If you’re looking for an ocean view and a thriving, diverse community, meet Long Beach: a charming city booming with industry and nightlife. Though it’s California’s seventh-largest city, its distinct neighborhoods and civic activities provide a small-town vibe just 25 miles south of downtown L.A. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, its more than 460,000 residents enjoy 5.5 miles of sandy beaches as well as nearly year-round sunny weather, making for a picturesque piece of Southern California living.
Long Beach is more than just a pretty place. It’s a city full of educated and diverse residents, from shipyard workers to students at California State University, Long Beach (one of the largest universities in the state). Education, medicine and municipality drive the local economy, though Boeing and additional manufacturing companies also employ a great number of the city’s residents. If you’re looking for work in Long Beach, your odds are good; the city’s unemployment rate is at a seven-year low, with more jobs on the horizon.
Long Beach offers miles of sandy stretches and a beautiful waterfront marina, but the sea isn’t the only piece of Mother Nature you’ll find here. The El Dorado Nature Center offers some stunning scenery in the middle of the city, complete with educational programs, events and kid-friendly camps, and it isn’t unusual to spot a kids’ baseball game or outdoor workout class held in Heartwell Park. You’ll even find gondola rides along the canals in Naples, a neighborhood built to replicate an Italian village. Though most residents own vehicles, Long Beach is a very walkable city. It’s also home to a number of bike paths, as well as public transportation: The Long Beach Transit’s Passport Shuttle will take you to and from shops and restaurants, while the Metro Blue Line Rail connects the city to downtown L.A.
There’s no shortage of nightlife here in Long Beach, whether you’re looking to grab a quick bite at one of its hundreds of restaurants or visit shops in the East Village Arts District. If you enjoy the arts, catch a show at the Terrace Theater or enjoy the latest exhibition at the Museum of Latin American Art. Don’t forget to visit the city’s multiple aquatic offerings, such as The Aquarium of the Pacific—the fourth-largest aquarium in the country—and The Queen Mary, which offers tours, dining events, a museum and staterooms, all onboard the harbor’s most iconic ship. Long Beach is also a hotbed of annual events and festivals, including the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Pride Parade and the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon.
Queen Mary ? This historic ocean liner and World War II troopship is Long Beach's most famous attraction. The Aquarium of the Pacific ? Boasting 1,000 animals in over 50 exhibits, the aquarium is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Long Beach Museum of Art ? The museum's permanent collection features roughly 3,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures and decorative art objects. Museum of Latin American Art ? This is the only museum on the West Coast that exclusively features contemporary Latin American art. Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum ? A museum dedicated to the art of the Pacific Island cultures. East Village Arts District ? Cutting edge art galleries and unique cafes dot this area of Long Beach. Long Beach Toyota Grand Prix ? The longest running major "street" race held on the North American continent draws crowds of around 200,000 people. Congressional Cup ? Long Beach's popular yacht race that supports a long-standing tradition in the city.
Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach. (Courtesy of Laurie Avocado)
Downtown Long Beach. (Courtesy of Paul)