The state of California is popular for tourists and that should not be surprising anymore as the place is filled with countless hotspots to visit and celebrities to meet. While it is mostly known for the glitz and the glamour, we should not forget that the state is well-known for its beaches and amazing cities as well. One city that people can’t help but visit is Long Beach, which is the second-largest city in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Long Beach is a city on the Pacific Coast of the U.S. True to its name, the city features a long shore that both locals and tourists can’t help but enjoy. Beyond that, the city features a robust and ecstatic culture that is all about living life to its fullest. We’re sure you’re itching to get to Long Beach, California but before anything else, here’s a short guide.
- 1 How To Get To Long Beach, California
- 2 Getting Around Long Beach, California
- 3 Budget For Long Beach, California
- 4 Best Time To Visit Long Beach, California
- 5 The Coolest Things You Can Do in Long Beach, California
- 5.1 Board Queen Mary
- 5.2 See the Scorpion Submarine
- 5.3 Experience a piece of Japan
- 5.4 See a glimpse of Korea
- 5.5 Experience Cambodia
- 5.6 Shop for antiques
- 5.7 Dine at Parkers’ Lighthouse
- 5.8 Go on whale watching tours
- 5.9 See the skinniest house in America
- 5.10 Hike the Sunken City
- 5.11 Watch a movie on the beach
- 5.12 Listen to the Long Beach Symphony
- 5.13 Watch a car race
- 5.14 Try the best pickled eggs
How To Get To Long Beach, California
There are a few options for you if you are traveling to the city coming from other states or other countries. Ideally, you may want to book a trip to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). This is California’s busiest airport and it has trips from almost all major cities around the world. From here, you can take a cab to the city. If you have rented a car, then take 405 South then 710 South. Located at the end of the 710 freeway is the city of Long Beach.
Another airport that’s accessible from Long Beach Airport (LGB) and the Orange County’s John Wayne Airport (SNA). Again, cabs will take you to the city from here. If you are driving to the city, take 405 North and then 710 South. It is basically the same trip as the LAX route but you are coming from another airport instead.
Regardless of where you are coming from, make sure to make the 710 South freeway as your final destination. This is sure to get you to Downtown Long Beach. People come to Long Beach from other parts of California such as the Inland Empire and Orange County. There are buses that come to and from Long Beach but we prefer the route above so you don’t get lost.
Getting Around Long Beach, California
Getting around Long Beach is a lot easier than getting to it. There are several modes of public transportation readily available but we recommend the cheaper and more convenient option which is renting a car. If you book ahead of the trip, you will have a car waiting for you upon your arrival at the airport. Not only is this cheap, renting a car also allows you to travel around the city at your own leisure. Long Beach is a well-developed city so you don’t need to worry about bumpy roads.
There are several convenient public transportation options as well. The first is the Metro Link. This is Los Angeles’ light rail transit system. It runs from 7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles right to Long Beach. It is a cheap and fast public transportation model and it can get you to the top spots in the city as well.
If you are planning your trip mostly around Long Beach itself, then you should take the Long Beach Transit. It is the city’s largest mode of public transportation and it has services for both land and water. The trips run on a schedule though so be sure to get your times right before planning your trip.
If you want to tour around the city itself, then try out the Passport Shuttle. It is transportation service that gets you to major Long Beach attractions and it is free throughout the downtown area. This is designed to accommodate tourists so be sure to take advantage of it while you are in the city.
Alternatively, you can bike around Long Beach as well. Los Angeles as a whole is a bike-friendly neighborhood. There are dedicated lanes for bikers across the city and there are even bike racks on some of the public transportation modes. You can rent bikes for a cheap price in various establishments in Long Beach so be sure to try this out if you want a relaxing trip across the shoreline.
Budget For Long Beach, California
If there is one reason not to visit California, it’s that it is actually quite an expensive place to visit. The same goes for Long Beach. That isn’t to say that you can’t travel the city on a budget.
If you are trying to save on expenses, you can make it in Long Beach for $150 a day. For your accommodation, we recommend booking BnBs instead of hotels. BnBs can be booked for as low as $40. You may also want to avoid booking rooms by the beach and with a shore view as these tend to be more expensive.
As for food, you can get your fill of delicious and cheap grub around the beach area through food stalls. Ideally, you are looking at spending $20 per day on food. As for public transportation, you might spend $20 per day if you rent a car. You could spend a few dollars more if you choose to take public transportation. If you plan your trip properly, you’ll figure out which option is the best for you.
Best Time To Visit Long Beach, California
According to travelers, the best time to visit Long Beach is during the month of April. During this month, the temperature is still warm so a day at the beach will feel perfect. Temperatures will play around the low 70s. At the same time, the hotel rates are much cheaper as well. Rooms could be had for as low as 40% and that’s a big discount if you are on a budget.
If you are on a tight budget, then try to avoid visiting the city during the Christmas week, the Sundance week (Jan. 19-29), Presidents Day week (Feb. 16-20). These weeks are the most popular for tourists and hotel rates are going to be taking advantage of this by jacking up their prices. Expect to pay at least 30% more than the regular price is you visit during these weeks.
With these things in mind, it is now time to check out some of the things you can do in Long Beach.
The Coolest Things You Can Do in Long Beach, California
As the sixth largest city in California, Long Beach surely has a lot of activities and attractions to offer even if it gives off a small-town feel. And in spite of that provincial atmosphere that it gives off, it still is one of the cities that is worth traveling to. Here’s a rundown of the coolest things to do in Long Beach that will prove that it is one of the cities that are worth talking about as well.
1Board Queen Mary
The Queen Mary is probably the first thing that will come to many people’s minds when talking about Long Beach. This is because boarding it is one of the coolest things to do in Long Beach. Known as one of the luxury liners that once set sailed in the seas, the RMS Queen Mary has become a major tourist attraction since it has made Long Beach its home in 1960s because of its beauty and award-winning facilities such as its spa and restaurants. You can have the most relaxing stay here and even get to dine in style in one of its several restaurants as you bask in the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
2See the Scorpion Submarine
If you’re already aboard Queen Mary, might as well see the Scorpion Submarine. Formerly known as the “terror of the deep” as it was once used as a formidable weapon, this submarine now provides a fun experience, especially for kids. Here, you can get to explore it personally and get a first-hand peek at what life was like aboard this Russian submarine. You can also get to get a closer look at its top-secret torpedo rooms and get to know how its complex network of engine works as well as it radar, weaponry, and sonar.
3Experience a piece of Japan
Another one of the coolest things to do in Long Beach is that you can visit a garden and feel as if you’ve traveled to Japan. And you can get to experience it if you will go to the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. While it was built by Loraine Miller Collins to honor her late husband in the early 80s, it will still make you feel the tranquility that a Japanese garden has as it was inspired by Tokyo’s Imperial Gardens. It features ponds, wooden bridges, floral displays, and so much more that gives more Japanese feel.
4See a glimpse of Korea
Aside from Japan, Long Beach can also let you see a small portion of Korea with its Korean Bell of friendship. Built in the 1970s this monument has a Korean bell given to the United States as a sign of the two countries’ friendship. It measures more than seven feet tall and weighs nearly 20 tons. It was also modeled after King Songdok’s Bronze bell that was cast in 771. There are four pairs of goddesses surrounding the bell as well and each pair symbolizes independence, freedom, prosperity, and peace in South Korea and in the United States. The stunning pavilion built utilizing the centuries-old Korean architectural style that shows Dancheong aesthetic will make you feel a part of South Korea. Thus, visiting this place is surely not to be missed.
Although located in the United States, Long Beach can also make you experience Cambodia’s culture. You can even get a glimpse of its capital, Phnom Pen. Just head to Long Beach’s Cambodia Town and you can get to experience what it’s like in Cambodia without even leaving the country. Here, you can get to try out Cambodian cuisine. You’ll also be in for endless unique shopping opportunities. If you want to experience what it’s like in Cambodia, be sure to check this place out.
6Shop for antiques
If you’re in for some vintage finds, you might find shopping at the Long Beach Antique Market as one of the coolest things to do in Long Beach. The Long Beach Antique Market is a haven for antique collectors as it has a variety of collectibles, antiques, and even treasures up for sale. From clothing to décor items and quirky finds, this is one of the best places to be. It isn’t always open, though. It is only operational every third Sunday of every month. So if you want to explore this flea market and discover some one-of-a-kind treasures, time your visit ahead. This market that spreads more than 20 acres is located at the Long Beach Veterans Stadium.
7Dine at Parkers’ Lighthouse
Parkers’ Lighthouse isn’t the usual lighthouse that we’ve gotten used to; thus, paying a visit to this place makes it one of the coolest things to do in Long Beach. For starters, it is apparently an eatery that gives off elegant and romantic vibes for that unforgettable dining experience. It boasts of its wad-winning menu that includes innovative and exceptional Southern California seafood dishes and prime steaks. It also has a diverse wine list to talk big about. A lot of people can’t help but buzz about its unparalleled service as well. And, of course, what makes it all the more worth visiting is that it has the finest views to offer as you dine since it is located on the third floor.
8Go on whale watching tours
Harbor Breeze Cruises offers tours where you can watch blue whales in their natural habitat as you hop aboard their state-of-the art catamarans which, by the way, are very comfortable and has deck areas where you can get a good view of the whales and even photograph them. You’ll have experienced crew on board as well who will share their knowledge and expertise on these huge mammals. What makes it even cooler is that you can also get to see orcas, dolphins, seabirds, and migrating gray whales. Don’t worry, Harbor Breeze Cruises’ catamarans also has lounge areas where you can grab some snacks and drinks just in case you feel the need to fill your tummies.
9See the skinniest house in America
If you have been complaining about cramped apartments that you’ve been to, wait until you see the skinniest house in America. Located in Gladys Avenue, to be exact, seeing this unique slender house is one of the coolest things to do in Long Beach because, again, it’s the skinniest house in America. What makes the people talking, even more, is that it is merely built on a dare.
Back in 1932 when it was constructed, its owner Newton P. Rummonds was challenged to build a livable house with just a 10×50-foot lot. Hence, the skinny house was made which was also used as an office from 1977 to 1981. It also served as a home to its former owner Laurie Atherton and her cats.
To this day, it is registered as a city landmark. In addition to that, it is recognized as America’s skinniest house by Ripley’s Believe it or Not and the Guinness Book of World records, barely beating the skinny house in Boston and the skinny house in New York.
10Hike the Sunken City
If you’re feeling braver and want to ignore the rules for a while, hiking the Sunken City is one of the coolest things to do. Now, before anything else, be forewarned that entering this area is considered trespassing. But if you’re feeling like a daredevil, you’d be in for a nice hiking experience as you can get to see the odd beauty of the ruins of the city – the abandoned streetcar tracks, empty streets, buckled sidewalks, etc. For a little bit of a background, what makes it an interesting place to visit aside from the ruins is its history. Back in 1929, a landslide in San Pedro caused parts of this place tumble into the ocean. Hence the name. And at its peak, the land movement was measured at an unbelievable 11 inches per day.
11Watch a movie on the beach
If you are a movie enthusiast and love the beach, this activity is the best for you. Just head to Alfredo’s Beach Club and you can get to watch movies on the beach which is one of the unique and coolest things to do in Long Beach. The best part of it is that it’s free. The annual outdoor film screening series starts in June and ends around mid-August. The movie lineup for this year is yet to be announced but last year, some of the movies that they screened are Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies, Black Panther, The Incredibles, and The Little Mermaid. There were classic films as well such as The Goonies, Top Gun, and more. You can keep an eye on the movie list for the upcoming screening this year here.
12Listen to the Long Beach Symphony
Also an activity to add to your list of coolest things to do in Long Beach is to see and hear the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra live. Known as one of Long Beach, California’s pride, this orchestra produces classical concerts yearly. You can get to see and hear them live at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center Terrace Theater as they often hold six classical concerts here. They also perform five concerts in the Long Beach Arena. Don’t worry if you miss them as the also perform series of free concerts in several locations throughout Long Beach. If you want to see them perform, you can check out their website here for more information.
13Watch a car race
If you are fascinated with cars then you’ll probably find watching the Toyota Grand Prix as one of the coolest things to do in Long Beach. You can witness this largest street race of LA County if you will head to Long Beach on April. This is a three-day weekend event, by the way, and it includes music, food, and car showcases. There’s a celebrity race too so you might want to watch out for that to see you favorite stars. In addition to that, the event also features Indycar event on the third and final afternoon of the event.
14Try the best pickled eggs
Pickled eggs, since the people first tasted it, has become a favorite snack or hors d’œuvre in many bars, taverns, and pubs around the world. But there are only a few places where you can get the best tasting pickled eggs. Fortunately, one of which is in Long Beach.
Known as one of the oldest bars in Long Beach, California, Joe Jost’s is known as one of the best places to grab some pickled eggs. The other items on their menu are worth talking about as well. The reviews can say it all. For that reason, many locals and tourists flock this place.