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Travel Guide to Long Beach, California

Updated on May 20, 2012
Downtown Long Beach Skyline
Downtown Long Beach Skyline


Planning a vacation to Long Beach, California? Or maybe you live nearby and are looking for fun things to do? This travel guide has some of the highlights of this great city.

Naples

Naples is a collection of man-made islands in Alamitos Bay. Some of the nicest houses in the city are in this area. It’s worth a walk around, especially if Christmas lights are up. You can also take a tour of the Naples canals by gondola. It’s a unique way to see Naples. Reservations can be made at Gondola Getaway. There's also an annual Naples Christmas Boat Parade. A lot of big parties are held this evening and a walk around the island will give you carolers, bell choirs, and lots of festivity.


Alamitos Bay is a great place for beach goers and water sports enthusiasts. Leeway Sailing Center offers sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and windsurfing lessons in the bay. They also offer equipment rental if you can pass a basic skills check.

Belmont Shore

One stop I insist you make on your tour of Long Beach is Belmont Shore. This neighborhood is the quintessential southern California beach town. Stroll down Second Street to window shop at boutiques and find some of the best restaurants in town! You'll also be steps away from the beach for an afternoon of fun. If you happen to be in town during early December, see if your trip corresponds to the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade.

Signal Hill

This is another must-do. Take a trip to the top of Signal Hill and spend some time at Hilltop Park. Here you'll find panoramic views of downtown Long Beach, Long Beach Harbor, and downtown Los Angeles. On clear days you'll be able to see Catalina Island and the Hollywood Sign.

Source

Queen Mary

The Queen Mary is one of the most famous ocean liners in history. It now houses a hotel and banquet facilities. If you aren't staying there, you can still take tours of the steamship or dine at one of its fine restaurants. The ship is infamously haunted, and they'll occasionally offer ghost tours.

Aquarium of the Pacific

The Aquarium of the Pacific is the fourth largest aquarium in the United States, and it promotes awareness of the Pacific Ocean's biodiversity. It houses over 50 exhibits and provides educational programs about marine biology. This is a great option if you have kids along.

Rancho Los Alamitos
Rancho Los Alamitos | Source

Ranchos

There are two historic ranchos in Long Beach. California Ranchos were established by Spanish, and later Mexican, settlers. The received land grants to raise sheep and cattle. Rancho Los Cerritos and Rancho Los Alamitos both give tours and provide a slice of California history.

Art Museums

If you're looking to museum-hop, there are two noteworthy art museums in town. The Long Beach Museum of Art is located in the historic Elizabeth Milbank Anderson house and carriage house, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Exhibits rotate, so be sure to check ahead of time to see what will be there. The Museum of Latin American Art is a fun place to go if you are interested in Latin American art and culture. It is the only museum in the country that exclusively focuses on modern and contemporary Latin American art.

Long Beach Arena
Long Beach Arena | Source

Performing Arts

Looking for a nice evening out? The Long Beach Performing Art Center holds concerts, plays, ballets, and other performances in the Terrace Theater and the intimate Center Theater. The Long Beach Arena is next door. Here you'll find everything from conferences to concerts to hockey games.

The Long Beach Playhouse has two intimate theaters and features local actors. Most performances are murder mysteries and a little bit off-the-beaten-path. It'll surely be a fun evening.

If you're looking for a movie, The Art Theater of Long Beach was built in 1924 and has been restored to its Golden Age of Cinema glory. Enjoy the latest film, gourmet snacks, wine, and coffee.

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    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I don't live too far from the city and enjoy visiting it. I'd like to recommend the Russian Submarine which is right next to the Queen Mary. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Modern Lady profile image
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      Modern Lady 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      alocsin, that is another fun slice of history well worth the visit. I think it's known as the Scorpion? I love how much Long Beach has to offer. There are so many fantastic and interesting things to see and do.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 4 years ago from Minnesota

      California is a place that I've always wanted to visit. Great hub, this was very helpful!

    • Modern Lady profile image
      Author

      Modern Lady 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Pinkchic18, I hope you get to visit someday. It is a wonderful place.

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