There’s something about “summer all year” destinations that draw me in – hint: its the gorgeous weather! You just can’t compete with great weather all year. Long Beach is that city outside of Los Angeles that has its own amazing airport and non stop fun to offer its visitors. After spending 3 days exploring Long Beach, I have compiled my list of 8 experiences to have while visiting. Of course I could not see the entire city during my visit – but this just means I need to go back!
Stay In The Action!
First thing is first – you need somewhere to stay and I have just the place: The Hyatt Centric The Pike. The primary reason I recommend this hotel is because of its location among the Pike Outlet shops and proximity to Rainbow Harbor. In addition, the hotel is just steps away from the Pine Avenue restaurants, Shoreline Village, Aquarium of the Pacific, and the Convention Center. You could not have picked a better location for a hotel to be.
The Hyatt Centric is more than just its location though. This cosmopolitan lifestyle hotel is beautiful! Its modern, spacious and no details were left untouched. The Hyatt Centric offers the ONLY rooftop pool in Long Beach and they have made all the seating around the pool contemporary and inviting. The lobby space is beautiful and offers bountiful seating, Bay Street Bar, a courtyard, Bay Street Kitchen, & grab and go food and beverages.
During my stay I checked into an Executive King room that offers 465 sq. feet of space to get antiquated with. When I first walked in what caught my attention was how modern and big the room was. A swivel TV in the middle of the wall for either the bedroom or the living space was a nice touch. The bathroom covered in white marble, plush king size bed, work station, coffee maker – all of it just made this luxury room come together.
Explore and Dine on the Queen Mary
Simply being on board the Queen Mary feels similar to what it would have felt like on the Titanic. Setting sail in 1936 in Europe, the Queen Mary spent about 31 years at sea (as a cruise vessel and utilized during the war) before retiring to Long Beach in 1967 where she is now a hotel with restaurants, and you can take amazing tours of the ship. She is essentially a floating hotel that never leaves the dock.
During my visit, I was fortunate enough to get an incredible tour from the Commodore. I can’t stress enough how fiercely passionate and knowledgeable he is on the Queen Mary. He knew everything about the ship and loves showing people everything on board.
I would highly recommend taking the tour so that you can learn about its history and so that you know what you are looking at as you explore the ship. Many people say it is haunted and that they have seen questionable things on board. I don’t know if it is true or not but what I can tell you is that one other person and myself filmed an Instagram video at the same time and when I played mine back. the lights flickered every few seconds on the video and hers did not. So that was pretty cool!
Stick around after your tour if you are looking for an incredible meal in Long Beach and dine at Sir Winston’s. I am not a picky eater but I know when food is done right and Sir Winston’s does food SO RIGHT! I am talking perfection on the beef wellington and souffles.
Visit the Aquarium of the Pacific
I love visiting aquariums because I love animals and I really love how ethically they are treated here at The Aquarium of the Pacific. Learning that the aquarium has saved and is helping animals in need AND allows us to see them, just melts my heart. Exploring the varieties of underwater fish through the various tanks is one of my favorite walking exhibits. I find I am always mesmerized by jellies and I always find a breed of fish that I never knew existed.
During my visit I went on a tour and I even got some of the VIP treatment by getting to do a behind the scenes tour and meet and feed 21 year old Otter, Charlie! This experience is available to the public bu purchasing a ticket and one of the most lovable experiences I have been able to do.
Explore Retro Row on 4th Street
I am not a huge shopper but this was super fun! Retro Row is just that, Retro! While I was exploring all the cute shops I found a lot of boutique places, vintage second hand shops and a roller skate shop. I felt like I was a kid again browsing these stores, looking at records, vintage threads, and exploring.
Scenic Skyline Cruise Along the Long Beach Coastline
A scenic Skyline Cruise with Harbor Breeze Cruises should be on your list of things to do when you visit Long Beach! The cruise itself is about an hour long and gives you a nice view of the harbor, Queen Mary, shipping containers, coastline, and if you are lucky – animals! We did in fact see sea lions during our cruise basking in the sun and they were so adorable.
Just look at these cuties! While sightings are not guaranteed, you could see whales, sea lions, and/or dolphins.
Eat Your Way Through The City
This goes without saying .. scope out the best food and eat! Food and traveling are basically synonymous and when you arrive in Long Beach you are in for a treat because every place I ate at was incredible! Here were some of my favorite dishes:
Tour POW! POW! Murals
POW! POW! is a week long event each summer where artists come out and “beautify” the city with murals. I did not get a chance to see them all BUT I was blown away by the artistic touch that each artist gave the murals I did see. Murals have become a big deal the last 5-10 years and more and more people love to photograph them and learn about them when they visit new cities. I find it is a great way to see local artists on display and brings pops of color to otherwise empty walls.
This piece by Cinta Vidal was my favorite! The calamity of bringing pieces to life and making them soar on a wall really captured my attention.
Drive Your Own Duffy Boat
Getting the Duffy Boat was one of my favorite activities in Long Beach. About 10 of us got on board with cheese and wine and set out to chase the sunset on the Alamitos Bay! You can rent these boats for your own pleasure and just cruise the bay. The sunset was spectacular and we all fall more in love with Long Beach!
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Disclaimer: this post is written in collaboration with the Long Beach Tourism. As always, opinions are entirely my own.