Guide to Downtown Long Beach

Downtown Long Beach is a neighborhood where you can find plenty to do for a day as a tourist or local. Aside from the palm-lined streets and beaches, there are museums, art galleries, nightlife, a major aquarium, and plenty of places to shop and dine in this area. This guide will tell you about all the major attractions and best places to go on a day out in Downtown Long Beach.

Where is Downtown Long Beach?

Downtown Long Beach is bordered by the LA River to the West and Ocean Blvd to the South. Neighborhoods within this area include the East Village Arts District, the West End and North Pine. Downtown is home to a Convention and Entertainment Center, which houses theaters and an arena for events, plus a Wyland Whaling Wall Mural to check out.

What to do in Downtown Long Beach

A trip to Long Beach isn’t complete without a visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific, which is a 5-acre site located on Rainbow Harbor across from the Long Beach Convention Center. 1.5 million people visit the non-profit aquarium each year for its many exhibits of all kinds of species from penguins to otters, to coral reefs and frogs, sharks and jellyfish! They have programming for all ages and events, so check their event calendar before you go.

Across the water from the Aquarium is The RMS Queen Mary, a retired British ocean liner that you can tour during the day or by taking a nighttime ghost tour. It’s currently closed temporarily, but when it’s open it has all kinds of events, tours and exhibits.

Art lovers can see two well-known art museums downtown: the Long Beach Museum of Art, which is located on Ocean Blvd and has California art, and the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), which is the only US museum with modern Latin American art.

The Rancho Los Cerritos is a historic Adobe residence-turned-museum where you can learn the history of the area from Native American times through present-day, and it has a California research library for anyone looking to learn.

Outdoor activities in Downtown Long Beach

The great outdoors can be found throughout downtown Long Beach in its beaches and gardens. Check out the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden at CA State University’s campus (closed Saturdays and Mondays), which was designed by Ed Lovell who was inspired by his visit to the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo. You can sometimes catch events here, like the Koi auction and chrysanthemum show. More outdoor spots include The El Dorado Nature Center, Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens and Dominguez Gap Wetlands.

For beaches where you can enjoy a beach day or walking and biking, check out Alamitos Beach, Junipero Beach and Long Beach City Beach, which are all within the downtown area, though you’ll probably find better beaches a little past the downtown border at Rosie’s Dog Beach, Belmont Shore and Naples.

Where to shop and dine in Downtown Long Beach

For shopping and dining, check out Rainbow Harbor, Shoreline Village and the East Village, where you can find independent designer and specialty stores for anything from clothing to boutique furniture before stopping for coffee or a meal at one of the area’s many restaurants and cafes. Then, check out the local art galleries for work from California artists. You can also find outlet shopping at the Pike Oulets.

Take a stroll along Harvey Milk Promenade Park, which has chess tables, orange groves and Equality Plaza which is dedicated to recognizing leaders in the LGBTQ civil rights movement.

Here are some recommended restaurants and breweries in Downtown Long Beach:

  • Yard House: Sports bar with American fare and a brewery, both with extensive menu options
  • BO-beau kitchen + roof tap: Open for dinner, with a rooftop where you can dine and drink beer.
  • King’s Fish House: Go here if you’re looking for good seafood. They also have beer, wine and cocktails.
  • L’Opera Italian Restaurant: For Italian food lovers, this is your spot, known for its Northern Italian cuisine.
  • Beachwood Brewing Downtown Long Beach: Local hip craft brewery to check out that also has food.

We hope our Downtown Long Beach guide helps you find the best activities for your time in the area! There’s plenty to do for people of all ages, and no matter the weather or time of year!

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