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Long beach needs no introduction. It's rich in arts, culture and music, and there are plenty of unique festivals held there all year long including the IndyCar event, Grand Prix of Long Beach. Join us as we dive deeper into the best things to do in Long Beach.
An absolutely fascinating ship to explore, the RMS Queen Mary has been transformed into a museum, hotel, and tourist attraction and has various restaurants and bars to visit. Now permanently moored at Long Beach, the huge historic ocean liner boasts a beautiful Art Deco interior with fine furnishings and interesting artifacts and exhibits.
Between 1936 and 1967, the ship plied the North Atlantic with royals and dignitaries, such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Winston Churchill, aboard. Impressively enough, the liner was larger and more luxurious than the Titanic, with this elegance and grandeur still on show today.
Besides taking tours around the cruise ship or staying in its luxury hotel, guests can delight in some fine dining at one of its restaurants or enjoy a cocktail in its atmospheric Art Deco lounge.
This is one of Long Beach’s most renowned attractions, the fabulous Aquarium of the Pacific. It can also be found on the waterfront. Home to an astounding array of ecosystems, exhibits and animals; it is one of the biggest and best facilities of its kind in the States.
Since being founded in 1998, its collection has expanded considerably and now includes more than 11,000 animals and 500 different species. You’ll be seeing everything from jellyfish and penguins to sharks, sea lions and shimmering shoals of fish.
While some sections focus on animals and ecosystems of Southern California, others look instead at the Tropics or Pacific. With terrific touch pools to stop by, a lagoon teeming with rays and sharks, and over 100 educational exhibits to explore, the aquarium really is a must-visit.
When getting closer to the center of town alongside the shimmering waters of Rainbow Harbor, you’ll discover the lively Shoreline Village. This amazing waterfront area has a whole host of things on offer, great shops and restaurants, as well as activities, events, and entertainment options.
Just a short stroll from both downtown and many of the city’s main sights, its vibrant boardwalk is lined by unique boutiques, souvenir shops, cozy cafes, and seafood restaurants. Particularly popular is the landmark Parkers’ Lighthouse restaurant due to its fresh fish and stunning harbour views.
Aside from taking in the ambience, visitors can cycle or skate along the boardwalk, listen to live music or enjoy the fun arcade games and classic carousel at Pelican Pier Pavilion.
Inspired by Venice in Italy. Naples is home to scenic canals, beautiful architecture, and picture-perfect streets; Naples Island really is a delight to visit and explore. It’s based in the southeast of Long Beach, the wealthy neighborhood is named after Naples in Italy with most of its streets also bearing Italian names.
When you don’t feel like strolling about, you’re able to opt in for a peaceful gondola ride along the canals or you can rent kayaks and paddle about the waterways. At the heart of the district lies La Bella Fontana Park which has a fantastic three-tiered fountain on show with exquisite local restaurants and shops lying nearby.
In addition, the isle has a little beach for locals and visitors with volleyball courts and playgrounds available for your enjoyment. A particularly pleasant time of year to visit is in winter when the huge homes are clad in colorful Christmas lights and decorated boats parade about the canals.
A great tourist attraction which you should definitely consider doing when in town is to book a spot on the Catalina Express and enjoy a scenic ferry ride to nearby Catalina Island. Located an hour away from Long Beach via ferry, the idyllic island is home to some spectacular scenery and the trip to get there is just as enjoyable.
While Catalina Island has been a popular getaway since the 1920s, the daily ferry service only started operating in 1981. Since then, countless locals and tourists have boarded its sleek catamarans that skip across the waves on their way to the island’s serene shores and secluded settlements.
As it only takes an hour from Downtown Long Beach’s waterfront to the isle, the Catalina Express is a fantastic option if you are looking for a day trip destination or a quiet weekend away with your family or partner.
Standing dramatically tall against the surroundings is the Walter Pyramid, an enormous multi-purpose arena that is situated on the California State University, Long Beach campus, just fifteen minutes drive northeast of the city center.
Opening its doors in 1994, the gigantic building is one of only four mathematically true pyramids in the country. Cladded in dark-blue aluminum, each side measures 105 meters with the arena’s summit remarkably rising over eighteen storeys above the city’s skyline.
Inside the cavernous interior both the university’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams play their games. Besides taking in the incredible architecture and watching an action-packed game, you can also catch some of the other sporting events that are often held in the pyramid or if you don’t feel like watching a live event you are also able to explore the Pyramid in your own time.
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