Long Beach CA Info for kimamom

Old Feb 26th, 2004, 06:11 AM
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Huntington Beach v. Newport Beach v. Laguna is comparing apples and oranges, or, in the case of Orange County, navels and Valencias. In My Opinion:

Huntington Beach is mainly a largish undistinguished suburb with a few blocks-square of attractive (and relatively recent for the most part) beach-resort commerce, including a couple of newish mega-hotel complexes including the Hyatt. The beaches at HB are the best - long, wide, great surf, and its pier the best of the three. But in terms of non-beach things attractive to tourists HB doesn't have the range that the others will have.

Newport is sprawling and schizo in comparison. Big institutional land users (shopping malls, Hoag Hospital - on its way to being the size of a city on its own), upland ranchburger houses, bayside commerce for the yachty set (ship dealers, Ferrari dealers, raquet clubs for raqueteers), Joe's Crab Shack (urp), trafficky strip commerce; and also cozy little waterfront residential enclaves for zillionaires - Lido Isle (where John Wayne used to garden his wee plot and greet drivers-by) and "little Bal" - Balboa Island, accessible by ferry or by a rather hard-to-find bridge, and loaded with gorgeous flowery little cottages. Like the Naples neighborhood adjacent to Belmont Shore in Long Beach (see above) Little Bal proves there are incredibly desirable, high-density, aesthetically wonderful neighborhoods in SoCal - if you can win a lottery or two. Newport has some beach but not as extensive as Huntington's, more shopping, restaurant, and strolling possibilities, but also lots more cars and more need of one.

Laguna got the rep of "artsy" back when being Bohemian was unusual rather than a whole culture. It's physically got the most attractive setting of the group, with hills sweeping down to the bay, and Laguna Canyon, when it isn't (a) a traffic jam or (b) on fire, is a lovely glimpse of the "original" California landscape.

There are gorgeous residential areas, a small and rather overcrowded (up to insanely overcrowded) beach area, and one helluva lot of cars day-tripping their way ever-so-slowly down PCH looking for the quaint. Off the highway and there are quiet streets; on the highway there are shops and shoppes, hotels and spa-wannabes, and plenty of places to exchange money for stuff. Laguna is by far the most tourist-oriented of the three. The arts pageant is now a big business, spawning pageant spawn. It used to be a locally big deal, then it got promoted into a regionally big deal, now it's THE deal. Enjoy yourselves at it. Bring money and patience.

Enjoy all three places, but try as best you can to get off PCH and into the back streets.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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I missed the original question here, it seems, so I'm not sure what you are looking to do in the LB area. I lived there for four years, so I can give you my take on it, but again, depends upon what you want to do. I'm assuming you have teens (?)

Laguna Beach is very scenic with a nice little beachside park complete with basketball courts and the like. It has nice tide pools among the rocks where you can climb around and explore tide pool life. Nice outdoor eateries on the cliffs that overlook the ocean.

Huntington and Seal Beach are the places to play in the sand and surf. Huntington has little shack shops where you can rent bikes, skates, boogie boards, etc. There's a paved path alongside the beach and actual palm trees, lol. Seal Beach is a funky little beach town with a decent pier and lots of cute shops. Only drawback IMO are the oil rigs in view offshore, but get used to seeing those in SoCal.

Bolsa Chica Beach has cement fire pits on the beach, so if you ever thought of a night time fire and/or BBQ at the beach, this is the place.

Long Beach is, as others have said, decidedly more blue collar than the OC beaches, but Shoreline Village is nice and a walk through the Marina is pretty. A trip to Catalina is always fun, and you can even take a gondola ride through Naples Island.

Have a good trip, I almost feel nostalgic for SoCal now.



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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 10:18 AM
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Gardyloo and questionmotives have painted good pictures of the contrasts between Huntington, Newport and Laguna Beaches. question, kimamom is going to a swim meet in Long Beach (probably at the Belmont Pool, also known as the Long Beach Swim Complex) and had questions about where to stay/what to do, etc. Since I live in the gritty ol' LBC (and love it), I started this thread after I tried to reply to her original post and it got lost in cyberspace. And FYI, the last couple of years have seen a bit of a renaissance in downtown Long Beach. Hopefully the brunt of the development around Pine Avenue and Shoreline Village (that is, the Pike) will be done by the time of the Grand Prix (early April). Should be. We're even getting a comedy club downtown! Wow-- we're coming up in the world....
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 10:32 AM
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I lived in the grit too, lol, I was a starving college student back then.

Heard that Belmont Shore has undergone complete changes and that lots of old favorite hangouts are gone. Never ate at the upscale eateries while I was there, (couldn't afford to) but did visit the old haunts like Bonna Donna's Shore House, Midnight Espresso, Woody's, DiPiazza, Murphy's Patio Pub, Panama Joes, Hamburger Henry's, Rainbow Ice Cream, Egyptian Pharmacy, Belmont Brewing Co., and of course, Yankee Doodle's for some darts and no-rules air hockey, lmao. Any of those places still around? Kinda doubt it, sounds like Belmont Shore is no longer an affordable CSULB student hangout.
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Old Feb 26th, 2004, 11:46 AM
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question: Oh, I played this game last year too! Let's see:

Shore House: Kitchen burned, relocated. Moved back to original location.

Midnight Expresso: Gone, replaced by a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Woody's: Not sure what/where that was. Probably gone. Is it related to Taco Surf...?

DiPiazza: That's on PCH at Anaheim currently. Still open.

Murphy's: Still open.

Panama Joe's: Still open, live bands, drunk groupies and all.

Hamburger Henry's: Gone. Replaced by a Z Pizzeria and a Fingerprints used CD store.

Rainbow Ice Cream: Gone. There IS a Cold Stone Creamery, if that helps.

Egyptian Pharmacy: Gone, replaced by a Rite-Aid. I'm mad-- the Egyptian was the best place in LB to buy your Hallowe'en costume!!

Belmont Brewing Company: Still open, going well, a bit upscale recently. Good food and oh, the microbrewed beers!

Yankee Doodle's: Still open, still kinda sleazy. Always hearing about brawling and drugs over there.

Belmont Shore may be a bit upscale now, but you still see the CSULB students running around, so there's still a college neighborhood vibe to the ol' town. And it's still my favorite place to chill. If I ever win the Lotto or get a cool million to drop on a place, I'm moving back to the Shore in a New York minute!!
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Old Feb 27th, 2004, 12:30 PM
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Thanks everyone! Now, any info on Catalina Island? How long does it take to go over there? Any nice places to eat, special beaches for snorkeling, great places to shop!! Thanks all!!! ***kim***
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Old Apr 24th, 2004, 07:04 PM
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We will be spending a night in Long Beach just before and just after a Royal Caribbean cruise which leaves from San Pedro. We were looking at Days Inn on E. Pacific Coast Hwy or Best Western on Long Beach Blvd. The prices of these hotels are very reasonable, but could someone from the Long Beach area please tell me if these areas are OK? If you have any other suggestions for reasonably priced accomodations, they are most welcome. Thanks.
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Old Apr 26th, 2004, 07:17 AM
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P M: NEITHER (very dodgy areas). If you're leaving from San Pedro, I'd first look at lodging there (there are some good choices there). If your heart is set on Long Beach, I'd stay at one of the hotels on Ocean Blvd. in downtown LB-- especially the Renaissance, the Hyatt or the Westin. Good luck to you!
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Old Apr 26th, 2004, 07:24 AM
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Thanks, that's exactly what I needed to know. I knew there had to be a reason for such low prices on hotels, but being unfamiliar with Long Beach, it's good to have some confirmation. I'll take a look at San Pedro. If you have any suggestions for sights to see there, I would appreciate it.
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 05:00 AM
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rjw, I have booked the Sheraton in San Pedro. My husband and I are much more excited about that hotel than we were about the others I mentioned, as it looks really nice on the web page. It's very near the cruise terminal and it's surprisingly affordable. Thanks again for your help!!
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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 04:03 PM
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kimamon, about catalina
It takes about 1 hour on the catalina express. Think it's abou $42 buck round trip or there about.
Catalina has a few blocks of tourisy shops that are fun to drop into (a few with some really neat stuff to). There is a place near casino point that you could snorkle. Mostly scuba divers there but at least there isn't any boat traffic in that area.
Also, lots of places to eat and to fit every budget. The best burgers at the place near the Metropole. Great day ol spegghitt at the italian place across the street. Blue Parrot has a great view but just ok food (IMHO).
Just walk around until you find something you like.
hope this helps.
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Old Apr 29th, 2004, 07:20 AM
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An update on swimming-related events in Long Beach-- a huge temporary natatorium is being constructed next to the LB Sports Arena (world's largest mural on its wall) for the Aquatic Festival 2004 (June 10 through July 18!). Associated events will include the official Olympic swimming and diving trials. Anyone planning to attend the Festival should look into downtown LB lodging NOW. All the 411 can be found at:

www.longbeach2004.com
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Old Apr 29th, 2004, 08:00 AM
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Thanks so much for that info! That's great! My daughter opted out of her swim competitions in LB and stayed home with me. We took her to Monterey for a little R&R.

She's now training for Championships after another week off to visit the Oregon Coast. ***kim***
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Old Apr 29th, 2004, 04:25 PM
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Gardyloo: Have lived in Newport Beach for most of my life.....so know quite a bit about it. For openers..John Wayne never lived on Lido.. and your message is full of many errors. Do I detect a case of envy??
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