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Long Beach

Long Beach

Sandy beaches, world-class kitesurfing, and an impressive aquarium are just a few of this city’s waterfront delights

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Just half an hour from Los AngelesLong Beach is an oceanfront gem you’ll want to add to your California itinerary. The city offers beautiful beaches and marinas along with a busy dining and shopping scene that perfectly blends urban sophistication with beach-town fun.

Visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, Southern California’s largest aquarium and home to playful sea otters, Magellanic penguins, and a 350,000-gallon tropical reef habitat, which holds thousands of colorful fish, coral, sea turtles, and sharks. Fans of fine art should pay a visit to the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA); don’t miss the sculpture garden and be sure to check their website beforehand to see what events are happening (admission is free on Sundays). If you’re in the mood for retail therapy, find designer favorites at The Pike Outlets or search for the perfect retro find at the vintage boutiques along Long Beach’s Fourth Street. For a self-guided city tour that will take you on a shopping, dining, and cocktail-sipping odyssey with a vintage-vibe twist, check out this one-day itinerary.

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With 11 miles of sandy shoreline, waterfront adventure is central to the city’s charm. Visitors can enjoy the waves from dry land at one of the family-friendly beaches like Alamitos Beach and Marine Park, or rent stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, Duffy electric boats, and other watercraft in Rainbow Marina. Try your hand at kitesurfing on Long Beach’s Belmont Shore, one of the best places in the state for beginners to learn the sport. Hop aboard a vessel and venture out to sea on a whale-watching tour from Harbor Breeze Cruises, a sailboat through Sunglow Charters, a point-to-point ride on the high-speed water taxis, or a romantic excursion on a Venetian gondola.

The city celebrates its Chinese heritage each July by hosting the Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival, the state’s biggest dragon boat competition. A tradition originating in southern China, dragon boat racing is a sight to behold: Teams of 20 paddle brightly colored, dragon-headed longboats that race toward a finish line marked by buoys in the middle of Marine Stadium. The festivities also include traditional Chinese art demonstrations, Chinese acrobats, traditional dance, hip-hop, music, and martial arts performances, and can draw up to 20,000 people over the entire weekend.

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