Soak Up the Sun and Indulge in the Best of Long Beach
When it comes to California beach cities, it’s safe to say that Long Beach is thriving. Known for its array of coastal outdoor activities, diverse artistic community, flourishing restaurant scene and superior seafood, there’s something for everyone in this city. From brewery tours and whale-watching to exploring zen gardens and charming canals, we’ve rounded up the perfect way to spend two spectacular summer days in the city of Long Beach.
Where to Stay: Renaissance Long Beach Hotel
Perfect for a summer getaway—or a sunny SoCal staycay—pitch your proverbial tent at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, where you’ll experience the style and comfort of luxury lodging in the heart of downtown Long Beach. Rise and shine with breakfast delivered to your door, or browse the weekend brunch buffet downstairs at Promenade Cafe. Grab a coffee at The Market to properly caffeinate for a full day out on the town, and when the sun goes down, unwind on the sleek outdoor patio at Sip Bar + Lounge. Please your palate with a craft cocktail or some light bites and seaside fare before retiring to your restful retreat. With its ideal location and eclectic design, you’ll love your Long Beach home away from home.
Local Insight: Take advantage of Renaissance Long Beach Hotel’s Sun, Seas, and Savings summer offer! This package includes a $50 food and beverage credit, complimentary self-parking for one vehicle, a room upgrade to a harbor view room, 2 p.m. check-out and a 20% off discount for Harbor Breeze Cruises.
Start the morning right with a trip to your neighborhood panadería. Giving this traditional Latinx bakery a modern twist thanks to its creativity, Gusto Bread is brimming with a bounty of baked goods—think crispy loaves, fresh flatbreads, cookies, conchas and pastries—made with stone-milled flours, unrefined sugars and locally sourced organic ingredients.
Harbor Breeze Whale Watching
Take to the sea and chart your way along the coast on a whale-watching adventure with Harbor Breeze Cruises. Get up close and personal with some of the largest mammals known to humankind while on their migration path to Alaska—and perhaps even spot some friendly dolphins flipping their fins. With your knowledgeable captain at the helm, you’ll be in good hands as you soak up the sun and spot majestic marine life happily at home in their natural habitat.
Shop and Eat at 2nd & PCH
Stroll through this upscale open-air piazza, where you’ll find familiar retail favorites like Anthropologie, Madewell, Sephora and Urban Outfitters (just to name a few) standing side-by-side with boutique brands like Gorjana, Jolie and Johnny Was. Grab a bite at Noble Bird Rotisserie for sustainably (and ethically) sourced chicken dishes with “clean” sides (charred green beans, anyone?), or stop by Ottoman Sushi to snack on mouthwatering sashimi and rice rolls.
Long Beach Mural Tour
Long Beach is home to a vibrant arts and cultural scene with an air of urban flair and artistic ambiance nearly everywhere you look. For an afternoon of self-guided exploration, download the GPSmycity app to take a self-guided tour of the city’s myriad of murals. Adding a layer of inspirational influence and colorful detail to the concrete cityscape, these broad-scale oeuvres are putting a signature stamp on the city’s aesthetic and are tightly woven into the rich social tapestry of Long Beach.6/17
Happy Hour and Dinner at The 908
Kick back and relax at this happening hot spot, where you’ll dine on classic American cuisine with an eclectic edge. Sip on creative cocktails and local lagers while snacking on $4-off appetizers at happy hour (3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday). Then savor seafood with a subtle spin as your main course—from panko-crusted halibut to furikake sea bass and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese. You can also opt to sample a variety of seasonal dishes, ranging from simple sweet potato and black bean tacos to traditional coq au vin blanc.
Drinks at The Exhibition Room
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Want to hear a secret? Tucked away inside Roxanne’s popular cocktail lounge and grill is a hush-hush haven known as the Exhibition Room. A true Prohibition-style speakeasy, this swinging secret spot hosts underground entertainment for those in the know—including live music, stand-up comedy and burlesque shows nightly—while serving up throwback beverages in a hip, back-room atmosphere.
Coffee at Caffe Luxxe
Elevate your morning ritual with a visit to Caffe Luxxe. Give your caffeine buzz an Italian twist at the espresso bar, browse the beverage blends or design your daily drip to be tailored to your taste. Grab a pastry or a snack to fuel up for a full day of environmental exploration, and don’t forget to peruse the mini provisional market that’s curated with gorgeous goodies and gifts on display.
Yoga on the Bluff
Stretch your muscles and soothe your soul with a complimentary group yoga class overlooking the Pacific. Hosted by Yogalution instructors as part of a mission to spread wellness and offer true community service, this daily donation-based class meets on a grassy bluff, making the spiritual and sacred practice of yoga accessible to all. Grab your mat and get ready to dive into your best downward dog! Classes are at 11 a.m., Monday through Sunday.6/29
Lunch at the Chowder Barge Floating Cafe
Come hungry and chow down on chowder at the only floating restaurant in the region. Serving up scoops of creamy bisque, spicy chili and comfort foods for nearly 40 years, the Chowder Barge is a local institution, boasting a satisfying menu of seafood and fried favorites—as well as beer, wine and cocktails—that’s sure to please any crowd.
Get Lost in a Japanese Garden
Founded in 1981, the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is a lush natural oasis, nestled in the heart of the California State University Long Beach campus. Make a reservation to secure your visit, and wind your way along the peaceful paths that meander through this slice of zen paradise. Designed to incorporate elements of traditional Japanese landscape and horticultural design, the gardens are open to the public and admission is free. Feed the friendly koi, visit the time-honored tea room and take a moment for meditation before heading back to reality.
Hail the AquaLink Water Taxi
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Pro tip: Skip the traditional commute and ride the AquaLink water taxi, where you can efficiently cruise the coast and get where you need to go—and it’s just $5 to boot. Float your way to your desired destination and enjoy panoramic views of the Long Beach skyline while en route.
Beachside Brews and Bites
Long Beach is the epicenter of a bevy of beer pubs and breweries with a wide variety of locally crafted ales, lagers and IPAs on tap for you to taste. Join a tour of the best in the business, beginning at Beachwood Brewing, where you can enjoy authentic barbecue and a flight of award-winning specialty ales on the outdoor patio. Next, visit the only cidery in town and play a round of Jenga before heading off to your next pour. Grab a Strawberry Blonde at Belmont Brewing Co. and sample some stellar seafood, then enjoy a sunset toast at your next destination, Ballast Point. If you have room for one more, we recommend also squeezing in a trip to Trademark Brewing.
Explore the Naples Canals
Can’t swing a trip to Italy this summer? Head over to the Naples neighborhood and explore a maze of cozy canals that will have you feeling like you’ve been transported directly to Venezia. Soak in all the romantic vibes and European charm with a sunset gondola ride, complete with a serenade from a Venetian gondolier in full authentic dress. Now, that’s a great way to end your Long Beach escapade!
Based in Los Angeles, Kandace has spent the past ten years in the fashion and lifestyle space, and recently in entertainment at Sony Pictures Studios. She has a Masters in Journalism from Emerson College and has studied in Paris, Firenze, and Washington DC, beginning her career as a style editor and tastemaker for NBC. She is an internationally award-winning filmmaker, having studied screenwriting for film and television at UCLA, and her work has been celebrated around the world, in cities like London, Nice, New York, and Montréal. Paying homage to her French heritage, she is also the creator of The Chic American--a style and culture editorial destination for Francophiles, dedicated to the art of living an elevated, French-inspired lifestyle.