Long Beach (California) – The Summerland
Русская версия At first sight it seems that Long Beach is just a sattelite of huge Los Angeles, but if you look at the numbers, it turns out that the city is the 34th largest in the United States and the 7th largest in California. It is also one of the largest ports in the world, famous for its plane production, oil industry, car details and electronics. At the same time, for an average tourist, Long Beach is first of all the sun and the ocean. The summer is here all year round, and the temperature goes below 20 C only in rare cases.
Although an average tourist should not be too happy with it. Indeed, Long Beach was once a resort, also living on agriculture. The city had multiple amusement parks, but when the oil was discovered here, the industry became a priority, and the pollution did not allow for a further status of a resort. Now one can see oil derricks and the port constructions from the beach, and those crazy people who decide to swim in the ocean are laughed at. Why, if many have their own pools?
Thus, a tourist has to entertain oneself in other ways, and this post is about such alternatives. First of all, the map of attractions may be downlowded here, and this is another map (click to zoom in):
Undoubtedly, the main attractions concentrate at the ocean. This is primarily the Shoreline Village offering all things possible from shopping, restaurants, cruises (from 15 dollars, whale watching from 30 dollars) to the burials in the ocean.
Not far from the Shoreline village there is a museum of Queen Mary ship, once the grandest ocean liner in the world carrying Hollywood celebrities like Bob Hope and Clark Gable, royalty like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and dignitaries like Winston Churchill. As World War II started, the Queen Mary’s transformation into a troopship had begun. She was painted a camouflaged grey color and stripped off her luxurious amenities. Dubbed the “Grey Ghost” because of her stealth and stark color, the Queen Mary was the largest and fastest troopship to sail, capable of transporting as many as 16,000 troops at 30 knots. After the end of WWII, the Queen Mary began a 10-month retrofitting process, which would return the ship to her original glory. On July 21, 1947, the Queen Mary resumed regular passenger service across the Atlantic Ocean, and continued to do so for nearly two more decades.
Another ship nearby is Iowa battleship, on which a tour takes you on a journey through World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War to experience the life of a sailor on the lead ship of the last class of gunships.
One of the main sights of the Shoreline Village is an Aquarium, which we recommend to visit on the weekdays, as during the weekends it is full with families and children. The Aquarium is truly outstanding due to the size, an outside exhibition, and to being interactive. Many sea dwellers can be touched, or you may see how they are fed.
And this is not the grass, but a sea dragon.
Not far from the Aquarium and Shoreline Village there is a district of Naples, one of the most expensive places to live not only in Long Beach, but in the whole California. The district may be explored by gondolas, or you may simply walk. Then you may find out that the houses are built very close to each other, and the lack of privacy makes you feel that the prices might be too high.
If you go from the ocean deeper into the city, not just the graffitos from the standard Art District are interesting.
First, there is a Museum of Latin American Art – a small, but great, and free on Sundays.
An exhibition dedicated to All Saints’ Day was held here. To honor ancestors, their relatives build up a sort of altar from grandmothers and grandfathers’ photos, their favorite subjects and offerings.
Second, Long Beach has Cambodian District. At the face of it, it is not much different from other American streets, so make sure you find on the Internet in advance what you want. It is said that there are many good shops and restaurants hidden here.
Third, everyone recommends Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, although not far from the city there is a much larger botanical garden not far from the city (still, you may get there by car only). The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens include more than 20 different gardens: Australian, Japanese, Camelia, Rose, Lily, Desert, Jungle gardens… We recommend coming here earlier as the gardens close at around 5 PM, and there is a lot to see.
In addition to many unusual things, like bonsai and the model of Japanese house, there is also Japanese dry garden.
Long Beach has an amazing amount of eating places. Among others, we will recommend Aji Peruvian Fusion (2310 E. 4th St., try ceviche), Pier 76 Fish Grill (95 N. Pine Ave.), and ABC Seafood Restaurant offering dim sum during the lunch time:
Finally, you should travel around, for instance, to Disneyland, Los Angeles, and Santa-Barbara. We will write about Los-Angeles and Santa-Barbara sometime soon too.