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Centrally located to all of Southern California’s attractions and the gateway to beautiful Catalina Island, Long Beach is a vibrant seaside town with a relaxed outdoor atmosphere. With outstanding cultural arts and music festivals throughout the year, world-class sporting events, interesting shopping, top restaurants, exciting nightlife, and the warm sunny climate of Southern California, Long Beach has a lot going on, but the pace is in keeping with the holiday air of this beachside community.

 

 

Eldorado Park Lane

Work and Play in Long Beach

 

Residents enjoy walking, jogging, bicycling, and rollerblading along the 5 ½ mile seaside promenade, where palm trees sway in the ocean breezes and the sun flashes on the blue waters of the Pacific. En route they pass by the Long Beach Marina, open air cafes, bustling shopping streets, high rise apartments, and beautiful parks. Steps lead down to over five miles of soft white beach. Swimming and boating are much loved pastimes; jet skis, kayaks, boats, and windsurfers can be rented at Belmont Shore and Alamitos Bay. Long Beach is also popular with surfers, and has been one of the many top surfing spots along the Los Angeles coastline since the 1950s.

Old downtown Long Beach has been beautifully renovated and is now an exciting and energetic district of shops, open air restaurants and local galleries. Pine Avenue has trendy fashion stores and galleries and is the city’s “restaurant row.” From hip cafes to romantic restaurants, Pine Avenue has the full range of dining experiences to offer. Award-winning restaurants serve patrons everything from spicy Latin cuisine to top quality Japanese, Italian, Greek, and more.

 

 

The New Pike

The Pike

The Pike is a beautiful waterfront shopping, dining, and entertainment district in downtown Long Beach’s historic Rainbow Harbor. Local residents fondly recall the city’s “Pike” rollercoaster, which once stood on this spot. Today, there is a lovely antique carousel for children in The Pike, as well as a state of the art Cinemark Theatre complex. The Long Beach Convention Center is in The Pike, as is the superb Aquarium of the Pacific.

One of the largest in the country, the Aquarium presents visitors with the breathtaking world of the undersea. Nineteen major Pacific habitats are represented, and exhibits take visitors on a journey throughout the Pacific Ocean’s primary ecosystems: the Southern California/Baja region, the Tropical Pacific, and the Northern Pacific.

The Queen Mary cruise ship is anchored in Long Beach harbor and may be boarded for a step into history. The classic red funnels and sleek black lines of this beautiful ship are local landmarks. History buffs may also take a walking tour through Downtown Long Beach or the eclectic East Village, guided by knowledgeable local members of the Long Beach Historical Society.

The bluff top Long Beach Museum of Art offers Pacific views to rival the art on display, and the Museum of Latin American Art has a superb collection. The Long Beach Performing Arts Center is home to the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra and the excellent International City Theater, and sports fans can check out the local pro-ice hockey team at the Long Beach Arena. The Long Beach Dance Center has lessons and performances in a range of dance mediums. California State University at Long Beach offers a wide range of degree programs, and there are several superb colleges in the area.

Life in Long Beach is upbeat, relaxed and vibrant, and the city’s central location brings the advantages of life in the Los Angeles region to your doorstep.

 

 

Belmont Shores Sandy Beaches

Belmont Veteran Memorial Pier

 

 

LOCATION

Sunny Long Beach is in southern Los Angeles County, just south of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and north of Seal Beach on the San Pedro Bay. Its central location means that this vibrant seaside community is easily accessible to all the Southern California attractions. Major interstates and highways run through Long Beach, including Highway 1, California’s pretty coastal highway, which runs the length of the state. A little further inland is I-405 which runs north to Hollywood and beyond and south to Orange County. I-710 journeys north from Long Beach to Pasadena, intersecting with I-405 en route. Many of Southern California’s key interstates and freeways intersect with I-405 or I-710, including I-5, which runs north to San Francisco and south to San Diego.

Central Los Angeles is about 25 miles north of Long Beach and San Diego is about 120 miles south. Lakewood is about 10 miles inland of downtown Long Beach, and Seal Beach is about 7 miles south down the coast.

 

TRANSPORTATION/AIRPORTS

 

 

Tower at Long Beach Airport Long Beach Airport

 

 

Long Beach Airport has several daily flights to locations around Los Angeles and Orange County, many of which connect with flights from Los Angeles International (LAX). LAX is only 25 miles north of Long Beach, and is one of the world’s busiest, with flights across the nation and the globe. Alternatively, locals may use the John Wayne Airport, which is about 20 minutes drive away and offers flights to destinations throughout Orange County.

The City has a couple of free bus services: a bright red Passport Shuttle to major Long Beach attractions, and a purple Pine Avenue Link from downtown to the Convention Center, Shoreline Village and the Aquarium of the Pacific. The regular local bus service covers a comprehensive number of routes, and the Metro Blue Line takes commuters and visitors into Los Angeles and back. There are plenty of taxis of course, but Long Bay also has a water taxi service called the Aquabus, which takes visitors to the Queen Mary, Shoreline Village, and the Aquarium of the Pacific. The Aqualink catamaran runs across the bay to the Queen Mary, Alamitos Bay Landing and the Aquarium of the Pacific. The Catalina Express Launch takes visitors across the Bay to Catalina Island, a beautiful resort and holiday spot.

 

BRIEF HISTORY

 

Long Beach Waterways

 

Home to local Indian bands for centuries, the Long Beach area was first seen by non-indigenous people about 50 years after Columbus reached the east coast of America. The Spaniard Cabrillo was the first European to reach the Californian coast, and he and his crew anchored their boats in the San Pedro bay.

Cabrillo named the area “Bahia de los Fumos” (the Bay of Smokes), for the clouds of smoke the crew saw over present day Long Beach. Local Indians periodically burned grass and brush to drive rabbits into their waiting traps.

Under the original Spanish Land Grant, Manuel Nieto was given a huge rancho that included the Long Beach region in 1784. This was divided up and sold over time, and by the eighteen-seventies, most of the Long Beach region was held by two ranchos, Los Cerritos and Los Alamitos.

English settler William Willmore bought and subdivided a portion of Los Cerritos in 1880, launching Willmore City two years later. Settlement was sluggish and Willmore left for Arizona in 1884. Slowly over the next few years families straggled in, and in 1888 the city was incorporated and renamed Long Beach after the long sandy beaches that grace the town. There were 59 buildings at that time, and a school was built to serve the children. In 1902 an electric trolley line was built to Long Beach, and regular visitors began to arrive.

Long Beach has grown alongside Los Angeles, first as a holiday destination, and later after the Second World War, as a nice place to live and commute to the city from. From a population of 1,500 and an area of three square miles in 1897, the City has grown to an estimated population of 440,000 citizens living in a 50-square-mile area.