POSTED: May 8th 2017

BRENDA DURAN: Long Beach, L.A.'s second city, offers food, culture and fun

Image Courtesy The Nickolas Muray Photo Archives
Image Courtesy The Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

The RMS Queen Mary ship is a must see @ Bigstock
The RMS Queen Mary ship is a must see @ Bigstock

BRENDA DURAN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Often overshadowed by its neighbor to the north, Los Angeles County's second-largest city, Long Beach, is a hidden gem that's worth exploring.

The city would play a large role in the 2024 Olympics in Los Angeles, playing host to events including handball, water polo, BMX, sailing, swimming and triathlon. Many of these would take place a stone's throw from some of Long Beach's best attractions and retail and restaurant districts.

Los Angeles is bidding against Paris, France to host the 2024 summer Games and the IOC will be in town this week to evaluate the proposed areas.

With roots as a port, aerospace manufacturing and Navy city, this community of almost half a million people was forced to reinvent itself in recent decades following the military's departure and a loss of aircraft-making jobs. Long Beach has developed a vibrant restaurant scene and nightlife, an arts community that has gotten national recognition, and a patchwork of quirky neighborhoods and shopping districts. All of that is on top of its beaches and ocean views and its most well-known attraction, the historic Queen Mary ocean liner that has become synonymous with Long Beach's identity.

Here are a few highlights to check out: 

  • The Museum of Latin American Art ( is the only museum dedicated to Latino artwork in the western United States and has displayed exhibitions including original photos of Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera as well as the work of L.A. Chicano muralists. It has frequent special events and concerts at its outdoor garden stage.
  • The Long Beach Opera ( is emerging as a pioneer in the opera community, thanks to productions such as the recent U.S. premier of the "The Perfect American," Philip Glass' edgy opera about the life of Walt Disney.
  • For restaurants and nightlife, downtown's Pine Avenue ( is a good place to start, but it's worth a walk beyond the main drag east to the Promenade, a pedestrian corridor with more restaurants and bars (the beer selection at Congregation Ale House is amazing), and to the East Village Arts District with its more Bohemian feel (check out the popular James Republic restaurant). Head south on Pine to reach the new Pike Outlets mall and the waterfront Shoreline Village, where Parker's Lighthouse is a great option for its views and food.
  • Other shopping and eating districts with their own character include Belmont Shore ( on Second Street, which has several blocks of both upscale and hole-in-the-wall eateries, shops and bars; and Bixby Knolls ( on Atlantic Avenue, a smaller but diverse restaurant district that also is around the corner from the recently opened SteelCraft ( outdoor food hall on Long Beach Boulevard, built from cargo containers such as those used at the nearby port.
  • For children and adults alike, the Aquarium of the Pacific ( with its penguins, sea lions and breathtaking underwater sea life exhibits, is a fun way to spend the day, and it's by the waterfront and near downtown.
  • No Long Beach list of attractions would be complete without the Queen Mary (, which offers tours, hotel stays, and an amazing Sunday brunch, along with special events almost every weekend. Don't forget to have a drink at the ship's art deco bar - you'll feel like you've stepped back in time. 

So when the crowds aren't watching the Olympic events, they'll have no shortage of places to eat and exciting activities to keep them busy in Long Beach.

**BRENDA DURAN has Over 10 years of documented success in writing within media and communication for leading publications, including: The North County Times, The Denver Post, PEOPLE, The Long Beach Press-Telegram, Us Weekly and Long Beach Magazine. Winner of more than a dozen national and regional writing awards for feature stories and breaking news. Expertise in strategic communications, social media and marketing. 

Keywords · LA 2024 · Olympics

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