A short flight, and I disembarked at what is one of the loveliest airports in the US: Long Beach, California. The open-air airport is everything that one can expect in Long Beach — a laid back, approachable experience.
Contrary to the surrounding cities, Long Beach seems to be untouched by the cues of Southern California. It holds true to its colors, never saying out loud who it wants to be, but rather just being itself. I was pleasantly surprised to find Long Beach filled with a vibrant culture in downtown, and pockets of neighborhoods filled with artisans — who knew?
Old vintage shops, cozy coffee shops with a passion, and restaurants serving California cuisine are staples of Long Beach. After three nights in this city that has a beach with major benefits, checkout my guide to what’s on offer.
The Weekend Guide to Long Beach
What to Know Before Visiting Long Beach:
- Long Beach is a small city where you could come without a car. Uber is cheap, you can rent city bikes at multiple posts throughout the city, and the city is easy to walk through.
- The Long Beach Airport is the best airport to fly into.
- Three nights is a good amount of time to experience the city.
Where to Stay in Long Beach:
- Hotel Maya, a Doubletree Hotel: Across the water from Shoreline Village, and down the street from Queen Mary, is this lovely hotel. Its location gives the Hotel Maya a feeling of being at a resort, and a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. The hotel is designed with incredible taste, each room decorated to feel almost like a showroom. The Hotel Maya features a beautiful pool, a restaurant, and hookah bar onsite with views over the water. *Hotel offers free shuttles to and from downtown!
- Hyatt Centric: In the heart of downtown, this modern hotel offers a location that is walking distance to the main neighborhoods. A rooftop pool, this hotel gives an opportunity to be in the heart of the city.
Where to Eat in Long Beach
- Berlin Bistro: A hip spot next to an old vintage store, offering both healthy breakfast and lunch. The bright space and outdoor seating is a great for a weekend brunch — their coffee is equally delicious for on the go to!
- Bo-beau: Right on Pine Street, this happening restaurant and rooftop bar is lively. The cuisine is approachable French-American style.
- James Republic: A bright space, with almost all open walls, making it a cheerful spot. A good brunch and breakfast spot.
- Breakfast Bar: A classic to Long Beach, the owners have been serving home-style breakfast for a long time. Their fresh-made pancakes and biscuit sliders are to die for.
- Padre: A newer player in the neighborhood, Padre is street-style Mexican food elevated. An incredible drink menu, tasty street corn, and good tacos are on offer.
- Micheal’s Pizzeria: Whether you go Downtown or in Naples, the pizzeria is the best in town.
- Restauration: A menu that changes often, the food is fresh and inventive takes on classics. Be sure to dine in the charming outdoor patio.
- Lola’s Mexican Cuisine: A 4th street classic, Lola’s has been serving classic Mexican food for years with recipes passed through the family.
- Revive: This was my go-to spot for fresh smoothies on the go!
- Salud Juice: Cold-pressed juices that are well-priced and a healthy lunch menu seven days a week.
- The Federal Bar: Those looking to go out, stop by here for a classic cocktail in an incredible space.
- Beachwood BBQ & Brewery: A local to Long Beach, the beers on tap are endless.
- Tru Nature Juice Bar: It is always sunny in Los Angeles, and an acai bowl is always my favorite way to cool off. Worth the drive to come here!
- Grab coffee at Lord Windsor, Recreational Coffee, Rose Park Roasters, or Berlin Bistro!
What to Do in Long Beach:
- Museum of Latin American Art: This was one of my favorite things to see, the gallery is a good size to stop by and their sculpture garden is stunning.
- Rent Bikes: The city offers a city bike share where you can rent bikes easily from many outposts throughout the city. Checkout this website to learn how to rent the bikes.
- Pow Wow Long Beach: An international community of artists have landed upon Long Beach with multiple pieces of street art throughout the city. Here is a map to where you can find the murals.
- Shop the East Village: My favorite neighborhood in Long Beach, it has multiple boutiques, like 6th and Detroit, where you can shop. There's coffee shops and murals from Pow Wow here too.
- Queen Mary: If history is up your alley, look no further than the Queen Mary. Whether you go on a self-guided tour or sign up for one of the hosted tours, you could spend an hour or two here.
- Gondola Getaway Cruise: A very romantic evening, sailing on a gondola through Naples. Traditional gondolas all the way from Italy, it feels like an authentic Italian experience.
- Aquarium of the Pacific: If you want to feel like a kid again, checkout the aquarium and definitely add one of the experiences like the behind the scenes tour or an animal encounter.
*Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest by Long Beach. As always, all opinions are own.