Long Beach, California, is a cheerful coastal city between Los Angeles and Orange County. Long Beach boasts a rich maritime history, an array of cultural attractions, and a thriving culinary scene; It offers endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. This comprehensive guide will delve into the top attractions, activities, and dining experiences that make Long Beach a must-visit destination.
Top Attractions of Long Beach
A. The Queen Mary
One of Long Beach’s most iconic landmarks, the historic Queen Mary ocean liner, is now a floating hotel, museum, and event venue. Tour the ship’s opulent Art Deco interiors, learn about its illustrious history, and enjoy a luxurious overnight stay in one of the beautifully restored staterooms.
B. Aquarium of the Pacific
Over 11,000 marine animals from almost 500 different species live at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Explore immersive exhibits featuring diverse aquatic habitats, from the kelp forests of the California coast to the vibrant coral reefs of the Tropical Pacific. Take the chance to get up close and personal with sea creatures at the interactive touch pools, or take in a captivating film at the Ocean Theater.
C. Long Beach Museum of Art
Perched atop a bluff overlooking the ocean, the Long Beach Museum of Art showcases an impressive collection of American and European art spanning three centuries. Wander through the galleries to discover paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, or step outside to explore the picturesque oceanfront gardens and sculptures.
D. El Dorado Nature Center
The El Dorado Nature Center is a peaceful oasis with 105 acres of lush natural habitats where you can escape the busy city. Wander the network of trails that meander through forests, meadows, and wetlands, and keep an eye out for the diverse flora and fauna that call the nature centre home.
E. Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden
The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is on the campus of California State University, Long Beach. It is a peaceful place where traditional Japanese landscaping techniques are shown. Stroll the winding pathways, admire the meticulously maintained plants and trees, and pause to reflect on the tranquil koi pond.
Things to Do
Long Beach’s miles of sandy coastline invites visitors to soak up the sun, splash in the surf, and enjoy various beachfront activities. Popular spots include Belmont Shore, Alamitos Beach, and Rosie’s Dog Beach, where four-legged friends can frolic off-leash.
B. Water Sports
Take advantage of Long Beach’s prime coastal location and many water sports and activities. Rent a kayak, SUP, or sailboat and explore the scenic shoreline while snorkelling or scuba diving beneath the waves.
C. Shoreline Village
This charming shopping and dining area on the water has small shops, art galleries, and restaurants with stunning harbour views. Try your hand at the arcade games in the Fun Factory, or rent a bicycle to explore the nearby beachfront bike paths.
D. Whale Watching and Harbor Cruises
Set sail on a whale watching or harbour cruise to discover the abundant marine life inhabiting Long Beach waters. Keep an eye out for dolphins, sea lions, and, during migration season, majestic grey whales.
E. Explore the Arts District
Long Beach’s thriving Arts District is home to an eclectic mix of galleries, studios, and performance spaces. Attend an exhibition or live performance, or participate in the monthly First Fridays art walk to experience the local arts scene up close.
Destination of Long Beach
A. History of Long Beach
Founded in 1897, Long Beach grew as a seaside resort, oil boomtown, and major port. Today, the city is a big, busy, diverse metropolis combining its long port history with modern culture and attractions.
B. Getting to Long Beach
Easily accessible from Los Angeles and Orange County, Long Beach is well-served by major highways and public transportation. Long Beach Airport (LGB) has flights within the United States. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and John Wayne Airport (SNA) also offer flights. The Metro Blue Line and bus routes connect Long Beach to neighbouring cities.
Long Beach on Google Map
C. Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Long Beach is in the late spring, summer, and early fall, when the weather is warm and sunny. While winter temperatures are mild, visitors may encounter rain and cooler evenings.
Long Beach offers many accommodations to suit every taste and budget. From luxurious waterfront hotels like the Hyatt Regency Long Beach and The Westin Long Beach to charming boutique properties and budget-friendly options, there is something for everyone.
Foods and Drinks
A. Parkers’ Lighthouse
Enjoy stunning waterfront views while dining on fresh seafood and prime steaks at Parkers’ Lighthouse. The restaurant’s award-winning wine list and elegant atmosphere make it a popular destination for special occasions.
B. The Attic
The Attic, located in a historic Craftsman-style home, has a cosy atmosphere and a menu of Southern-inspired comfort food. Take the chance to try their famous mac ‘n’ cheese, topped with various mouthwatering ingredients.
C. Lola’s Mexican Cuisine
Head to Lola’s Mexican Cuisine for a taste of authentic Mexican fare. This family-owned eatery serves traditional dishes made from scratch, using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
D. Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen
Sample a variety of craft brews at Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen, located in the heart of Long Beach’s Alamitos Bay. Pair your beer with a selection of delicious bites from their extensive menu, featuring options like gourmet burgers, tacos, and flatbreads.
E. The Breakfast Bar
Begin your day with a hearty meal at The Breakfast Bar, a local favourite for its delicious breakfast and brunch fare. This popular eatery has something for everyone, from decadent pancake stacks to savoury scrambles.
“Long Beach truly has something for everyone. My family and I loved exploring the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. The dining scene is fantastic, too—we enjoyed a delicious meal at Lola’s Mexican Cuisine. Can’t wait to come back!”Jessica W., Yelp Review, July 2022
“The Queen Mary is a must-see when visiting Long Beach. The history, architecture, and views are stunning. We took a guided tour and were impressed by the knowledgeable guide and fascinating stories. Highly recommended!”Brian S., TripAdvisor Review, September 2022
“Had an amazing time at the El Dorado Nature Center. It’s a peaceful oasis in the city’s heart, with beautiful walking trails and diverse wildlife. Don’t miss the chance to experience this hidden gem!”Megan L., Google Review, May 2022
“I’ve been to many beaches, but the beaches in Long Beach are some of my favourites. The sand is clean, the water is refreshing, and plenty of activities exist. Belmont Shore, in particular, is great for people-watching and soaking up the sun.”Carlos G., Yelp Review, August 2022
“If you’re looking for a fun night out, Shoreline Village is the place to be. There are a variety of unique shops and restaurants, as well as live music on weekends. My friends and I had a blast exploring the area and trying out the local cuisine.”Kelly H., TripAdvisor Review, June 2022
From iconic attractions like The Queen Mary and Aquarium of the Pacific to its diverse dining scene and vibrant arts district, Long Beach offers something for everyone. Outdoor enthusiasts will relish exploring the city’s beautiful beaches, parks, and nature centres, while culture lovers will delight in the rich history and thriving arts scene. With its prime location, comfortable accommodations, and many activities and experiences, Long Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a memorable Southern California getaway.
See More: longbeach.gov
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the top attractions in Long Beach?
Top attractions in Long Beach include the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach Museum of Art, El Dorado Nature Center, and Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden.
What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Long Beach?
Long Beach offers a variety of outdoor activities such as beachfront recreation, water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding, whale watching, and exploring parks and nature centres.
What is the best time to visit Long Beach
The best time to visit Long Beach is during late spring, summer, and early fall when the weather is warm and sunny.
What are some famous events and festivals in Long Beach
Long Beach hosts several popular events and festivals, including the Long Beach Grand Prix, Long Beach Pride, and the Long Beach Sea Festival.
How can I get to Long Beach?
Long Beach is easily accessible via major highways, public transportation, and nearby airports like Long Beach Airport (LGB), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and John Wayne Airport (SNA).
Are there family-friendly attractions in Long Beach?
Yes, Long Beach offers numerous family-friendly attractions, including the Aquarium of the Pacific, El Dorado Nature Center, and Shoreline Village.
What types of accommodations are available in Long Beach?
Long Beach offers a range of accommodations, from luxurious waterfront hotels to charming boutique properties and budget-friendly options.
What dining options are available in Long Beach
Long Beach boasts a diverse dining scene, with options ranging from upscale seafood restaurants to casual eateries, serving cuisines like Southern-inspired comfort food, Mexican, and more.
Are there guided tours and excursions available in Long Beach?
There are numerous guided tours and excursions available, such as whale-watching cruises, harbour tours, and walking tours of the city’s historic districts.
Can I rent equipment for water sports in Long Beach?
Several rental shops in Long Beach offer equipment for water sports, including kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and more.