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Long Beach California Renaissance City for Vacations and As Destination



Long Beach, California--Same may scoff at the idea that Long Beach would take on Anaheim for conventions and tourists. Anaheim, home to Disneyland theme park and over 100 hotels, surely has everything a convention planner would want, and certainly far outnumbers Long Beach's tourism by millions, probably tripling its visitor numbers.


But Long Beach has many assets that the land-locked Anaheim doesn't and for those visiting from hot zones such as Arizona in the summertime, the ocean and beach are a huge draw in deciding to visit California.


What's going on in the Renaissance town of Long Beach is not necessarily earth shattering, but it's a shocker for those who haven't visited downtown in a long time. I took a stroll down Pine Ave. the other day when the Aqualink re-launched its high speed catamaran service for spring and summer.


A friend and I had lunch at Rainbow Harbor, then walked up Pine to look around. It was like a new city I'd never seen. My friend was really shocked that Long Beach had changed so much--he hardly could believe it.


The night scene has been happening for a long time, years in fact. But the loft apartments and condos are springing up so fast that the shops below them on ground level have barely had time to catch up with the three-story residences.  Walmart, Ross, and Nordstrom Rack all are represented within blocks of these downtown homes. And though I'd swear the old Press Telegram building had already been converted, it appeared it was still waiting for something...financing perhaps?

Can you imagine living down here, I asked my friend? You have all these great buses taking you to and fro, you've got a prominent art center down a few blocks (Museum of Latin American Art), and check this out! I see Metrorail blue line just down the block from all the homes. You could hop on board and be in LA without having to drive.

But that's just for starters. We came into Long Beach on the boat from Seal Beach. Next door was the cruise launch facilities for Carnival Cruise Lines that depart each week on Mexican Riviera trips. Then there's the launch dock for the high speed catamarans to Catalina Island, and a helicopter port for going to the island, as well.

Geez, you'd think I was gushing over Long Beach. Well I am envious of all the amenities that exist in the downtown area. How many places can you live in California without driving? Not very many. Long Beach Airport a few miles from downtown offers national service on Jet Blue in an historic airport where Internet service was free the last time I flew out of there.


Ranked top in the U.S. for parks and having the largest municipal marina system in the nation are just more icing on the cake.


It's probably time to check out Long Beach if you haven't recently, and like I tell many friends visiting from out of area, next time you come to Southern California to see Disneyland, or next time you plan a small to mid-sized convention, consider having it in Long Beach. My favorite place to stay is still the Hyatt Regency, though I now also really like the renovated Hotel Maya.




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