Top 12 Things to Do in Long Beach, California

Last Updated on February 8, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nicknamed the “International City” celebrating dynamic diversity across cultures, Long Beach offers visitors getaways filled with possibilities to immerse in arts, eats, beachfront recreation and urban revitalization unique to this port community thriving by the sea.

ActivityDescription
The Queen MaryTour the historic ocean liner and enjoy various attractions onboard.
Aquarium of the PacificExplore marine life exhibits and interactive experiences.
Shoreline VillageStroll along the waterfront shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Long Beach WaterfrontEnjoy waterfront activities like biking, walking, and dining.
Naples IslandWalk along the canals and enjoy the scenic views.
Downtown Long BeachShop, dine, and explore the vibrant downtown area.
The Pike OutletsShop at outlet stores and enjoy dining options.
Long Beach Museum of ArtExplore contemporary art exhibitions and ocean views.
Earl Burns Miller Japanese GardenRelax in a serene Japanese garden setting.
El Dorado Nature CenterExplore nature trails and wildlife habitats.
Rancho Los CerritosTour a historic adobe home and gardens.
Long Beach Antique MarketBrowse antiques and vintage items at a flea market.

From historic ocean liners to aquarium wonders, boutique wineries to street art alleys, these 12 things capture memorable pursuits awaiting discovery throughout an ever-evolving coastal Southern California destination ready to impress.

Cruise the Queen Mary

Name and Location: Queen Mary ship docked along Long Beach waterfront across from downtown.

History and Significance: As a celebrated 1930s luxury ocean liner turned floating hotel, the Queen Mary offers visitors a chance to explore the legendary ship’s history and unique amenities while appreciating views across Long Beach. Self-guided tours showcase the décor and evolution of this icon.

What to Expect: Guests can visit multiple themed areas like the ornate Grand Salon, cabin spaces reflecting past travels, the rumbling engine room, retired lifeboats and sunrise-worthy observation deck during daily hours or overnight hotel stays allowing longer immersion.

Visitor Information: Open 10am-6pm daily, hours extended on weekends. Ticket prices vary by tour options chosen, dining and events also accessible on board. Discounted parking available.

Towering 175 feet tall across Long Beach Harbor, the retired 1936 Art Deco ocean liner RMS Queen Mary invites guests to step aboard the luxurious transatlantic vessel providing elite travel during peace times then serving the Allies as a troopship throughout World War II’s duration. Tours allow visitors to explore everything from first class staterooms to rumble aboard restored areas like the massive engine room propelling the 1000-foot ship capable of carrying over 2,500 voyagers. Its on-board hotel, restaurants and ever-changing entertainment line-up ranging from community theatre to DJ dance nights under the stars continue the Queen Mary’s legacy delivering elite escapes for modern jet-setters and staycationing locals alike.

Walk Wine Town Urban Vines

Name and Location: Wine Town Urban Winery blocks from Pine Avenue downtown

History and Significance: As downtown Long Beach’s only working winery opened 2017 inside former auto body shop, Wine Town pours rotating releases across relaxed industrial digs while hosting workshops allowing visitors to blend custom labels illustrating area’s emergence as SoCal wine destination.

What to Expect: Daily tastings shine light on owner Bourdin’s dedication towards sourcing small batch harvests from Paso Robles, Santa Ynez plus nearby vineyards to showcase fine wines beside custom etched bottles during weekend special events.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday–Thursday 5–9pm, extended hours Friday through Sunday. Standard pours $8–12 per glass. Private events available.

Dozens of tasting rooms crafting artisan vintages have planted deep roots throughout Long Beach establishing the city’s Warehouse District as an unexpected wine country destination popular with locals. Crisscross lanes discovering Wine Town Urban Vines by foot lets oenophiles try family-owned labels like Molina Vineyards specializing Italian varietals or sweet dessert wines at FreshWineLab crafting bubbly moscato in kleiner batches from grapes grown in Pallet Wine Company’s downtown urban garden. Between sips, graze local cheese boards at Long Beach Creamery’s Cheese Shop or catch rotating pop ups like Tacos La Central with tender al pastor carved from trompo grills that pair perfectly with patio flights poured by Long Beach’s best vintners.

Shoreline Aquatic Park

Name and Location: Shoreline Aquatic Park located downtown along Rainbow Harbor

History and Significance: OutliningRainbow Harbor Marina containing 400 boat slips, this public park opened 1998 reclaiming waterfront acreage into recreation space filled by fountains, amphitheater, playgrounds and trails leading past lit sculptures and provide easy access appreciating maritime backdrop.

What to Expect: Sunrise walks circling the Harbor can include animal watching near a replicated submarine or cool-down under interactive water features while people watching unfolds beside boaters tending vessels docked between highrise towers defining Long Beach skyline.

Visitor Information: Free access daily, activities ongoing sunrise to sunset. Paid parking is available inside garage across Queens Way drive accessed off Shoreline Drive.

Cool breezes call visitors to waterside recreation enjoying life aquatic along Long Beach’s picturesque sandy shoreline. Rent stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and pedal boats by the hour from concessionaires ready to launch crafts across Colorado Lagoon’s calm protected channels or into Long Beach Harbor for showing off rainbow Harbor bridges. Young families flock towards the splash pad jets shooting vertically for kids to dance among cooling sprays while grown-ups test balance attempting slackline walks stretched over grassy lawns. And the park’s scenic bicycle path connects cyclists to mile after mile of adventures elsewhere discovering Long Beach’s seaside park system.

Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)

Name and Location: Located in Long Beach along Alamitos Avenue

History and Significance: Founded in 1996, MOLAA contains the largest collection of modern Latin art in the United States spanning works across mediums from Mexico down through Central and South America rotating through narrative exhibits across intricate grounds and sculpture gardens open-aired beside main galleries.

What to Expect: Ongoing and special exhibitions highlight both established and emerging artists significance within contemporary and folk art realms speaking to diverse backgrounds through styles mixing Classicism, Impressionism plus Indigenous and Political influences.

Visitor Information: Open Wednesday–Sunday 11am–5pm, closed Monday/Tuesday. General admission $10, discounts for students/seniors/children $7.

As the country’s only museum dedicated exclusively to showcasing Latin American and Latino art spanning ancient indigenous artifacts through contemporary creative expressions, MOLAA delivers cultural treasures tracing beyond borders with rotating world-class exhibitions alongside year-round programming celebrating heritage across ages. Wander through galleries displaying precious Mayan stone panels or contemplate protest artwork by cutting-edge artists responding to today’s social issues through MOLAA’s global permanent collection containing more than 1,300 pieces interpreting the region though various mediums that continue growing. Fun family festivals, wine tastings, hands-on artmaking workshops, even outdoor movie nights hosted by the museum encourage experiencing boundless forms Latin American communities shape identity and joie de vivre.

Laugh Factory Long Beach

Name and Location: Laugh Factory comedy club located downtown

History and Significance: Founded 1981 as international comedic brand now with locations globally, Laugh Factory showcases both rising and renowned stand up performers across intimate showcase space spawning countless careers helping cement Long Beach within greater Los Angeles comedy circuit.

What to Expect: Nightly shows featuring lineups with local talent supported by better-known names touring national circuits against backdrop of exposed brick walls and small round tables tightly arranged across compact room.

Visitor Information: Open nightly for shows 8pm/10pm. 2 drink minimum. Ticket prices vary by artists $10-$30, plus fees. Reservations recommended.

For A-list stand up comedy without Hollywood hassles, the Laugh Factory Long Beach outpost packs intimate shows with performers regularly featured on Netflix, HBO and Comedy Central headline specials. From rising diverse voices to veterans like Pauly Shore cracking wise about 1990s California culture that first made him an MTV celebrity, shows bring heavy hitters along with local talent nurtured through Laugh Factory’s open mic nights cultivating tomorrow’s comics today. Vector Brewing taproom pours refreshing customizable clean small batch ales right next door to enjoy before or after shows watching the laughs light up vibrant North Pine Arts District revitalizing Uptown corners. So for impressive improv under twinkling patio lights or cracking up inside the black box comedy club, Laugh Factory Long Beach delivers serious funny business for affordable spontaneous nights out.

Beach Cruiser the Bike Path

Name and Location: Beach Streets bike path runs along oceanfront through Long Beach

History and Significance: Paralleling Long Beach coastline for over seven miles passing Belmont Shore pier towards Shoreline Village, this concrete path fostering two-wheeled activity beyond boardwalks provides miles of leisurely pedaling taking cyclists past ports, volleyball games, surfers and swaying palms diagonal towards ocean waves.

What to Expect: Mostly flat cycling offering traverses along winding trail framed by beaches, parks plus eclectic business strips rewarding sightseers with salty breezes while also accessing Metro stations and Downtown destinations across dedicated non-motorized course separated from vehicle traffic.

Visitor Information: Free activity suitable for all levels dawn until dusk daily. Bike/surrey rentals available from shore-based vendors.

Cruising two wheels along a winding oceanside trail stretching over 20 miles greets riders with quintessential California vibes perfect for soaking up Long Beach’s laidback coastal lifestyle. Several bike rental outfitters like Bikestation offer beach cruisers to explore the wide paved path winding north towrds the LA County line or along the southern sand stretching to swanky Naples Island floating breezy on Almaont Channel saltwater against postcard-worthy neighborhoods dotted with waterfront homes. Pack a picnic or grab snacks docking cruisers at seaside cafes like Michael’s On Naples celebrating fresh seafood showcasing the city’s abundant surf and turf between quite beach coves recalling timeless days fading gently into sun-dazzled evenings.

Starlight Bowl Concerts Under the Stars

Name and Location: Starlight Bowl outdoor amphitheater near downtown Long Beach

History and Significance: Inaugurated 1958 atop Signal Hill within 20 acres of lemon-scented paradise, the sweeping panorama framing Starlight Bowl provides natural intimacy between performers and fans flocking for decades to experience comedy, musical theater, orchestras and rocking bands at this terraced venue containing picnic-like sightlines.

What to Expect: The covered main stage and sloping lawn allows visitors to choose seating options from reserved terrace to general admission patches on the hill soaked by unobstructed atmosphere painted orange-pink by multi-hued sunsets with downtown skyline views expanding outward.

Visitor Information: Season runs May–October hosting community theater plus various headliners. Some shows are free while others are ticketed averaging $15–40 per person. Parking $10–20 vehicles.

Against the twilight skies in San Antonio Park framed by verdant rolling hills, the Starlight Bowl outdoor amphitheater casts musical magic every summer with performers like Boyz II Men motown revues to movie tribute bands playing classics from Grease and along with chances for rising local students to shine singing beloved Disney songbooks. Founded in 1958 as a space for community celebration, Starlight Bowl upholds tradition delivering affordable concerts underneath the stars perfect for swaying by moonlight together. Arrive early to catch views from atop the hillbefore claiming lawn seating spread atop blankets and low-back beach chairs while playfully costumed musicians take the shell-shaped stage against spectacular sunsets fading to black as musical notes send park crowds home with hearts and memories full.

Downtown Long Beach Farmer’s Market

Name and Location: Downtown Long Beach Farmers Market located at City Place Shopping Center off Long Beach Boulevard

History and Significance: Founded 1981, downtown’s weekly Farmers Market brings 30+ vendors to the pedestrian zone selling fresh produce, prepared eats and artisan goods every Thursday creating community space encouraging residents and visitors to gather appreciating offerings from regional growers and makers.

What to Expect: Stalls line the plaza presenting seasonal fruits and vegetables to sample alongside vibrant bouquets ready for gifting. Global spices, sweet breads and hot sauces complement live music staged streetside.

Visitor Information: Every Thursday 10am–4pm. Free entry. Paid parking inside structure and nearby surface lots. ATMs, restrooms and seating areas available.

Follow happy shoppers zig-zagging through white farmer’s stalls brimming with ripe tomatoes, vibrant sunflowers and aromatic stone fruits every Thursday morning thanks to Downtown Long Beach Certified Farmers’ Market. Friendly families on bicycles arrive towing wagons soon piled high with leafy arugula and fiery habanero peppers picked that morning to bike home for their kitchens. Nearby, aproned chefs forage the finest just-picked ingredients supporting farm fresh dining concepts across the city’s eclectic restaurants. And colorful flower booths promise perfect buds to present someone special back home, unless you first grab an artisan peanut brittle or handmade empanada attracting food lovers from across greater LA metro drawn to gather and fill baskets direct from the source at this always lively local market.

El Dorado Nature Center

Name and Location: El Dorado Nature Center located north Long Beach beside the San Gabriel River

History and Significance: Encompassing over 100 acres of coastal habitat significant within Pacific Flyway migratory path, this nature center opened in 1974 provides educational opportunities for visitors to traverse recreated environments via interpretative trails showcasing 150 bird species spotted against panoramic views of natural vistas and rolling landscapes.

What to Expect: Interactive exhibits inside the welcome center give way to extended walking paths winding through marshland, forested areas and planted gardens best observed using provided binoculars to magnify birds, butterflies, native plants in their protected terrain.

Visitor Information: Grounds open daily 8am-dusk, center open Tuesday-Sunday. Free admission and parking. Some trail closures on rainy days.

Step away from bustling Pine Avenue streets into serene sanctuary only minutes away at El Dorado Nature Center tucked within 75 acres of treasured wetlands habitats open for all ages to freely explore. Easy looping trails guide visitors spotting birds fishing the ponds, fuzzy gopher holes peeking from grassy banks and butterflies fluttering wildly across open fields covered in native wildflowers. Interpretive signs share natural histories from bugs to local creatures like duck families swimming channels. Kids delight climbing aboard little wooden rowboats integrated along the trail or getting eye-level with waterfowl inside camouflaged bird blinds. Rustic campuses made from recycled hand-hewn logs host outdoor learning during weeklong summer camps nurturing tomorrow’s earth guardians starting right at home discovering Long Beach’s wild backyard.

Catch a Show at the Beverly O’Neill Theater

Name and Location: Beverly O’Neill Theater located downtown within Long Beach Convention Center

History and Significance: Named honoring first female Long Beach mayor elected 1994, the intimate 475-seat Beverly O’Neill Theater opened 2004 inside modernist Terrace Plaza hosting Broadway productions, concerts, comedians and city-supported cultural events across proscenium stage complemented by orchestral shell adjustable across versatile house.

What to Expect: Audiences experience theater magic like “Mamma Mia’ plus symphonic sounds from Long Beach Municipal Band against mid-century design revealing floor-to-ceiling glass walls and retro-futuristic touches inside architect’s iconic building.

Visitor Information: Theatrical performances scheduled intermittently year-round. Ticket prices and seating arrangements variable per production $35-$125. Validated parking available.

Named honoring Long Beach’s first female mayor elected way back in 1994, Beverly O’Neill Theater continues forward-focused arts and culture heartening main stage productions from Long Beach Symphony classical concerts and Broadway musicals by Musical Theatre West or thought-provoking documentaries followed by impactful panel discussions engaging audiences to connect compassionately around complex social issues. Recent season highlights include timeless family favorites like Disney’s Beauty and the Beastreimagined by students and iconic songs celebrating trailblazing women who rock. With downtown urban views through floor-to-ceiling glass lobby walls setting spectacular overture scenes, the Beverly O’Neill Theater sings defiant songs of hope for harmony already resonating across diverse communities converging creatively as America’s next great coastal culture capital.

Postmodern Jukebox

Name and Location: Postmodern Jukebox performs at the Terrace Theater downtown.

History and Significance: Founded 2009 by pianist Scott Bradlee, Postmodern Jukebox reimagines contemporary pop songbook into earlier genres like swing, jazz and ragtime performed by rotating talents across viral videos and tours making stopovers inside Terrace Theater’s art deco extravaganza.

What to Expect: Witness hits by Kesha, Macklemore, Bruno Mars evolve through interpretations transported back into Rat Pack era gowns, suits alongside banjo plucking and stand up bass slapping against gold gilded columns supporting detailed plasterwork crisscrossing high above multi-level balconies.

Visitor Information: Show dates vary during national tour legs. Ticket prices $35–70 plus fees. Validated parking available within on-site garages.

Housed inside the soaring vaulted ceiling rotunda of Long Beach’s elegantly restored Art Deco civic Center building, Postmodern Jukebox hosts glamorous throwback events transporting audiences back through pop music eras with fresh twists electrifying contemporary hits. Their rotating all-star troupe might give Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” a big band swing treatment one night then spin Billie Eilish earworms like “Bad Guy” into Motown-flavored melodies that wow the next with flapper-styled dancers shimmying across stage dripping in deco dazzle. Before rising curtain and during intermission breaks, the Lobby Bar pours swanky craft cocktails to carry the time-traveling speakeasy atmosphere. For a new generation continuing traditions Long Beach first pioneered as Hollywood’s original film-making innovator over a century ago, Postmodern Jukebox tunes up entertainment promising a show unlike anything likely found elsewhere across today’s too often cookie cutter concert line-ups.

Pine Avenue Farmer’s Market

Name and Location: Located along Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach

History and Significance: Launched in 2008, this weekly open-air market organized by Urban Partners revitalized downtown blocks creating communal space supporting small businesses and regional farmers gathering fresh produce, prepared foods and more each Friday under sunny skies activating pedestrian promenade.

What to Expect: Farmers and culinary vendors line four blocks allowing visitors to support over 50 area makers offering seasonal fruits and veggies alongside artisan bread loaves, fresh tortas, lavender candles, succulents trailing down tables and flowering bouquets all sourced from within California.

Visitor Information: Every Friday 10am–3pm. Free entry. Street parking available, public lots flank site. Seating areas provided.

Breathing fresh flavor into revitalized blocks of Long Beach’s historic Pine Avenue commercial corridor, the Saturday Farmers Market makes weekends the sweetest days bringing community together in support of over 85 local growers and artisan vendors. Leafy heads of red butter lettuce, plump blueberries still warm from the summer sunshine and fragrant Meyer lemons scent the air drawing smiles from multigenerational families bonding over joyfully filling baskets shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbors soon carrying home healthy hauls piled high on bicycles crisscrossing diagonally down tactile city blocks humming busily thanks to this spirited Saturday morning tradition now entering its second decade anchored firmly at Pine Avenue’s breezy heart.

Conclusion

Through days spent immersed experiencing Long Beach’s rich cultural diversity thriving by the sea, visitors gain appreciation for the city affectionately deemed “The International City” long before multiculturalism bloomed trendy across greater Los Angeles. Here original voices flourish proudly from aquarium penguins and historic ocean liner ghosts to future Broadway stars already igniting mainstages downtown destined to jet towards fame. Public art alleys channel creativity from local makers while bike paths link adventures tasting hyper-local wines poured with passion inside urban tasting rooms then pedaling onwards discovering the next undiscovered corner or park thriving thanks to inclusive grassroots care. From sunrise seaside yoga affirmations to postmodern jug band jukebox transformations electrifying landmark theaters with pops from past futures, dynamic possibilities ripple across this coastal playground flaunting firsts for every traveler’s bucket list ready to embrace what’s next for California dreaming

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