Livin' it up in Long Beach

Long Beach, Calif. is a great place to shop, eat, visit the beach, tour the Queen Mary and go bar-hopping. Come with me as I take you on a tour of my former city of residence.


Livin' it up in Long Beach

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on January 31, 2001

Make sure you tour the Queen Mary as you will love the history of the old ship and fear the haunted deck. If you're in Long Beach near Halloween, you MUST NOT miss the Halloween Haunt at the ship. It's also a good idea to hang out at Shoreline Village. There are several specialty shops as well as nice dining choices in the area. Another highlight is the Long Beach Aquarium, which just opened at few years ago. ${QuickSuggestions} It is usually windy as Long Beach is a coastal city, so make sure you are dressed accordingly. Do not go downtown or too far from the coastline, as you will enter less desirable areas and could jeopardize your safety.${BestWay} If down on 2nd Street, you can walk comfortably. Cars tend to congest the streets in that area. If you are trying to tour other areas near the University (CSU, Long Beach) or near downtown, definitely use a vehicle.

Hof's Hut

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

You must NOT leave Long Beach without eating at Hof's Hut. A favorite college hangout, this cafe boasts a large menu, fulfilling the stomachs of even the most indecisive. Everything from their pancakes (the BEST!) to their lunch wraps and salads (try the Fajita Chicken!) to their full entree dinners (try the Roasted Chicken!) is wonderful! The prices are right, the environment is homey and comfortable and there are three convenient locations in Long Beach, one in both nearby Cerritos and Irvine. Whether you are interested in healthy food, home-cooking or fresh baked fare, Hof's Hut is the place for you!
Hof's Hut
6257 E 2nd St
Long Beach, California
(562) 598-4070

Parker's Lighthouse

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

Parker's Lighthouse consistently earns praise from food critics nationwide. The restaurant is situated at the end of Shoreline Village right on the water, where it can be mistaken for a real lighthouse from sea. There is a classy bar on the second level where I highly recommend their bloody marys, as they come with jumbo shrimp strategically placed on the glass. The menu is primarily seafood, however, if this is not your forte, there are chicken and beef items to choose from, as well. This is a great spot for those wanting a special evening, or a great lunch spot for the family out on a weekend adventure. The prices are a bit steep, but worth every penny.
Parker's Lighthouse
435 Shoreline Village Drive
Long Beach, California, 90802
(562) 432-6500

BJ's Pizza

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

BJ's is a local favorite and for good reason. They brew a lot of their own beer and make their pizzas from scratch. There is a pizza for every kind of taste bud and a reasonable tab placed on your table at the end of the meal. A lot of college students frequent this area, so that is mostly who will be eating here. On game days, BJ's is packed for what else?..pizza and beer.
BJ's Pizza
5258 E 2nd St
Long Beach, California, 90803
(562) 439-8181

Domenico's

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

Located in the heart of second street, Domenico's offers fabulous Italian fare including pizzas, calzones, pastas and salads. They also have a nice selection of both domestic and imported wines. The restaurant has been around a long time and is family owned, so you will feel right at home. Parking can be somewhat of an issue, but if you go down a nearby residential street and are willing to walk a block or two, it should be okay. The only think I did not like at Domenico's were the breadsticks as they are hard, not soft.
Domenico's
5339 E 2nd St
Long Beach, California, 90803
(562) 439-0261

Sailing away in Long Beach

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

Alamitos Bay, which sits directly adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, is where Long Beach's sailors and boaters come for a good time. There are sailing events daily, including Wet Wednesday, when the best recreational sailors of the best go against one another. Also in the Bay is a Sea Explorer Base, which is a co-ed unit belonging to the Boy Scouts of America. You can often see these kids out and about on the ships that they maintain (inside and out) and thoroughly enjoy! In addition to sailing, water-skiing, jet-skiing and power-boating are great activities. I do not recommend that you scuba dive out in the Bay. The visibility is slim to none and there is nothing to see. Go to Catalina Island for that (26 miles of the Long Beach coast). The weather in Long Beach is almost always sunny and the wind blows something fierce when you are out past the breakwater. Be sure to protect your skin from the elements. Check the local yellow pages for sailing companies and rental rates.
Power Boating
Long Beach Coast
Long Beach, California

Power boating in the Pacific

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

Southern California has such mild weather that allows for almost every day to be a perfect boating day. Occasionally the seas become high and choppy, but as long as there is not a small-craft warning in the harbor, it is safe, regardless. On a typical Saturday or Sunday, the harbor is full of small boats like Boston Whalers and large powerboats like Chris Crafts. Regardless of your skill, any boat is easy to handle. The main thing to keep in mind is that you are not the only boat out there. If you go early in the morning, the water is calm enough to go water-skiing out behind some of the oil islands. White Island, for example, is a great spot shielded from the morning wind. Some even opt to go for a morning swim in this more protected area. Check the local yellow pages for names and numbers of rental companies and be sure to protect your skin from the elements.
Power Boating
Long Beach Coast
Long Beach, California

Queen Mary - Former Spruce Goose Site

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

The Queen Mary, in all her majesty, is one of the most popular attractions in southern California. Permanently anchored at a Long Beach dock, she offers tour of her interior, fabulous parties and a picture perfect spot for special occasions. Admission to the museum has fluctuated between free, donation-oriented and $7 a person over the past few years as its ownership continues to switch hands. Make sure you contact the ticket office so that you are prepared. Inside, you can either guided or self-guided tours and explore the history and legends of the great ship. Some say that the top deck is haunted. You be the judge! Nights on the ship provide breathtaking views of the Long Beach skyline / California coastline. The hotel is of finer sorts and costs quite a bit to stay there. As for the gold-ball shaped building next to the Queen Mary, that is where the Spruce Goose was housed before it was permanently moved to Seattle, Wash.
Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, California, 90802
+1 562 435 3511

Shoreline Village

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

Entrance to the waterfront Shoreline Village is free, but parking is a few dollars for the entire day. This is a shoppers delight as there are specialty shops ranging from art and jewelry to souvenirs and talented vendors. Several restaurants and snack stands are also on property such as the award-winning Parker's Lighthouse and Heidi's Frozen Yogurt, respectively. The village is a great place to enjoy the spectacular sunsets, view the Queen Mary fireworks and play with kites while having a picnic. Many families and young people frequent the area.
Shoreline Village
419 Shoreline Village Drive
Long Beach, California, 90802
(562) 436-3524

Long Beach Aquarium

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

The multi-million dollar, sometimes controversial Long Beach Aquarium first opened its doors in summer 1998. It is a popular place for families and school tours alike, but can be pricey at anywhere from $10 - $14 per person. It is best to go in a large group for a discount. The Aquarium offers nice views of the Long Beach harbor as well as well-displayed tanks of beautiful fish from around the world. There is also a gift shop inside and my favorite, a wave machine, showing how waves are made at sea. I was not as impressed with the Aquarium as others, however. As a scuba diver, I found there to be more emphasis on architecture and light in the Aquarium than the actual fish. Some will argue, but I thought it was incredibly overpriced for the real tank access that you get. However, everyone should see it and experience it at least once.
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, California, 90802
(562) 590-3100

Long Beach Grand Prix

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

The Grand Prix is what Long Beach is really known for and occurs every year in April. The weather is almost always perfect, offering brilliant blue skies, green grass and a hot sun. Be sure to protect your skin. There are concessions everywhere selling everything from souvenirs to hot dogs to ice creams on a stick. It's easy to drop a lot of money on these "delicacies." I think it is worth it to purchase a pit pass, if they are available. Kids and adults will love exploring the pit and the cars as they are serviced. I recommend that you bring ear plugs.
Long Beach Grand Prix Assn
3000 Pacific Ave
Long Beach, California, 90806
(562) 981-2600

Yankee Doodle's

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

This is one of the happening bars in the second street area. Those who choose to go can play pool, drink a lot of alcohol and still not feel like they got ripped off. It is located near the water and a popular residential neighborhood, so you can get fresh air safely if necessary.
Yankee Doodle's
4100 E Ocean Blvd
Long Beach, California, 90803
(562) 439-9777

Naples Island

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

Naples Island is located near the Long Beach mainland, connected, of course, by several small bridges. In this area, the homes are multi-million dollar waterfront mansions separated by Venetian canals large enough for small powerboats and gondolas to pass through. This is a very popular area both day and night for joggers and walkers and those wanted some romantic time together. The area is well lit at night and continues to be a safe place. During the holidays, many of the homes decorate their display windows with amazing holiday scenes. They seem to compete with each other. Naples Island also proves to be a great place to view the annual Christmas Boat Parade.

Marina Pacifica - The Mall

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

Marina Pacifica is a recently refurbished, outside mall containing linen, clothing and specialty stores like WOW! (The Good Guys and Tower Records) as well as a bagel shop, Jamba Juice and Starbucks coffee. There are also stadium style movie theatres (AMC) and a Thai, Chinese, seafood and Mexican chain restaurant on site. Although there is a lot of parking, the area is very popular, so either park early, or expect to circle the area. (A little tip - be sure to check the underground parking near the movie theatres. A lot of locals don't even know about it.) The complex is situated on the water of the Long Beach harbor. Several large, luxury apartments are in the area.

California State University, Long Beach

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

CSU, Long Beach, is the reason why so many businesses and restaurants thrive in the area. Located on Bellflower Blvd., this established university has one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen. Going to school here was like being in a park all the time. If you have time, be sure to check out the Japanese Gardens on campus. They have authentic foliage from our Asian friends. The school is best known (no, not for kicking out Steven Spielberg for lack of film talent - but that actually happened) for its Pyramid. This massive, blue structure was completed a few years ago and houses all NCAA games the university is involved in and is the home stadium, if you will, for Long Beach's WNBA team.

2nd Street / Belmont Shore

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Christina A. Parsons on February 1, 2001

2nd Street (aka Belmont Shore) is the hip, happening area of town where anybody who is anybody either lives or goes on weekends. Full of restaurants, shops and coffee houses, it attracts mostly college students and young couples, although appropriate for all ages. Parking is a nightmare, so be patient and circle the area until you find something.

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