Long Beach, California was long ago billed as the International City, thanks to its busy port that welcomes cargo ships from around the globe. Locals not only see it as offering a continental flavor with its foods, museums, and cultural influences, but also embrace its ocean frontage and beaches. Long Beach is nothing if not a nautical place.
Sure the city ranks as having the best parks system in the U.S., but it also has the largest municipal marina in the country, and along its bays and manmade islands you will find gondolas, sabot sailboats (invented here), kayaks, and the amazing, historic Queen Mary Ship. In the bay is a unique island that looks like Vacation Village. However, it is really an oil platform designed by Disney Corp. to disguise its use and make it seem appealing. It is called THUMS island.
Cargo ships, Queens, and Carnivals--Long Beach is also home to a Baja Mexico cruise adventure offered by Carnival Cruises.
Once a popular seaside destination with a huge amusement similar to the Santa Cruz BoardWalk, Long Beach had the Pike. Gone but not forgotten, locals have talked about removing artificial jetties and trying to bring back some of the flavor of an earlier era, bringing the waves back to the once popular surfing and swimming bay. The Pike theme is carried out in Shoreline Village which contains a boardwalk with shops, restaurants, a carousel for kids, and a nationally recognized Aquarium of the Pacific.
Anchoring this water world is the Long Beach Convention Center and Arena for sports, which is painted with Wyland's largest whale mural he has ever created.
Getting to Long Beach via Long Beach Airport allows you to fly into the city and be ready for fun. But if the flights aren't easy to catch into the city direct, you can fly into Los Angeles International Airport a mere 30 minutes away.
Dining: Parkers' Lighthouse offers great views of the harbor and bay, and uses sustainable practices in serving fish. Another popular spot with fine dining is Sir Winston's on the Queen Mary ship. Elegant views of the city, delicious gourmet steaks and fish, and a complete list of cocktails and wines, make this a top choice of celebrations and dates. Here are some of our favorites to investigate when you get hungry and want some new tastes or familiar foods. See the Long Beach Restaurant List.
Event driven: Long Beach features many exciting events throughout the year and there's something going on every day, guaranteed! Among the annual events and festivals, be sure to check out the Long Beach Grand Prix, a car race held in the streets of the city, the Scottish Festival at the Queen Mary (which was built in Scotland,) and also provides one of the most spectacular New Year's Eve Celebrations, the Original Lobster Festival at Rainbow Lagoon, and the Harvest Festival held at Rancho Los Alamitos in Bixby Hills.
For the marine and aquatic crowd, the Fred Hall Long Beach Fish, Tackle, Bait and Boat Show is a huge draw at the Convention Center each year. With the nation's largest municipal marina, it is no wonder that this expo is such a crowd pleaser.