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Discover the city’s best-known attractions, which range from a historic ocean liner to a sustainable aquarium. One of the most recognized attraction in Long Beach, The Queen Mary, is one of the world’s most luxurious ships to sail the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean liner also features a 314-stateroom hotel and several fine restaurants. Visitors can explore this majestic ship from the wheelhouse to the engine room before braving the Queen’s current attraction, Ghosts and Legends. During this haunted tour, a guide leads brave guests through parts of the Queen Mary that were previously off-limits while the attraction produces floods, flashing lights, and ghostly experiences. Visitors can also explore the mystique of the Soviet submarine Scorpion, which is moored adjacent to the Queen Mary.
Queen Mary information: 2020 Queen Mary Flyer
For a face-to-fish encounter visit the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, a world-class facility that is home to more than 11,000 inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean representing some 500 different species. It also has numerous areas where visitors can touch the animals of the ocean like sting rays, sea cucumbers, starfish and more. Explorer’s Cove features Lorikeet Forest where these colorful and friendly miniature parrots can be hand-fed by visitors. Also, in Explorer’s Cove is Shark Lagoon, where nine species of shark can be viewed from both above and below water. Visitors can actually touch several of the shark species in special touch lagoons. The new Molina Animal Care Center offers enhanced healthcare to animals as well as opportunities for guests to view veterinary medicine in action.
Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific information: 2020 Aquarium Flyer
A short walk from the Aquarium along picturesque Rainbow Harbor, you’ll find two exciting entertainment/dining/shopping complexes—Shoreline Village and The Pike at Rainbow Harbor. Shoreline Village has the look and feel of a charming seaside fishing village, with a boardwalk of specialty and souvenir shops and restaurants. The Pike at Rainbow Harbor is Long Beach’s newest attraction, a 300,000+ square foot entertainment center with shops, restaurants and a multi-plex movie theater. Rainbow Harbor itself is home to boats of all types, including fishing boats, tall ships, luxury charter yachts, harbor tour boats, pleasure craft and even a replica Mississippi stern wheeler.
Just minutes from downtown Long Beach rest several other interesting attractions that will suit visitors of all ages. These “must-sees” include Alamitos Bay, a waterfront dining and entertainment area; Gondola Getaway along the canals of Naples Island; and Ranchos Los Alamitos and Rancho Los Cerritos, two historic parks featuring acres of beautiful gardens and authentic adobes.
Long Beach’s five-and-a-half miles of sandy beaches and pleasant climate make it the ultimate year-round playground. Winding along the beach are smooth, wide paths perfect for biking, rollerblading, running or romantic strolls. Visitors can dive right into a variety of water sports such as kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, sport fishing, scuba diving and jet skiing. Everything from rollerblades to wetsuits, jet skis to windsurfing equipment, can be rented at various places along the beach. Day and night harbor cruises are also available, offering beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
Each year, from late December to mid-April, visitors can witness the awe-inspiring migration of more than 15,000 Pacific grey whales passing through Long Beach on their way to their breeding and berthing grounds in Mexico. Whale watching excursions are available through several companies.
Long Beach offers an eclectic array of shopping options, from antiques to retail centers. On Broadway in the East Village, visitors will discover antique shops, art galleries and rare books. Mid-town’s “Funky” Fourth Street, between Cherry and Junipero, has been dubbed as the Retro Wear Capital of Southern California—a vintage clothing hound’s dream. Shoppers will also be delighted to find several art stores featuring original works. For the mainstream shopper, Long Beach has several retail centers including Los Altos Market Center, Marina Pacifica, Long Beach Marketplace and the Long Beach Towne Center. Downtown’s CityPlace and Belmont Shore’s Second Street are also great shopping venues filled with blocks of specialty and retail shops.
From award-winning drama and cutting-edge opera to historic museums, visitors will enjoy an exciting range of artistic expressions that comprise the city’s rich heritage. Long Beach is home to a number of impressive museums, including the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA), the only museum in the country to focus exclusively on the contemporary art of Mexico, Central and South America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. In addition, the Long Beach Museum of Art includes the historic Elizabeth Milbank Anderson house and carriage house (built in 1912), oceanfront gardens and a pavilion with two floors of expansive gallery space for changing exhibitions. Visitors can also explore the city’s unique galleries in the thriving East Village arts community, listen to a renowned symphony orchestra or watch a play from a variety of first-class performing arts companies.
When it’s time to dine, Long Beach offers visitors hundreds of options from intimate cafes to spectacular oceanfront restaurants. Visitors can nosh on fried green tomatoes in a restored 1920s California Bungalow, dive into a table full of seafood along Alamitos Bay or feast in a historic bank building complete with teller cages. Sample a world of cuisines right in this International City from Italian to Cambodian.
Photo credit: Destinations Magazine