Long Beach is a beautiful city that includes one of the nation’s busiest ports and largest marina docking everything from the tiny sabot sailboat invented here, to the historic Queen Mary Ship and huge freighters from around the world! If it’s not enough to see the Russian Scorpion submarine parked next to English Queen Mary, drive a few miles south to view a real pyramid reaching 192 feet into the sky. Built along the perimeter of California State University Long Beach campus, this modern wonder, which is one of three such buildings in the United States, is located just a mile or two from one of California’s most rustic treasures, a rambling single-story adobe structure, Rancho Los Alamitos.
As you visit downtown Long Beach with its deco style architecture, Convention Center, Aquarium and Performing Arts Center, walk around the building to view a mural that made the Guinness Book of World Records for its size. The mural was a a gift to the City of Long Beach from marine artist, Wyland, who painted a stunning 116,000 square foot testament to the Pacific Ocean on the outer walls of the Long Beach Arena.
Five and a half miles of coastline, an airport serving national flights, a light rail system to Los Angeles, the largest municipally owned marina with 3,400 slips, buses to all downtown attractions, a world class aquarium, convention center, a professional ice hockey team, annual Grand Prix car race on city streets, high speed boat service to Catalina Island and the Queen Mary Ship are a few of the wonderful amenities and attractions drawing 5.5 million guests to Long Beach annually.
Long Beach offers sandy beaches and coastline near downtown, Naples, Belmont Shore and Long Beach Peninsula that are enjoyed for their scenic beauty. And by the numbers, while day guests to Long Beach are less, the city does enjoy a healthy convention crowd with rooms booked in larger numbers than most surrounding cities.
Long Beach is one of those places that offers more than the beach as its draw. Outranked in population by only four other California cities, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, you’ll notice downtown Long Beach has a “bohemian” feel. High-rise buildings with gargoyles and art deco architecture date back to 1933. That’s when a destructive earthquake knocked down many structures, and required building a whole new city out of the ashes of devastation. Take a drive along Ocean Boulevard, the main street in downtown Long Beach to view neatly painted and appointed residential and commercial buildings constructed during that era. Long Beach has an active historical society with lots of photos from that time, books documenting the big earthquake and docents who recall the event as children.
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