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Are you searching for the best things to do in Long Beach? I’ve got you covered. I lived in Long Beach for several years and explored every inch of this beautiful city. I also know how important it is to avoid wasting precious vacation time looking for what to do next. From personal experiences and local insights, I’ve compiled a list of all the best things to do in Long Beach that promises fun for everyone, ensuring your trip is memorable, safe, and worth every penny. Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends, with your significant other or the whole family, you’ll find the perfect things to do in Long Beach on this list. 

Los Angeles Long Beach California.
Photo credit: Larry Gibson/Shutterstock.

Beaches & Ocean Front

1. Shoreline Village 

Situated in the heart of downtown Long Beach, Shoreline Village is both a dining and shopping destination. The waterfront setting offers a variety of dining options, whether you’re in the mood for a casual snack or a more elegant meal with a view. 

Shoreline Village sits in Rainbow Harbor In Long Beach, California. Shops line the edge of the marina area, and boats are docked in it's harbor.
Photo credit: Patricia Elaine Thomas/Shutterstock.

Shoppers will find a mix of stores where you can find everything from trendy beachwear and sunglasses to unique home decor items. 

Shoreline Village is a bit touristy, but locals also enjoy visiting this quaint area. If you plan to have dinner at one of the nicer restaurants, be sure to make reservations in advance. 

2. Shoreline Aquatic Park

On a peninsula across from Shoreline Village, you’ll find Shoreline Aquatic Park, a lovely open space perfect for a picnic while watching the boats. You’ll get amazing views of the bay, marina, Queen Mary, and maybe even a cruise ship. 

A gorgeous summer landscape at Shoreline Aquatic Park with lush green trees and grass, people relaxing, a smoothing winding footpath with a gorgeous clear blue sky in Long Beach California USA.
Photo credit: Marcus E Jones/Shutterstock.

Walk up to the lighthouse at the top of the hill to see some historical photos of Long Beach. There is also a watershed exhibit along the boardwalk. 

Even on hot days, you’ll enjoy a pleasant breeze from the top of the hill as you relax in the shade of one of the large trees.

3. Aquarium of the Pacific 

One of the standout attractions in Long Beach is the Aquarium of the Pacific. This expansive aquatic center showcases over 100 exhibits, encompassing 19 major habitats, each carefully designed to replicate the natural environments of its residents.

Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California.
Photo credit: cassidyfranco/Shutterstock.

Among the highlights are the penguin habitat, shark lagoon, and sea otter habitat. If you’re looking for tactile experiences, the aquarium offers interactive touch tanks where you can gently feel the smooth glide of stingrays or even touch and feed the ethereal moon jellyfish.

With such diversity under one roof, the Aquarium of the Pacific promises an educational and entertaining day out for visitors of all ages.

Aquarium of the Pacific is located in Rainbow Harbor between Shoreline Village and Shoreline Aquatic Park. You’ll find easy parking just across the street.

4. Naples Island

If you’re yearning for a taste of Italy but find yourself in California, Long Beach’s Naples neighborhood is your next best option. Naples encompasses three distinct islands interwoven with picturesque canals that flow into Alamitos Bay.

Beautiful treelined walkway in Naples Island Long Beach.
Photo credit: KK Stock/Shutterstock.

The heartbeat of this neighborhood is Second Street. Stretching 15 blocks to Belmont Shore, it’s a hotspot for shopping, dining, and entertainment. If a relaxed vibe is more your style, Naples Plaza provides a breezy escape, while Marina Beach welcomes families looking for sun-soaked fun.

You’ll also find some of Long Beach’s best restaurants in Naples. Be sure to check out Micheal’s on Naples for some of the most delicious Italian food in Southern California.

5. Rosie’s Dog Beach

Whether you’re a local or traveling with your dog and looking for a fun day out with your pup, Rosie’s Dog Beach is the place to be. Known as the cleanest beach in Long Beach, it’s a dedicated off-leash area where dogs can run, play, and splash to their heart’s content.

A dog shakes themselves dry after retrieving a ball from the ocean at Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach, California during sunset.
Photo credit: Richard H Grant/Shutterstock.

Located next to CSU Long Beach’s beach volleyball courts, it’s not only a haven for dogs but also offers a lively atmosphere for their human companions. 

The beach is equipped with outdoor showers and dog rinsing stations, ensuring you don’t take home a ton of sand. It’s the ideal spot for both dogs and their owners to have a great time by the water.

Explore the City

6. Downtown Long Beach 

Downtown Long Beach is a dynamic blend of urban energy and coastal charm. Wander its streets, and you’ll discover a diverse mix of shops, restaurants, and cafes, many showcasing the city’s rich cultural influences.

View of Long Beach, California, USA.
Photo credit: Matt Gush/Shutterstock.

Art enthusiasts can appreciate the murals and galleries that pepper the district, while history buffs can dive into the area’s storied past. 

With the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop, the waterfront adds a relaxing touch to the city’s vibrant core, making downtown Long Beach an ideal spot for both exploration and relaxation.

7. Belmont Shore 

Long Beach’s Belmont Shore perfectly captures the essence of Southern California’s coastal allure. With its pristine sandy beaches, tranquil lagoons, and scenic canals, it’s a picturesque backdrop to the elegant homes that line the boardwalks.

Aerial View of Homes on Belmont Shore Beach.
Photo credit: Justin P Bradley/Shutterstock.

But there’s more to Belmont Shore than just its natural beauty. Second Street, the area’s vibrant artery runs from Belmont Shore to Naples. It’s filled with an array of unique restaurants, specialty shops, and boutiques. Each establishment has its own character, making shopping and dining here an experience unlike any other.

Conveniently positioned just a short drive east of downtown Long Beach, Belmont Shore has blossomed over time, securing its spot as one of the region’s top destinations for families, both during the day and into the night. 

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Belmont Shore promises a blend of relaxation, excitement, and pure California charm.

8. The Pike Outlets 

Located right across the street from the Marina, The Pike Outlets is an open-air center in downtown Long Beach known for its mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment. 

On weekends, you’ll often find a variety of food trucks serving up delicious bites. There’s a large grassy area where you can enjoy your meal while doing some people-watching. 

THE PIKE Outlets, retail Shopping Center in Long Beach, California.
Photo credit: Walter Cicchetti/Shutterstock.

In addition to its many stores and restaurants, The Pike also contains a movie theater, comedy club, and even a Ferris wheel. 

Dog owners will appreciate the dog-friendly nature of The Pike. While dogs are welcome in the public areas, some stores, like Nike, even allow them inside and offer a bowl of water.

For a convenient place to stay, the Hyatt Centric is located right in The Pike. Parking is easy with the adjacent garage that has reasonable prices.

9. Bixby Knolls Art Walk 

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in local art and culture, the Bixby Knolls Art Walk is the place to be. Also known as “First Fridays,” this event is held on the first Friday of every month in the picturesque neighborhood of Bixby Knolls.

Artists from around the region display their masterpieces in Bixby Park, providing a platform for both seasoned and emerging talents. You’ll also find a variety of live music genres, which change every month.

Metal flower sculptures in downtown Long Beach, California.
Photo credit: visualfudge/Shutterstock.

In recent years, First Fridays has seen a surge in popularity, evolving into a prominent art and entertainment walk. It’s more than just an event; it’s a monthly celebration of creativity and community spirit. 

Bixby Park is one of the many parks in Long Beach that offer free Wi-Fi. If you’re a digital nomad like me or just need a pleasant place to get some work done, this is a great option. 

10. East Village Arts District

The East Village Arts District in downtown Long Beach showcases a blend of colorful culture and historic charm. This expansive district, rich with Art Deco architecture, stands proud as home to over 50 locally-owned businesses. 

Urban garden Certified Wildlife Habitat in East Villages Arts District.
Photo credit: Leigh Trail/Shutterstock.

While wandering the East Village streets, be ready to discover a treasure trove of offerings. Whether you’re on the hunt for sustainable fashion—vintage or contemporary—or seeking distinctive home decor, this district has you covered. 

The shelves of its record stores boast a vast collection for audiophiles, while eco-conscious shoppers will appreciate the city’s pioneering package-free refill stores. 

Satisfy your artistic cravings at a local pottery studio, perk up with freshly roasted coffee, or enjoy a meal at one of the boutique restaurants. 

Historical Sites

11. Queen Mary 

The Queen Mary, an iconic landmark in Long Beach, has reopened its doors for tours and overnight stays. Visitors can again explore a variety of exhibits and dive deep into the ship’s history with several tour options.

For the technically curious, the Steam and Steel Tour offers an inside look at the ship’s engineering. For those intrigued by the ship’s ghost stories, the Haunted Encounters tour is for you.

Gorgeous aerial view of RMS Queen Mary ocean liner at Long Beach. At one point the largest liner in the world.
Photo credit: Pandora Pictures/Shutterstock.

You can also take yourself on a self-guided tour. There is signage all around the ship describing the different areas. You’ll also see many photographs of how the ship looked back in the day.

For the full experience, stay overnight. The ship’s art deco guest rooms are more than just places to rest – they’re a voyage back in time. 

It’s easy to imagine the luxurious crossings experienced by the ship’s notable passengers, like Winston Churchill and Clark Gable. Sleeping aboard the Queen Mary is not merely an overnight stay; it’s immersing yourself in its history.

12. U.S.S. Iowa 

The USS Iowa, anchored in Long Beach, is a significant piece of American naval history. Serving in World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War, this battleship now welcomes visitors as an interactive naval museum. 

Naval battleship USS Iowa is docked in the Los Angeles Harbour celebrating Fleet Week in San Pedro, California USA.
Photo credit: Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock.

Guests can walk its vast deck, see its massive guns up close, and navigate the tight corridors where the crew once lived and worked. 

The museum’s exhibits offer insights into the ship’s notable missions, the advancements it housed, and the day-to-day experiences of its sailors. It’s an immersive experience for anyone interested in military and maritime history.

Adventure and Outdoor Fun

13. Whale Watching Tours

Whale watching is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking experiences Long Beach has to offer. Nothing compares to the sheer awe of spotting these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, and there’s no better place to embark on this adventure than in Long Beach.

Humpback whale breaching on pacific ocean background.
Photo credit: Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock.

The prime time to take a whale-watching tour in Long Beach depends on what kind of whales you hope to see. Blue whales and finback whales are commonly spotted from May to December. 

If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the gray and humpback whales, plan your visit for January to April.

Even if you aren’t lucky enough to see a whale, you’re still likely to see dolphins and sea lions. 

14. Harbor Breeze Cruises

Harbor Breeze Cruises operates year-round. They offer whale-watching cruises as well as harbor and bay cruises. You’re likely to see dolphins, seals, and sea lions year-round. 

Harbor Breeze Cruises boat moored at Shoreline Village in Long Beach, California.
Photo credit: KK Stock/Shutterstock.

The cruises are informative and fun and a great way to spend a sunny Southern California afternoon. 

15. Catalina Express 

The Catalina Express is more than just a ferry ride; it’s a direct route to a perfect day trip. In a short span, you find yourself on Catalina Island, which feels worlds away from the mainland.

Avalon, the main town on Catalina, greets visitors with palm-tree-lined streets and the comforting sound of the ocean. 

Aerial view of Catalina Express speedboat next to Santa Catalina Island, famous tourist attraction in Southern California.
Photo credit: Unwind/Shutterstock.

As you wander, you’ll come across a variety of shops, from artisanal crafts to boutique fashion stores. It’s perfect for those who love a little retail therapy, especially since everything is conveniently within walking distance.

If you want to venture out a bit further and explore the island, you can easily rent a golf cart near the ferry terminal. 

16. El Dorado Nature Center 

Tucked within Long Beach is the El Dorado Nature Center, a 105-acre sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna. As you explore its two miles of trails or the accessible quarter-mile paved path, you’ll be greeted with scenic views of lakes, streams, and forests.

Allen's Hummingbird Feeding Drinking Nectar From Feeder Southern California El Dorado Nature Center Long Beach.
Photo credit: RingDeer Enterprises/Shutterstock.

Your adventure begins at the wooden bridge entrance, leading to an island hosting the Visitor Center. Dive into interactive displays, explore nature-inspired art, or pick up an eco-friendly memento from their gift shop.

The center also offers unique experiences like the Family Night Walks, where a naturalist guides you through the trails after dusk, unveiling the nocturnal activities of its residents. 

Bird enthusiasts can join the free Morning Bird Walk from September to May, spotting and learning about the center’s avian visitors.

A visit to El Dorado Park offers a refreshing connection to nature amidst urban life, making it a must-visit for both locals and travelers.

17. Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

Situated within the grounds of California State University, Long Beach, the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden serves not only as an oasis of tranquility but also as a living museum. 

Here, culture, art, and learning converge amidst the serenity of winding pathways, a traditional Tea House, a koi pond, and a contemplative Zen Garden. As the seasons shift, the garden unveils a tapestry of colors, hosts fascinating cultural events, and showcases unique exhibits.

Koi Pond, Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden at California State University, Long Beach, California.
Photo credit: SunflowerMomma/Shutterstock.

It’s advisable to book a free reservation ahead of time to ensure the garden is open for public access on your chosen day. If you’d like to interact with the lively koi, there’s an opportunity to feed them. 

This experience requires a separate reservation, given the controlled diet of the koi. As this activity is particularly popular and slots fill up quickly, it’s recommended to reserve your “Feed the Koi Fish” spot 1 to 2 weeks in advance.

18. Parasailing 

Looking for a unique way to see Long Beach? Try parasailing and soar above the Pacific to get a bird’s-eye view of the coastline and city.

Parasailing involves being lifted into the air by a parachute while tethered to a boat. As the boat moves forward, you rise, getting a vantage point few get to experience. The Pacific waters below, the distant horizon, and the cityscape offer a visual treat.

Happy couple Parasailing in summer. Couple under parachute hanging mid air.
Photo credit: J_UK/Shutterstock.

Many parasailing providers offer tandem flights, so you can share the experience with a partner or friend.

Consider getting photos or videos of your flight. It’s a wonderful perspective of Long Beach you’ll want to remember.

19. Swan Pedal Boat Rentals 

If you’re searching for a relaxing yet engaging activity in Downtown Long Beach, look no further than the Swan Pedal Boats. These eye-catching boats, shaped like elegant swans, offer a fun way to navigate Rainbow Lagoon and enjoy the city’s scenery.

The larger boats comfortably fit up to five people, making them ideal for families or friends looking for a shared adventure. If you’re planning a date night or just want a more intimate experience, the two-seater boats are perfect. 

Private Swan pedal boats are for rent to the public in Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA.
Photo credit: Gerry Matthews/Shutterstock.

The boats’ sunshades provide just the right amount of protection from direct sunlight, ensuring your outing remains comfortable even on hot days. At night the boats are lit up for an even more magical experience.

You can rent a swan boat outside the Hyatt Regency Long Beach on Pine Avenue and Shoreline Drive. 

20. Yoga on the Bluff 

Head to Bluff Park at Ocean Boulevard and Junipero Avenue for daily yoga sessions. Offered every day at 11 a.m. and additionally at 6 p.m. on weekdays, it’s an excellent way to unwind and stretch against a backdrop of the ocean.

A photo of yoga participants at a free daily class sponsored by Yogalution on the bluffs in Long Beach, at the corner of Ocean and Junipero streets.
Photo credit: Chris Allan/Shutterstock.

These classes cater to both beginners and seasoned yogis. While sessions are free, donations are appreciated to support the instructors. Don’t forget to bring your own yoga mat, and enjoy an outdoor yoga experience in the heart of Long Beach.

After yoga stick around to enjoy the views from the top of the bluff. There are often food trucks in the area to provide the perfect picnic lunch.

21. Helicopter Tours

A helicopter tour over Long Beach offers an unmatched perspective of Southern California’s iconic landmarks and breathtaking coastlines.

Opt for the 15-minute tour, and you’ll soar past the historic Queen Mary ocean liner, get a unique view of downtown Long Beach, and see the formidable Battleship Iowa. As a bonus, you may also catch seaward glimpses of Catalina Island.

Long Beach modern city skyline, marina and Shoreline Village aerial view in City of Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California CA, USA.
Photo credit: Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.

If you’ve got a bit more time, the 30-minute tour expands your horizons. Not only will you cover the sights from the shorter trip, but you’ll also fly over Los Angeles’ picturesque coast, spanning Redondo, Hermosa, and Manhattan beaches. 

Your journey will continue as you hover above Marina del Rey’s luxurious harbor and then round off with a top-down view of the famous Santa Monica Pier.

Whether you choose the quick jaunt or the extended flight, these helicopter tours promise unforgettable sights and memories that will last a lifetime.

22. Dominguez Gap Wetlands

Located along the Los Angeles River, the Dominguez Gap Wetlands cover 37 acres of open space. This area is not just a green spot in the city but also a hub for outdoor activities. 

Dominguez Gap Wetland, Long Beach CA (adjacent to the Los Angles River)
Photo credit: Leonard Walker/Shutterstock.

There’s an equestrian trail for horse enthusiasts, bike paths for cyclists, and walkways for those who enjoy a good stroll. A convenient location for recreation, the wetlands offer a mix of nature and exercise options right in the heart of the city.

Arts & Entertainment

23. Terrace Theater 

The Terrace Theater in downtown Long Beach offers guests more than just a show. Outside, a colorful fountain welcomes visitors, setting a pleasant tone for the evening. 

Inside, the theater’s 3-story glass-walled lobby and broad staircases give a sense of space, making navigation a breeze. With a capacity of over 3,000 seats, the venue hosts a wide variety of performances, catering to diverse tastes. 

Long Beach Terrace Theater in Long Beach, California, USA - May 27, 2023. The Terrace Theater is a full theatrical and performance venue located in Long Beach.
Photo credit: JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock.

The theater is next to the Long Beach Convention Center and within walking distance of the many downtown restaurants. With the added benefit of plenty of parking, the Terrace Theater ensures a fun and hassle-free experience from start to finish.

If you’re visiting during Christmas time, be sure to see the fountain area in front of the theater at night. It’s decorated with a giant tree and beautiful decorations and will definitely put you in the holiday spirit.

24. Long Beach Museum of Art 

Located in the heart of the city, the Long Beach Museum of Art is one of the best art galleries in Southern California. The museum houses an expansive collection, boasting over 3,200 works that span 300 years of both American and European art. 

A photo of visitor De Calvert arriving at the Long Beach Museum of Art.
Photo credit: Chris Allan/Shutterstock.

Its rich history since 1951 showcases a wide array of exhibitions, each offering a unique look into various art forms and artist explorations. 

But the experience doesn’t end with the artwork. Nestled within the museum’s grounds is Claire’s at the Museum restaurant. This spot not only offers delicious cuisine but also a patio with a view of the iconic Queen Mary and the distant Catalina Island, adding a picturesque touch to your museum visit.

Claire’s is a great place for Sunday brunch, but be sure to make a reservation. It’s very popular with the locals and fills up quickly.

25. Museum of Latin American Art 

Long Beach’s Museum of Latin American Art is the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art forms. 

Over the years, the museum has grown both in size and prominence, even adding a sprawling 15,000-square-foot outdoor sculpture garden to its campus. 

Mexican indian sun handcraft ceramic isolated in yellow background
Photo credit: Anna Krivitskaya/Shutterstock.

With a permanent collection of over 1,300 works, visitors can immerse themselves in diverse exhibitions, enlightening educational programs, and various cultural events, all of which offer a deep dive into Latin American and Latino artistic expressions.

26. Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum 

Nestled in Long Beach is a special space that captures the essence and spirit of Oceania—the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (PIEAM). 

Committed to shining a light on the profound wisdom of the Pacific Islands people, it represents regions such as Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia through rotating installations and genuine experiences.

traditional wooden Polynesian tiki from Marquesas Islands. Isolated on a dark background
Photo credit: Daboost/Shutterstock.

At PIEAM, the focus isn’t just on showcasing art but on understanding the deep-rooted kinship between ancestral artifacts, the people they represent, and their rich histories. 

27. Carpenter Performing Arts Center

Located on the campus of California State University, Long Beach, the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center has been a cultural cornerstone since its construction in 1994. 

Boasting a seating capacity of 1,054, its stage design takes inspiration from the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, enabling it to host both grand and intimate events seamlessly. 

The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University Long Beach.
Photo credit: mikeledray/Shutterstock.

Every season, the Carpenter Center showcases a blend of emerging talents and established artists from around the world, solidifying its reputation as a hub for unparalleled artistic displays. 

The Center is named after the iconic pop music duo, the Carpenters—Richard and Karen—who once graced the halls of CSULB as students. For those interested in diving deeper into the legacy of the Carpenters, the venue houses the Richard & Karen Carpenter Exhibit. 

This permanent installation celebrates their illustrious career, presenting awards and cherished memorabilia. It’s accessible to all ticket holders during events and available for viewing by appointment.

Special Events and Festivals

28. Grand Prix of Long Beach 

Each year in April, the city streets of Long Beach are transformed into a racetrack for the Grand Prix of Long Beach, fondly dubbed “Southern California’s 200-MPH Beach Party.” This adrenaline-packed event runs from Thursday to Sunday, ensuring spectators have four days filled with high-speed excitement.

Will Power in the #12 car leads a small chase group during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Photo credit: BBurcham/Shutterstock.

The INDYCAR Series is a major highlight, where turbocharged cars zip through city streets, reaching speeds of up to 185 mph on Shoreline Drive. But it’s not just about INDYCARs. 

The Grand Prix also showcases a variety of other races, from drift races and super truck races to competitions featuring GT2, GT3, and GT4 race cars. And with seating located all along the course, fans are guaranteed a close-up view of all the thrilling action.

29. Cambodia Town Parade and Festival

The annual Cambodia Town Parade & Cultural Festival celebrates Long Beach’s deep Khmer traditions in April of every year. Initiated in 2005 to honor the Cambodian New Year, it was the first of its kind outside of Cambodia and played a crucial role in bringing together the local Cambodian community.

Flag twirlers perform their final routine outside of MacArthur Park at the end of the 15th annual Cambodia Town Parade.
Photo credit: Richard H Grant/Shutterstock.

With Long Beach housing one of the largest Cambodian populations outside Southeast Asia, the city recognized this in 2007 by designating a section along Anaheim Street as Cambodia Town. 

The once simple parade has evolved into a day-long festival, showcasing Khmer traditions with a mix of food, music, and dance. Today, it’s among the standout community events in Long Beach.

So Many Things to Do in Long Beach!

As you wander its streets and mingle with locals, you’ll quickly find that Long Beach is more than just a destination—it’s a feeling, a vibrant energy that resonates with both newcomers and frequent visitors alike. 

Long Beach Marina and city skyline, Long Beach, California.
Photo credit: f11photo/Shutterstock.

Art lovers, beach lovers, foodies, and nature enthusiasts will all find plenty to fill their days as they explore Long Beach.

There are so many tourist attractions and fun things to do that you’ll never get bored. In fact, you’ll probably want to book a return trip. 

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Sherry Arkfeld

Sherry Arkfeld is a digital nomad and travel blogger. Her blog, Digital Nomad and a Dog, helps others live the nomad lifestyle. She also writes about amazing destinations and tips for traveling with a dog helping everyone to live their best life.

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