Long Beach is the seventh most populated city in California, located just a half hour’s drive to Downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach offers a convenient city location, paired with the beachtown vibes that California is known for. A drive through the city streets reveals a peek at the city’s past through its mid-century architecture and Craftsman-style homes scattered amongst luxury high rises and walls painted with a kaleidoscope of public art.
Downtown Long Beach is a prime location for most of Long Beach’s major tourist attractions such as the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the views of the harbor while eating and drinking at one of the many restaurants and bars near the waterfront. In the same area is the Aquarium of the Pacific, one of the largest aquariums in California. It’s your chance to see aquatic life up close and learn more about the depths of the ocean and the unique creatures that call this region of the world home. If you’re down for a spooky adventure, hop aboard The Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner with a long history. Considered to be haunted, ghost tours are available for anyone brave enough to venture into the ship’s cavernous interior.
Take a stroll through the East Village Arts District. Though this neighborhood contrasts the modern Downtown Long Beach, it’s a quaint section of an otherwise rapidly modernizing seaside city. Stop into one of the many local art galleries, trendy boutiques, and delicious restaurants that this quirky neighborhood is best known for. Slightly southwest of the East Village Arts District is Pine Avenue, a neighborhood that exemplifies the unique blend of past, present, and future found throughout Long Beach. Venture into historic buildings that house modern, fine-dining restaurants and local businesses.
While you’re in the area, pay a visit to the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), which happens to be the only museum in the entire United States that is solely dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art. Or, opt for the Long Beach Museum of Art that houses several contemporary artworks.
If museums aren’t your favorite pastime, head to El Dorado Nature Park where you can walk the trails and bask in the verdant natural landscape. Or head to the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden for some much needed time outdoors. Enjoy the gorgeous sunshine that Southern California offers while exploring 1.3 acres inspired by the Imperial Gardens of Tokyo. You might even be lucky enough to see the yearly Koi Auction or Chrysanthemum Show.
Sports fans and architecture nerds will both love The Walter Pyramid. Home of Long Beach State basketball and volleyball for over 20 years, the pyramid has become a nationally recognized landmark for the university and city of Long Beach. The building’s distinctive cobalt blue exteriors have altered the city’s skyline permanently. At 18 stories high and visible for miles in all directions, is the largest building on campus. It has given a quantum leap to Long Beach State’s athletic programs’ image and effectiveness, with an immediate impact on the school’s fan base, scholarship fundraising, recruiting, and revenue generation.
History buffs will be delighted by The Los Cerritos Ranch House, also known as “Rancho Los Cerritos”. Known as “the biggest and most magnificent adobe house built in southern California during the Mexican era.” It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. Today, the historic site at Rancho Los Cerritos, is a museum run by the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation in conjunction with the City of Long Beach. The museum is open for tours, programs, and events on Wednesdays through Sundays. The visitor center, which includes exhibits about the site’s past from Native American periods to the present.
Overall, there are so many things to do and see while touring Long Beach. It’s a vibrant and dynamic beach town with tons of art, culture, and history. Whether you’re looking for fun in the sunshine or a deep dive into contemporary art in the city’s many museums, there’s something for everyone in this iconic urban hub.