The Best Things to Do in Long Beach, California

From waterfront gems to inland attractions, Long Beach has it all
From waterfront gems to inland attractions, Long Beach has it all | © Ron Niebrugge / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Nicholas Grantham
5 August 2020

Lying just south of Los Angeles, along the SoCal coast, Long Beach has some fantastic attractions. With one of the best aquariums in the country, some of the top beaches in California and a classic piece of history in the Queen Mary, it has something for all tastes. Here, Culture Trip takes you through some of the best places to visit on your next trip to the city.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Aquarium, Park
Map View
Pacific Visions at Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA, USA
© Kayte Deioma / Alamy Stock Photo
Bringing in over one million visitors a year, the Aquarium of the Pacific is one of the most popular destinations in Long Beach. Home to more than 500 local and regional species, including sharks, otters and penguins, the center is dedicated to the protection and conservation of its resident animals. Be sure to catch one of the many daily feedings to see the inhabitants up close and personal.

Long Beach Waterfront

Natural Feature
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Comprising several districts, the Long Beach Waterfront has plenty on offer for the discerning day tripper. If you fancy a relaxing stroll along the waterfront, the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade is the perfect opportunity to take in the sea. However, if you’re looking for a bit of retail therapy, the Pike Outlet is filled with stores, restaurants and much more.

Naples Island

Architectural Landmark
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Canals in the Naples Island Neighborhood of Long Beach California
© KKStock / Alamy Stock Photo

Reminiscent of an Italian waterfront, Naples Island is a delightful destination in Long Beach. It features plenty of charming restaurants and shops, with sailboats nestled in the nearby harbor. If you are looking to take to the water yourself, kayak and gondola rides are available to hire on the sandy shores.

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

Botanical Garden
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If you’re looking for a place to relax and take in some gorgeous scenery, the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is the perfect place to unwind. Part of the California State University, Long Beach, the garden has been delighting guests for 40 years. Frequently used for weddings and special occasions, it’s open to the public five days a week and hosts several events throughout the year.

The Queen Mary

Built in Scotland in the 1930s, the Queen Mary has had an extraordinary history and now makes its home in Long Beach. Currently a hotel and visitor attraction, it’s a staple of the Long Beach shoreline. Outside the luxury hotel, you can book tours of the historic ship to hear some of the fascinating stories that have played out below the decks.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Express check-out
Conference space
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Smoke-free property

Long Beach Museum of Art

Museum
Map View

Once a private beachfront home, the Long Beach Museum of Art has been showcasing local artistic talent since the late 1950s. The museum’s permanent collection has more than 3,000 pieces of original work from some of the best artists America and Europe have to offer. It has also hosted many standout temporary exhibitions, from Matisse to Patrick Angus.

These recommendations were updated on August 5, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.