Local Spots

Things to Do in Long Beach California

Discover the best attractions, activities, and hidden gems in Long Beach, California – from its vibrant arts scene and stunning waterfront to delicious dining and family-friendly fun.

An enchanting illustration of Long Beach, California capturing various iconic elements of the city but devoid of any people or brand logos. Depict a vibrant sunset casting a warm glow over the marina filled with numerous yachts and boats. Near the marina, capture a beautiful park flourishing with diverse flora. Include another landmark - the famous Long Beach lighthouse standing majestically by the sea. Further away, showcase a few theme park rides silhouetted against the setting sun but keep them generic to avoid any brand affiliations. All of this with no text or brand names present.

Explore the Beautiful Beaches and Waterfronts

Long Beach, California is renowned for its stunning beaches and picturesque waterfronts, making it the perfect destination for a seaside escape. One of the must-visit spots is the Alamitos Beach. This beach is ideal for lounging, swimming, and simply enjoying the sun.

Rosie’s Dog Beach is a fantastic place if you have furry friends, offering a designated area where dogs can roam freely and splash in the waves.

If you enjoy picturesque views and serene walks, then you should definitely visit the Long Beach Waterfront. Here, you’ll find a mix of beautiful marinas, parks, and eateries, all set against the scenic backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.

For those interested in water activities, renting a kayak or paddleboard is a great option. Kayaking through the Naples Canals, lined with charming houses and boasting calm waters, provides a unique perspective of the city.

It is said that the Naples Island, a charming community known for its Italian-inspired canals, is one of the top recommended places to explore. A gondola ride through the canals offers a romantic and relaxing way to take in the beauty of the area.

Discover Local Parks and Outdoor Activities

Long Beach boasts a variety of parks and outdoor spaces perfect for picnics, relaxation, and recreational activities. One of the most notable parks is El Dorado East Regional Park, which offers plenty of green space, fishing lakes, and picnic areas.

El Dorado Park also features an archery range, bike trails, and even a nature center with exhibits and programs, making it a wonderful destination for families and nature enthusiasts.

An often overlooked gem is the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden located on the California State University Long Beach campus. This serene garden features traditional Japanese landscaping, koi ponds, and tea ceremonies.

If you’re into hiking, Signal Hill is a fantastic spot. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of Long Beach and the surrounding areas, making it a great place to catch a sunset.

It might be surprising, but Long Beach has some excellent spots for bird watching too. The Colorado Lagoon, for instance, is not just for swimming. It’s an ecological reserve teeming with diverse bird species.

Top Attractions and Must-See Landmarks

Long Beach is home to some impressive attractions that cater to a variety of interests. One such landmark is the RMS Queen Mary, a retired British ocean liner that now serves as a museum, hotel, and event venue. Exploring the Queen Mary gives you a glimpse into maritime history.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is another major attraction, offering an interactive and educational experience for visitors of all ages. With over 11,000 animals and numerous exhibits, it’s a fascinating place to learn about marine life.

It is known that the nearby Museum of Latin American Art offers a great collection of modern and contemporary Latin American art. This museum is sure to captivate art enthusiasts.

The Long Beach Museum of Art is another cultural gem, housed in a historic Craftsman mansion. The museum highlights California’s diverse art scene through its rotating exhibitions and offers stunning ocean views from its grounds.

If you’re a fan of vintage cars, the Automobile Driving Museum offers a unique chance to see and learn about classic cars. It’s an interactive museum where many of the cars are operational, and on certain days, you can even enjoy a ride in one.

Indulge in the Local Cuisine

Long Beach’s culinary scene is as diverse as its population, offering a multitude of flavors and dining experiences. When it comes to enjoying a delectable brunch, The Attic is a beloved local spot. Known for its charming ambiance and inventive brunch dishes, it’s a favorite among locals.

If you’re craving seafood, you’ll definitely want to try The Crab Pot, where you can enjoy a variety of fresh seafood in a fun and casual setting. The restaurant is well-known for its “Seafeasts,” which are shared seafood meals served directly onto the table.

For those who love authentic Mexican cuisine, a visit to Lola’s Mexican Cuisine is a must. People often rave about their flavorful dishes and vibrant atmosphere.

Those in search of farm-to-table dining should definitely check out Michael’s on Naples. This restaurant specializes in using locally sourced ingredients to create authentic Italian dishes.

It’s said that the gourmet burgers at Padre are worth the visit. Located in the downtown area, Padre offers a unique fusion of Latin flavors in a casual setting.

Shopping and Retail Therapy

Long Beach offers excellent shopping destinations for those who enjoy retail therapy. The Pike Outlets, located right on the waterfront, provide a mix of well-known retail stores, dining, and entertainment options.

Retro Row on 4th Street is ideal for those seeking unique and vintage treasures. This artsy district is filled with one-of-a-kind shops, eclectic boutiques, and vintage furniture stores.

If you’re in the mood for a more upscale shopping experience, Shoreline Village is the go-to destination. It’s a charming waterfront shopping center with a variety of shops, eateries, and entertainment options.

It is well-known that the Long Beach Antique Market is one of the best places for antique lovers. Held monthly at the Veterans Stadium, this market offers a vast array of vintage and collectible items at great prices.

Local farmers’ markets are also a great way to shop for fresh produce and unique handmade items. The Downtown Long Beach Farmers Market is especially popular among locals and offers an authentic shopping experience.

Annual Events and Festivals

Long Beach hosts several exciting annual events and festivals that draw visitors from near and far. The Long Beach Grand Prix is one of the city’s most renowned events, featuring thrilling auto races on a street circuit that winds through the downtown area.

If you’re a music lover, the Long Beach Jazz Festival is a spectacular event that showcases some of the best jazz musicians from around the world. The festival takes place each summer and offers a vibrant atmosphere.

The Long Beach Sea Festival is another highlight, celebrating everything related to the ocean. This festival includes various beach sports competitions, sandcastle building contests, and family-friendly activities.

For arts and crafts enthusiasts, the Long Beach Patchwork Show is a fantastic event. This modern makers festival allows local artists and craftspeople to showcase and sell their handmade goods.

It’s also worth mentioning the Long Beach Pride Festival, one of the largest LGBTQ+ events in the region. This lively festival features parades, performances, and plenty of festivities that promote inclusivity and community spirit.

Local Breweries and Craft Beer Tasting

Long Beach’s burgeoning craft beer scene offers plenty of opportunities for beer enthusiasts to explore new brews. Beachwood BBQ & Brewing is a highly recommended spot, known for its exceptional beers and tasty barbecue.

Another popular option is Ten Mile Brewing, a family-owned brewery that produces a variety of flavorful and unique beers. They often host events and food trucks, making it a lively place to spend an evening.

If you prefer a laid-back atmosphere, then you might enjoy Ambitious Ales, known for its creative and experimental brews. The friendly and inviting taproom makes it a great place to hang out with friends.

For those who enjoy a picturesque setting, Ballast Point Brewing’s Long Beach location offers stunning waterfront views along with a wide selection of craft beers and delicious food.

It’s said that Long Beach Beer Lab is the place for innovative beers and delicious baked goods. This brewery combines a love for brewing and baking, resulting in a unique and delightful experience.

Family-Friendly Activities and Attractions

Long Beach offers a wealth of activities suitable for families, ensuring that kids and adults alike have a fantastic time. One standout destination is the Shoreline Aquatic Park, which features open green spaces, picnic areas, and an iconic lighthouse that’s perfect for family photos.

For a fun and educational outing, the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center often hosts events, exhibits, and shows designed for families. From comic conventions to children’s theater performances, there’s always something exciting happening here.

The El Dorado Nature Center is another must-visit for families. With its serene trails, ponds, and habitats, it’s an excellent place to teach kids about nature and wildlife.

When visiting Long Beach with young children, you might find the Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens particularly fascinating. The site offers a glimpse into California’s ranching history, complete with beautifully maintained gardens and interactive exhibits.

If your family enjoys being active, check out the Long Beach Belmont Pool. This public pool offers lap swimming, diving boards, and recreational swim hours, making it a great spot to cool off and have fun.

Explore the Arts and Culture Scene

Long Beach has a rich arts and culture scene that will captivate those interested in creative pursuits. The East Village Arts District is the city’s cultural hub, filled with art galleries, studios, and performance spaces.

For movie buffs, the Art Theatre of Long Beach provides a unique experience by showing independent and classic films in a restored historic theater.

Music lovers might enjoy visiting The Laugh Factory, which is known for hosting renowned comedians and entertainers. It’s a great place to unwind and enjoy a night of laughter.

The Carpenter Performing Arts Center, located on the California State University Long Beach campus, is a venue that hosts a range of performances, from contemporary dance to theatrical productions.

Last but not least, do not miss the First Fridays Art Walk in Bixby Knolls. This monthly event brings artists, musicians, and local vendors together, creating a vibrant atmosphere filled with creativity and community spirit.

Diving into Long Beach’s Unique Shopping Experiences

Shopping in Long Beach isn’t just about big-name brands; it’s also about uncovering unique and locally made items. The Parkview Village Shops in Los Altos offer an array of local boutiques and eateries.

Daisy Lane in Wrigley is the perfect place to discover vintage finds and original handmade goods. The district’s charming aesthetic will make you feel like you’ve found a hidden treasure trove.

For a different kind of shopping experience, spend some time at the Long Beach Flea Market. Held at Veteran’s Stadium, this market has everything from antiques to rare collectibles and is a paradise for treasure hunters.

The Uptown Village Market is another excellent spot. This artisan market features local crafts, fashion, and gourmet foods, making it a delightful way to spend a day shopping while supporting local artists.

If you’re after unique clothes and accessories, East Village Arts District has plenty of fashion-forward boutiques with one-of-a-kind apparel and edgy accessories.

Adventurous Water Activities

Long Beach provides a myriad of water activities that are perfect for adventure enthusiasts. Jet skiing on the Pacific Ocean provides an adrenaline rush and is a great way to explore the coastline from a different perspective.

If you’re into fishing, Sportfishing and Wharf offers chartered fishing trips aimed at both beginners and seasoned anglers. The thrill of catching your own fish amidst beautiful ocean views is a rewarding experience.

Sailing lessons at the US Sailing Center are another engaging way to spend your time. The center offers various programs designed for people of all ages and skill levels, ensuring a thrilling experience on the water.

Those interested in diving should head to Suburban Watersports, where you can take diving courses and explore underwater marine life. The center offers equipment rentals and guided tours as well.

For a more relaxed maritime experience, whale watching tours are a must. Companies like Harbor Breeze Cruises offer tours that give you the chance to see these magnificent creatures up close and learn about marine conservation.

Unwind at Luxurious Spas and Wellness Centers

To truly unwind and rejuvenate, a visit to one of Long Beach’s spas or wellness centers is essential. Topping the list is The Spa at Hotel Maya, which offers serene massages and wellness treatments that melt away stress.

If you seek a holistic wellness experience, the Mai Tai Yacht Club provides massage therapies, facial treatments, and aromatherapy, all set in a tranquil environment.

For those who love a skincare-focused retreat, The Skin Spa is highly recommended. Known for their advanced facials and skincare treatments, it’s a haven for skincare enthusiasts.

People rave about the yoga classes at Purple Yoga Long Beach, where experienced instructors guide you through sessions that improve flexibility, strength, and mental clarity.

If you’re looking for a combination of fitness and relaxation, the Renaissance ClubSport offers extensive facilities, including state-of-the-art gym equipment, a swimming pool, and revitalizing spa services.

Tips for Getting Around Long Beach

Navigating Long Beach is straightforward, thanks to its efficient public transportation system. The Long Beach Transit provides bus services that cover most parts of the city, making it easy to get around without a car.

Biking is another popular option. The city’s extensive bike lanes and paths make it easy and safe to explore on two wheels. Bike rentals are available at several spots, including the downtown area and along the waterfront.

If you’re short on time, taking a scenic drive along Ocean Boulevard offers breathtaking views of the coastline and easily connects you to major attractions.

For those who prefer a laid-back approach, the Passport Shuttle offers free bus service to key destinations, including the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, and the downtown area.

It is well-known that Long Beach even has water taxis, like the popular AquaLink and AquaBus, which ferry passengers between key waterfront locations. This mode of transportation is not only practical but also provides a unique perspective of the city.

Safety Tips for Exploring Long Beach

When enjoying all that Long Beach has to offer, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Staying aware of your surroundings and keeping personal belongings secure can help ensure a pleasant visit.

Many attractions, parks, and public areas have security measures in place, but it’s always wise to be vigilant, especially in crowded places and during events.

It’s recommended to travel in groups or pairs when possible, and if you’re exploring the city at night, stick to well-lit and populated areas.

Ensure you stay hydrated, especially during warmer months, as Long Beach can get quite hot. Carrying a reusable water bottle helps, and there are many refill stations in various parts of the city.

For beach and water activities, sunscreen with a high SPF, reef-safe options, and protective clothing are essential for preventing sunburn and ensuring a comfortable experience.

Experience Long Beach Nightlife

The nightlife in Long Beach is vibrant and offers a variety of experiences, from casual bars to upscale lounges. A notable spot is The Observation Bar on the RMS Queen Mary, which offers stunning views and a nostalgic atmosphere perfect for cocktails and conversation.

If you enjoy dancing, Sevilla Nightclub is a popular destination that features salsa nights, live music, and a lively dance floor.

For a more relaxed vibe, The Stache Bar offers craft cocktails and a friendly atmosphere. It’s a great place to unwind after a day of exploring.

Beer enthusiasts will appreciate Congregation Ale House, known for its extensive beer selection and pub fare. The communal seating makes it easy to meet new people.

If you prefer a refined setting, The Federal Bar, located in a historic bank building, provides a classy backdrop for cocktails and gourmet bites.

Unique Experiences: Gondola Adventures and Harbor Cruises

For a unique and romantic experience, consider booking a gondola ride with Gondola Getaway. The serene journey through the Naples Canals is perfect for couples and offers a new way to see the city.

Harbor cruises are another fantastic way to take in Long Beach’s waterfront beauty. Companies like Spirit Cruises offer dining cruises and sunset tours, providing a memorable experience on the water.

During the holidays, you might enjoy the Christmas Boat Parade, where festively decorated boats light up the harbor. It’s a seasonal highlight not to be missed.

For a more eco-friendly exploration, electric Duffy boat rentals are a popular option. These quiet, easy-to-navigate boats are perfect for a leisurely day on the water and don’t require any prior boating experience.

If you’re a history enthusiast, the historic 72-foot tall ship American Pride offers educational sailing trips, giving you a glimpse into the maritime past while enjoying ocean breezes.

Visiting Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center

The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center is a major hub for events, conferences, and live performances. Located in downtown, it hosts a wide range of activities throughout the year.

For business travelers, attending conventions and trade shows at this modern facility is convenient due to its central location and proximity to hotels and dining options.

For families, the center often holds events like comic-cons, expos, and children’s performances, providing ample entertainment options.

Music lovers might be interested in checking out the Terrace Theater or the Long Beach Arena, both part of the complex. These venues host concerts, theatrical performances, and other major events.

With its spacious layout and state-of-the-art facilities, the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center is a cornerstone of the city’s event scene.

Local Events and Farmers Markets

Long Beach’s local events and farmers markets offer a fantastic way to engage with the community and support local vendors. The weekly Farmers Market at Marine Stadium is especially popular, featuring fresh produce, handmade crafts, and food trucks.

The Second Saturday Art Walk in the East Village Arts District is another great event. This monthly gathering showcases local artists, musicians, and performers, creating a vibrant cultural experience.

For a unique shopping experience, the Long Beach Antique Market is held on the third Sunday of each month. With over 800 sellers, it’s a treasure trove of vintage items, antiques, and collectibles.

The Long Beach Street Food Festival is a culinary event you won’t want to miss. Featuring a variety of food trucks and pop-up restaurants, it’s a gourmet paradise for foodies.

Participating in these local events gives you a deeper appreciation for the community and the diverse culture that makes Long Beach so special.

Maximizing Your Visit: Tips and Insider Information

Making the most of your time in Long Beach involves knowing a few insider tips. First, consider purchasing a Go Long Beach Card, which offers discounts to many of the city’s attractions.

For beach visits, arrive early to secure parking and the best spots. Weekdays are typically less crowded than weekends, making for a more relaxing experience.

If you’re exploring on foot, the Pine Avenue area downtown is walkable and filled with restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues, allowing you to see a lot without needing transportation.

For budget-friendly dining, lunch specials are an excellent way to enjoy Long Beach’s diverse culinary scene without breaking the bank. Many restaurants offer great deals on mid-day meals.

Finally, don’t hesitate to ask locals for recommendations. They can often provide invaluable insights on hidden gems and lesser-known spots that can make your visit truly memorable.

Best Seasonal Activities

Depending on the time of year, Long Beach has seasonal activities that offer unique experiences. During the summer, beach activities and waterfront festivals are in full swing, making it the ideal time for outdoor fun.

Spring is perfect for exploring the city’s parks and gardens, as the weather is mild and the flowers are in full bloom. The Easter Bunny Hop at Shoreline Village is a fun, family-friendly event during this season.

Fall is an excellent time for whale watching, as Gray Whales begin their migration along the California coast. Companies like Harbor Breeze Cruises offer tours specifically for this incredible experience.

Winter sees the city transform with festive events like the Naples Island Holiday Boat Parade and the Long Beach Tree Lighting Ceremony, making it a magical time to visit.

No matter the season, Long Beach offers a variety of activities and events that cater to different interests, ensuring there’s always something to look forward to.

Avery Ingram

Avery Ingram


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