Best Things To Do In Long Beach, California in 2023
Read on for our list of best things to do in Long Beach in 2023. Long Beach is fun, trendy, blessed with sunshine and beautiful people. You can sail or swim, watch whales and dolphins and explore the world famous Queen Mary Liner. Shop up a storm in Pine Street and discover trendy art in the Downtown District. Sail to a paradise island and get a bird's eye view of beaches and cliffs in a helicopter.
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The first thing to do in Long Beach is visit the beautiful paradisiacal Catalina Island. It lies about an hour away if you are travelling by high-speed ferry and a mere 15 minutes if you take a helicopter trip. Depart from Long Beach and set off for a day of fun in the sun. When you reach the island you will be awed by the beauty of the setting. Snorklers can enjoy the crystal blue waters filled with a myriad of marine varieties. You can swim, walk or just soak up the sun and admire the stunning views from one of the many beaches. Tempt your taste buds at a local caf' with the fresh catch of the day. Then head for the oceanfront stores on Avalon Bay where world class retail therapy awaits. Go inland and explore the hiking trails - look out for wild buffalo. End your day on a sunset cruise on a sailing boat, sipping a tall glass of champagne before heading back to Long Beach.
Cruises and Whale watching
You'll never run out of options if you're searching for fun-filled things to do in Long Beach. Choose from a wide variety of cruises that offer whale, seal and dolphin watching excursions for all ages. Animal lovers will be delighted to get close to huge whales while you relax on the decks of a luxury catamaran with stunning 360 degree views. Trips last from 2 to 3 hours as you get to see these amazing creatures up close. Learn about the life cycles of these gentle creatures from your professional and knowledgeable guide. See giant blue whales that are over 90 feet in length, view humpback whales and finback whales. You can also get a DVD of your trip to show off when you get home. The ocean here is a rich marine ecosystem, protected by the authorities and as such, flourishes with an abundance of marine life and plants. For the romantics, join a sunset cruise, which combines whale watching and sipping champagne. The perfect way to end a day!
Banishing your fear of flying is the next thing to do in Long Beach. With the most breathtaking helicopter tours available, you have to get your feet off the ground. Join a private tour with only your group or family and fly with a professional who will show you the best from the skies. Soar over LA Harbor and the Queen Mary. See the coastline of Manhattan Beach and Marina del Ray. Enjoy a bird's eyeview of the Santa Monica Pier. Spot the beautiful Catalina Island in the distance and then see Downtown from above. As you swoop over the water watch out for dolphins and whales. See the tiny surfers riding the waves at the world famous surf spot, the Wedge. Then fly over Pirate's Cove Beach, Crystal Cove State Park and the Newport Dunes Resort. The sight of the beaches, crumbling rock cliffs and lavish cliff top homes of Laguna beach will leave you gasping. These sweeping views of the Pacific are mesmerizing and will linger in your mind forever.
Downtown Long Beach Food Walking Tour
Skipping breakfast is the next thing to do in Long Beach! Why? Because you can join a 3 hour walking tour through the Downtown district and experience culinary delights that will wow your taste buds. Meet your guide and set off, you will learn about food, history, culture, arts and even some gossipy insider-info! Start with the Greek Saganaki at George's caf', one of their signature dishes, featuring fried Greek cheese on pita bread. Then enjoy a leisurely stroll stopping at more than 6 different venues within a one mile walk. At Rainbow juices you can refresh with a pick-me-up glass of cold-pressed juice. If you have an adults only group, you can pair the food with wine tasting too. Leave feeling really full with a Long Beach booklet in your hand for tomorrow's excursions.
Aquarium of the Pacific
Located on the Waterfront is the Aquarium of the Pacific and a visit to this venue is an amazing thing to do in Long Beach. Take the kids and set off for a day of underwater adventure. The Aquarium features over 11000 aquatic creatures in 32 different exhibits. See a lagoon filled with more than 150 sharks, be amazed at colorful jellyfish and get close to sea lions, manta rays and seals. For the kids, there are interactive displays that teach about whales and other creatures. They can pet fish and take part in feeding activities. Watch a movie in 4D about Sammie the Sea Turtle and his amazing friends. Then be wowed at a display that lights up sea animals in ultra violet against a black background. There are lectures for adults and scavenger hunts for the kids. When you need a break, relax in the lovely Lorikeet Park and watch the birds. If you want even more, join a behind-the-scenes tour' for an in-depth peek at how the Aquarium operates. Plan for a whole day or more to explore this fascinating venue!
The Queen Mary
One of the most iconic ships in the history of the world, the Queen Mary, is docked at Long Beach. Today, it is a floating Museum with host of activities and tours on offer to learn and explore. If you're looking for adventurous things to do in Long Island, exploring the Queen Mary is a must! Step aboard and discover on your own or join a guided tour. There are audio tours and 4D theatre screenings where you will learn how it felt to be a 1st class passenger on board. You can also get to see the inner workings, design and mechanics of the ship. For those who enjoy a spine-tingling experience, take a tour and be fascinated by its haunted role in the War as the Grey Ghost and stand at its paranormal Hot Spots. Art lovers will the thrilled at the exhibition featuring the Art of Winston Churchill, with rare paintings done by this world renowned statesman. Princess Diana fans can shed some tears at the exhibit of her evening gowns, memorabilia and personal accessories.
Towering above the skyline is our next recommended thing to do in Long Beach, a visit the Walter Pyramid. Designed in the perfect mathematical proportions of a pyramid, this amazing structure stands 18 stories tall. It is clad in sheets of dark blue corrugated aluminium, creating an awe-inspiring sight. The building is made with 18000 steel tubes joined together by more than 160000 bolts. This venue is home to the Long Beach State 49ers men's basketball team and is also used to host other large events. Visit this impressive structure and make sure you get some seflies. You may even see a game in progress. Every seat offers a perfect views and the acoustics are world class. The venue was named in honor of Dr. Mike and Arline Walter, a couple who gave a $2.1 million donation to the University.
Photo by Sergei Gussev
Long Beach Waterfront
Exploring the Waterfront is the next fabulous thing to do in Long Beach. This bustling, tourist-friendly venue is packed with shops, restaurants, bars and attractions. Take the whole family for a fun filled excursion. Visit the Queen Mary, the world's most luxurious ship and enjoy a high-class meal in one of the restaurants. For a romantic twosome, Parkers' Lighthouse offers an upscale awesome food experience and stunning views over the water. Do some shopping and browsing in the world class boutique stores that line the waterfront. Then head off to the Aquarium of the Pacific which features over 11000 aquatic animals in 32 exhibitions. The kids will be thrilled to see a lagoon with more than 150 sharks! Get up close and personal with sea lions, manta rays and seals. For those who enjoy exercise, cycle along one of the many scenic trails and enjoy the clean, fresh air. Spend the evening on a sunset cruise, alongside the dolphins as you admire the lights on the waterfront from the ocean.
Photo by David Jones
One of the most exciting things to do in Long Beach is taking a trip out to Naples Island. This trendy neighborhood is built on three islands situated in Alamitos Bay. The islands are criss-crossed with picturesque canals which lead into the bay. Streets have fun Italian names and the vibe is all Italy. Stroll around and admire the luxurious homes, beautifully landscaped gardens, fountains and swaying palm tress. Take a gondola ride along the canals for a romantic treat. If you are more adventurous, you can rent a kayak and paddle your way around or join a Segway tour to explore. Stop and enjoy a meal on the plaza, admire the water fountain and do some people watching. The atmosphere is super relaxed and laid-back and you may even spot a celeb or two escaping the busy city to this ÔDreamland of Southern California'.
Photo by akf2006
Spending a day at Shoreline Village is a family-bonding thing to do in Long Beach. This unique venue offers shopping, restaurants, fun activities and more for all ages. Walk around and browse the shop windows or stop and buy something special. Get a massive ice cream to keep you cool, there is so much to see. Have fun at the Just Got To Have It shop which sells kitchen gadgets, novelty gifts and beach themed items. Pick up some comics for the kids and a rare one for Dad. Try some exotic Beef Jerky and buy a little black number at Queen Mary Couture. Then enjoy entertainment, there are fun tropical bird shows and Segway tours. Mum can relax with an aromatherapy massage while the kids swim and ride on a massive carousel. Dinner can be fine-dining or casual, you decide!
Photo by Sergei Gussev
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
An arts and culture adventure is definitely on the list of things to do in Long Beach. Explore the rich and varied history of Latin American Art at the Museum of Latin American Art, MOLAA. It is the only Museum dedicated to this genre of work in the USA. It hosts a permanent collection as well as changing temporary collections. The Museum grounds also offer a stunning 15000 square feet sculpture garden. The mission is to advance the appreciation of Latin American Art through education, exhibits and cultural events. See a unique photographic display by teenage girls and admire a collection of works from young Argentinian artists. Learn about the colorful and vibrant art of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Haiti. Then throw caution to the wind and learn how to dance the tango! A great cultural experience for any art lover.
Photo by mark6mauno
Long Beach Museum of Art
If you still want more arts and culture, the next thing to do in Long Beach is visit the Long Beach Museum of Art. This Museum was founded in 1950 and is housed in the historic 1911 Elizabeth Milbank Anderson House. The collections spans 300 years of American history with over 3200 items of work. Exhibitions focus on specific artists and specific types of art. There is always something new to see, so plan to come again and again. Wander around and admire the Jeweled harmony in Wood, Defining a New Narrative and The Artful Teapot. You can join a tour or stroll on your own. If you want to get more involved, join the Art Chat, which takes place every Friday, meet like-minded people and share your views, learn, and have a great time.
Photo by Tom Ipri
Wanting to get onto the water? Heading for Rainbow Harbor is the thing to do in Long Beach. Here you will find recreational boaters and commercial operators. There are twelve 150 foot long docks that you can stroll along filled with a plethora of things to do. Join a cruise or sail out on a small yacht. Enjoy some whale and dolphin watching. If fishing gets you excited, set out on a tour to catch the big one. You can set off to scuba dive or snorkel, jet ski or kayak. All water sports adventures start here! Celebrate a romantic honeymoon or anniversary on a sunset dinner cruise. Nearby at the Shoreline Village and the historic Pike region there are shops to explore and restaurants to relax in with a great meal and a glass of wine.
Photo by tdlucas5000
El Dorado Nature Center
When you have had enough of the city, shops and restaurants, rejuvenating your mind in a beautiful park is the next best thing to do in Long Beach. The El Dorado Nature Center is located in the middle of the city, so you do not have to travel far. This 105 acre Park offers a natural sanctuary for plant and animal life. When you enter, you will cross a rustic wooden bridge over the Lake and head onto a paradisical island. Relax and enjoy a picnic, walk around and soak up the peace and quiet. If you are more adventurous, there are dirt trails and paved trails around the lake and in the forest areas where you can cycle or walk. In the Visitor's Center you will find educational displays and an art gallery. Before you leave, pick up a small souvenir at the gift shop to take home.
Photo by Jennifer Arrow
Downtown Long Beach
Visiting Long Beach, chances are that you are staying in the Downtown area. Exploring this bustling and vibrant strip is a definite thing to do in Long Beach. This is the heart of the tourist center, offering shops, hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Here you will find the amazing Aquarium of the Pacific with over 11000 marine creatures. Arts and culture lovers must visit the Museum of Latin American Art and kids will be thrilled to go aboard the Queen Mary. Shop up a storm at the Shoreline Plaza and Village. Events take place every weekend, enjoy an Art Walk, watch sailing races or listen to a Hawaiian Music Concert. When you want to rest, choose a restaurant and order the catch of the day washed down with a glass of wine. As evening approaches the sun set over the water will create life-time memories.
Photo by LunchboxLarry
Being seen in Pine Avenue is the next thing to so in Long Beach. This trendy, happening street is the center and heart of the bustling Downtown Long Beach neighborhood. Filled with famous pubs, eateries and entertainment venues, this makes a night out with a difference. Stroll around and soak up the hip vibe. Order a craft beer or a cocktail at the famous BO-Beau gastropub, they have over 50 different types of craft beer on tap. Enjoy some Greek Saganaki at George's caf', it is one of their signature dishes, featuring fried Greek cheese on pita bread. Shopping will make you weak at the knees with the variety and choice. When you are done, relax and enjoy the views over the water.
Photo by Curtis Perry
Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden
If you are one for spectacular natural scenery, peace and quiet, the next thing to do in Long Beach is most certainly a trip to the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. This magnificent venue was the project of Mrs Loraine Miller Collins who built it in honor of her husband. She had a vision of a tranquil place where one can hear serene music, walk past cascading waterfalls, listen to bird song and hear the wind in the pines. Her vision is a reality in this beautiful Garden. Stroll around or sit on the benches or lawn. The design combines Japanese art with a Southern California ambiance. Enjoy a jazz evening with a picnic basket or a join a tour to learn more about the plants and animals. Have a gardening lesson or a history lesson. You will leave feeling like a new person!
Photo by Sergei Gussev
Rancho Los Alamitos
Stepping back into history is our next recommended thing to do in Long Beach. Visit the Rancho Los Alamitos, it was originally the sacred Tongva village of the Povuu'ngna, the traditional birth place of the natives of the Los Angeles district. The site still offers remains of the ancestral village, a ranch house and four acres of magnificent historic gardens. Learn all about the story of southern California by exploring the exhibits and watching the educational movie. It showcases the Mexican and Spanish eras, the ranching and farming era and the impact of the modern development. You can enjoy a farm dinner at this beautiful venue at The Ranch Restaurant and the kids can learn how to ride horses like real cowboys. Search for hidden treasures or play a game of tennis, there is something for everyone.
Photo by Corey Seeman
Long Beach East Village Arts District
Getting into the festive mood at Long Beach East Village Arts District is another fabulous thing to do in Long Beach. This district offers a diverse collection of high-rise condos, artists lofts and quaint cottages. A mix of cultures and people make it trendy and vibey and great fun to explore. Relax in a coffee shop and enjoy crepes or waffles. You can eat sushi or streak, drink beer or tea. Shop up a storm in the many boutique stores offering hand made crafts, clothing, souvenirs, used books and antique furniture. The famous monthly Art Walk takes place here and is a must for art lovers, where you can pick up an original piece that takes your eye. View art works by southern Californian artists in the many galleries and then explore the little side alleys to discover the most amazing wall murals in hidden away corners. When you are done walking around, settle down in a street caf' with a cool drink and watch the people passing by.