Looking for a city that provides you the best of both worlds? Recreation on land and sea? Relaxation at the beach or work with an ocean view? Long Beach, California, has you covered! A city with positive qualities, Long Beach is 20 miles south of Los Angeles. With its beautiful landscapes, diverse foods, and pleasant weather on most days of the year, this Southern California city is an excellent choice for a vacation.
If you visit glorious Long Beach, here are nine things to do that will make memories for a lifetime.
1. Listen To Live Jazz
Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles is a California icon. Known for the food combination that represents its name — chicken and waffles, Roscoe’s has seven restaurants in Southern California. However, it’s the Long Beach location that is home to the one and only Roscoe’s Jazz Lounge. Walk into Roscoe’s, give your order for takeout or place your name on the list for a table, then mosey on over to the jazz club while you wait. Step into the intimate setting of round tables and crimson velvet chairs and transport yourself to an easygoing atmosphere with music as satisfying as the Roscoe’s chicken and waffles menu. Eating at the restaurant is not a prerequisite to experiencing live jazz-although recommended. You can see the soul-stirring bands on Saturday nights without dinner. Just head to the right when you go into the building, get a spot and let the band take you elsewhere. The jazz club is a local favorite, with a history of many R&B greats having graced the establishment back in the day. If you are lucky and be there when famous artists are visiting, you’ll receive a gift of an impromptu performance.
2. Visit The Center Of Long Beach At Shoreline Village
You have not experienced Long Beach until you’ve walked the pier of Shoreline Village. You could devote a full day here and yet need to return the next day to take in all it offers. Harbor views, historic markers, souvenir shopping, hotels, boat rentals, arcades, and more inhabit this area of Long Beach. Shoreline Village has its own boardwalk with waterfront eateries and recreational activities. Along with the brick-and-mortar restaurants, food trucks line Shoreline Village Way. Whatever you’re in the frame of mind for doing, you will discover a match for it in Shoreline Village. If you prefer a day of exercise and fun you can rent a bike, electric scooter, or take a jog around the marina. If you choose to totally relax and take in the views, you can stroll the Harbor Marina or people watch. Dining options are available to pair your mood as well. If you have energy remaining or time left, plan to see Southern California’s largest aquarium, Aquarium of the Pacific. It is situated near Shoreline Village on Aquarium Way. Shoreline Village is a destination and a journey. One which yields a huge return on the time you will invest there.
3. Take A Sunset Cruise
Departing from Shoreline Village, Spirit Cruises offers three low cost ($15) one-hour cruises around Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor. The sunset cruise departs about an hour before the sun goes down, pointing out various sites of interest along the way. If you are lucky, you may even catch a few sea lions out, relishing the peacefulness of the harbor. This cruise is family-friendly, including your very well-behaved four-legged family members. As you enjoy the ride, you can also enjoy cocktails, beer, and wine, adding additional ambiance to the experience. Watching the sunset over the beautiful Rainbow Harbor while being chauffeured by a ship’s crew is a splendid ending to a day in Long Beach.
4. Do Yoga On The Bluff
One of the best places to do yoga in Long Beach happens outside just above the beach on Ocean Boulevard. Yoga on the bluff is a favorite activity of many locals happening on one of the busiest streets in the city. Each day at 11 a.m., free daily yoga classes take place on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Instructors from the Yogalution Movement lead the year-round classes. This public class is open to anyone at all levels of yoga experience.
Residents from the area walk over to the bluff with mats and water in hand ready to partake in the Zen experience. There is plenty of green space to accommodate all who want to join the class — including you.
5. Accompany Your Dog To Rosie’s Dog Beach
Long Beach is not simply for two-legged pleasure. Every member of the house has something to do in the “LBC” and a place to do it. Rosies Dog Beach is a section of the beach on Ocean Blvd., where dogs may frolic and play off leash between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. While your dog plays fetch in the tide or runs up and down with its canine companions, you can observe from your own beach chair or blanket. Dogs rule on this part of the beach, but if you are well behaved, I’m confident your dog will oblige you to stick around as long as you would like.
6. Pull Up A Seat In SteelCraft
On the intersection of Long Beach Blvd. and Bixby Rd., you will encounter a spirited, casual atmosphere surrounded by repurposed shipping containers. SteelCraft conveys togetherness with its picnic style tables for sharing meals with family or strangers. All meals are passed through pickup windows from the food and drink vendors. Dining options include authentic Mexican, gourmet hamburgers, craft brewery, freshly brewed artisan coffee, handmade ice creams, Neapolitan pizza, chocolates, and sweet or savory waffles with a twist. You can also enjoy entertainment on specific evenings. SteelCraft offers this commitment, “Whether you come for the food, the drinks, or the people, there’s a place for you at the SteelCraft table.”
7. Hangout At The Hangar In The Long Beach Exchange
The Hangar at the Long Beach Exchange (LBX) is situated near the Long Beach Airport. While the Long Beach Exchange is home to retail stores, salons, restaurants, fast food, and a Whole Foods grocery store, the Hangar is a one-stop-shop for all things foodie. No matter your tastes, you will discover something you’ll like from either of the 14 eateries located inside. Vegans, sushi lovers, cheese enthusiasts, ice cream lovers, hot chicken aficionados, coffee snobs, brewery crawlers, and every other appetite has an eatery to choose from. You can dine inside in the contemporary seating areas, take your meal outside to outdoor seating, play on the adult playground, or listen to music. As you are walking through the Hangar deciding on which meal suits you best, take time to look at the pictures of airplanes and aeronautic history on the walls. Note the marquees that resemble airport departure and arrival boards and the airplane runway marked on the ground outside of the entrance. The Hangar is where friends meet, business associates’ lunch, and date night happens.
8. Ride Water Bikes On The Bay
This one activity may just see you crowned the queen or king of vacation planning. Stop at the “marina” and you’ll find Long Beach Waterbikes. I describe the water bike as a bicycle surfboard that is powered by your peddling. Pedal your way around Alamitos Bay and take in the sights of bayside homes, beachcombers, and paddle surfers. You have until 10 p.m. to take your bike out for a spin around the bay. For those family members who may not prefer that much of a thrill, the marina area itself has enough to do. You could play eye spy with the docked yachts and sailboats in the marina, eat, drink, and be merry in one of the many restaurants on E. Marina Dr., or you can swap the water view for a retail view in the new 2nd and PCH upbeat retail center. Whichever you select, it’s a win-win all around.
9. Have Dinner In Cambodia Town
As noted, Long Beach is rich with neighborhoods that are culturally diverse. On Anaheim Street, 1.2 miles between Atlantic and Junipero (pronounced- juan-ni-pero) streets is the area recognized as Cambodia Town. Cambodia Town is not merely diverse, but unique. Long Beach has the greatest community of Cambodians outside of Cambodia itself. Although the area has residents from all backgrounds, the corridor is integrated with retail shops, restaurants, and other businesses specific to Khmer and Cambodian people. What makes this an extraordinary experience is the ability to immerse yourself in true Cambodian cuisine and culture. While there are several options for authentic food, try The Noodle Shack. If you encounter a line formed outside, don’t be intimidated. It is worth the wait.
Long Beach is not a one-size-fits-all city. There is something for everyone. Whether your intent is to loosen up, dine by the ocean, or involve yourself in the city’s atmosphere, you can achieve it all in Long Beach.
If California dreamin’ is your favorite pastime, go for it: