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Beaches To Boardwalks: 29 Amazing Things To Do In Long Beach

If you’re looking for the ultimate guide to exploring Long Beach, I’m here to help. Having called the city home for several years, I’ve had the chance to experience everything it has to offer. And as someone who values making the most of their vacation time, I understand how frustrating it can be to spend hours searching for things to do. That’s why I’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best activities in Long Beach, carefully curated from my own personal experiences and insider knowledge. Whether you’re traveling alone or with friends, family or that special someone, this list is designed to provide something for everyone – ensuring your trip is not only enjoyable but also safe and value-for-money.

Beaches & Ocean Front

Shoreline Village

Tucked away in downtown Long Beach’s vibrant core, Shoreline Village serves as a dual-purpose haven for both foodies and shopaholics alike. The picturesque waterfront setting provides an array of dining options, ranging from laid-back bites to upscale meals with breathtaking views. For those seeking a more leisurely meal, consider reserving a table at one of the finer establishments in advance.

In addition to its diverse culinary offerings, Shoreline Village also boasts a medley of stores catering to various tastes and preferences. From stylish beachwear and trendy sunglasses to one-of-a-kind home decor pieces, there’s something for everyone in this charming shopping district.

While Shoreline Village may have a touch of tourist flair, it remains a beloved haunt among locals as well. Whether you’re looking for a casual day out or an evening of fine dining, this quaint destination has something to offer.

Shoreline Aquatic Park

Perched on a peninsula opposite Shoreline Village lies the charming Shoreline Aquatic Park, an idyllic spot to unwind with a picnic and take in the stunning views of the bay, marina, Queen Mary, and potentially even a cruise ship making its way into the harbor. The picturesque setting offers an unparalleled perspective on the surrounding waters.As you meander up the hill to the lighthouse, you’ll discover a treasure trove of historical photographs showcasing Long Beach’s rich heritage. The boardwalk also features an informative watershed exhibit, providing valuable insight into the area’s natural environment.On even the hottest days, a gentle breeze wafts down from the summit, carrying the scent of blooming flora and beckoning you to linger beneath the shade of one of the park’s majestic trees.

Aquarium of the Pacific

The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is a must-visit attraction, boasting over 100 exhibits and 19 major habitats that mimic the natural environments of its inhabitants. A highlight reel of sorts includes the penguin habitat, shark lagoon, and sea otter enclosure, each meticulously designed to recreate the unique ecosystems they belong to. But what truly sets this aquatic center apart is its interactive offerings. Hands-on experiences await at touch tanks where visitors can gently caress stingrays or even feed moon jellyfish, making for a fun and educational adventure suitable for all ages.

Conveniently located in Rainbow Harbor between Shoreline Village and Shoreline Aquatic Park, the aquarium offers easy parking just across the street. This guarantees a stress-free experience as you explore the wonders within.

Naples Island

For those craving a taste of Italy without leaving California, Naples neighborhood in Long Beach is the perfect alternative. This charming area is comprised of three distinct islands, seamlessly connected by picturesque canals that flow into Alamitos Bay. The heart of Naples beats on Second Street, a 15-block stretch that transforms into Belmont Shore, offering a vibrant atmosphere for shopping, dining, and entertainment. For those seeking a more laid-back ambiance, Naples Plaza provides a serene escape, while Marina Beach caters to families in search of sun-kissed fun. Additionally, Naples is home to some of Long Beach’s most renowned restaurants, including Micheal’s on Naples, serving up the best Italian cuisine in Southern California.

Rosie’s Dog Beach

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For a paw-some day out with your furry friend, look no further than Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach. This dedicated off-leash area is renowned as the cleanest beach in town, providing the perfect spot for dogs to run wild and free. And it’s not just about the pups – the lively atmosphere and scenic views make it a fantastic destination for their human companions too.

Located adjacent to CSU Long Beach’s popular beach volleyball courts, Rosie’s Dog Beach is a haven for both dogs and their owners. The beach boasts modern amenities like outdoor showers and dog rinsing stations, ensuring that you won’t be leaving with a car full of sand. It’s the ultimate spot for making memories with your four-legged companion by the water.

Explore the City

Downtown Long Beach

In the heart of Downtown Long Beach, urban vitality and coastal allure blend seamlessly together. As you stroll through the area’s eclectic streetscape, you’ll find a diverse array of shops, eateries, and cafes that celebrate the city’s cultural heritage. Art lovers will delight in the vibrant murals and galleries that punctuate the district, while history aficionados can uncover the rich stories hidden beneath the surface. Meanwhile, the picturesque waterfront – with its stunning Pacific Ocean views – provides a serene oasis amidst the bustling energy of the city’s core, making Downtown Long Beach an idyllic destination for both adventure-seekers and those seeking respite.

Belmont Shore

Belmont Shore in Long Beach embodies the quintessential SoCal coastal experience. The area’s natural beauty is characterized by pristine beaches, serene lagoons, and picturesque canals that provide a stunning backdrop for its elegant homes. However, what sets Belmont Shore apart from other coastal destinations is its vibrant Second Street, which serves as the area’s main thoroughfare, connecting Belmont Shore to Naples. This eclectic stretch is home to an array of unique restaurants, specialty shops, and boutiques, each with its own distinct personality. As a result, shopping and dining in Belmont Shore becomes an immersive experience that’s unlike anywhere else. Strategically located just a short drive east of downtown Long Beach, Belmont Shore has evolved over time, solidifying its position as one of the region’s top destinations for families to enjoy both during the day and into the night. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Belmont Shore promises an unforgettable blend of relaxation, excitement, and pure California charm.

The Pike Outlets

Just across from the Marina, The Pike Outlets offers a unique blend of shopping, dining, and entertainment in downtown Long Beach’s vibrant atmosphere. Weekends bring an added treat as food trucks roll in, serving up tasty bites amidst a scenic backdrop. A spacious grassy area provides the perfect setting to savor your meal while taking in the lively views.

Beyond its diverse selection of stores and eateries, The Pike boasts an on-site movie theater, comedy club, and even a Ferris wheel for some old-fashioned fun.

Pet owners will appreciate the dog-friendly nature of The Pike, where canine companions are welcome to join their owners in public areas. Some retailers, like Nike, take it a step further by allowing dogs inside and providing refreshing water bowls. For a comfortable stay, the Hyatt Centric is conveniently located within The Pike’s premises, with nearby parking available at reasonable rates.

Bixby Knolls Art Walk

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Immerse yourself in local art and culture on the first Friday of every month at the Bixby Knolls Art Walk, affectionately known as First Fridays. This vibrant event takes place in the charming neighborhood of Bixby Knolls, where artists from around the region showcase their masterpieces in picturesque Bixby Park. The monthly gathering not only provides a platform for seasoned and emerging talents to display their work but also features a diverse range of live music genres that change every month. Over the years, First Fridays has evolved into a prominent art and entertainment walk, celebrating creativity and community spirit with each passing month. And if you’re looking for a productive spot to get some work done, Bixby Park is one of several Long Beach parks offering free Wi-Fi – perfect for digital nomads like myself or anyone seeking a pleasant outdoor workspace.

East Village Arts District

The East Village Arts District in downtown Long Beach is a vibrant hub that seamlessly combines cultural flair and historical charm. Spanning over 50 locally-owned businesses, this expansive district boasts an impressive array of Art Deco architecture, setting the tone for a unique shopping and dining experience.

As you explore the winding streets of East Village, get ready to uncover a treasure trove of offerings that cater to a diverse range of interests. Whether you’re on the lookout for sustainable fashion options, vintage or contemporary, or seeking distinctive home decor pieces, this district has something for everyone.

Music lovers will delight in the extensive collections at local record stores, while eco-conscious shoppers will appreciate the innovative package-free refill stores that pioneered the city’s green movement.

Indulge your creative side at a local pottery studio, energize with freshly roasted coffee, or savor a meal at one of the charming boutique restaurants. With so much to see and do, East Village Arts District is an absolute must-visit destination in Long Beach.

Historical Sites

Queen Mary

The iconic Queen Mary landmark in Long Beach has reopened for tours and overnight stays, offering visitors a chance to delve into its rich history through various tour options. For those fascinated by the ship’s inner workings, the Steam and Steel Tour provides an unparalleled look at its engineering. Alternatively, the Haunted Encounters tour caters to those intrigued by the Queen Mary’s eerie past.For a more self-directed experience, explore the ship’s many exhibits and areas with signage and photographs providing valuable context. These visual aids transport visitors back in time, showcasing the Queen Mary as it once was.To fully immerse yourself in its storied past, consider spending the night aboard the Queen Mary. The opulent art deco guest rooms become a nostalgic journey through history, evoking the luxurious crossings enjoyed by famous passengers like Winston Churchill and Clark Gable. Sleeping on board is more than just an overnight stay – it’s a sensory experience that puts you at the heart of the Queen Mary’s storied legacy.

U.S.S. Iowa

As a revered piece of American naval heritage, the USS Iowa, now a floating museum in Long Beach, has borne witness to pivotal moments in world history. From World War II to the Korean War and the Cold War, this battleship’s storied past is palpable as visitors explore its vast deck, marvel at its imposing guns, and navigate the cramped corridors where sailors once lived and worked. A treasure trove of exhibits delves into the ship’s most notable missions, technological innovations, and the daily routines of those who served on board. For anyone fascinated by military and maritime history, this interactive experience offers an unparalleled glimpse into the past.

Adventure and Outdoor Fun

Whale Watching Tours

One of the most unforgettable experiences in Long Beach is taking a whale-watching tour. Witnessing these gentle giants in their natural habitat is truly breathtaking. The city’s unique location makes it an ideal spot for spotting various species, including blue whales and finback whales from May to December.

If you’re eager to see gray and humpback whales, plan your visit between January and April. Even if the big prize – a whale sighting – eludes you, there’s still plenty to marvel at, such as dolphins and sea lions. The thrill of spotting marine life in its natural habitat is an experience that will stay with you long after your tour has ended.

Harbor Breeze Cruises

Harbor Breeze Cruises maintains a year-round schedule, allowing visitors to embark on whale-watching excursions as well as leisurely harbor and bay tours. The constant presence of marine life ensures that dolphin, seal, and sea lion sightings are possible throughout the year. As an added bonus, these cruises offer a unique blend of education and entertainment, making them an excellent way to while away a sun-kissed Southern California afternoon.

Catalina Express

The Catalina Express ferry ride transcends a simple transportation route, offering an instant getaway to a picturesque day trip on Catalina Island. The sudden departure from mainland life finds you immersed in Avalon’s tranquil atmosphere, where palm-lined streets and soothing ocean sounds greet you. As you meander through the charming town, discover a diverse array of shops, ranging from artisanal treasures to fashion boutiques. With everything conveniently situated within walking distance, it’s an ideal destination for those seeking retail therapy. For a more extensive exploration of the island, simply rent a golf cart near the ferry terminal and set off on a leisurely adventure.

El Dorado Nature Center

Nestled within Long Beach’s city limits lies the serene 105-acre El Dorado Nature Center, a haven for diverse plant and animal species. The property boasts an extensive network of trails spanning two miles, as well as a quarter-mile paved path accessible to all. As you meander through this natural oasis, take in the breathtaking views of lakes, streams, and forests that dot the landscape.

Begin your journey at the wooden bridge entrance, which leads to a tranquil island hosting the Visitor Center. Here, immerse yourself in interactive displays, explore nature-inspired art, or browse the eco-friendly gift shop for unique mementos.

The center also offers one-of-a-kind experiences, such as Family Night Walks. Under the guidance of a knowledgeable naturalist, you’ll venture out onto the trails after dark to witness the nocturnal activities of the park’s residents.

Bird enthusiasts will delight in the free Morning Bird Walks, offered from September to May. Join a guided tour and get up close and personal with the center’s feathered visitors while learning about their habits and habitats.

A visit to El Dorado Park offers a rejuvenating escape from urban life, making it an absolute must-visit for both locals and travelers alike.

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

Nestled within the California State University, Long Beach campus lies the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, a harmonious blend of serenity and cultural enrichment. This serene oasis seamlessly integrates learning, art, and culture along its meandering pathways, traditional Tea House, koi pond, and contemplative Zen Garden. As the seasons unfold, the garden transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors, hosting captivating events and showcasing unique exhibits that foster a deeper appreciation for this living museum.

Before visiting, it’s advisable to secure a complimentary reservation in advance to ensure public access on your preferred day. For an immersive experience, you can even interact with the lively koi by feeding them. However, please note that this activity requires a separate reservation due to the controlled diet of these aquatic friends.

Given its immense popularity and limited availability, it’s highly recommended to reserve your ‘Feed the Koi Fish’ spot 1-2 weeks in advance to avoid disappointment.


Experience the thrill of parasailing in Long Beach and elevate your perspective on the city’s stunning coastline. As you’re lifted into the air by a parachute attached to a boat, take in the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the distant horizon, and the cityscape. Imagine having a bird’s-eye view of the vibrant downtown area, the picturesque beaches, and the iconic Queen Mary ocean liner.

For an added layer of excitement, many parasailing providers offer tandem flights, allowing you to share this unforgettable experience with a partner or friend. To capture the moment, consider hiring a photographer or bringing your own camera to take in the stunning vistas from up high. The memories you make will be truly one-of-a-kind.

Swan Pedal Boat Rentals

For those seeking a relaxing yet thrilling experience in Downtown Long Beach, look no further than the Swan Pedal Boats. These visually striking vessels, designed to resemble elegant swans, offer an engaging way to explore Rainbow Lagoon while taking in the city’s scenic views.

The larger boats can accommodate up to five people, making them an ideal choice for families or groups of friends seeking a shared adventure. Alternatively, the two-seater boats provide a more intimate experience, perfect for couples planning a romantic evening out or simply wanting to enjoy each other’s company.

The sunshades on board offer just the right amount of protection from direct sunlight, ensuring a comfortable outing even on hot days. As night falls, the boats are illuminated, creating an enchanting atmosphere that adds to the overall experience.

Rent your swan boat outside the Hyatt Regency Long Beach, located at Pine Avenue and Shoreline Drive.

Yoga on the Bluff

Start your day or unwind after work with a serene yoga practice at Bluff Park, located at Ocean Boulevard and Junipero Avenue. This daily ritual takes place twice a day – 11am sharp, every day, and again on weekdays at 6pm. The picturesque setting of the ocean provides a unique backdrop for yogis of all levels to stretch and breathe. With free classes and optional donations supporting the instructors, this outdoor yoga experience is open to both newcomers and seasoned practitioners alike. Don’t forget your own mat and get ready to connect with nature in the heart of Long Beach. Afterward, take a moment to appreciate the stunning views from the top of the bluff and maybe even grab a bite to eat from one of the nearby food trucks – the perfect picnic lunch awaits.

Helicopter Tours

As you embark on a helicopter tour over Long Beach, get ready to experience Southern California’s most iconic landmarks and breathtaking coastlines from an unparalleled perspective. The 15-minute tour takes you on a thrilling ride past the historic Queen Mary ocean liner, offering a unique vantage point of downtown Long Beach and the impressive Battleship Iowa. You may also catch glimpses of Catalina Island on the horizon. For those with more time to spare, the 30-minute tour expands your horizons, taking in the picturesque coastline of Los Angeles, including Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan beaches. As you soar above Marina del Rey’s luxurious harbor, you’ll be treated to a stunning top-down view of the famous Santa Monica Pier. Whether you opt for the quick jaunt or the extended flight, these helicopter tours promise an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Dominguez Gap Wetlands

Nestled along the scenic Los Angeles River, the Dominguez Gap Wetlands boast an impressive 37 acres of lush green space. This urban oasis not only provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle but also serves as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. A treasure trove of recreational opportunities awaits, with equestrian trails catering to horse lovers, bike paths designed for cyclists looking to get their adrenaline fix, and meandering walkways perfect for leisurely strolls. Strategically located in the heart of the city, the wetlands seamlessly blend nature and physical activity, offering something for everyone.

Arts & Entertainment

Terrace Theater

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The Terrace Theater in downtown Long Beach offers an immersive experience that extends beyond the performances themselves. The moment you step outside, the vibrant fountain greets you, setting the tone for an enjoyable evening. As you enter the theater, the 3-story glass-walled lobby and expansive staircases create a sense of grandeur, making it effortless to navigate. With a seating capacity of over 3,000, the venue showcases a diverse range of performances, catering to varied tastes. The theater’s proximity to the Long Beach Convention Center and downtown restaurants means that guests can easily combine their evening out with other activities. Plus, ample parking options ensure a hassle-free experience from start to finish. If you’re visiting during the holiday season, be sure to catch the fountain area in front of the theater at night – it’s transformed into a winter wonderland complete with a giant tree and stunning decorations, guaranteed to leave you feeling festive.

Long Beach Museum of Art

Within the urban landscape of Southern California, the Long Beach Museum of Art stands out as a premier art destination. Its impressive collection comprises over 3,200 works spanning three centuries of American and European art, showcasing a diverse range of artistic expressions and styles. Since its inception in 1951, the museum has been at the forefront of innovative exhibitions, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the creative processes and artistic movements that have shaped the world of art. But the experience doesn’t stop at the galleries; Claire’s at the Museum restaurant, nestled within the museum’s grounds, offers a culinary journey accompanied by breathtaking views of the iconic Queen Mary and the distant Catalina Island. This picturesque setting is perfect for a leisurely Sunday brunch, but be sure to book ahead as it’s a local favorite that fills up quickly.

Museum of Latin American Art

The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach stands out as the sole institution in the United States focused exclusively on showcasing modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art forms. This esteemed museum has expanded significantly over the years, boasting a larger footprint and increased prominence. One notable addition is its 15,000-square-foot outdoor sculpture garden, which has become an integral part of the campus. The permanent collection comprises over 1,300 works, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to engage with diverse exhibitions, informative educational programs, and various cultural events that collectively offer a comprehensive exploration of Latin American and Latino artistic expressions.

Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum

In the heart of Long Beach lies a unique space that embodies the soul and character of Oceania—the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (PIEAM). This cultural haven is dedicated to illuminating the profound wisdom of the Pacific Islands people through thought-provoking installations and immersive experiences that bridge the regions of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Beyond mere artistry, PIEAM’s focus lies in unraveling the intricate connections between ancestral artifacts, the communities they represent, and their storied pasts.

Carpenter Performing Arts Center

The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center, situated on the California State University, Long Beach campus, has been a stalwart of cultural enrichment since its inception in 1994. Its impressive seating capacity of 1,054 is designed to accommodate both grandiose productions and intimate performances alike, drawing inspiration from the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The venue’s diverse programming features an eclectic mix of emerging and established artists from around the world each season, further solidifying its reputation as a premier destination for exceptional artistic experiences.

Named after the renowned pop music duo, the Carpenters—Richard and Karen—who were once students at CSULB, the Center pays homage to their legacy through the Richard & Karen Carpenter Exhibit. This permanent installation showcases awards and treasured memorabilia from their illustrious career, accessible to all ticket holders during events and available for viewing by appointment.

Special Events and Festivals

Grand Prix of Long Beach

The Grand Prix of Long Beach is an annual event that takes over the city’s streets in April, earning its nickname ‘Southern California’s 200-MPH Beach Party’. This four-day spectacle from Thursday to Sunday promises non-stop thrills for spectators. At the heart of the action is the INDYCAR Series, where turbocharged cars hurtle down Shoreline Drive at breathtaking speeds of up to 185 mph. But that’s not all – the Grand Prix also features a diverse range of races, including drift competitions, super truck showdowns, and GT2, GT3, and GT4 car battles. With seating options along the entire course, fans are treated to an immersive experience, putting them mere feet from the heart-pumping action.

Cambodia Town Parade and Festival

In April every year, the annual Cambodia Town Parade & Cultural Festival in Long Beach commemorates the city’s deep-rooted Khmer heritage. Initiated in 2005 to mark the Cambodian New Year, this event played a pivotal role in bringing together the local Cambodian community, being the first of its kind outside of Cambodia. The celebration has since grown into a day-long festival, showcasing the rich cultural traditions with a blend of savory food, lively music, and vibrant dance. Today, it’s one of the most popular community events in Long Beach, particularly given the city’s significant Cambodian population, which is one of the largest outside Southeast Asia. This was recognized in 2007 when a section along Anaheim Street was designated as Cambodia Town, further solidifying Long Beach’s connection to its Khmer roots.

So Many Things to Do in Long Beach!

Immersed in the vibrant energy of Long Beach, it’s easy to forget that this charming coastal city is more than just a destination – it’s an experience that leaves a lasting impression on visitors and locals alike. As you stroll through its bustling streets, mingle with friendly residents, and soak up the sun-kissed atmosphere, you’ll discover that Long Beach has something for everyone. Art enthusiasts will marvel at the city’s thriving arts scene, while beach lovers can’t get enough of the pristine coastline. Foodies will indulge in a culinary journey, and nature enthusiasts will find solace in the surrounding parks and green spaces. With so many attractions and activities to explore, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a dull moment – and might just find yourself planning your return trip before you even leave.