Metro Daycation: Long Beach
All photos by Juliet Bennett Rylah
Welcome to Metro Daycation, our series exploring Los Angeles’s Metro system, presenting a host of entertainment and cultural opportunities, all located within one mile of a Metro stop. This month, we explore Long Beach.
Long Beach, incorporated in 1888, was named for its vast stretches of coast. The city boomed thanks to the railroad, the discovery of oil, and the Port of Long Beach. In the early 1900s, it was the fastest growing city in the nation, according to U.S. Census Data.
The Metro Blue Line launched in 1990, connecting Los Angeles to Long Beach. Today, downtown Long Beach is a pedestrian-friendly destination, with plenty to eat, drink, see and do—not to mention the stellar views of the Pacific Ocean and the often cooler temperatures that can be so desirable in the midst of a Los Angeles heatwave.
GET THERE: From the Metro Red or Purple lines, head to the 7th Street/Metro Center station. Transfer to the Metro Blue Line towards Long Beach and get off at the Downtown Long Beach station.
237 Long Beach Boulevard, Ste. A
Recreational Coffee was Long Beach’s first third-wave coffee shop when it opened in October of 2015. This is where you go if you want a damn fine cup of coffee or espresso, or something entirely unique. Order chocolate cappuccinos, iced coffee with hops, or the iced Basilfruit—a concoction that pairs iced coffee—they don’t do coldbrew—with basil and grapefruit. Food is available and may include sandwiches, vegan donuts, pastries, yogurt parfaits and other items suitable for breakfast or lunch.
245 E Broadway
DoLy’s Delectables, so named for owners Julie Do and Son Ly, specializes in French pastries and coffee. Every day, they bake fresh a variety of goods, including cupcakes, brownies, muffins, tarts, cookies, bread puddings, croissants and more. For those who prefer savory breakfast fare, they also offer omelette sandwiches, breakfast burritos, oatmeal, yogurt and other items that’ll energize you for your day of exploration.
ARTS & CULTURE
Art Exchange Gallery
356 E 3rd Street
Art Exchange Long Beach is a gallery, event space and community center where people can learn about and make art. The gallery is free to enter and always has something interesting to see—their most recent show is Lun*na Menoh’s “A Ring Around the Collar,” which humorously puts formerly pristine white collars, now soiled, on display via paintings and sculpture. Stroll around to the back to see a photograph of the historic building when it was still The National Cash Register Company.
251 E 7th Street
562 433 8337
For over 15 years, Garage Theater has been bringing new and experimental works to Long Beach. The non-profit theater is small, accommodating only about 30 guests per show, but they work hard to stage a handful of diverse plays each year.
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing
210 E 3rd Street
562 436 4020
Beachwood BBQ has some seriously delicious barbecue, and it doesn’t hurt that they also have a solid list of craft beers on tap. Those with intense appetites can choose from options like brisket, baby back ribs and tri-tip pastrami with sides including fried green tomatoes, creamed spinach and blue cheese grits. Those looking for lighter fare might try a sandwich—like the lamb burger or the buffalo sloppy joe—or a salad. Indoor and outdoor seating are available. The kitchen’s open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. while the bar winds down around 11 p.m. Closed Mondays.
George’s Greek Cafe
135 Pine Avenue
562 437 1184
Though George’s Greek Cafe has multiple locations, they consider this one—less than a five-minute walk from the Metro station—to be their flagship outpost. Lunch includes a variety of dips and pita, gyro, falafel, halloumi, salads, soups, souvlaki and more. Outdoor seating is available, and they also have a full bar. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. If you’re having a late lunch or early dinner, you can take advantage of their daily happy hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The Dark Art Emporium
256 Elm Avenue
562 612 1118
Where else in Long Beach can you buy an authentic human skull? The Dark Art Emporium proudly caters to the “strange and unusual,” offering a macabre collection of books, art and decor. Bizarre taxidermy, dolls that seem like they must be haunted, mounted bat skeletons and other curiosities line the shelves. The space also contains a gallery, where eerie art is displayed. If your rumpus room needs a portrait of Karloff’s Frankenstein, this is the shop for you.
MADE by Millworks
240 Pine Avenue
562 584 6233
MADE by Millworks is where shoppers can purchase locally made clothes, accessories, home goods, pantry items, bath and body products and more. With over 150 brands on display at a given time, you never know what you might pick up here. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way
562 590 3100
This large aquarium offers a rare chance to view a vast array of marine life, including fish, sea horses, frogs, turtles, sea lions and penguins. In total, there are some 11,000 animals from 500 different species—in particular, those that call the Pacific Ocean home. In addition to the indoor galleries, there’s an outdoor Shark Lagoon where guests may gently touch bamboo and epaulette sharks. Birds can be found in an aviary called the Lorikeet Forest. Admission typically begins at $29.95/adult and $17.95/child, and open hours are usually daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, on select nights throughout the year, hours are extended and discounted tickets are available. Check the aquarium’s website for specific dates and more details.
Harvelle’s Long Beach
201 E Broadway
562 239 3700
The first Harvelle’s launched in Santa Monica in 1931, while its Long Beach kid sister opened in 2011. This dimly lit and appropriately sultry bar is located beneath Congregation Ale House. They have drinks, but the real draw is the entertainment, which includes comedy, music, theatrics and, mostly notably, burlesque. It’s not all velvet gloves and fans, as recent themes have included the oeuvre of Tim Burton and American Horror Story. Harvelle’s opens nightly at 8 p.m.
Shoreline Aquatic Park
200 Aquarium Way
562 570 3100
From the aquarium, guests can take a casual stroll through Shoreline Aquatic Park. The bucolic park overlooks the Queensway Bay, meaning you can see not just the ocean, but also the Queen Mary. There are numerous benches and areas for picnicking, or you can lounge in the sandy area closer to the water. A path will take you on a loop around the 10-story Lions Lighthouse for Sight.
Great Society Cider & Mead
601 E Broadway
562 270 5625
Great Society may have an extensive tap list, but instead of beers, it focuses on ciders and meads. It’s also a great place to have a casual dinner, with or without a crisp pint. The menu includes burgers, charcuterie, and flavorful apps like baked mac & cheese and crispy brussels sprouts. Happy hour, which runs Tuesday through Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., features deals on bar bites and $4.50 ciders and beers and $5/6 cider cocktails. Open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and brunch, lunch, and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays.
BO-beau Kitchen + Roof Tap
144 Pine Avenue
562 983 0056
BO-beau serves California-French cuisine, and has a rooftop beer garden with over 50 brews on tap. Expect heartier French staples in the main dining room, while more casual items—including poutine, wings, salads and sandwiches—can be ordered on the roof. During happy hour, which is daily from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., get deals on small plates, including $2 oysters, and drinks.
40 S Locust Avenue
562 983 2703
The Sky Room is a romantic fine dining restaurant with a view. Yet one floor above is the casual Cielo. Cielo boasts a view of downtown Long Beach and the Pacific Ocean, with the added bonus of drinks and veggie tacos. Several types of tequila and mezcal can be sampled via a flight or in one of their many specialty margaritas or cocktails. Beer, wine, and other spirits are available, too. Open on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
149 Linden Avenue
562 247 1511
Blind Donkey can be found down a flight of stairs, revealing a dark bar with plenty of places to squirrel away with good company and a cocktail. They specialize in whiskey, on its own or in a cocktail. Try the Lady Grey, made with Glen Grant 10 year Scotch, earl grey syrup, Giffards ginger, lemon rind, and Angostura bitters.