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Long Beach, an oceanfront city, has a population of just about half a million. Its proximity to Los Angeles has turned Long Beach into a metropolis that attracts merrymakers who visit Long Beach often to participate in its several festivals and carnivals. Tourists find themselves flocking to popular hot spots like the Aquarium of the Pacific, Shoreline Aquatic Park, El Dorado East Regional Park, and The Queen Mary ocean liner. This beautiful port city offers the best of coastal living.
If you are planning a trip to Long Beach, read on. We give you the 12 top-rated attractions and things to do in Long Beach California.
#1 Aquarium of the Pacific
This gorgeous public aquarium is built on an expansive five acres of land and is home to 500 species and 11,000 animals. Combine this with the diversity offered by the nearby Pacific and it is no wonder that close to 1.5 million visitors come to visit this place every year. This aquarium is a family destination, with something for everyone in the family. While at the aquarium, do not forget to check out the popular June Keyes Penguin Habitat -- home to 20 Magellanic penguins, Shark Lagoon, and the Lorikeet Forest.
#2 The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary set its first sail in 1936 from Southampton, England. For years, the grand Queen Mary ferried the rich and famous across the Pacific. It also actively participated in World War II. However, it retired in 1967 and moored in Long Beach. This dynamic British ocean liner now works as a functioning hotel and guests can choose to stay in its different rooms. Here's a fun fact: The Queen Mary has seen more visitors as a retired vessel than it saw as a functioning boat.
#3 Downtown Waterfront
The Downtown Waterfront is the bustling tourist area of Long Beach. Home to important tourist destinations, such as the Aquarium of the Pacific, Shoreline Aquatic Park, Rainbow Harbor Esplanade, and the Long Beach Convention Center, the area witnesses high footfall throughout the year. While you are in the area, make sure to find some time to visit the Shoreline Village. Whether you want to sit, shop, or ride a bike, this is the perfect place to be.
#4 Art Theatre of Long Beach
The Art Theatre of Long Beach pays homage to some of the best silent films of 1925 and is one of the best Long Beach attractions for any art lover. Alongside these classic choices, viewers can also choose from a wide selection of documentaries and films while they enjoy exclusive dishes.
#5 El Dorado East Regional Park
Once you are done with the city life and want to enjoy some solitude, head to the expansive El Dorado East Regional Park, hire a bike and ride through this beautiful park that includes within itself two stocked fishing lakes, an aircraft flying area, and several picnic shelters. If you love dogs, head to the Dorado Dog Park and spend hours watching little furries play with their owners.
#6 Belmont Shore and Naples
Belmont Shore is where the turf meets the surf and tourists get to meet the breathtakingly beautiful Pacific. This white sand area is home to several shops and restaurants where you can sit and relax. After you are done exploring Belmont Shore, hop a gondola and explore the neighboring Naples, which is home to charming canals and multi-million-dollar homes. The scenery will instantly remind of you Italy.
#7 Catalina Island
If you are planning a trip to Long Beach, keep an entire day to explore the mesmerizingly beautiful Catalina Island. Take either one of the cruises from the Downtown District or hop on one of the Catalina Express shuttles. Once in Catalina, make sure to visit the Inn on Mount Ada for a breathtaking view of Avalon and hit the Crescent Avenue for the best shopping.
#8 Downtown Long Beach
The Downtown Long Beach extends from the ever-full Downtown Waterfront district and is the ideal place for nighttime entertainment. The area is also home to many fine restaurants serving different cuisines. Downtown Long Beach won't certainly disappoint the epicurean in you. While you are in the area, take some time out to see the Long Beach Art Walk. If you love cars and racing, match your days with the Grand Prix of Long Beach for a memorable trip.
#9 Enjoy Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles
You may be most surprised to see the name of a restaurant in this list of top Long Beach attractions, but paying a visit to the Roscoe's should be high on your priority list. The first restaurant of this now 7-location chain, which has popularized the chicken-waffle combination, was opened in Hollywood, Los Angeles in 1975. However, the Long Beach location serves equally delicious savory chicken and waffles topped with maple syrup to go with it and is worth a visit.
#10 Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden
The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is located within the California State University Long Beach and students and faculty members can access it for free. Outside visitors must buy a ticket to enter but the decorative bridges and the enchanting koi pond that makes the center of this Japanese garden make the ticket worth its price.
#11 Museum of Latin American Art
The Museum of Latin American Art was established in 1996 and is the place to visit to understand the Latin American artistic contributions to the Long Beach history. There are several exhibits and displays that you can see. The Museum of Latin American Art is also the only museum in the country dedicated to Latin American and Latino art scene.
#12 Visit the Beaches of Long Beach
This list of Long Beach must-visit places is incomplete without a mention of the city's marvelous beaches. If you are in Long Beach, you must find the time to dip your toes in white sand. The beautiful Long Beach is home to many beautiful beaches, including the Alamitos Beach, and Junipero Cherry Beach. So, pick a beach of your choice and let the sound of waves crashing against the shore bring you peace and relief.
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