Last updated: 11:53 AM ET, Tue September 08 2015

City Pulse: The Only Guide to Long Beach, Calif. You Need

Destination & Tourism | Ryan Rudnansky | March 20, 2015

City Pulse: The Only Guide to Long Beach, Calif. You Need

Photo courtesy of Aquarium of the Pacific

We Say:

Long Beach, Calif., less than 25 miles from Downtown Los Angeles, includes a lot of what makes L.A. a top tourist destination, but with less traffic and a more laid-back vibe.

The city of about 470,000 people features plenty of attractions and things to do, including top-notch hotels, historic buildings and ships, nature centers and Japanese gardens, a great beach and cruise scene, and vastly underrated nightlife, from one of the top grossing nightclubs in the United States to a 1920s-style bar, restaurant and events venue.

On top of that, Long Beach is considerably more affordable than L.A. in a variety of areas.

Oh yeah, and it’s in Southern California, meaning it boasts some of the sunniest weather in the country.

They Say:

Long Beach — an urban waterfront playground — offers the best of California culture, entertainment, shopping and dining, all within a compact, easily-accessible area. Long Beach truly has it all. From the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific to more than 120 downtown dining destinations, plus 11 miles of beachfront, inland waterways and bays. Located in the center of Southern California, Long Beach is just minutes from three major airports and all of the great LA and Orange County attractions. -Visit Long Beach




Current Traffic: Google Traffic

Airport: Long Beach Airport

Public Transit: Long Beach Transit

Bikeshare: Bike Long Beach

Walkability Score: 66 at Walk Score

Parking Options / Expense: ParkMe, Best Parking

Best Accommodations:

Boutique: Hyatt The Pike Long Beach

High End: The Westin Long Beach

Mid Range: Courtyard by Marriott Long Beach Airport

Bargain: Beachrunners’ Inn

Foods to seek out:

Thai: Thai Gourmet By Sri Maya Fun fact: Long Beach has one of the largest Hmong populations in the United States.

Seafood: Pier 76 Grill

Ice cream: Paradis Fun fact: In 2013, Long Beach consumed the most ice cream per capita in the United States.

Known For:

Queen Mary

The Grand Prix of Long Beach

Craft beers/dive bars

Sports Teams:

Long Beach Legends (American Basketball Association, semi-pro)

Long Beach State 49ers (California State University, Long Beach)

Long Beach City College Vikings (Long Beach City College)

Formula Drift (professional drift racing)

Cool attractions:


1. Explore the Queen Mary.

2. For a peaceful getaway, check out El Dorado Nature Center.

3. Take the dog for a walk at Rosie’s Dog Beach.


1. Take a cruise to Catalina via the Catalina Express.

2. Take a gondola ride through the Naples neighborhood canals and waterways via Gondola Getaway

3. Take a stroll through the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden at Long Beach State.


1. Take the kids to the Aquarium of the Pacific

2. Get up close and personal with whales and dolphins through Harbor Breeze Cruises

3. Take a helicopter tour of Long Beach and the surrounding area via Los Angeles Helicopters.


1. Party down at Sevilla Nightclub, one of the country’s 50 most grossing nightclubs/bars in 2013.

2. Sing and laugh at Sgt. Pepper’s Dueling Pianos.

3. For a vintage 1920s-style experience, check out The Federal Bar.   

Long Beach is:


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