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The seventh most populated city in California, Long Beach has plenty to recommend it. In fact, you might say it’s the perfect microcosm of the state - from the stunning shoreline and little islands to the shopping and entertainment. You can savor the idyllic California sunshine, and emerge yourself in some of the country’s most interesting history, before making some memories of your very own. If you’re making a trip, then there are some things to do in Long Beach that you simply must not miss!

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Aquarium of the Pacific

This public aquarium sits on a 5-acre site on Long Beach's Rainbow Harbor. It is home for over 11 000 animals and represents around 500 different species. Some of the climates that the permanent exhibitions focus on the seascapes of the Pacific Ocean. They're split into three parts: sunny Southern California and Baja, the reefs of the Tropical Pacific, and the icy waters of the Northern Pacific.

Kids watching the aquarium full of sea creatures at the The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach
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Catalina Express

Since 1982, the Catalina Express has run a ferry service between Santa Catalina Island and mainland California. The Catalina Express today has a fleet of eight vessels, which can complete the 30-mile crossing in just under an hour. Catalina Express operates year-round and runs up to thirty trips a day in peak season.

Catalina Express passenger ferry boat sits in Dana Harbor California on a winter morning
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Naples Island

Named after the famous Italian city, Naples is a neighborhood built on three islands located in Alamitos Bay. As you might expect, this part of the city is particularly famous for its gondola trips through the canals which join up the island. Rides have been offered here since 1982, and Long Beach is one of only eight places on the West where you can ride in a gondola.

Naples Island Photo by Alex Perez on Unsplash
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Long Beach Waterfront

While the Waterfront is home to some of the more famous Long Beach visitor attractions, it's also worth walking in its own right. Rainbow Harbor is the starting point for those who want to engage in some whale watching, stand up paddleboarding, or any kind of water adventure. Meanwhile, Marine Park is the perfect place to soak up some sun, play with the kids, or spend time with the family in the lifeguard protected Mother's Beach.

Long Beach Waterfront Photo by Brandi Ibrao on Unsplash

Downtown Long Beach (DTLB)

Known as DTLB, downtown Long Beach is made up of four main neighborhoods, each with its own distinct personality.

  • East Village: This arty neighborhood is the home of boutique shops, independent suppliers, and is proud of its distinctly indie atmosphere. It's the perfect spot for people who enjoy their artisan coffees and riding bicycles.
  • North Pine is renowned for its food, where restaurants and dessert stores have taken over what was once typically office land.
  • Pine Ave. & The Promenade is the activity and entertainment hub of DTLB. It's home to some of the country's most celebrated gastropubs.
  • West Gateway is the financial and civic center of DTLB, home to the World Trade Center and the Deukmejian Courthouse.

El Dorado Nature Center

If you need a little bit of peace and quiet within nature, then the El Dorado Nature Center is calling your name. Tucked between the 605 Freeway and the San Gabriel River, the El Dorado Nature Center stretches 105-acres. Providing sanctuary for a wide range of animals and birdlife, you'll find that there are around two miles of dirt trails for those who enjoy hiking. A quarter-mile paved trail that you can follow to take in the lakes, streams, and forested area.

The Queen Mary

Built in 1936, the Queen Mary was a luxury cruise ship in the vein of the doomed Titanic. She completed her 516th and final voyage to Long Beach, California, in December 1967. Today, this beautiful ship is a top tier hotel. The suites have been lovingly restored, and many have their original art deco accents and beautiful wooden floors. However, if you're not looking to stay overnight, you can still visit the famous restaurant, the British pub, or the sundeck tearoom, or the 1930s style cocktail bar with original artwork.

The Queen Mary Longbeach Photo by bradley on Unsplash

Shoreline Village

Shoreline Village, or the Village as it’s known, is a family-friendly place by day and a romantic area for a date by night. Styled like a Cape Cod fishing village, Shoreline Village overlooks Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor. There are plenty of activities you can choose from, from harbor cruises to visiting the antique carousel or going to check out the views from Parkers Lighthouse.

Shoreline Village Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

Belmont Shore

Only three miles from downtown Long Beach, Belmont Shore offers a wide range of shopping - from major retailers through to independent shops. Not only that, but there are over 50 establishments you can visit if you feel in need of food or drink, ranging from quick and easy fast food through to fine dining. Many of the sidewalk patios are also available if you’d like a spot of al fresco dining.

Photo by Michael Petrila on Unsplash

Rosie's Dog Beach

Since 2001, Rosie's Dog Beach has been a designated off-leash place for dogs to run around in the sand and surf, without getting into trouble. Located on the water between Granada and Roycroft avenues, the dog beach is closest to the Belmont Shore neighborhood. If you're a fan of famous dogs, then keep your eyes peeled as this is a popular place for Instagrammers, Youtubers, and their furry companions!

Rosie's Dog Beach Photo by Meg Sanchez on Unsplash

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