Thanks for visiting our Long Beach Travel Guide! We may be a bit partial, as Long Beach is our hometown, but we think it’s pretty great! It’s one of the most culturally diverse cities in the US- a fact that’s evidenced by all the city has to offer. Check out our list of things to do, see and experience as well as suggestions for getting around town, dining and accommodation. We hope the information below answers all your questions. Should that not be the case, please feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to get you the answers you need.
The Long Beach airport (LGB) was completely modernized in late 2012, and is absolutely beautiful. An airy outdoor security checkpoint, floor-to-ceiling windows, abundance of plant life and sunshine making its way into the terminal is sure to make your coming and going a most pleasurable experience. The new resort-like passenger concourse is equipped with free Wi-Fi to support any handheld device or laptop. Most of the seating options in the new concourse come with electrical outlets that allow users to charge straight from USB plugs as you lounge near your gate. Dine, drink or get your sweet tooth on at satellite branches of favorite local Long Beach restaurants, watering holes and bakeries. LGB is served by Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. Outside the terminal, you can rent a car or shuttle, hail a cab or call an Uber or Lyft. Zipcar also operates throughout Long Beach.
If not renting a car, there are many other options for getting around town. Long Beach Transit offers a free “Passport” bus route in downtown Long Beach that takes riders to popular destinations, attractions and hotels. For $1.25 per one-way fare, LBT busses (electric powered fleet!) operate citywide. During the summer months, LBT offers a water taxi service, including the AquaLink and AquaBus. For directions on how to use Long Beach Transit services, call your LBT trip planner at (562) 591-2301 or log onto LBT’s website and click “Plan Your Trip” for step by step instructions. Proudly, Long Beach is one of the most bike friendly cities in the US and recently unveiled a new bike share program. It includes 500 powder blue bicycles at 50 stations throughout the city. The LA Metro Blue Line can get you into downtown L.A. in 45 minutes if you wish to visit during your stay.
Mayan mystique meets urban chic! The alluring fusion of Latin American and Southern Californian styles comes together at the Hotel Maya, a stunning waterfront resort set amidst a lush, tropical landscape and situated across the harbor from Downtown Long Beach and its mesmerizing skyline. Their restaurant, Fuego, is manned by award-winning Executive Chef Victor Juarez and features vibrantly colored indoor-outdoor dining terraces with panoramic views of downtown Long Beach and the historic Queen Mary.
Step back in time and stay aboard the historic Queen Mary. Once a world-class ocean liner, the Queen Mary Hotel offers guests utterly unique accommodations accented with authentic polished wood paneling, original 1930s artwork, Art Deco design and operable portholes. Each stateroom is unique and offers a real glimpse into what transatlantic travel was like during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. They also do an amazing champagne brunch on Sundays.
For something a little more funky, opt for the eco-friendly Varden Hotel, a boutique hotel located in the heart of the downtown district that features Pow! Wow! murals, European style and lots of history set amongst contemporary design. In the late afternoon and evening, enjoy a wine reception in light-filled the lobby.
Also, airbnb is alive and well in Long Beach 😉
One of the most exciting developments in the arts in Long Beach is the Pow! Wow! project– a collective of up-and-coming + cutting edge artists who temporarily set up shop to grace the city’s walls with incredible murals. They travel the globe to bring art and culture to public spaces by beautifying the city while cultivating community pride and have chosen Long Beach as one of their top locations to make art in for 3 years consecutively. They’re currently painting murals for 2017. Visit their site for a map and make a day out of checking out some world-class street art.
Long Beach is also home to some great museums. One of our favorites is the Museum of Latin American Art. It’s the only museum in the US dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art and features an amazing permanent collection with works by Tamayo, Matta, Cruz-Diez, Los Carpinteros and Tunga. A highlight of MOLA is their 15,000 sq. ft. sculpture garden. While there, grab lunch at Café Viva for some authentic Latin American cuisine.
On the bluff above the ocean lies the lovely Long Beach Museum of Art, which is housed in the historic 1911 Elizabeth Milbank Anderson House- a gorgeous representation of classic Craftsman architecture. The museum’s permanent collection is just as diverse as the city it represents with more than 3,200 works encompassing 300 years of American and European art in all media. Highlights from the collection include furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, ceramics by Beatrice Wood, sculptures by Claire Falkenstein, early 20th century European Modernist paintings by Vasily Kandinsky and contemporary works by artists such as Sandow Birk. Consider dining on the terrace at Claire’s where they’re known for a great brunch with even better views of the Pacific Ocean and on a clear day, Catalina Island.
Now in it’s 10th year, Yoga On The Bluff has become a Long Beach Institution. Every day, hundreds of yogi’s roll out their mats on the grass at the corner of Ocean and Junipero and stretch towards the sun at these free yoga classes. Yoga On The Bluff was Started by teacher and Yogalution Movement Founder, Dharma Shakti, as a way to offer yoga to those unable to afford studio classes. The classes have grown into a Long Beach staple where the curious can come to explore and the experts can practice their form with an enviable view of the Pacific Ocean and Long Beach harbor. Classes happen 7 days a week from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. Plan to arrive 15- 20 minutes early to grab a shady spot under the coral trees!
The Fourth Street Corridor is a celebration of independence and diversity that welcomes all lifestyles and ideas. It’s the most unique pocket of Long Beach featuring nearly 100 independently owned and operated businesses that offer goods, services, foods and experiences that you simply won’t find anywhere else. It’s a creative launch pad for ideas and enterprises that exist to support originality and independent thinking. Fourth Street was born of authentic roots and grew organically from a few people with a vision for a completely different kind of culture and experience. You can read about Fourth Street in this Sunset Magazine article and check out our top picks below:
Long beach has embraced the slow food movement and wholeheartedly supports it’s local farms. It’s a mindset that’s fostered a plethora of plant-based dining establishments. Under The Sun was recently opened in the downtown district by our good friends Dawna and Chrissy. This stylish eatery is the first raw food restaurant in Long Beach and is set in a beautiful building with exposed brick, high ceilings and huge windows. Ahimsa Vegan Kitchen, also located in downtown, serves up dishes made from their own produce that comes from their heirloom farm in Escondido. Open Sesame was founded by Misty and is one of the best and most popular restaurants in the LBC. Here you’ll find many vegan and vegetarian options with a menu that focuses on traditional Lebanese cuisine with a modern twist. There’s also I Love Vegan, a Thai joint located in North Long Beach. Worth the uber ride if clean vegan with loads of flavor is what you crave. Lastly, the Sunday Farmer’s market at the Alamitos Bay Marina is a favorite stocked with local fruit, veggies, prepared foods, fresh flowers, live music and arts and crafts.
Honestly, there are too many good things in Long Beach to fit onto one page, but we can’t help but share a few more of our favorites. The Aquarium of the pacific is Southern California’s Largest Aquarium whose mission is to instill a sense of wonder, respect and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants, and ecosystems. Our favorite exhibits are the jellyfish and seahorses! MADE by Millworks‘ airy showroom features clothing, jewelry, home decor items and more- all created by local makers, artisans and designers. Their tongue-in-cheek motto? “It’s Your Civic Duty to Shop Local!” Check their facebook and IG pages for upcoming art openings too. Urban Americana, an antique and design collective, is located in the heart of the historic Zaferia Design District. Their 16,000 square foot mid-century warehouse is filled with antique dealers, artisans and vintage inspired goods. While you’re in the neighborhood, grab a bite at Working Class Kitchen, or our favorite Mexican restaurant, Los Compadres (the E. Anaheim St. location). For dessert, head to Frosted Cupcakery on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore for the best cupcake you’ll ever put in your mouth. They even have a gluten free option! We’re bigs fan of their hi-top’s (mini cupcake sandwiches, oh my!) and the classic cupcakes never disappoint. One of the best kept secrets in Long Beach is a beautiful sanctuary that rests upon a hilltop and is a place we like to go for a respite from the business of life. Rancho Los Alamitos is twice listed on the National Register of Historic Places – once as the sacred Tongva village of Povuu’ngna, the traditional birthplace of the native people of the Los Angeles Basin, and second, for the evolution of its significant historic landscape over time. The site includes traces of the ancestral village, an adobe-core ranch house ca.1800, four acres of lush historic gardens developed during the 1920s and 30s, and the restored working ranch barnyard of the early-mid 20th century. A quintessential place for people to experience the living story of southern California, Rancho Los Alamitos is a microcosm of the region, past to present.