Downtown Revitalizations: Long Beach, CA

The Pacific Ocean meets city living in Long Beach, CA. Located only 24 miles south of Los Angeles, Long Beach is home to great beaches, shops, and restaurants. The downtown area starts immediately north of Ocean Boulevard and includes tram service to downtown Los Angeles. Here is how downtown Long Beach was reinvented, along with some recommended areas to visit.

How it Happened

Long Beach has been a popular beach destination since the early 1900s, but was also once a big industrial town with various oil fields and a factory where Ford Model A automobiles were created. In 1933, the city was the epicenter of a 6.25 magnitude earthquake. The city would then make a comeback during World War II, as it became home for many active servicemen returning to the U.S. for duty. But like some other downtowns during the ’50s and ’60s, downtown Long Beach suffered from residents leaving the area for more space in suburban areas.

The revitalization began during the ’70s, when various downtown shops and the Grand Prix of Long Beach took place. During the 1980s, the Hyatt Regency and other hotels opened up, along with the development of the downtown harbor area. During the ’90s, offices opened for businesses in the downtown area and the Blue Line metro connected Long Beach to LA.

Towards the Beach

Right near the Long Beach Cruise Terminal, you’ll find The Queen Mary. This ship departed from England in 1936, but stopped sailing transatlantic in 1939, not resuming journeys until after the end of World War II, when it would welcome passengers for 20 additional years. It now serves as a hotel and has three world-class restaurants.

Along the Los Angeles River Shoreline, you’ll also find the Aquarium of the Pacific which features 32 exhibits and 19 different habitats, along with various restaurants, the Pine Island Pier, and Shoreline Village.

Downtown Long Beach

While exploring Long Beach, search for some of the city’s street art. You can visit various galleries within the East Village Arts Park. Located at the intersection of East Broadway and Elm Avenue, about one block north of The Westin Long Beach.

Pine Avenue features many different shops and restaurants. Try George’s Greek Café, which offers authentic Greek cuisine, or try Agaves Kitchen for Mexican specialties. Pine Square is an outdoor shopping mall featuring even more eateries and stores, along with a 16-screen cinema.

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