Operating for more than half a century, Alpine Village opened in 1968 as a destination for German and European shopping, dining and entertainment and has long played a significant role in the celebration and promotion of German cultural heritage in Los Angeles County.
Alpine Village is known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration, which it bills as the oldest in Southern California, and is also home to a variety of shops. Thousands of Angelenos and visitors have journeyed here to enjoy the German folk festival over the decades.
While the property bears a Torrance address, it is located a few blocks east of Torrance in a section of unincorporated Los Angeles County.
Alpine Village was created by developer and German immigrant Josef Bischof, who came to the United States in 1952 and dreamed of bringing with him a piece of his homeland to share. His inspiration came from a trip he and his wife made to Solvang, California (noted for its Danish architecture and heritage); he would develop his own European village to celebrate German heritage.
Bischof’s vision took the form of a shopping court with Chalet-style facades designed to recall a village in the Bavarian Alps. The site contains the Alpine Market, a German market noted for its award-winning sausages and hard-to-find European foods, the Alpine Village Restaurant, and a collection of shops arranged around landscaped courtyards. The Alpine Village chapel, with its distinctive onion-shaped spire, is a focal point and quiet respite among the shops and has served as a venue for wedding ceremonies.
Alpine Village also contains banquet halls for special events and is also home to the Los Angeles Turners Museum, dedicated to German and German-American traditions and culture. A tall pylon sign advertises Alpine Village to motorists traveling on the adjacent Harbor Freeway, with Chalet-shaped signage featuring neon lettering and sheet metal fringe for a roof.