The Sports Turf Managers Association's Annual Conference and Exhibition is January 10-14, 2012 in beautiful downtown Long Beach, CA. Photo courtesy of Destinations magazine.
Welcome to today’s Long Beach
Settled along 5 1/2 miles of sandy coastline, Long Beach is the quintessential vacation getaway, boasting both the ambience of a sophisticated urban center and the charm of a seaside community. Located 20 miles south of Los Angeles, California’s seventh largest city offers visitors a dynamic range of oceanfront hotels, attractions, shopping, recreational activities, art and culture, restaurants and nightly entertainment that make it an ideal destination for any time of the year.
Long Beach has emerged as a community full of matchless neighborhoods and cultural diversity. Located just a mile down Ocean Boulevard is the seaside community of Belmont Shore, which features Second Street, a shopper’s mecca and premier location for outdoor dining and people watching. Tucked behind Belmont Shore is one of the city’s most romantic destinations, Naples Island, where Italian-style gondoliers cruise along the canals lined with picturesque, million-dollar homes. Alamitos Bay is just past Belmont Shore offering waterfront dining and views of rows and rows of sailboats. Downtown Long Beach is a perfect blend of sophisticated urban center and charming seaside community, and is filled with a myriad of entertainment choices. For more international flavors, visitors can discover the city’s historic Spanish roots in Bixby Knolls or experience Cambodia Town, the prevalent community along Anaheim Street that has been recognized as one of the largest Cambodian communities in the world.
Discover the city’s best known attractions, which range from a historic ocean liner to a sustainable aquarium. One of the most recognized attractions in Long Beach, The Queen Mary, is one of the world’s most luxurious ships to sail the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean liner also features a 314-stateroom hotel and several fine restaurants. Visitors can explore this majestic ship from the wheelhouse to the engine room before braving the Queen’s current attraction, Ghosts and Legends. During this haunted tour, a guide leads brave guests through parts of the Queen Mary that were previously off-limits while the attraction produces floods, flashing lights, and ghostly experiences. Visitors can also explore the mystique of the Soviet submarine Scorpion, which is moored adjacent to the Queen Mary.
For a face-to-fish encounter visit the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, a world-class facility that is home to more than 11,000 inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean representing some 500 different species. It also has numerous areas where visitors can touch the animals of the ocean like sting rays, sea cucumbers, starfish and more. Explorer’s Cove features Lorikeet Forest where these colorful and friendly miniature parrots can be hand-fed by visitors. Also in Explorer’s Cove is Shark Lagoon, where nine species of shark can be viewed from both above and below water. Visitors can actually touch several of the shark species in special touch lagoons. The new Molina Animal Care Center offers enhanced healthcare to animals as well as opportunities for guests to view veterinary medicine in action.
A short walk from the Aquarium along picturesque Rainbow Harbor, you’ll find two exciting entertainment/dining/shopping complexes, Shoreline Village and The Pike at Rainbow Harbor. Shoreline Village has the look and feel of a charming seaside fishing village, with a boardwalk of specialty and souvenir shops and restaurants. The Pike at Rainbow Harbor is Long Beach’s newest attraction, a 300,000+ square foot entertainment center with shops, restaurants and a multiplex movie theater. Rainbow Harbor itself is home to boats of all types, including fishing boats, tall ships, luxury charter yachts, harbor tour boats, pleasure craft and even a replica Mississippi stern wheeler.
Just minutes from downtown Long Beach rest several other interesting attractions that will suit visitors of all ages. These “must-sees” include Alamitos Bay, a waterfront dining and entertainment area; Gondola Getaway along the canals of Naples Island; and Ranchos Los Alamitos and Rancho Los Cerritos, two historic parks featuring acres of beautiful gardens and authentic adobes.
Winding along the beach are smooth, wide paths perfect for biking, rollerblading, running or romantic strolls. Visitors can dive right into a variety of water sports such as kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, sport fishing, scuba diving and jet skiing. Everything from rollerblades to wetsuits, jet skis to windsurfing equipment, can be rented at various places along the beach. Day and night harbor cruises are also available, offering beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
Each year, from late December to mid-April, visitors can witness the awe-inspiring migration of more than 15,000 Pacific grey whales passing through Long Beach on their way to their breeding and berthing grounds in Mexico. Whale watching excursions are available through several companies.
From award-winning drama and cutting-edge opera to historic museums, visitors will enjoy an exciting range of artistic expressions that comprise the city’s rich heritage. Long Beach is home to a number of impressive museums, including the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA), the only museum in the country to focus exclusively on the contemporary art of Mexico, Central and South America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Visitors can also explore the city’s unique galleries in the thriving East Village arts community, listen to a renowned symphony orchestra or watch a play from a variety of first-class performing arts companies.
When it’s time to dine, Long Beach offers visitors hundreds of options from intimate cafes to spectacular oceanfront restaurants. Visitors can nosh on fried green tomatoes in a restored 1920s California Bungalow, dive into a table full of seafood along Alamitos Bay or feast in a historic bank building complete with teller cages. Sample a world of cuisines right in this International City from Italian to Cambodian.
No other community in Southern California is as visitor friendly as Long Beach–and getting here is easy. Fly directly into the Long Beach Airport (LGB) on Alaska Air, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue Airways and US Airways. Direct flights are available to many major cities, including New York, Washington DC, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Chicago and more. If you prefer to fly into Los Angeles (LAX) or Orange County (SNA), Long Beach is just a short 25-minute drive from either airport. While in town, the Passport local shuttle service offers complimentary transportation to all of downtown Long Beach’s most popular attractions including the Aquarium, Queen Mary, Shoreline Village and Pine Avenue. For just $1.25, the Passport can transport visitors down to Belmont Shores/Naples and Cal State Long Beach.
In addition, water taxi service is offered by the Aquabus, and can transport guests across the water to Shoreline Village, the Aquarium, or the Queen Mary. The Aqualink is a high-speed catamaran water taxi from downtown to Alamitos Bay. For your convenience, friendly downtown guides dressed in blue “Long Beach” shirts, blue caps and khaki pants are stationed in a 40-block area and help visitors find restaurants, shops and attractions.
Immerse yourself with underwater life at theAquarium of the Pacificwith an interactive experience that has you swimming with the fishes and petting the sharks.
Channel all your senses during the Paranormal Shipwalk Tour aboard The Queen Mary.
Cruise the Naples Canals in style with romanticItalian Gondolas.
Hop on aSegway and swiftly see the sights of the picturesque Rainbow Harbor and waterfront.
From Irish pubs to multi-million dollar dance clubs, piano bars to a sexy after hour lounge, dance your way through the manynightclubs and barsin downtown Long Beach.
Let art and culture enrapture you as you take a walking tour through theEast Village Art’s District.
Celebrate with cocktails and take in the downtown skyline atThe Sky Room.
Keep steady doingStand Up Paddle boarding or kayakingin Naples.
Visit the largest population of Cambodians outside of Phnom Penh atCambodia Town.
Take a lesson inKite Surfing at the beach.
First Fridays in Bixby Knollsoffers a selection of art, entertainment and food.
Enjoy a scenicSunday brunchat The Reef or The Queen Mary.
Stroll one of theMost Walkable Citiesin the U.S. (Downtown, Belmont Shore, Belmont Heights, Bixby Knolls and the East Side of Long Beach).
Witness Egyptian architecture at theWalter Pyramidat CSULB, 1 of 3 pyramids in the U.S. and the largest space-frame structure in North America.
See whales on the Long Beach Arena’s mural Wyland’s Planet Ocean,which Guinness Book Records recorded as the World’s Largest Mural.
Run, Forrest, Run! Not only can you enjoy a fun meal at Bubba Gump’s you can also participate in the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon.
Do a ‘tap dance’ atYard House,boasting one of the largest selections of beers on tap in the world.
Visit theMuseum of Latin American Art (MoLAA),the only museum West of the Mississippi to feature art from Latin America and the Spanish speaking Caribbean.
Choose from more than100 restaurants within an eight block radiusof downtown Long Beach; many of which are heavily accoladed by the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association.
For a little wind in your hair, rent an electricDuffy Boat and cruise through the Naples canals.
Laugh it up at one of the world’s largest comedy clubs, theLaugh Factory Long Beach.
Come out and be proud; ourGay Pride Festivalis the 3rd largest celebration in the U.S.
Conduct an olive oil tasting atWe Olivein Belmont Shore.
Delight in high tea at theVintage Tea Leaf…no British accent needed.
Get pickled eggs at legendaryJoe Jost’s, one of Long Beach’s oldest bars.
Satisfy, your, or your four-legged friends’, sweet tooth at theFrosted Cupcakery where they make Pupcakes!
Have an All Star meal atMVP Burger.
Drive ‘round and ‘round theLong Beach Traffic Circle.
Take a cruise around the Long Beach Harbor for less than $5 in anAqualink catamaran.
Golf is par for the course in Long Beach. Enjoy the great outdoors withfive public golf courses.
Enjoy a meal overlooking the bluffs atClaire’s at the Long Beach Museum of Art.
32.Get ‘inked’ atOuter Limits Tattoos,one of the country’s oldest tattoo parlors.
33. Watch the tug boats go by while sitting under the lighthouse atShoreline Aquatic Parkin Rainbow Harbor.
34. Place your bid during the Koi Fish Auction at theMiller Japanese
Gardens at Cal State Long Beach.
35. Detach your earlobes from your shoulders and have your tension and stress melt away atLa Dolce Vita Spa.
36. Explore the vibrancy of downtown Long Beach at night with its new, multi-coloredLED lighting.
37. Take your favorite Fido to Rosie’s Dog Beach,the only dog beach in Los Angeles County.
38.Taste the world (and leave your Passport at home) by savoring International eateries along Pine Avenue: Café Sevilla, George’s Greek Café, L’Opera, Alegria Cantina Cocina, Gaucho Grill and Wokcano. Hop on a four-person pedal surrey and cruise the5.5 mile beachfront bike path.
39. Enjoy sumptuous seafood while overlooking the marina and Rainbow Harbor atParker’s Lighthouse.
40. Take Salsa lessons and dance the night away atCafé Sevilla.
41. Explore Southern California history atRancho Los Alamitos and Rancho Los Cerritos.
42. Let your inner child soar freely with aferris wheel rideat the Pike at Rainbow Harbor.
43. Put the pedal to the metal and watch the checkered-flag soar at theToyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
44. Buy some eclectic threads at the vintage shops or people watch at a coffee shops alongRetro Row.
45. Explore the Pacific Ocean and enjoy whale watchingexcursions year-round off the coast of Long Beach.
46. Stroll down Shoreline Village and discover an array of waterfront restaurant and shops featuring gifts, souvenirs, collectibles, hats, gourmet chocolates and much more.
47. Get acquainted with the abundant great green outdoorswith the city’s many parks and gardens that feature fishing lakes, picnic shelters and bike trails.
48. Unleash your appetite at the many food festivals and tastingsthat occur throughout the year, including Belmont Shore’s Stroll & Savor and Taste of Downtown.
49. Explore the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (PIEAM), showcasing sculptures, painting and carvings from across the Pacific.
50. Rev up those muscle cars and take in the Belmont Shore Car Show, the largest one-day car show on the West Coast.