Editor’s note: After closing in March of 2020 for repairs, in December of 2022 the Queen Mary started reopening in phases, with limited free tours offered. Reservations are required. The hotel remains closed.
When visiting Long Beach, pay homage to the rich heritage of trans-Atlantic travel with a visit to the Queen Mary, a luxurious passenger ship that made the Titanic seem like a bathtub toy. At 1,019 feet long and 81,000 tons, the Queen Mary was one of the largest and most elegant ships of the early 20th century. The ocean liner made 1,001 crossings between New York and England beginning in 1936. Now permanently stationed in Long Beach, the Queen Mary is not just a floating museum—the ship also offers top-notch dining, dazzling city skyline views, overnight accommodations in original first-class staterooms, and a full calendar of performances and events.
Guided Tours of the Queen Mary
You can explore some parts of the iconic vessel on your own, but guided tours offer a more in-depth experience. The Glory Days tour delves into the ship’s construction and her time in military service during World War II. The Haunted Encounters tour reveals why the Queen Mary made Time magazine’s “Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America” list.
Dining on the Queen Mary
While onboard, enjoy a meal in one of the Queen Mary’s three award-winning restaurants. Sip a chic cocktail while you savor the sunset view from the Observation Bar (formerly the ship’s first-class lounge) or spoon up a bowl of chowder at the Chelsea Chowder House & Bar. For a luxurious evening, enjoy five-star dining and an extensive wine list at Sir Winston’s Restaurant & Lounge. At the Royal Sunday Brunch, Champagne flows freely and banquet tables overflow with 50 unique dishes from around the globe. This weekly feast has been featured on the Travel Channel and lauded in Condé Nast Traveler.
Lodging at the Queen Mary
For a uniquely nautical experience, spend the night aboard the Queen Mary in one of the ship’s 346 original staterooms and suites. Choose a stateroom on one of the three decks (all above sea level). No two rooms are alike, but many have art deco–style built-in cabinets, original wood paneling, and artwork.
Events at the Queen Mary
Throughout the year, the Queen Mary’s social calendar overflows with performances and events, from comedy nights to wine-tasting dinners to local live music performances. One of the biggest annual parties is the ScotsFestival and International Highland Games held in February, which celebrates the big boat’s heritage—it was built in Clydebank, Scotland—with traditional Highland dancing, piping, drumming, Celtic harp concerts, and even falconry and sheepherding demonstrations.
Things to Do Near the Queen Mary
While you’re in the area, check out the other attractions in Long Beach, such as the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Museum of Latin American Art, and marinas that are the shove-off point for whale-watching cruises. Torrance, the neighborhood next door to the west, for global shopping and dining (the ramen scene here is particularly outstanding) and its 1.5 miles of beaches. Head in the other direction and you can stroll along Seal Beach to take in all its charms, including Seal Beach Pier, the state’s fourth-longest wooden pier. Want a local’s advice? Find out the favorite spots of longtime Long Islander and President and CEO of the Museum of Latin American Art, Lourdes Ramos-Rivas.