Long Beach, California
The trip to California was coming to an end. The fatigue of the long nights in the Laguna Beach was overtaken by the glimpses of the new sun in the Long Beach. Indeed the city was a fairytale to remember.
After reaching there, the scene was spectacular. The joyous faces, who roamed the beach, reflected the new spirit of life.
Starting from beach volley to live music, mini golf to a funky trapeze school, everything injected a fresh vibe of life and color in me. The more I traveled the more I marveled at the inner spirit of this place.
The beach, which was once a camping location for the Spanish army, has now completely transformed into a new age phenomena comprising of an upbeat cosmopolitan crowd with a lively attitude towards and art and music.
The drive from Laguna Beach to Long Beach was 40 minutes odd, which helped me to get some much needed nap. Moreover, the fun fact is that you can come to Long Beach, via train also. The Long Island Rail Road connects New York City via rail and sea is just one-third of a mile away from the station.
However, the train journey could be but hectic and in that case you can easily take a flight till Los Angeles, from where it is just a 25 minutes ride. Yes, the beach is actually that close! So, don’t hesitate to dig my tired feet into the soft white sand of the Long Beach and started the visit on a positive note.
Where to Stay at Long Beach
You can get many cheap hotels at Long Beach along with the exotic destinations to stay. There are many options from which you can pick and choose.
The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary is definitely the one to go for if you are travelling in a group. Placed next to the infamous World War II ship, RMS Queen Mary (which is now an Art Deco museum) it adds to the chill of the breezy autumn evenings here in Long Beach. The accommodation is adequate and the stories of ghost sightings will keep you awake till late at night. The scrumptious food along with the sound of the crashing waves, will offer you a memory to remember, forever.
Though I personally never found any staffs, who have actually witnessed any paranormals here, but nonetheless the stories float here like the salty waft of the sea. It is a welcoming experience where you can actually grab a fascinating cocktail, and gather enough spooky fodder, tell your mates back in the UK. Forget Edinburgh, you will feel that the Queen Mary is by far the most Goosebumps-worthy place ever!
Courtyard Long Beach Downtown
This Marriot hotel is one of the premier destinations in the beach. Facilitated by Wi-Fi connection and modern accommodation, this place offers plenty of amenities to the guests. With a stunning view of the ocean, from its lavish bedrooms, this place is well suited for your well-deserved rest after a wild night at the beach.
The coastal décor of this hotel adds to the appeal of the place as you will never feel detached from the sea. The James Republic Restaurant sources fresh food from the local farms and will serve you with the freshest catch of the day. You can actually feel the subtle taste of the trout or the prawn, when you taste one.
If you are travelling solo then Airbnb Long Beach will provide you with lots and lots of affordable options to choose from.
At a very nominal rate (even lesser when compared to Laguna Beach) you can hire an entire villa, apartment or a chalet. The villas, with their hotel-like ocean views will come with internet and kitchen. Also at the same time, some of the apartments come with spacious lawns and gardens, where you and your friends/family can arrange a homely picnic.
Long Beach offers plenty of options for people to enjoy. Whether you are travelling in a group, with family or even solo, there are a lot of options for you to choose from.
Aquarium of the Pacific
This 5-acre long aquarium is located near in the Rainbow Harbor in the Long Beach. Starting from shark lagoons to frogs, turtles and penguin habitats, the aquarium offers plenty of options. There are almost 11,000 aquatic creatures in this aquarium, covering almost 500 different species and can easily be considered as one of the world’s largest aquarium.
The beautiful island is just an hour sail from the Long Beach. Rich in its resource of flora and fauna, this island is a popular tourist attraction. It is certainly a photographers’ delight and for the more adventurous ones, amongst us, this island has a fabulous diving site near Mt Orizaba.
Also a night can be spent here in the resort town known as the Two Harbors. A dense forest of palm trees borders the island in the south. There is a well-known Art Deco heritage of this island and one can enjoy an evening in the Catalina Casino, which is a destination for movies, museum and spacious ballroom.
Long Beach Waterfront
The downtown waterfront offers a spectacular view for the tourists. With the fantastic Shoreline Village where people can indulge in various sporting activities and the Pike Outlets for fascinating foods and amenities, this place is one of the most happening locations in entire California.
Toyota Grand Prix
The Long Beach grand prix allows over 200 mph races of IndyCar series. The series is mostly held in the street circuit of the beach and it is certainly a major tourist attraction. People from various countries gather here, each year, to witness such an event, held in an international scale.
El Dorado Nature Center
Here one can witness one of the cleanest and the most well preserved nature centers of the world. The animals and bird sighting are very common here. It is rare to witness such a perfect balance of nature kept like secret treasures, in the middle of the city.
There are also various annual programs held in this area, where locals and the tourists both participate equally. From an enriching bird walk to a backyard bird count, this place offers many entertainments for nature enthusiasts.
Where to Eat and Drink
Like Laguna Beach, Long Beach also offers you with plenty of options. There are many pubs and restaurants serving you local food and ale. Also at the same time if you want something exotic like fresh seafood made with the hidden recipes of South-East Asia, then also you can get it here.
This downtown outdoor restaurant is a must-visit destination for everyone coming to Long Beach. With over 50 beer taps along with mind-blowing live music, this place is a perfect refuge get drunk. The delicious finger foods in the form of oven-fried flat breads with pork toppings, fried artichokes served with truffle cheese sauce, also adds to the temptation.
Not for weak stomach or belly in the case. This place serves the most calorie rich food in the entire city and will allow you to indulge yourself in a treat that you will never forget. The greasy pork belly fries, served in the form of chips along with local beer, made me forget about my own age. In fact it took me back to my graduation days, as the price of here is also quite cheap.
Tavern on 2
You cannot really complete a tour in a Californian beach without visiting one Mexican tavern. The place is known for its spicy chicken tortilla soup and the well known craft beer. Maybe not a place ideal for clicking million selfies but nonetheless the quality of the food is serene. You can really feel that Mexico is not far from there.
For meat lovers having a taste for the Cambodian cuisines, this place is just ideal. Due to the large Cambodian population of the region, this place has a distinct cultural blend. It is literally a meat lovers’ paradise as recipes from Thailand, Vietnam and many other South East Asian countries are experimented in this fabulous outlet.
Public Beer Wine Shop
A perfect weekend eating place, if you are looking for something tasty and cheap. The shop-cum-restaurant remains open from Thursdays to Sundays, specially aiming for the weekend crowds to have a quick bite. One can really enjoy this place as it had those authentic American finger foods, which many British folks always have a soft corner for.
Things to Do in Long Beach
If you have a thing for Latino music and cigar lounges, then spending a night in Long Beach might be just become the ‘best night’ in your life. From jazz music to sensual salsa dancing, the nightlife on the beach sets the white sands on fire.
This Latino bar-cum-restaurant is the best place to enjoy a good old flamenco show. You can especially enjoy the Latin fusion music as the bands started set the tune, after midnight. The dance floor is spacious and tempting and the people here do not shy away from hitting the floor.
Auld Dubliner Irish Pub
Yes the name itself can take you back to your homeland- the British Isle. It is basically a hip nightclub where college students come for a drink. Giggles and laughter fill the environment of this beautifully designed pub and it definitely has that very specific warm and woody smell which I normally associate the pubs in UK with.
If after grabbing a few drinks, you feel like hitting the floor then there is no place like Club Cohiba. The place is simply electric and with two dance floors, you can take your entire group and have a blast. The food is affordable and the crowd is simply awesome.
Congregation Ale House
This place is an irony by itself. A church themed nightclub! Can anyone beat that? The glass window of the place adds to its spirit as the spirits keep on pouring from the several beer taps. Going out with friends and spending a night there can be a perfectly good choice, especially if you want a view of the sea.
So, you can drink and dance and immerse yourself in the history and glamour of the place. The wind surfing experience and the historic museum took me away to a different land. But it can be your nighttime activity which might help you set my spirit loose. The people and the wine, food and music, all together will create an impact, which you can always store in my heart. There is nothing like spending a weekend at the historic Long Beach…the beach that offers so many things from racing cars to crashing waves.
That’s it for now!
It’s time to say goodbye, friends!