Long Beach

For other places with the same name, see Long Beach (disambiguation).
Downtown Long Beach at dusk, as viewed from the Queen Mary

Long Beach is a large port city in Los Angeles County in Southern California.


Long Beach is a large coastal and port city in Southern California. It is situated at the very southeastern edge of Los Angeles County, bordering both the city of Los Angeles and Orange County, in a region known as the Gateway Cities.

Long Beach is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse cities in America. It has large percentages of Latinos and whites (non-Hispanic), as well as very sizeable percentages of blacks (non-Hispanic) and Asians. As a whole, the city tends to have a more East-Coast/Midwest vibe when compared to the rest of the coastal California cities, so people from those regions of the country may find themselves a little more at home in Long Beach.

You may hear different people say different things about Long Beach, either wonderful or horrible things. This is because the city has quite a large population, with a density rate greater than that of nearby Los Angeles. Therefore, like other large cities, Long Beach encompasses everything, such as large industrial areas, struggling neighborhoods, quiet middle-class communities and exclusive neighborhoods.

Long Beach has some nice people-gathering amenities and genuine tourist attractions, such as a world-class aquarium and the Queen Mary floating museum/hotel. Special events are also held in the city like the annual Long Beach Grand Prix (a premier racing event held on city streets) and the annual Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride event. When compared to other areas like Hollywood, West Hollywood, Santa Monica and West L.A., Long Beach may not always be at the top of someone's tourist visit to the Los Angeles area, but the city draws its fair share of visitors and has proven it can definitely hold its own.

The area code for Long Beach is 562. For emergency services, dial 911 from any phone.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 67 67 69 72 74 77 82 84 82 77 72 67
Nightly lows (°F) 46 48 51 53 58 61 65 65 63 58 51 46
Precipitation (in) 2.6 3.1 1.9 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.6 1.0 2.0

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)

Get in

By plane

Out of the five airports in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Long Beach can easily be reached from three: Long Beach Airport (LGB), within the city itself; Los Angeles International (LAX), 22 miles away; and John Wayne (SNA), 23 miles away in Santa Ana. All three lie adjacent to Interstate 405. The other two airport options are Burbank (BUR), 37 miles away; and Ontario (ONT), 53 miles away. LGB will obviously be the most convenient to use location-wise and, being a smaller airport, provides less hassle; however, LAX offers more frequent service, service from more destinations, and better fares. Long Beach Airport is limited to around 40 daily flights, the vast majority of which are provided by carrier JetBlue.

  Long Beach Airport (IATA: LGB): Rental cars are available for hire at the airport, which will most likely be needed in Southern California. Long Beach Yellow Cab +1 562 435-6111 is another option, approximate fares to downtown hotels $30-40 one-way. City bus Long Beach Transit Route 111 (Broadway/Lakewood) connects the airport to downtown Long Beach and to the Blue Line at the downtown Transit Mall. It runs south to downtown (40 min ride) from LGB about once every half hour and costs $1.25. To find the bus stop, follow the taxi signs, walk one block beyond the taxi lineup, and turn right. Be sure to ask if the bus goes downtown, since both northbound and southbound Route 111 buses use this one bus stop at LGB.

Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX): It is fairly easy to take the Metro Rail from LAX to Long Beach, although it may require a short taxi ride or transfer to a bus to reach your final destination. At LAX, look for the LAX Shuttle & Airline Connections sign on the Lower/Arrival Level islands in front of each terminal, and board the free "G" Shuttle which takes you to the Aviation/LAX Green Line Metro Rail station. Purchase a TAP card with a one-trip fare ($1.75 + $1 for a new TAP card), take a Norwalk-bound Green Line train, exit at the Willowbrook station, and transfer to a Long Beach-bound Blue Line train. Overall travel time from LAX is about an hour and fifteen minutes or so during daytime hours. Daytime travel is fine, but it is not recommended to take the Blue Line late in the evening as the line traverses some very questionable neighborhoods. Two shared van services (Supershuttle or PrimeTime Shuttle) provide door to door service from LAX; advise the representatives that you need a ride to Long Beach, and they will flag the appropriate van. Fare is approximately $28 one way, taking about one hour. A taxi from LAX to Long Beach is about $70. If you do not plan on having a car, the shuttle or taxi is the most convenient if you are traveling with heavy bags, arriving in the evening, or going to a final destination not near a Blue Line station. Starting in December 2015 LAX Flyaway began hourly bus service from downtown Long Beach at Shelter A of the Long Beach Transit Gallery at the corner of First Street and Long Beach Boulevard to/from LAX from 530AM to 930PM daily. The cost is 9$ each way (credit card purchase of a ticket on the bus is available-cash on bus not accepted) and estimated travel time is 50 minutes (may vary with traffic).

John Wayne Airport (IATA: SNA), Santa Ana, Orange County: City buses will offer the only public transportation to Long Beach from SNA, which will not be too convenient. Renting a car (as you will probably need anyway) or taking a taxi will be better options. This airport and LAX are about equal distances from Long Beach (albeit, in different directions) and although busy, it is somewhat less busier than LAX for a little less airport hassle.

By rail

A Metro Blue Line train in Downtown Long Beach

Long Beach is linked via the Metro Blue Line to Downtown Los Angeles with connections to Hollywood, Union Station, Universal Studios, Pasadena, and East L.A. among other locations.

Amtrak and Metrolink service Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. To reach Long Beach from Union Station, take the Metro Red Line to the 7th St/Metro Center station and transfer to the Blue Line to Long Beach. Fare is $1.75 and requires a TAP card, which can be purchased at any Metro station for $1. Note: the Blue Line goes through some inner city locations (such as Watts and Compton) and there are not dedicated security guards on the trains, so it may be discomforting to take the Blue Line late at night.

By ship

Carnival Cruise Line has a home port at the new   Long Beach Cruise Terminal, next to the Queen Mary dock. Cruises return to this port from Baja California and the Mexican Riviera. Others begin or end trips through the Panama Canal destined for or having left major ports in the southern or eastern U.S. In season, some may go to or return from points North, e.g., Alaska. When cruise ships are docked, they receive service from many taxi companies, as well as various shuttle services (noted for LAX above) to and from local airports and select hotels and popular destinations.

A ferry to Catalina Island also operates from Long Beach.

By car

From the west (LAX, Santa Monica) or from Orange County, take the San Diego (405) freeway. Connect to the southbound Long Beach freeway (710) if your destination is downtown Long Beach. From the north, the Long Beach freeway (710) runs along the western city boundary, and the San Gabriel Freeway (605) along the eastern boundary. From the coastal areas of Orange County, a scenic and convenient route is Pacific Coast Highway (Rte 1).

By public transit from Orange County

There are several ways to get to Long Beach from Orange County if you don't or can't rent a car. The most direct way is to take Orange County Transit Authority's Route 50 bus servicing Katella Avenue, which passes between Disneyland and the Anaheim Convention Center. The western terminus of this route is California State University-Long Beach (CSULB). If you are in the Beach Cities, take Route 1 servicing the Pacific Coast Highway and also terminating at CSULB. Some trips on Route 60 (Westminster Avenue/17th Street) terminate at CSULA.

Get around

A car is the most convenient way to get around Long Beach. Most areas of Long Beach have free parking but be aware that much of Downtown Long Beach has pay parking lots. The free bright red Passport buses serves the Long Beach downtown and waterfront attractions.

There are several transit agencies with bus routes in Long Beach.


the Aquarium of the Pacific




Long Beach is a very golf-friendly city, home to several golf courses.



Long Beach is home to two major learning facilities, a California State University campus and a Community Junior College.


Street view in Downtown Long Beach


Formerly known as "Iowa by the Sea", but now populated by a diverse community, Long Beach has a full range of dining options.









Middle Eastern


Aboard the Queen Mary

RMS Queen Mary docked in Long Beach Harbor



Stay safe

Most areas of Long Beach are fairly safe, even after dark. There are two major areas that are not quite as safe and should be avoided after dark. Caution is called for even during the daytime in these areas.

The first of these areas is in the southwestern portion of the city. This area is bounded, starting from the southeast corner, by Redondo Blvd. and 4th, running north to the Signal Hill border. Along the Signal Hill border north-west to the 405 Freeway, along the freeway to the western border of Long Beach and Wilmington, down to 4th St.

The second and more dangerous of the areas is North Long Beach (north west of the LGB airport). The approximate boundaries of this area are from Del Amo and Cherry, north to the north border of the city, along the north border to the west border and back south to Del Amo. This area, which borders on Compton, has a reputation for gang activity and is one of the more active police and fire districts in the city.

During the riots of 1992, both of these areas experienced violence, looting and destruction of property.


Long Beach has its own police department operating from four main stations throughout the city. Police can be reached by dialing 911 toll-free from any phone. The Long Beach Police now receive 911 calls directly from cell phones however calling 911 from a cell phone when near freeways will connect you with the California Highway Patrol. To reach the Long Beach Police directly from a cell phone, dial +1 562 435-6711.

Fire/Emergency Medical Services

Long Beach also has its own Class 1 Fire Department. The Class 1 designation indicates that response times to emergencies average 5 minutes or less. To request emergency assistance from the Fire Department, dial 911 toll-free from any phone.

Every fire engine and truck is staffed by fire-fighters with Basic Life Support training. The department also has a number of Advanced Life Support certified Paramedic Ambulances strategically stationed around the city. Fire Department Ambulances are available for emergency medical transport to a hospital, however, be aware that you will be billed for transport.


Long Beach is well-served by hospitals. There are three major hospitals in the city, including two that are trauma centers (Memorial and St. Mary) capable of handling the most critical emergencies. All five of the hospitals listed below have 24-hour emergency rooms.

While there are three hospitals in the city, they are all south of Interstate 405. In North and East Long Beach, the nearest hospitals are located in neighboring cities.



Go next

Routes through Long Beach

West LA Carson  N  S  Seal Beach Irvine
Whittier Lakewood  N  S  END
East LA Compton  N  S  END
Santa Monica Torrance  N  S  Seal Beach Dana Point
END  W  E  Seal Beach Orange/Santa Ana
Gardena Compton  W  E  Bellflower Anaheim
Downtown L.A. Compton  N  S  END

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 30, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.