Top 12 Attractions in Long Beach

Last Updated on February 8, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Long Beach offers visitors plenty of things to see and do, from museums and aquariums to beaches and parks. With its vibrant downtown, historic sites, and coastal setting, Long Beach has something for travelers of all interests.

AttractionDescription
Aquarium of the PacificMarine life displays from the Pacific Ocean.
The Queen MaryHistoric ocean liner turned museum and hotel.
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)Dedicated to Latin American and Latino art.
Rancho Los Cerritos Adobe19th-century adobe home and museum.
Shoreline VillageWaterfront shops, eateries, and attractions.
Long Beach Museum of ArtCollection of 20th-century to contemporary art.
Catalina ExpressFerry service to Catalina Island.
Pine AvenueEntertainment district with dining and nightlife.
Rancho Los AlamitosHistoric ranch and gardens.
Gondola GetawayVenetian-style gondola rides.
Long Beach Convention & Entertainment CenterVenue for various events and performances.

Read on for the top attractions that you can’t miss on your next trip to Long Beach.

The Aquarium of the Pacific

Name and Location: The Aquarium of the Pacific is located at 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802 along the Long Beach Waterfront.

History and Significance: Founded in 1998, the Aquarium of the Pacific is one of the largest aquariums in the United States. It houses over 12,000 animals in exhibits exploring the Pacific Ocean’s three regions: Southern California/Baja, Northern Pacific, and Tropical Pacific.

What to Expect: Visitors can observe sea animals like sharks, jellyfish, sea otters, and penguins in interactive exhibits. Key attractions include the Lorikeet Forest aviary, Shark Lagoon, and the Honda Blue Cavern with thousands of fish. Cultural festivals and programs run year-round.

Visitor Information: The aquarium is open daily 9am-6pm. Ticket prices range from $15.95 (child) to $34.95 (adult). Annual passes, special offers and combo tickets are available. A parking garage is onsite for a fee and metered street parking fills early.

One of the premier attractions in Long Beach is the world-class Aquarium of the Pacific. This aquarium highlights the Pacific Ocean’s diverse marine life across exhibits featuring more than 11,000 animals. Popular exhibits include the June Keyes Penguin Habitat home to adorable Magellanic penguins and the Shark Lagoon which allows up-close observation of several species of sharks via an acrylic tunnel. Visitors can also pet sharks and rays in the aquarium’s touch pools or see creatures like sea otters and sea lions in recreated marsh and ocean habitats. Beyond the animal exhibits, the aquarium offers daily shows and feeding times as well as educational programs perfect for kids and adults alike.

The Queen Mary

Name and Location: The Queen Mary is a retired British ocean liner permanently docked in Long Beach, California serving as a floating hotel and attraction. The address is 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802.

History and Significance: The Queen Mary first set sail in 1936 on transatlantic crossings before being refitted as a troopship in WWII. Arriving in Long Beach in 1967 after over 1,000 voyages, the city saved and transformed the icon into a landmark tourist destination drawing millions to her Art Deco glory.

What to Expect: Visitors can stay overnight in restored staterooms, dine at multiple restaurants, explore exhibits of ship history and 1940s daily life and take paranormal tours of rumored hauntings. Seasonal events range from Halloween frights to Sunday brunches.

Visitor Information: Self-guided ship walks are available daily 10am-6pm, rates from $29 (child) to $39 (adult). Combo tickets add access to various attractions. Parking runs $22/day. Check website for seasonal offerings and hotel deals.

A quintessential Long Beach attraction, The Queen Mary ocean liner launched in the 1930s and is now permanently docked in Long Beach as a floating hotel and museum. Visitors can tour the historic ship to see its Art Deco design features including luxurious salons and staterooms. The Queen Mary also offers specialty tours like ghost tours of the ship’s most haunted areas for those hoping to spot apparitions roaming the decks. Whether you stay overnight, dine at one of its restaurants, browse the onboard shops, or enjoy brunch in its observation bar, a visit to the grand Queen Mary is a special experience.

Museum of Latin American Art

Name and Location: The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is located in Long Beach, California at 628 Alamitos Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802.

History and Significance: Founded in 1996, MOLAA is the only museum in the United States dedicated exclusively to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art. Its expanding permanent collection boasts over 1,300 works by gifted artists from across the Americas.

What to Expect: Visitors view rotating exhibits highlighting various cultures and artistic styles from Latin America and the Caribbean. Mediums range from painting and photography to murals and installations. Onsite programs celebrate regional artforms like Day of the Dead.

Visitor Information: MOLAA is open Wednesday-Sunday 11am-5pm, closed Monday-Tuesdays. General admission is $10 (discounts available). Validated parking in a nearby structure is only $1 for visitors. The museum store showcases fair trade crafts and jewelry.

As the only museum in the Western United States dedicated exclusively to Latin American and Latino art, MOLAA provides an exciting opportunity to discover these regions’ arts, culture, and history. The museum’s permanent collection holds more than 1,300 works spanning ancient Mesoamerica to the present day. Exhibitions highlight modern and contemporary Latin American artists across styles from surrealism to abstraction. MOLAA also connects to the local Latino community in Long Beach through its educational programs and annual Día de los Muertos festival. Stop in the charming Museum Store and Courtyard Cafe as well on your visit.

Rancho Los Cerritos Adobe

Name and Location: Rancho Los Cerritos is a historic ranch site at 4600 Virginia Road Long Beach, CA 90807. It sits within the Rancho Los Cerritos neighborhood of Long Beach.

History and Significance: The Rancho Los Cerritos adobe home was built in 1844 by a prominent Californio family when California was still part of Mexico. Later sold in 1866 prior to becoming U.S. territory, today the ranch serves an important local museum providing insights into early Southern California life.

What to Expect: Visitors can tour the Monterey-style adobe residence furnished with pieces from the 19th century alongside other historic buildings moved to the site. Immersive exhibits use artifacts and hands-on displays to recount daily ranch existence.

Visitor Information: The ranch is open Wed-Sat for self-guided visits and guided tours from 1pm-5pm, closed Sundays-Tuesdays. Adult admission is $5, children under 12 free. Street parking surrounds park grounds free of charge.

History buffs will love visiting Rancho Los Cerritos, a historic 19th century adobe home located on the Virginia Country Club grounds. This two-story Monterey-style adobe was built in 1844 and was once part of a thriving 4,000 acre cattle ranch stretching to the Los Angeles River. The restored adobe is now a museum open for public tours displaying artifacts of the rich history of Los Cerritos ranch life and early California settlers. Visitors can explore rooms furnished with period decor as well as see Native American tools, a Victorian-era kitchen, and historic archives in the center. The tranquil garden and courtyard spaces are lovely for relaxing after your adobe tour.

Shoreline Village and Shoreline Pedestrian Path

Name and Location: Shoreline Village is a waterfront retail development located at 419 Shoreline Village Drive, Long Beach, CA 90802. It connects to the adjacent Shoreline Pedestrian Path spanning the harbor.

History and Significance: Constructed along Long Beach’s scenic harbor front in the early 1980s, Shoreline Village aimed to recreate an historic seaside village through its nautical-themed architecture, eateries and amusement rides. Its proximity to the scenic paved Shoreline Pedestrian Path following the harbor’s edge draws leisurely explorers.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy waterfront shopping and dining at village stores and restaurants with peaceful walking trails offering relaxing Long Beach harbor views. Family fun comes via miniature golf, arcade games, paddleboats and harbor cruises available for rental or tour.

Visitor Information: Shoreline Village facility hours are Sunday-Thursday 10am-9pm and Friday-Saturday 10am-10pm when retail, dining and attractions open. Free weekend events occur seasonally. Parking onsite runs $1 per hour or $8 daily maximum.

Nestled near the Long Beach marina, Shoreline Village offers waterfront shops, eateries, attractions, and endless opportunities for seaside strolling all with picture-perfect maritime views. Visitors can browse through the collection of specialty boutiques or grab a bite at one of Shoreline Village’s restaurants ranging from village pub classics to sushi and Mexican cuisine. Other village highlights include an arcade and carousel perfect for families. The adjacent Shoreline Pedestrian Path stretching over a mile along the water is ideal for joggers and walkers to take in refreshing ocean vistas of bobbing boats and swaying palms.

Museum of Latin American Art

As the only museum in the Western United States dedicated exclusively to Latin American and Latino art, MOLAA provides an exciting opportunity to discover these regions’ arts, culture, and history. The museum’s permanent collection holds more than 1,300 works spanning ancient Mesoamerica to the present day. Exhibitions highlight modern and contemporary Latin American artists across styles from surrealism to abstraction. MOLAA also connects to the local Latino community in Long Beach through its educational programs and annual Día de los Muertos festival. Stop in the charming Museum Store and Courtyard Cafe as well on your visit.

Long Beach Museum of Art

Name and Location: The Long Beach Museum of Art is located at 2300 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90803 overlooking Bluff Park and the Pacific Ocean.

History and Significance: Founded in 1950, the Long Beach Museum of Art features an expanding permanent collection focused on post-1900 California modern and contemporary art across various genres and mediums. It provides cultural education alongside rotating exhibits and artist residencies.

What to Expect: Visitors explore paint, photo, sculpture and other installations spanning 20th century artistic movements. Key pieces include portraiture by David Hockney. Grounds include an outdoor sculpture garden and terraces with ocean views. Various talks occur.

Visitor Information: The museum is open Thursday-Sunday 11am-5pm, closed Monday-Wednesday. General admission is $10 (discounts available). Members and children under 12 enter free. Free parking is available in the adjacent lot.

With its modernist building set directly on scenic Ocean Boulevard, the Long Beach Museum of Art houses an impressive collection of over 150 works spanning the 20th century to today. Visitors can view paintings, sculptures, textiles, photographs, and ceramics by major artists as well as see rotating exhibitions focused on contemporary California artists. The museum also organizes events, lectures, and children’s art education initiatives for community engagement with the arts. Guests will enjoy exploring the museum’s gift shop stocked with handcrafted jewelry and art books after getting their fill of artistic marvels in the Long Beach Museum of Art’s galleries.

Catalina Express

Name and Location: Catalina Express provides daily passenger ferry service from Long Beach to Catalina Island, departing from and arriving at the Catalina Express Terminal at 91 Swinford Street located along Dock #4 in the Long Beach harbor.

History and Significance: Catalina Express has efficiently transported millions across the 22 mile San Pedro Channel to Catalina Island for over 30 years. As the quickest means of public access from mainland California to Catalina, the well-equipped vessel fleet plays an intrinsic role linking leisure tourism between Long Beach and Avalon.

What to Expect: Travelers can expect to board a stable catamaran ferry vessel fitted with comfortable seating for a smooth one hour voyage each way, allowing ample time to take in ocean scenery between Long Beach and the picturesque island. Islands activities range from underwater exploration, hiking, beaches and booze tours.

Visitor Information: Catalina Express runs hourly trips with many options daily. Ticket prices start around $80+ roundtrip. Reservations recommended. Online discounts, combo and seasonal rates available. Free Long Beach terminal parking otherwise paid garages nearby.

The Catalina Express ferry service transports visitors to gorgeous Catalina Island from two Long Beach ports making day trips or overnight stays on the island easily accessible. These high-speed ferries depart from a downtown port and the Queen Mary port offering routine service to Avalon or Two Harbors on Santa Catalina Island. Beyond the incredibly scenic ocean voyage, the Catalina Express facilitates exploration of Catalina’s natural beauty and sites like Descanso Beach, the Wrigley Botanical Gardens, Catalina Casino, or hiking Catalina’s interior. Tickets generally include round-trip ferry passage but confirm inclusions and port locations when booking your Catalina Island getaway through Catalina Express.

Pine Avenue Entertainment District

Name and Location: The Pine Avenue entertainment district encompasses multiple blocks of Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach stretching from Shoreline Drive to 4th Street filled with shopping, dining, arts and nightlife venues.

History and Significance: Pine Avenue first developed into Long Beach’s main commercial strip in the early 20th century with the arrival of the Red Car trolley. Burnt down in the 1933 earthquake, it rebuilt incorporating Art Deco architecture. By the 1990s neglect led to redevelopment into a vibrant pedestrian zone showcasing Long Beach culture.

What to Expect: Visitors stroll down vehicle-free Pine Avenue soaking in retail stores, restaurants, bars and attractions spanning quirky galleries to modern cinemas and the grand historic Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Street performers entertain crowds.

Visitor Information: Pine Avenue establishments are largely open daily 10am-10pm+. Metered street parking found on cross-streets has varying limits. Multiple parking garages nearby offer longer stays for reasonable weekday rates. The Passport free shuttle transports riders through downtown.

Downtown Long Beach’s walkable Pine Avenue Entertainment District presents blocks jam-packed with dining, nightlife, events, and tastes of the city’s creative culture all just steps from the waterfront. Pine Avenue’s historic early 20th century architecture now houses hip gastropubs, cocktail lounges, record stores, improv comedy clubs, and other vibrant hot spots. The promenade also hosts street fairs and live music throughout the year. Visitors can easily bounce between the unique bars, restaurants, galleries, and shops of Pine Avenue to soak up Long Beach’s downtown scene.

Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens

Name and Location: Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens resides on 6.75 acres at 6400 Bixby Hill Road, Long Beach, CA 90815 situated along the west bank of the San Gabriel River.

History and Significance: Rancho Los Alamitos occupies land originally inhabited by Tongva peoples prior to Spanish settlement followed by a Mexican ranch period when prominent families controlled the region. As one of the last remaining vestiges of Long Beach’s rural past before modern development, today it serves as an invaluable historic asset and public garden space.

What to Expect: Visitors tour the Monterey-style adobe home to see artifacts from seven generations of families that lived on the land. Seven acres of restored gardens reflect elements of the native landscape pre-colonization through the 20th century. Seasonal events and fairs occur.

Visitor Information: The ranch is open for self-guided tours only on Fridays-Sundays 11am-5pm. Adult admission runs $5, children under 12 free. Leashed pets allowed in gardens. Limited free lot parking otherwise street parking nearby.

Rancho Los Alamitos transports visitors back in time to 1800s California ranch life through seven acres of restored gardens and buildings from the former Bixby family ranch. Meandering through fruit orchards, rose gardens, and cypress rows leads to the historic ranch house, barns, and outbuildings authentically decorated with antiques preserving 19th century ranch history. Nature lovers delight in the pastoral gardens abloom with native plants like sycamores, oak trees, and poppies. The tranquil ranch grounds also have walking paths, benches, and pastoral ranch vistas offering an urban oasis reminiscent of old California.

Gondola Getaway

Name and Location: Gondola Getaway operates authentic Venetian gondola rides through the Naples Canals of Long Beach with boarding address locations at Orlena Avenue, Carroll Park South, and Lido Isle pending the tour package purchased.

History and Significance: Constructed in the early 1900s when influences from Venice, Italy impacted the booming Southern California coast, the intricate Long Beach Naples Canals system brings a touch of old-world romantic European charm to the neighborhoods and waterways built around them, making gondola rides a coveted activity.

What to Expect: Riders should anticipate a 45 to 90 minute leisurely ride with a singing gondolier gracefully navigating the narrow water passages revealing gorgeous homes and trailing greenery. Sunset/moonlight and private tours available complete with bubbly toasts enhance the magic.

Visitor Information: Gondola tours run daily 10am-10pm. Pricing ranges from $45 (Sunset Cruise) up to $300+ (private pontoon boats). Reservations required via website with some walk up spots. Beach access allows free self parking near boarding locations.

For a truly unique perspective on Long Beach’s canals and sights, hop aboard a Venetian-style gondola with Gondola Getaway. Their experienced gondoliers adeptly navigate the Naples canals offering couples, friends, and families a little taste of Venice without the trans-Atlantic flight. You’ll float under quaint bridges and by waterfront homes while your gondolier shares history and facts about Long Beach’s canals only accessible by these classic boats. Gondola Getaway offers a variety of cruise options from basic daytime rides to specialty cruises like sunset tours or a relaxing Float & Dine experience with an onboard chef-curated dinner. It’s a memorable way to admire Long Beach’s scenic waterways.

Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center

Name and Location: The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center is located at 300 East Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802 in the downtown shoreline district near Pine Ave and the Aquarium.

History and Significance: Opening phases started in 1962 after devastating earthquakes, the ambitious Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center campus has hosted over 5,000 events attracting millions as the primary convention site for the region also encompassing entertainment venues like the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Arena and Theater.

What to Expect: Visitors attending functions can expect rotating trade shows, conferences, live concerts spanning intimate to major acts, comedy tours, e-sport tournaments or educational seminars alongside food and beverage hospitality within the spacious contemporary grounds and structures.

Visitor Information: Operating hours, parking fees/availability and entry access vary widely event-to-event. The Convention & Tourism Bureau website provides extensive calendars and visitor planning details spanning accommodations, transportation and offers.

The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center comprises a set of adjoining venues accommodating events of all sizes and types in the downtown waterfront area. The large Terrace Theater theater hosts concerts, performances, and presentations year-round including the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra and Broadway musical touring shows. Smaller events inhabit venues like the sleek Long Beach Arena or modern George Alan Pavilion while major conventions utilize 300,000+ square feet of meeting space in the Long Beach Convention Center. Visitors attending an event at these state-of-the-art venues can enjoy dining or shopping in the adjoining Rainbow Harbor and Marina area.

Conclusion

With miles of attractive coastline, renowned museums, a revitalized downtown, historic sites, and varied attractions, Long Beach sets the scene for an engaging getaway any time of year. From family-friendly aquariums and educational ranches to historic ocean liners and gondola rides along picturesque canals, Long Beach offers remarkable experiences and sights guaranteed to impress. Use this guide covering the very best of Long Beach’s attractions to help craft an itinerary full of fun, culture, history, and natural beauty on your upcoming visit.

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