We’re here again to let you know of all the great things to do in Long Beach. Before we do that, though, let’s get down to some facts and figures. Long Beach is a city and port in Southern California, located along the Pacific Coast. Long Beach shares a border with LA and is classed as part of the LA metropolitan area. The city’s port is the second largest in the United States, just behind its neighbor in Los Angeles. Long Beach has a population of around 469,000 people, and the city is named for exactly the reason you think. It used to be known as Willow City but was renamed in recognition of the 5.5-mile-long stretch of white sandy beaches that border the area. Being located in South California, Long Beach has a good year-round temperature and is known for its small-town feel.
So, let’s take you on a quick journey and explore all the great things to do in Long Beach, CA on your visit.
The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary was built in Scotland, UK and spent its life as a passenger ship in the North Atlantic from 1936 to 1967. Its main route was from Portsmouth, England to New York. She was purchased by the city of Long Beach after she was retired and now sits happily in the port dock. Much of the working innards of The Queen Mary have been removed, and the ship is now a museum and hotel. The cruise liner is also said to be haunted, so if you’re visiting – and particularly if you’re staying over – we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best of luck. Having a look around the ship and stopping for drinks or dinner is a pretty cool thing to do in Long Beach with your SO. It’s not often you get the chance to have dine on a vintage passenger liner, so why not make the most of the opportunity?
Knott’s Berry Farm
The legendary theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm, is actually located just outside Long Beach, but it’s too much of a Californian icon not to mention here. The park is currently the 10th most visited in the United States and spans 57 acres. There are more than 40 rides, including rollercoasters and water slides for all ages. The park is famous for its annual events; particularly the Knott’s Scary Farm festival, which is held on Halloween each year. Knott’s also has Knott’s Soak City on the same premises, which is all the fun of Knott’s Berry Farm, but with the addition of lots of water. It’s a great thing to do in Long Beach with kids.
Tickets required, available online or from the entrance, $53-$78 (depending on package)
Aquarium of the Pacific
The aquarium sits on Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach and covers an area of 5 acres. It focusses on three specific areas, and these are divided into three main collections. These are the Southern Californian and Baja Gallery, the Northern Pacific Gallery, and the Tropical Pacific Gallery. Each houses animal species from the region noted and, in total, there are around 11,000 to see. There’s also a huge shark tank because, although no one really wants to swim with them, everyone likes having a look from behind the safety of reinforced glass. An aquarium visit is a cool thing to do in Long Beach with kids, but adults love it, too.
Tickets required, available online of from the entrance, $19.95-$34.95
Shoreline Village is one of our favorite things to do in Long Beach, and it’s a little oasis of calm from the city center. It’s a beautiful place to spend a lazy day walking around, doing a spot of shopping, eating and drinking. Alternatively, hire a bike or buggy and take yourself and your family around that way. It can be a better option if you have smaller kids who don’t like walking too far, or you’re just quite lazy. We’re not here to judge. Don’t forget to hit up Sugar Daddies sweet shop for a fix. It’s the perfect way to replace those calories you burnt off with all that walking or cycling.
Museum of Latin American Art
This Long Beach museum is based in the East Village Arts District and celebrates Latin American and Latino art. The museum was previously a Hippodrome, which was converted to arts space and has retained its high ceilings and gorgeous hardwood floors. There’s a permanent collection of more than 1,500 works, which include photography, paintings, drawings, and videos. There’s also a beautiful sculpture garden in the grounds. The Museum of Latin American Art is a must-see thing to do in Long Beach and is a fantastic collection of art from across Latin America and North America.
Tickets required, available from the entrance, $7-$10
Built on three islands in Alamitos Bay, Naples Island is a pretty neighborhood in Long Island, known for its central fountain and Italian street names. As the neighborhood is surrounded by water, it attracts lots of visitors who wish to take advantage of that and go kayaking or paddle boarding. Naples Island is also one of very few places in the United States that offers gondola rides, which makes it pretty unique. Kids are fond of Mother’s Beach, which has gentle waves and offers them the opportunity to paddle or swim in relative safety. It’s a pretty relaxed thing to do in Long Beach and a popular place for a picnic.
Pine Avenue is the hub of downtown Long Beach and is best seen on foot. It has a long history, with many of the buildings in the area dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. However, although it’s an historic area, it’s also very modern. Hitting downtown for an evening on the tiles is a great thing to do in Long Beach with your SO. If you haven’t tested out the wonder that is Californian comfort food, this is the time to do it. The area has a range of dining options, including American, Greek and Italian, and many bars and restaurants serve excellent craft beers.
Off-beat things to do in Long Beach, CA
Wanna see the Skinniest House in America? Of course you do…! This rather slim building was constructed as part of a very odd bet and is located at 708 Gladys Avenue in the Rose Park neighborhood. The house is a three story building; with two beds and one bath, plus a third floor deck – presumably to make the occupant feel like they’ve got more space. Although this all sounds lovely, the home is only 10 feet wide. We hope the owner isn’t claustrophobic.
FAQs About Long Beach
We’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the city and things to do in Long Beach, CA. These will help your research, planning, and general education about all this southern Californian city has to offer.
What is there to do in Long Beach for free?
Take a trip to the hilltop park in nearby Signal Hill and experience 360-degree views across Long and Huntington Beaches. Head over to the campus of California State University and go for a walk around the beautiful Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. The Imperial Gardens in Tokyo provided the inspiration for this 1.3-acre park.
Is Long Beach California Safe?
Overall, yes. Crime rates in Long Beach sit around the national average for the US. However, there are neighborhoods in Long Beach that are far more dangerous than others – as it is in any major city. Keep your valuables hidden away, don’t go out on your own after dark and take more care than you do at home as you’re unlikely to know the city streets as well.
What are the good areas of Long Beach?
Park Estates, The Plaza, City College Area, and Lakewood Village come out on top of the best neighborhoods in the city.
Is Long Beach expensive?
Long Beach is expensive to live in, but not expensive to visit. The average house price is around $800,000, which is way higher than the national average. However, it is located in Southern California and makes up part of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, so it’s not a surprise that property prices are pretty steep.
Long Beach is a great city, with lots of green space, white sandy beaches, and places to walk, run and cycle. It’s unique in that it’s managed to retain a certain small town charm despite being part of LA metropolitan area. Historically, Long Beach was a major producer of oil in the 1920s and was also a manufacturer of Ford cars until the 1960s. These days, the mainstays of the economy are the port, various medical and healthcare companies, and retail jobs. Long Beach Airport is 3 miles from the downtown area, but many visitors arrive via LAX. A regular shuttle bus is available to transfer passengers from Los Angeles to Long Beach. We hope we’ve convinced you of the great range of things to do in Long Beach and hope to see you there soon.