Southern California Day Trips

Downtown Long Beach

Downtown Long Beach has much to offer, including its proximity to the ocean and cultural diversity.  Set aside about 4-5 hours to enjoy the day, though you may need a few extra hours if you take in all of the sights in Downtown Long Beach, including the Queen Mary, which is a good spot for kids.

Food, Pine Avenue and Shoreline Drive:

Start your day on Pine Avenue, where the Blue Line Metro ends, which is a nostalgic site to see a train in the middle of a city. The best way to start your day is with brunch at The Federal Bar at 102 Pine Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802, which hosts an excellent Jazz Brunch on Sundays. The spacious restaurant is inside of an old bank. The food is solid and the vibe is very friendly. After brunch, walk leisurely up Pine Avenue, which is the main strip in Downtown Long Beach, there are many bars and shops. If interested in an award-winning brewery, pop into Beachwood Brewing & BBQ, 210 E 3rd St Long Beach, CA 90802, a block off of Pine Avenue. It recently won an award for best large brewpub and a gold medal for coffee for is Mocha Machine.  Continue back on 5th Avenue and turn around and head down towards Ocean Blvd. to Shoreline Drive. Hang a right on Shoreline Drive and head to the Aquarium of the Pacific, at 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802. The ticket prices are a little steep at $29 for adults and $15 for kids aged 3-11, though there are additional amenities for additional fees, but it is well worth the trip. The Aquarium could take between 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on if you bring kids.

If you have time and the appetite, check out one of the best “vintage” (I am purposely avoiding the term “dive” here) bars in all of Southern California (if not the country), which is Joe Jost’s, about 3 miles east of Downtown at 2803 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804. Order a schooner of beer (or two), order some pickled eggs (complete with pretzels) and have a hot dog and pop a few yellow peppers. There is a certain stoned-like bliss that washes over you after your second schooner of Pabst and having consumed at least two peppers, two pickled eggs and two sandwiches. Buy a T-Shirt, wear it when traveling overseas, take a picture and provide the picture to the bar and hope that it gets posted for a permanent place at Joe Jost’s.

Getting There:

You can access Downtown Long Beach via the LA Metro Blue Line, specifically the 5th Street Station, the 1st Street Station and the Downtown Long Beach Station; unfortunately, you will need either a car, a taxi or an uber ride to Joe Jost’s. In a car the best way to Downtown Long Beach is to take the 710 freeway until it ends and follow the signs to Pine Avenue/Shoreline Drive.

Day Trip Into A Weekend Trip:

Expand this Downtown Long Beach Day Trip into a multi-day trip by visiting Catalina Island, which you can access via the Catalina Express shuttle launch in Downtown Long Beach.

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