Long Beach, California is a vibrant coastal city located in the southern part of Los Angeles County. With its beautiful beaches, diverse culture, and endless entertainment options, Long Beach has become a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, indoor attractions, or delicious food and drink options, this city has something for everyone.

Knowing what to do in Long Beach is essential if you want to make the most of your trip. From exploring local museums and art galleries to enjoying the nightlife scene, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay. In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on what to do in Long Beach so that you can plan your itinerary with ease.

12 Things to do in Long Beach

Beaches and Waterfront Attractions

Long Beach, California is known for its beautiful beaches and waterfront attractions. One of the most popular beaches in the area is Long Beach City Beach, which stretches for 3. 5 miles along the coast. This beach offers a variety of activities such as swimming, sunbathing, volleyball, and surfing. Another popular beach is Alamitos Beach, which is located near downtown Long Beach and offers stunning views of the city skyline.

For those who want to explore beyond the beaches, there are several waterfront attractions worth visiting. The Aquarium of the Pacific is a must-see destination that features over 11,000 animals from more than 500 different species. Visitors can get up close with sharks, sea lions, penguins, and more. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, consider taking a whale watching tour from Long Beach Harbor.

These tours offer an opportunity to see majestic whales up close in their natural habitat.

Parks and Nature Reserves

Long Beach also has several parks and nature reserves that are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. El Dorado Regional Park is one of the largest parks in the city and features fishing lakes, picnic areas, playgrounds, bike trails, and more. Another popular park is Bluff Park which overlooks the ocean and offers stunning views of Catalina Island on clear days.

It’s a great spot for picnics or just relaxing with friends or family. For those who want to explore nature reserves in Long Beach area should visit Los Cerritos Wetlands Preserve which covers over 400 acres of wetlands habitat home to many rare bird species like Snowy Plover or Least Tern.

Sports and Recreation Options

Sports enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Long Beach as well. The city has several golf courses including Skylinks at Long Beach Golf Course which was voted the best municipal golf course in Southern California. If you’re looking for something more active, consider renting a bike and exploring the city’s many bike paths. The Long Beach Bike Share program offers affordable rentals throughout the city.

For those who prefer indoor activities, there are several recreation centers in Long Beach that offer everything from basketball courts to dance classes. One of the most popular is the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool which was used for swimming events during the 1984 Summer Olympics. .

Activity Location Cost
Golfing Skylinks at Long Beach Golf Course $40-$60 per round
Bike Rentals Long Beach Bike Share Program $7 per hour or $15 per day
Dance Classes Long Beach Recreation Centers $5-$10 per class

Please note: – Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner turned hotel and museum that offers ghost tours and historical exhibits.

Museums and Art Galleries

If you’re a fan of art and history, Long Beach has plenty to offer. The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to modern and contemporary Latin American art. MOLAA features works from artists all over Latin America, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed media pieces. Another must-visit museum is the Long Beach Museum of Art, which houses a collection of more than 3,000 works of art from around the world.

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The museum also boasts stunning views of the Pacific Ocean from its location on a bluff overlooking the water. For those interested in history, the Queen Mary is a fascinating attraction that offers tours of the historic ocean liner. Visitors can explore the ship’s decks, staterooms, and engine room while learning about its rich history. The Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum is another unique museum that showcases artwork and artifacts from various Pacific Island cultures.

Theaters and Performing Arts Venues

Long Beach has a thriving performing arts scene with several theaters and venues hosting shows throughout the year. The Long Beach Performing Arts Center is home to multiple theaters including the Terrace Theater and Center Theater. These venues host everything from Broadway musicals to ballet performances. The Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University, Long Beach is another popular venue for theater productions as well as concerts by renowned musicians.

For something a little different, check out The Laugh Factory comedy club located in downtown Long Beach.

Shopping Centers and Markets

Whether you’re looking for high-end boutiques or bargain deals, Long Beach has shopping options for every budget. One popular spot is 2nd Street in Belmont Shore where you’ll find a variety of shops selling clothing, jewelry, home decor items, and more. For indoor shopping options, head to one of Long Beach’s malls such as the Lakewood Center or the Long Beach Towne Center.

Both malls offer a mix of department stores, specialty shops, and restaurants. If you’re looking for something unique, the Long Beach Antique Market is held on the third Sunday of every month at Veterans Stadium. The market features over 800 vendors selling antiques, collectibles, and vintage items. .

Museums and Art Galleries Theaters and Performing Arts Venues Shopping Centers and Markets
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) Long Beach Performing Arts Center 2nd Street in Belmont Shore
Long Beach Museum of Art Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University, Long Beach Lakewood Center
Queen Mary The Laugh Factory comedy club Long Beach Towne Center
Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum

With so many indoor attractions to choose from in Long Beach, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in art, theater, or shopping, be sure to add these must-visit spots to your itinerary.

Please note: – The city boasts the Aquarium of the Pacific, which features over 11,000 animals from more than 500 species, including sharks, sea turtles, and penguins.

Food and Drink Scene

If you’re a foodie, Long Beach won’t disappoint. The city is home to a diverse range of cuisines, from Mexican street food to upscale seafood restaurants. One local favorite is the Pike Restaurant and Bar, which offers an extensive menu of American classics like burgers and mac and cheese. For something more upscale, head to Michael’s on Naples Ristorante for Italian dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.

Local cuisine and popular restaurants

Long Beach has a strong Mexican influence, so it’s no surprise that some of the best local cuisine can be found at taquerias and taco trucks throughout the city. Check out Lola’s Mexican Cuisine for traditional dishes like mole and chile rellenos, or hit up Los Compadres for some of the best tacos in town.

Bars, pubs, and nightlife spots

When it comes to nightlife in Long Beach, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a laid-back vibe, head to The Blind Donkey for craft beer and whiskey flights. For live music, check out Alex’s Bar or The Prospector. And if you’re in the mood for dancing, make your way to Sevilla Nightclub for Latin beats or Que Sera for indie rock.

No matter what your taste buds or party preferences are like, Long Beach has plenty of options to keep you satisfied during your visit.

Please note: – Visitors can take a stroll down the Shoreline Village boardwalk, which offers shopping, dining, and entertainment options along the waterfront.

Annual Events Calendar

Long Beach, California is a city that loves to celebrate. Throughout the year, there are numerous events and festivals that take place in the city. Here’s a look at some of the major events that you can expect to see on the annual calendar.

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Long Beach Grand Prix

The Long Beach Grand Prix is one of the most popular events in the city. It takes place every April and attracts thousands of racing fans from all over the world. The event features several races, including IndyCar and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races.

Long Beach Pride Festival & Parade

The Long Beach Pride Festival & Parade is an annual event that celebrates LGBTQ+ pride. It takes place every May and includes a parade through downtown Long Beach as well as a festival with live music, food vendors, and more.

Taste of Downtown

Taste of Downtown is an annual event that takes place in August. It’s a food festival that showcases some of the best restaurants in downtown Long Beach. Attendees can purchase tickets to sample dishes from participating restaurants.

Bicycle Drive-In Movie Night

Bicycle Drive-In Movie Night is a unique event that takes place at The Packard Building every summer. Attendees ride their bikes to the venue and watch classic movies projected onto a large screen while enjoying food and drinks from local vendors.

Highlights of Major Festivals

Festival Name Date(s) Description
Long Beach Jazz Festival August A three-day jazz festival featuring world-renowned musicians.
Long Beach Crawfish Festival July A two-day festival celebrating Cajun culture with live music, food, and crawfish boils.
Long Beach Oktoberfest October A two-day festival featuring German beer, food, and live music.
Día de los Muertos Festival November A celebration of Mexican culture and tradition with altars, art exhibits, and live performances.

Long Beach is a city that truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re a racing fan or a foodie, there’s an event or festival that’s sure to pique your interest. Be sure to check the calendar before your trip so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!

Please note: – Long Beach is also known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries and museums showcasing everything from contemporary art to Latin American folk art.

Nearby Cities Worth Visiting

Long Beach, California is a great starting point for exploring the surrounding area. Here are some nearby cities that are definitely worth a day trip:

  • Los Angeles : Just 25 miles north of Long Beach, LA is a sprawling metropolis with endless things to see and do. Check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame, visit the Getty Center museum, or take a stroll along Venice Beach.
  • Laguna Beach : This charming coastal town is located about an hour south of Long Beach and is known for its beautiful beaches and art scene. Be sure to check out the Pageant of the Masters, a unique event where actors recreate famous works of art on stage.
  • Palm Springs : If you’re looking for a change of scenery, head east to Palm Springs. This desert oasis is about two hours from Long Beach and offers plenty of outdoor activities like hiking and golfing, as well as luxurious spas and resorts.

Natural Wonders Within Driving Distance

If you’re more interested in nature than city life, there are several natural wonders within driving distance of Long Beach:

  1. Joshua Tree National Park : Located about two hours east of Long Beach, Joshua Tree is known for its unique rock formations and desert landscapes. It’s a popular spot for camping and hiking.
  2. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park : About three hours southeast of Long Beach, this state park boasts stunning wildflower displays in the springtime and incredible stargazing opportunities at night.
  3. Channel Islands National Park : Take a ferry from Ventura to visit this group of islands off the coast of Southern California. You can hike, kayak, and even camp on the islands.

Whether you’re interested in exploring nearby cities or natural wonders, Long Beach is a great home base for your adventures.

Please note: – Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the city’s many parks and beaches, including El Dorado Regional Park and Alamitos Beach.

Accommodation Options

If you’re planning a trip to Long Beach, California, one of the first things you’ll need to consider is where to stay. Fortunately, the city offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences.

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Types of Hotels Available in the City

  • Luxury hotels: For travelers looking for high-end amenities and services, Long Beach has several luxury hotels such as The Westin Long Beach and Hyatt Regency Long Beach.
  • Budget hotels: If you’re on a tight budget, there are many affordable options available such as Motel 6 Long Beach International City and Days Inn by Wyndham Long Beach City Center.
  • Boutique hotels: For those who prefer unique and stylish accommodations, boutique hotels like The Varden Hotel and Hotel Royal offer a more personalized experience.
  • Vacation rentals: If you’re traveling with a group or looking for more space and privacy, vacation rentals such as apartments and houses can be found on websites like Airbnb.

Best Areas to Stay for Different Types of Travelers

  • Downtown Long Beach: This area is ideal for travelers who want to be close to popular attractions like the Aquarium of the Pacific and The Pike Outlets. It’s also home to many restaurants, bars, and nightlife spots.
  • Belmont Shore: Located on the waterfront, Belmont Shore is perfect for those who want easy access to the beach. It’s also known for its shopping district along Second Street.
  • Naples Island: If you’re looking for a quieter neighborhood with scenic views of canals and bridges, Naples Island is a great choice. It’s also close to the Long Beach Museum of Art.
  • Los Altos: This residential area is popular among families and those who want a more suburban feel. It’s close to parks and hiking trails, as well as shopping centers like Los Altos Shopping Center.

No matter where you choose to stay in Long Beach, be sure to book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Consider factors such as location, amenities, and price when making your decision. With so many options available, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay for your trip to Long Beach.

Transportation Tips

Long Beach is a city that offers various options for getting around. Whether you prefer to drive, bike or use public transit, there are plenty of ways to explore the city and its surroundings.

Getting Around Long Beach by Car

If you’re planning on driving in Long Beach, be aware that traffic can be heavy during peak hours. However, the city’s grid system makes it easy to navigate and find your way around. Parking in the city can be a bit challenging, especially in popular areas like downtown and Belmont Shore. There are several parking garages available throughout the city, as well as metered street parking.

Getting Around Long Beach by Bike

Long Beach is a bike-friendly city with over 130 miles of bike lanes and paths. The most popular route is the beach path which runs from Shoreline Village to Belmont Shore. You can rent bikes from several locations throughout the city, including at the beach and downtown areas.

Getting Around Long Beach by Public Transit

The public transit system in Long Beach is operated by the Long Beach Transit Authority (LBTA). The LBTA operates buses throughout the city and also offers a free shuttle service called Passport which runs through downtown and connects to other major attractions like the Queen Mary and Aquarium of the Pacific.

Parking Options in the City

If you’re driving in Long Beach, there are several parking options available:

  • Metered street parking: Rates vary depending on location and time of day.
  • Parking garages: There are several parking garages located throughout the city with hourly rates ranging from $1-$2 per hour.
  • Valet parking: Many restaurants and hotels in the city offer valet parking services for a fee.

Comparison of Parking Options

Parking OptionCostLocationMetered street parkingVaries depending on location and time of dayThroughout the cityParking garages$1-$2 per hourLocated throughout the cityValet parkingFee varies by establishmentOffered at many restaurants and hotels in the city

No matter how you choose to get around Long Beach, be sure to plan ahead and allow plenty of time to reach your destination. With so much to see and do in this vibrant coastal city, you won’t want to miss a thing!