36 Reasons Why You Should Move to Long Beach, California

Growing up in the San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach seemed like a far off land – somewhere you only went if you wanted to hop on a ferry to Catalina Island or catch a glimpse of the Queen Mary.

After moving to Denver for school and returning to Southern California for a job transfer a few years later, my husband José and I found ourselves looking for an apartment within the leasing company we had to avoid paying hefty fees for breaking our Denver contract.

It wasn't until then that Long Beach found itself on my radar. Without knowing much (anything!) about this city, we packed up our U-Haul and headed back for the coast.

Throughout two years of exploring Long Beach, there’s one thing for sure – every preconceived notion I had about it was wrong.

It’s not a far off land; in fact, it’s centrally located between Los Angeles and Orange County, making it convenient for a day trip down to Laguna Beach, a weekend of fun at Disneyland or heading up to downtown Los Angeles for a night out.

The city even has its own airport – Long Beach Airport is tranquil compared to LAX or John Wayne, making it ideal for travelers who want to fly without the hassle.

Another thing I soon discovered was the amazing, diverse population. Despite being the second largest city in Los Angeles County, Long Beach still manages to offer that small town feel thanks in part to the countless neighborhoods within the city. Depending on where you live, each provide a unique charm that makes up the quilt of Long Beach.

Long Beach Neighborhoods:

Traffic Circle: This is my own neighborhood and features one of the first traffic circles in the United States, dating back to the 1930's.

Belmont Shore: Within walking distance to the beach, Belmont Shore is a quaint neighborhood with boutiques, local shops and amazing restaurants. This neighborhood also hosts various events throughout the year, such as the Long Beach Sea Festival and Belmont Shore Car Show.

Downtown: The heart of Long Beach is found in the Downtown neighborhood! There are many tourist attractions, such as the Aquarium of the Pacific, The Pike, and the East Village Arts District. Downtown also hosts the Farmers Market and special events each month, such as the Saturday Art Walk in the East Village and the Friday Twilight Walk along gorgeous Pine Avenue.

Craftsman Village: Take a walk through various neighborhoods in Long Beach and you’ll notice architectural styles that span a century. Craftsman Village is one such neighborhood that features a large number of beautiful Craftsman-style bungalows, as well as Victorian and Spanish Colonial Revival homes.

Bixby Knolls: Situated near the northern end of Long Beach, Bixby Knolls has an active community dedicated to art, history and culture. The Historical Society of Long Beach and the Long Beach Shakespeare Company are located in this quaint, cozy neighborhood, along with coffee shops and boutiques.

Alamitos Beach: Countless condos and apartments sit within Alamitos Beach, many buildings of which date back to the 1920s. Known for its nightlife and LGBT community, well-known establishments, such as Hamburger Mary’s and The Brit, are located here.

Even if you’re not a SoCal native, chances are you've seen or heard about Long Beach. The city’s proximity to Hollywood and its diverse settings make it a popular option for television shows, movies and commercials. 

I could go on and on about all the fun and amazing things Long Beach has to offer, so I’ll just list them here!

36 Reasons Why You Should Move to Long Beach:

1. Queen Mary
2. Long Beach Hydrobikes
3. Rosie’s Dog Beach
4. Free yoga at Bluff Park
5. Long Beach Playhouse
6. Diverse neighborhoods
7. Popular movie locations
8. Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden at CSULB
9. Long Beach Performing Arts Center
10. Pine Avenue
11. Long Beach Pride 
12. Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
13. Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles
14. Museum of Latin American Art
15. Parker’s Lighthouse
16. Aquarium of the Pacific 
17. World Series of Beach Volleyball
18. Dive Bars
19. Long Beach Marathon (and countless 5Ks!)
20. Long Beach Airport
21. Underground music scene
22. California State University, Long Beach
23. Hotel Maya 
24. Belmont Shore
25. Diverse food – Fusion, Thai, Mexican, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Southern…you name it!
26. Coffee culture – local roasters and plenty of cafes
27. Beachfront bike and pedestrian path
28. Roundabouts – a unique feature in the city
29. Farmer’s Market
30. Concerts in the Park
31. The Sky Room 
32. The Pike at Long Beach
33. Port of Los Angeles
34. Dinner/Harbor cruises
35. Gondola Getaway in Naples
36. The people!

Living in Southern California, there’s no shortage of beach communities to choose from when moving here, but there’s plenty about Long Beach that sets it apart from other cities.

I love the closeness to the ocean and catching a whiff of sea breeze when I’m enjoying brunch in Belmont Shore or making a Target run in Los Altos.

Even after two years of living in this great city, I still feel like I am on vacation – exploring new neighborhoods and enjoying all of the entertainment Long Beach has to offer. Now that is what makes Long Beach an awesome place to live.

Are you moving soon? (Start planning your adventure with our free moving planning journal!)


Laura Leiva is a freelance writer and loves the beach, blogging, traveling, and exploring new cities and restaurants with her husband, as well as frequenting Disneyland and Dodger Stadium throughout the year. Find her on Instagram at @lauraleiva.

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  1. Can't wait to add most of these to our list of places to explore!!!

  2. That's Truth! Happy Vibes There always!

  3. That's Truth! Happy Vibes There always!