A day well spent in Long Beach doesn’t have to have a hefty price tag. From classic neighborhoods to sandy beaches, you’ll find Long Beach to be an urban waterfront oasis. See what makes the area a can’t miss day trip in Southern California. Check out our list of the top things to do in Long Beach that won’t break the bank.
1. SIGNAL HILL
Signal Hill’s Hilltop Park offers one of the best panoramic views in the Greater Los Angeles Area. There’s no better spot to grab some food and a blanket for a picnic with a view. Furthermore, you can enjoy the shadow art frames with placards that tell you exactly what you’re looking at through the frame. You can also make use of the picnic tables, public restrooms, and paved walking paths.
2. EARL BURNS MILLER JAPANESE GARDEN
If you’re looking to unwind and meditate, there’s no better place than the Japanese Garden on the campus of Long Beach State University. Where there are inexpensive parking rates, admission to the garden is free. The 1.3 acres offers a tranquil environment to give yourself a peaceful escape. Stroll the winding pathways, visit the Tea House for tea tastings, explore the Zen Garden, or admire all the colorful blossoms. If nothing else, make sure to enjoy the koi pond.
3. RANCHO LOS ALAMITOS
Rancho Los Alamitos is a hidden gem in Long Beach with plenty of history and charm. A city landmark and twice listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Rancho is a historic ranch and gardens, and birthplace of the native people of the Los Angeles Basin. It offers self guided tours through the house, gardens, and barns. Learn the history of the grounds and experience beautiful and exotic flora. The Rancho is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 1:00-5:00 pm.
4. EL DORADO REGIONAL PARK AND NATURE CENTER
The El Dorado Regional Park and Nature Center is an inviting stretch of wilderness in the middle of the city. Nudged in between the San Gabriel River and the 605 Freeway, the Nature Center is an oasis of nature that makes for the perfect Long Beach excursion. Entry is free, but make sure to take advantage of the on-site visitor center, gift shop, and art gallery.
5. SHORELINE PARK
Shoreline Park should be at the top of all lists when it comes to free things to do in Long Beach. This grassy open park is situated on the waterfront in beautiful downtown Long Beach in the middle of all the action. Take in the views and make use of picnic tables and lush grass park for a perfect afternoon in the LBC. The highlight of Shoreline Park is a tall lighthouse with a spiral walking way leading up to the main site. Visit on a sunny day and experience this bustling meeting point.
6. ROSIE’S DOG BEACH
Other than parking (metered), access to Rosie’s Dog Beach is completely free and open to all. There are trash cans and bathrooms open to the public as well as a limited amount of doggie bags. The “dog zone” is open every day from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m, but it may be closed to due to special events or inclement weather. Furthermore, dogs are not permitted outside of the posted “dog zone” hours.
7. THE GRAND SAND SCULPTURE CONTEST
The annual Grand Sand Sculpture Contest is a completely free event that’s fun for the whole family. Now on year 83, the event is complete with masterpieces of world-class professional sand artists, a semi-professional sculpting category, community competition and more. Remarkably, the contest is the longest standing of it’s kind in the nation and continues to be a staple of our community history and future.
8. HEARTWELL PARK
Heartwell Park offers 122.5 acres of scenic landscaped grounds with a fishing pond, bike/skate path, fitness course, and shaded picnic areas. The complex boasts night-lit outdoor game courts, athletic fields, ball diamonds, and a kiddie playground. On top of that, stay tuned for youth activities, sports, and various special interest classes. Open Monday through Saturday’s and closed on Sundays.
9. DOMINGUEZ GAP WETLANDS
The restoration of the Dominguez Gap Wetlands is complete and there’s never been a better time to visit. The $7.1 million project includes open space that creates increased opportunities for public recreational amenities, such as an equestrian trail, bike path, and walkways. On top of the residential amenities, the newly converted wetlands provide flood protection and water conservation capabilities.
10. WALKING TOURS OF DOWNTOWN LONG BEACH
If you’re looking for a free way to get active and learn more about Long Beach, walking tours from the Long Beach Heritage Non-Profit are the way to go. The weekly tours explore a different Long Beach neighborhood on each meeting with Willmore City, East Village, Downtown, and North Pine as the upcoming destinations for the upcoming months.
Long Beach has a lot to offer, including art, history, and simply a relaxing space to unwind. Exploring this beautiful city doesn’t have to cost much, if anything, and you can still have some extra cash leftover for a good meal and some drinks. There are plenty of free things to do in Long Beach. What are some of your favorites?
Looking for convenient hotel accommodations in Long Beach? Hotel Current is conveniently located in central Long Beach just minutes away from all the action in downtown. If you’re looking for even more things to do in the LBC, check out our attractions page. Book your local stay with Hotel Current today!