer field with room to spare. Inspired by a visit to the quaint Danish themed town of Solvang, Bischof wanted to build a place inspired by his homeland, so he and Rotter teamed up to build the Alpine Village.

Over the course of several years, and four different architects later, a small village inspired by the ski chalets of the Alpine area rose from the former dump. The area became a destination for German immigrants, tourists, and locals wanting to find unique trinkets and food. At one point boasted a cinema, candy shop, perfume shop, jeweler, card shop, a pancake restaurant, and even a petting zoo. The large restaurant on site became the “Home of Oktoberfest” and would go on to become the oldest Oktoberfest in California. The biggest lure is the Alpine Market, a small grocery store full of European imported food, of course with a focus on German goods, complete with butcher shop, house made pastries, bread, and cakes. Nearly half of the store is dedicated to wine and beer, which shouldn’t really be too much of a surprise.

Painted on the sign of a chalet style building reads "Alpine Village enter"

Angled view of a two story portion of the village. The upper half painted a forest green, the lower half painted white with scalloped edged doors and windows. A large toothbrush hangs above a window advertising the dentist inside.

Myself, wearing a white jacket, red scarf around my neck, light green peasant blouse, and blue jeans, standing in front of a white and green set of double doors. Above rads "Klub Haus"

A ski chalet style building features painted signage reading "Alpine Shops Boutiques One Stop Alpine Toys & Gifts Oktoberfest Shop"

A fanciful frame is painted around the window of a shop. Also painted on the wall reads "Alpine Arts" and large framed works of art sit on the ground, leaning against the building.

Myself, wearing a white jacket, red scarf around my neck, light green peasant blouse, and blue jeans, leaning against a wall, behind me a stained glass diamond pane window also features shutters with tulips on them.

A very small chapel with a spire topped with an onion shaped spire stands in the middle of the small faux German village. Text across the building reads" Alpine Village Chapel."

Close-up of the large pocket watch style clock that hangs outside Alpine Clocks. Next to it is a hand painted sign reading "Clocks Repair Sale"

Hand painted script reads "Alpine Cosmetics"

Myself, wearing a white jacket, red scarf around my neck, light green peasant blouse, and blue jeans, standing in front of a white and green set of double doors. Above rads "Klub Haus"

Close-up of my holly brooch, made out of wood.

A small hand painted sign hangs reading "Alpine Toys & Gifts"

Close-up of a gothic A carved into a shutter.

A fanciful floral painting frames a brown door.

Painted on the side of a building reads "Unique Gift Shop" below small attached letters spell what is suppose to say "Alpine Imports" however the "e' is missing.

A small corner features two shops, a clock repair and gift shop. The clock repair has a small mural of a grandfather clock, a painted banner reading "Alpine Clocks Repair & Sale" and features a hanging clock in the style of a pocket watch. The gift shop next to it has a small hand painted sign reading "Romantic Treasures." A small brick planter sits in front with a tree inside.

Myself, wearing a white jacket, red scarf around my neck, light green peasant blouse, and blue jeans, standing in front of a white and green set of double doors. Behind me an arched door features stained glass of grapes.

A mural of children playing is on the side of the toy shop.

Myself, wearing a white jacket, red scarf around my neck, light green peasant blouse, and blue jeans, standing in the middle of one of the walkways of the village.

A large bust of Beethoven sits outside the former Alpine Restaurant.

A small chalet style building features green shutters with red hearts in the middle. Painted above the windows reads "Continental Cafe"

Myself, wearing a white jacket, red scarf around my neck, light green peasant blouse, and blue jeans, standing in front of a white and green set of double doors.

Close-up details of my jacket. Around the pocket and cuff are red, green and blue embroidered flowers.

Exterior of Alpine Market, a large, two story chalet style building, a white building with green trim, and red letters spelling "Alpine Market."

A large green sign, hand painted to read "Sausages"

Store displays inside the market feature hand painted floral details, as seen in this end cap.

Overall view of part of the market, display cases show off various meats and cheese, a large green sign, hand painted to read "Butcher Shop"

A large green sign, hand painted to read "Decorated Cakes"

An archway features an open gate, above "Deli Cafe" is painted in red letters, and leads to the attached cafe.

A wooden cut out of Santa, who holds a sign reading "Happy Holidays from Alpine Market."

Myself, wearing a white jacket, red scarf around my neck, light green peasant blouse, and blue jeans, standing in front of a white and green set of double doors. Above rads "Klub Haus"

In the 1980s and 90s the Alpine Village was a popular spot. The restaurant expanded to serve 600 Bavarian hungry and beer thirsty guests. Despite the quaint village, market, and restaurants, the land still had room to spare, and eventually part of it became home to a permanent swap meet.

In 2019 the property went up for sale, and rumors circulated it was to become a warehouse and trucking facility. Locals fought the save the faux European village for destruction, and it resulted in the Alpine Village receiving historic landmark status, thus being saved from the bulldozer. In spring of 2020, amid the fight for landmark status, the beer stopped flowing at the once large and popular restaurant. Apparently it had been losing money for years, and it shuttered. In the fall of the same year, the Alpine Village received its historic landmark status. Those wanting to grab a bite still can at the smaller Deli Cafe that is attached to the Alpine Market.

Today, faux Bavarian town is home to a chapel, a few antique shops, gift shops, the LA Turners Museum, a book shop, and a few services, including a a clock repair, salon, dentist, party rental, travel agency (who specializes in travel to Germany) and shoe shop that’s been there since the Alpine Village opened, of course in addition to the market and cafe.

Visit California’s little piece of Germany at the Alpine Village located at 833 W. Torrance Boulevard in Torrance. Please visit Alpine Village’s website for more details. As the Alpine Village is made up of multiple businesses, each individual business has their own hours.

What’s Nearby?

International Printing Museum

Sources
Alpine Village History.” Los Angeles Conservancy. Accessed 6 December 2020.
City News Service. “Alpine Village near Torrance is now officially a historic landmark.” Daily Breeze, 29 September 2020. Accessed 6 December 2020.
City News Service. “South Bay’s Alpine Village Granted Landmark Protection.” NBC Los Angeles, 29 September 2020. Accessed 6 December 2020.
Elliot, Farley. “LA’s Immaculate German Destination Alpine Village to Close After 51 Years.” Eater Los Angeles, 19 February 2020. Accessed 6 December 2020.
Green, Nick. “A developer wants to demolish Alpine Village, so the county will consider nominating it for preservation.” Daily Breeze, 23 October 2019. Accessed 6 December 2020.
Green, Nick. “Alpine Village near Torrance edges closer to historic landmark status.” Daily Breeze, 27 January 2020. Accessed 6 December 2020.
Green, Nick. “Alpine Village near Torrance now protected from demolition.” Daily Breeze, 25 October 2019. Accessed 6 December 2020.
Green, Nick. “Alpine Village to close money-losing restaurant and bar in April.” Daily Breeze, 17 February 2020. Accessed 6 December 2020.
Meares, Hadley. “Alpine Village Says Auf Wiederseihen To Its Restaurant.” LAist, 11 March 2020. Accessed 6 December 2020.

Outfit
Jacket: Redlands Galleria, Redlands, California
Holly Brooch: Match Accessories (I’m wearing an older version)
Blouse: Freddies of Pinewood (sadly the style is no longer offered)
Jeans: Lee
Scarf & Shoes: ???
Purse: I think this was one of my dad’s finds. I can’t remember, I’ve had it for so long now!

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