Discovering Long Beach, CA Attractions: A Must-Read for Newcomers

Updated on August 10th, 2023

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Long Beach, CA is a bustling city that offers a wide range of attractions for locals and tourists alike. From historic landmarks to modern entertainment complexes, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant coastal city. Whether you’re a new local renting an apartment in Long Beach, CA or taking a day trip from Los Angeles, read on for some of the top Long Beach attractions that are not to be missed. 

Aerial view of the Long Beach marina with adjacent to the buildings of downtown along the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. _ getty

10 Must-visit Long Beach Attractions

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1. Aquarium of the Pacific

Anyone visiting or living in Long Beach needs to check out the world-class Aquarium of the Pacific. Opened in 1998, the aquarium is home to over 12,000 animals from more than 500 different species, representing the diverse marine life of the Pacific Ocean.

The aquarium’s exhibits are organized by geographic region, highlighting the unique habitats and ecosystems found in the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can explore exhibits such as the Tropical Pacific Gallery, which features a diverse array of tropical fish and coral reefs, and the Northern Pacific Gallery, which showcases the marine life of the Arctic and the North Pacific.

One of the aquarium’s most popular exhibits is the Shark Lagoon, which allows visitors to get up close and personal with several species of sharks, including sand tiger sharks and zebra sharks. The aquarium also has a popular sea otter exhibit, where visitors can watch these playful creatures swim and play.

In addition to its exhibits, the Aquarium of the Pacific is also home to various education and conservation programs. The aquarium’s staff works to promote conservation efforts and educate visitors about the importance of protecting our oceans and marine life.

2. The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary is a must-visit attraction in Long Beach. This impressive ocean liner has a rich history and has been beautifully restored for visitors to explore. From the moment you step on board, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time to the golden age of ocean travel. The ship is full of interesting exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the ship’s journey from its construction to its retirement as a floating museum. 

Whether you’re interested in the ship’s luxurious accommodations, its role in World War II, or its famous passengers, there’s something for everyone on the Queen Mary. In addition to the tours and exhibits, the ship also offers a range of dining and entertainment options. You can enjoy a meal in one of the ship’s elegant restaurants or relax with a drink in one of its bars. 

3. Long Beach Museum of Art

The Long Beach Museum of Art is a delightful cultural attraction. The museum is housed in a historic mansion on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, providing stunning views of the coastline. Inside, visitors can explore a diverse collection of contemporary and modern art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. 

The museum also hosts a range of temporary exhibits that showcase the work of both established and emerging artists from around the world. In addition to its galleries, the Long Beach Museum of Art offers a variety of programs and events for visitors of all ages, such as art classes, workshops, and lectures. 

There is also an on-site restaurant with ocean views, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a meal or a drink while taking in the beauty of the surroundings. Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or simply appreciate the beauty of the ocean and coastal landscape, the Long Beach Museum of Art is a must-see destination in Southern California.

4. Shoreline Village

Shoreline Village is one of Long Beach’s most popular attractions and a must-visit destination for tourists and locals alike. This charming waterfront village is located at the edge of the ocean, offering breathtaking views of the water and the iconic Queen Mary. Visitors can explore the village’s colorful architecture, stroll along the boardwalk, and browse through its many unique shops and boutiques. 

With a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and bars, Shoreline Village is also a great place to enjoy a delicious meal or refreshing drink while taking in the stunning scenery. The village is also home to a range of exciting attractions, including an arcade, a carousel, and a small aquarium. And for those looking to take to the water, Shoreline Village offers boat tours, fishing trips, and even a water taxi service. With so much to see and do, Shoreline Village is an unforgettable destination that perfectly captures the laid-back vibe of Long Beach.

5. The Pike Outlets

The Pike Outlets is a vibrant shopping and entertainment complex located in the heart of Long Beach. This historic destination was originally built in the early 1900s as a seaside amusement park and has been beautifully restored to its former glory. 

Today, visitors can stroll through the colorful promenade and explore a wide range of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. The outlets offer something for everyone, from high-end fashion brands to unique boutique stores. There’s also a movie theater and a variety of dining options, including restaurants with outdoor seating and stunning views of the harbor. 

For those looking for a bit of adventure, The Pike Outlets also features a thrilling zipline that takes you soaring over the bustling waterfront. With its rich history and exciting attractions, The Pike Outlets is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Long Beach.

6. Naples Island

Naples Island is a beautiful waterfront community located in Long Beach. This charming neighborhood is known for its picturesque canals, stunning architecture, and vibrant community spirit. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the canals and admire the beautiful homes and gardens, or rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the waterways up close. 

Naples Island is also home to a variety of boutique shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it the perfect spot for a relaxing day out. Visitors can enjoy a meal at one of the many waterfront restaurants or indulge in some shopping at the local boutiques. And for those looking for a bit of adventure, Naples Island also offers a range of water sports activities, such as sailing, fishing, and swimming. 

7. The Museum of Latin American Art

The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is a captivating cultural attraction located in the heart of Long Beach. This vibrant museum is dedicated to showcasing the art and culture of Latin America, with a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and mixed media works. Visitors can explore the museum’s permanent collection, which features works by renowned Latin American artists, as well as a variety of rotating exhibits that showcase emerging artists and current trends in Latin American art. 

In addition to its galleries, MOLAA also hosts a variety of events and programs, such as artist talks, film screenings, and cultural festivals. The museum’s beautiful outdoor spaces, including a sculpture garden and a courtyard, provide the perfect setting for relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere.

8. Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center 

The Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center is a premier venue for events, conferences, and entertainment. This state-of-the-art facility is located in downtown Long Beach, and features over 400,000 square feet of event space, including exhibit halls, meeting rooms, and ballrooms. 

The center is home to a wide range of events throughout the year, including conventions, trade shows, concerts, and sporting events. Visitors can catch a live performance at the beautiful Terrace Theater, which hosts a variety of concerts, plays, and dance performances, or attend a conference or trade show in one of the spacious exhibit halls. The center’s central location makes it easily accessible from throughout the region, and its modern amenities and professional staff ensure that every event is a success.

9. Long Beach Antique Market

The Long Beach Antique Market is a treasure trove of unique and vintage finds, and is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Held on the third Sunday of every month at the Veterans Stadium in Long Beach, this market features over 800 vendors selling everything from antique furniture and vintage clothing, to rare collectibles and one-of-a-kind art pieces. 

Visitors can spend hours browsing through the various stalls and chatting with vendors about the history and stories behind their unique finds. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or simply enjoy browsing for vintage treasures, the Long Beach Antique Market is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the city’s vibrant and diverse shopping scene. The market’s festive atmosphere and wide variety of offerings make it a fun and memorable experience for visitors of all ages. With its eclectic mix of vintage goods and friendly vendors, the Long Beach Antique Market is a true gem of Southern California’s shopping landscape.

10. Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is a stunning and serene oasis located on the campus of California State University, Long Beach. This 1.3-acre garden was designed to promote the philosophy of harmony between people and nature, and features a beautiful collection of plants, trees, and water features. Visitors can explore the garden’s winding paths and tranquil ponds, or relax in one of its peaceful meditation spaces. 

The garden also hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, such as traditional tea ceremonies, art exhibits, and musical performances. Whether you’re a nature lover, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, this garden is a true gem of Southern California’s natural and cultural landscape.

Marina with skyline of Long Beach and featuring the historic Villa Riviera building. California _ getty

Final thoughts on Long Beach attractions

In conclusion, Long Beach offers a wide range of attractions that are sure to delight visitors and locals of all ages and interests. Whether you’re interested in history, art, shopping, or simply soaking up the sun on the beach, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant coastal city.

Learn more about Long Beach:

Caffeine and Culture: Coffee Shops in Long Beach Every Local Should Visit

10 Cities Near Long Beach to Buy or Rent in this Year

10 Most Affordable Long Beach Suburbs to Live In

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Marissa Crum

Marissa is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about real estate trends and home improvement. Her dream home is a contemporary-style house with ample outdoor space.

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