A long day in Long Beach
July 7, 2009 8:11 PM   Subscribe

I'll be spending a day in Long Beach, CA without a car. What should I do? Where should I eat?

This week I'll be spending the day in Long Beach. I'm going to get dropped off in the morning - I can get dropped off pretty much anywhere in Long Beach - and then I'm catching a ride home very late, probably around 11. Meanwhile I have the whole day to fill up. I'll have a small bag for supplies, reading material, etc.

What should I do? I'm open to anything - I'm thinking the aquarium, the beach, lunch, maybe some shopping, a movie, a museum . . . . The truth, though, is that I don't know much about Long Beach and I don't know what I ought to be looking for. I'm a walker and have a lot of energy. I'm open to taking the bus to something truly super-awesome. Mainly, though, I just want to have an enjoyable and interesting day!
posted by josh to Travel & Transportation around Long Beach, CA (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My recommendation is to start at the Aquarium (a good few hours), and to work your way west toward Belmont Shores. For goodness sake, don't eat at any of the generic chain rip-me-off restaurants around the Aquarium. What kind of food are you looking for?
posted by jabberjaw at 8:47 PM on July 7, 2009

Response by poster: I love good Mexican food - but I love all food, really, and will eat everything! Nothing expensive, though, and casual is good, since I'll be by myself.
posted by josh at 8:50 PM on July 7, 2009

My favorite mexican place is Tacos Chapala; but it's in the shady part of town, so I don't recommend going there. If you do find yourself up that way, Joe Jost's is a good proper dive, pickled eggs and all.

Hit Taqueira La Mexicana, good authentic mexican food. It's closer to the Aquarium.

Retro Row at 4th Street; cool, if you're interested in that kind of stuff.

You can make your way up Pine Street from the ocean - there are a lot of bars around that area. It's a good place to end the evening, and there's somewhat of a scene there.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:11 PM on July 7, 2009

Belmont Shore might be better than the aquarium if you want the beach. I guess if you're taking a bus or cab you could manage both of them, but it would be tough to do walking.

If you are going to the aquarium, near there you'll find Shoreline Village. There are a few bars in there and mostly some tourist type of stores and an arcade. A little further away, but still probably walkable is the Queen Mary.

You might be able to take a boat ride.
posted by willnot at 11:10 PM on July 7, 2009

As for museums, there are a few in Long Beach. There's the Long Beach Museum Art and the Museume of Latin American Art. I've been to the former, but not the latter. The Long Beach Museum of Art is really small. It's a pretty view, but don't count on spending too much time there.

You might consider hopping on the metrorail and riding it up to downtown where you can see the Museum of Modern Art. That would also give you access to Olvera Street and Chinatown which might break up the day a bit more.
posted by willnot at 11:15 PM on July 7, 2009

Actually, that's an idea - taking the Blue Line up to 7th & Metro station, then either hiking it, or taking the Red Line to the First Street station will take you right up the hill from MOCA. Make sure you check the hours, first; it's closed inconveniently. You'll also be right next to Disney Concert Hall.

Taking the Blue Line back down to Long Beach at night can be sketchy, though.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:45 AM on July 8, 2009

Best answer: The aquarium will be a lot of fun. Sometimes you can even get a private tour. I did that once, and it was super fun. I don't think it was intended to be private, but we were the only people on it. They showed us around the back of the aquarium, we got to meet the divers, and we fed some of the animals.

The beach at Belmont Shore, especially near the Belmont Brewing Company, is pretty empty. That's why I always like to go to that particular beach in Long Beach.

There are a lot of good mexican places in Long Beach. Unfortunately, I don't currently live there so I don't really know of a specific one other than SuperMex on 2nd street, which I personally like.

2nd Street is a big street that has *tons* of restaurants and shops on it. You can't go wrong with just spending a few hours walking around and going inside shops, as there are a lot of strange/cool ones.
posted by majikstreet at 4:37 AM on July 8, 2009

One of my favorite things is take the ferry or a helicopter to Catalina Island. Lots to do there, I usually end up renting a kayak and paddling around.
posted by Tenuki at 6:58 AM on July 8, 2009

Supermex is nice, casual and not expensive. It has outside seating in the back or you can sit up front at a window and people watch on 2nd street. Second street is great for strolling, people watching, coffee drinking and funky shops.

Check out this link for something cheap and fun to do on the water.

There's a pretty good little transit system, called The Passport that will take you around the city. Schedules and maps here.

You can kayak here, and explore the cool houses and canals of Naples.

Bring sunscreen, a paperback and a towel for the beach.

What day will you be here? Maybe we can rustle up a little meet-up. (It would be my first, I'm pretty shy).
posted by jvilter at 12:23 PM on July 8, 2009

Long Beach with no car is no problem. We have a terrific public transit system -- including the AquaBus and AquaLink!
On Pine Ave, I like Allegria for tapas.
A few blocks away, on Ocean and Linden, is an awesome crepe/sandwich place with most of the seating outside in a garden. I am blanking on the name, but go there. It's right next to Modica's.
You could walk to the Museum of Latin American Art, which is very worthwhile (you can skip the LB MoA)
You could rent a bike (or a surrey) at the bike place on the beach opposite Alamitos and Ocean. You could ride the bike (or rollerblade) down the very long bike path, from Shoreline Marina to the olympic pool, which is quite close to Belmont Shore)
You could rent a kayak at the kayak place on the beach next to Leeway Sailing Center (off Bayshore and Ocean) and kayak to a wetland(ette) or to Starbucks/Jamba Juice at Marina Pacifica (PCH and 2nd -- closer by water than by car) There's a superb Indian place at Marina Pacifica, Kamal Palace, but it is too fancy for you to enjoy all dirty and wet from your kayak.
You could check out the action at the free public skate park in El Dorado Park, where's there's also tennis courts, an archery range, batting cages, a nature center, frisbee golf... easily accessible by bus from downtown.

Don't listen to the people telling you to get on the train to LA. Long Beach is really great, and particularly great (by LA standards) for people with no car. Memail me if you want clarification on the joys of the LBC.
posted by Methylviolet at 2:31 PM on July 8, 2009

One thought about kayaking. You may decide to go kayaking in the channels in Long Beach - there are a lot of them and they go to many different places. However, please understand that if there is a large yacht behind you that is blowing its horn at you that you should move out of the way because boats don't have brakes. It is very scary to be on said yacht while a few kayakers won't move out of the way.

Also: I did the rent a surrey thing and that was a lot of fun. Surreys are kinda like bike-cars. They're fun.
posted by majikstreet at 4:00 PM on July 8, 2009

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