Re-post: Long Beach

May 31st, 2004, 01:46 PM
  #1  
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Re-post: Long Beach

Please read rjw_lgb_ca ... Message: Thanks rjw_lgb_ca and Janis for your helpful suggestions. We do plan to go to the Queen Mary and the Aquarium. I would love recommendations of restaurants to eat at while we are in Long Beach. I agree with both of you that it is a great idea to go ahead and rent a car for the duration of our trip and that it would be a shame to miss such a beautiful drive. I am aware that it isn't a touristy town. That fact does appeal to us. We are going to Long Beach to attend the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles Show at the convention center September 9th - 11th. We'll arrive on the 8th and leave on the 12th. We haven't yet firmed up our hotel reservations but are considering the Hilton, Best Western at the convention center (website says that it is new in early 2004), and the Holiday Inn. Any suggestions that either of you would care to make will be most appreciated. I would love to know of any neat shopping areas to go to in Long Beach. We don't necessarily have to go to Los Angeles, I just thought maybe that it would be a good idea for a day or two. The closest we have ever been to LA was the airport when our plane refueled there on our way to Hawaii. I have always thought that I wanted to go the Universal Studios. Also, any other LA suggestions would be welcomed. Thanks again for your helpful suggestions.



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luvlondon is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 08:09 PM
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Don't know if you have time or are interested, but last year we spent one night on the Queen Mary and had dinner at the very elegant Sir Winstons.

The next day we left our car in the Queen Mary lot and walked down the dock to the Catalina Express and spent the day on Catalina Island. Both were lots of fun, highly recommended if you are so inclined.

http://www.queenmary.com/html/dining...on=sirwinstons

http://www.catalinaexpress.com/

Maggi is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 04:02 AM
  #3  
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Thanks Maggi! We are definitely going to eat dinner one night at Sir Winston's. We are planning on going to Catalina. What did you enjoy the most on Catalina Island? TIA
luvlondon is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 08:17 AM
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My favorite was the Jeep Eco-tour we took. Our guide was a long time resident of the island and gave us a lot of insider information. As you probably know, cars are not allowed on the island. They do rent golf carts by the hour. You can pretty much walk all around, but the outskirts of the town and the rest of the island are harder to access unless you are a hiker. If you take the Jeep tour you will see buffalo which were brought to Catalina in 1924 for a movie set and were left there.
http://www.catalina.com/jeeptours/
Maggi is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 06:41 PM
  #5  
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Thanks again, Maggi. The Jeep Eco-tour sounds fasinating. We love outdoor nature stuff. I would
luvlondon is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 06:46 PM
  #6  
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don't know what happened...Thanks again, Maggi. The Jeep Eco-tour sounds fascinating. We love outdoor nature stuff. I would to see buffalo. This really has gotten my husband's attention! Thanks again for such a great suggestion.

luvlondon is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 07:49 AM
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Hi luvlondon-- I'm just back from Boston (I got off the plane at 9 PM last night!), so I haven't been on-line in several days. Regarding your hotel choices, I know that the Hilton is pretty nice BUT is located at the on-ramp to the I-710 (the Long Beach Freeway), so it's not exactly ideally situated. The BW isn't exactly AT the Convention Center as I recall, but a street or two away. Not awful, but.... Holiday Inn? I know of one near Long Beach Airport (LGB), but can't recall where one might be downtown.

My hotel recommendations would be the Hyatt (next to the CC, on Rainbow Lagoon), the Renaissance (just a nice hotel) and the Wyndham. These are all a few steps from the CC and pretty upscale.

Restaurants? In Downtown, you've got a great assortment. Sir Winston's and its more casual sibling Chelsea on the Queen Mary are great choices. On Pine Ave., you've got L'Opera (Italian) and the Madison (steaks)-- both high-end, both excellent. Alegría is a tapas joint with really good food, 555 Ocean is a steak and seafood place, and oh yeah! Pine Avenue Fish Company is the class act in seafood in LB. Among the chains in downtown you'll find PF Chang, Islands (burgers), California Pizza Kitchen, Outback, etc.

If you go to Belmont Shore/Belmont Heights, there's a cute little shopping area centered on Second Street with some killers eateries. Shenandoah Café (American), Bono's (Cal cuisine, run by Sonny's oldest daughter Christy) and Malvasia (Mediterranean) are some of the best ones. A bit farther west on Broadway is Christy's first place, Christy's-- and it's sublime. A bit farther east on Second you'll find Nico's (named for Christy's son), which is pan-Euro cuisine and run by Christy's ex-husband (they're still good friends).

If you have a serious shopping jones and want to really OD, head thee south to Costa Mesa to South Coast Plaza (I-405-- best way is to exit Fairview, take a left off the off-ramp onto Fairview then make a right onto South Coast and follow it into the mall). If you've ever been to Bal Harbour Shops in Miami Beach, this is the same concept but much bigger and much better. Fashion Island is just off of PCH in Newport Beach and also goes for the upscale shopping addict (the anchor department stores are Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus). If you find parking in the Corona del Mar section of Newport, take a stroll around the little shops-- it's pretty charming. Of course, Laguna Beach is more so, IMHO.

I hope this helps. Happy planning!
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 12:07 PM
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I would also recommend the Hyatt at the Convention Center. There's also the Westin on Ocean.

As for restaurants; Alegria one of our favorites. Sky Room has a great view and plays Big Band music (you'll need reservations). Blues Cafe for burgers Its's on the Promenade alley way, behind ZGallerie on Pine.

2nd Street restaurants; Panama Joe's for mexican food.

Other restaurants near-by; Belmont Shore Brewing Company.

If I think of more I'll be back.
tlegray is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 02:09 PM
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That's right-- not Wyndham, it's a Westin! Sorry about that.

Sky Room is very cool, forgot about that! And pricey. But worth it.

Panama Joe's is a fun place, but not my favorite for Mexican in LB (good bar food, and great place to hear live rock bands). Enrique's on PCH and Baja Sonora by the airport are excellent.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 04:48 PM
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Hi luvlondon!

I used to live across the bridge from Long Beach in San Pedro, and so I hope I can help. (Our house used to overlook Catalina Island) First, I agree with the hotel and restaurant rec's from above....definetely. Make sure you take the express boat to Catalina, as the regular boat is less pricey but in the end, as not much is there to do in Catalina, you end up spendign more time on that boat then actually time you want to spend in Catalina. However, I would definetely recommend the glass bottom boat tours, they are very fun, and relatively cheap: it's a great way to compare the aquatic life at the Aquarium in Long Beach with what's really out there amongst the kelp!

As for restaurants.....you MUST, i repeat, MUST go to the Pacific Diner in San Pedro for breakfast. I don't know the exact address (you can find it at sanpedro.com), but ask around and you will be pointed in the right direction. I grew up in Los Angeles, and the Pacific Diner is a local hangout with amazing breakfasts. They have a small parking lot and sometimes you have to park in the surrounding neighborhood. It's located at the foot of the hill where the Korean Bell is located (after a good breakfast, take a walk up to the top and check out the bell). Then, take Western Avenue up the hill to 25th Street, and go down 25th out of San Pedro along the cliffs through Palos Verdes. You can take that road along the cliffs until you get to PCH. Take Pacific Coast Highway down through into the beach cities for a nice leasurly late morning and afternoon. Just writing this makes me miss home! I hope you have a great time in L.A! Email me if you have any questions about anything!

Enjoy the Convention, as well!
Adam
just1dayoutoflife is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 06:30 PM
  #11  
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Thanks again rjw_lgb_ca for all of your great suggestions! We will definitely be checking out the great variety of restaurants and the hotel suggestions. I hope you had a great trip to Boston. I love that city! Pine Avenue Fish Company sounds like a must eat place and we have to eat Italian food at least one night so L'Opera sounds awesome. You've made great suggestions as far as shopping places to go to. I have been to the Bal Harbour Shops in Miami Beach and if South Coast Plaza is lots better ... I can't wait! We do want to stay as close to the Convention Center as possible so my husband really appreciates your hotel recommendations. Thanks also to tlegray and Adam for both of your suggestions. I love this message board specifically for all of the awesome helpful info that you have given me. I went from not having any idea / info on Long Beach to having lots of info to sort out. We are now leaning to enjoying our time away from home and work and taking in as much as possible and devoting our time to Long Beach and surrounding communities and visiting Los Angeles on another trip. Thanks again, everyone!
luvlondon is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 08:00 PM
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Hi:
I can't give all the detailed info--and wish I'd had some of it last year when we went. But I just wanted to chime in and say how much we enjoyed Long Beach and the area. Driving across the bridge into San Pedro is a treat in itself, seeing the largest container ship harbor in the US. Busy place!
Also, there was a day when many streets downtown were closed to vehicles and there were all kinds of things for sale--blocks and blocks of kitsch and also a great farmer's market. Maybe somebody here can shed light on when that takes place.
The Queen Mary is fascinating, and if you're into recent history, the Russian sub right beside it is great, too. And we ate at a restaurant around the curved road coming back from the Queen Mary. Big place with views of the water. HELP???
Finally, Catalina Island was a real treat. We took the inner island bus tour rather than a jeep tour. And I have to disagree about the glass bottom boat. Boring if you've seen real tropical sea life. But there is a package deal where its practically free with the bus tour. Also, don't miss the casino. It is not the kind you think--a gorgeous art nouveau place that hosted radio shows in the thirties and forties.

(Now maybe somebody who knows L.B. can fill in my blanks?)

Vera
Vera is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 08:26 PM
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no problem! it's my duty as a so-cal guy to help out!

It's a good idea to stick to Long Beach and its surroundings for your trip. I don't blame you...some people try and see all of Los Angeles in a few days and it doesn't quite work! Long Beach is by far the least-touristy of the large L.A. communes: which is both good and bad. You might spend more time visiting surrounding locations then Long Beach itself, but then again you always have a great place to come back to. Downtown Long Beach is a bit like being in a mini San Diego!

My only bit of advice, and I know this contradicts what everyone else has said, but don't get your hopes up about the Queen Mary. It's quite the tourist trap and its not as nice as it once was....i found it to be quite a bore, and it was a bit of a let down for me, at least. In regards to the Russian sub next to it, if you are the least bit claustraphobic stay away...it's very cramped inside.

Make sure you check out the big fancy rich people homes in Venice and along down the coast a bit from "downtown" Long Beach. Keep in mind, Long Beach is actually a part of Los Angeles, not a true seperate city.

Are you flying into LAX or Long Beach?

Adam
just1dayoutoflife is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 10:14 PM
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Adam, you have given some great advice (San Pedro is a great place to visit when in the South Bay area), but I must point out that you are wrong on one thing:

LONG BEACH IS A SEPARATE CITY, THE FIFTH LARGEST IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, IS NOT A PART OF LOS ANGELES, AND HAS BEEN SEPARATE SINCE ITS INCORPORATION IN 1897. See:

http://www.ci.long-beach.ca.us/news/...asp?NewsID=313

We are proud to be our own city, with our own mayor, city council, city charter, etc.

Now Vera, you are trying to remember the name of a place on Shoreline Village Drive-- large with harbor views. Did it specialize in seafood? That would be Parker Lighthouse. If it had 200+ beers on tap, that would be the Yardhouse. If it was Mexican, it was Tequila Jack's.

I think LB's Farmer's Market is on Saturdays. Or Fridays...? I dunno. If you Google "Long Beach Farmer's Market", you should get the answer.

If you want to look at the big houses of rich people, Beverly Hills is still the way to go, although driving down San Vicente from Santa Monica to Brentwood you'll see some impressive houses. And in Orange County, the nicest houses are in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach IMHO. Venice is hit or miss vis-à-vis nice houses-- shack-like beach bungalows alongside Frank Gehry designed artworks.

Well, in any case, I think you'll enjoy your visit to southern California. Happy planning!
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2004, 03:50 PM
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Thanks again for the great replies. We are flying in to LAX and renting a car. The flights from Houston to Long Beach take 5-7 hours with a couple of plane changes before we would arrive in Long Beach because there are no direct flights in to Long Beach from Houston. The flight from Houston to LAX is only 3 hrs. non-stop. The price isn't much difference but we feel our time will be better spent by enjoying the drive in from LA and getting into Long Beach sooner. Our trip isn't until September so I welcome any and all suggestions that anyone would like to share from now until we leave in September. Thanks again!
luvlondon is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2004, 05:24 PM
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re: Queen Mary

We attended a party on the Queen Mary a couple of weeks ago. Since we were guests we received free admission which I didn't realize at the time.

The next day we found out that it costs $23 to get on the ship if you are not the guest of someone either staying at the hotel or having a function there.

What a ripoff! There was nothing on that ship that warranted a $23 admission charge. It's mostly restaurants, bars, and gift shops. To charge you so you can go aboard and spend money is highway robbery.

By the way, if you have a group who wants to go aboard the ship it might be cheaper to rent a hotel room and then everyone can come aboard as your guest. Or just loiter in the parking lot and try to find out the name of a group that's having a function and get aboard that way. Admission to the hotel is pretty loose.

The ship itself needs some TLC. The windows in the bar were so dirty that you had to go outside to see the view and then you had to stand on a chair to see over the dirty glass walls that are outside. And the food in the restaurants was just mediocre at best.

Not recommended.
Otis_B_Driftwood is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 07:11 AM
  #17  
 
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Otis: The little snack places on the QM are not so hot, but Sir Winston's and Chelsea are fine dining establishments with high Zagat ratings, so one does have good choices on the ship. I also tend to go onboard to attend parties, so I haven't toured in a while. Note that they often offer specials on admission on the website (www.queenmary.com). If you're into maritime history and want to see an old ship with an incredible back story, it's worth the time.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 08:25 AM
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I still have to agree with driftwood. The Queen Mary is quite a waste of time, and a complete rip off. We went a few years ago, before we moved, just for fun on a weekend and I was shocked at the lack of anything to do on it. Take pictures of the ship, it's beautiful, but the inside isn't worth seeing. (Unless you adore maritime history).

Oh, and rjw....THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW ABOUT THAT. But, I really think the caps weren't necesarry. It's considered yelling on a message board. But, like i said, thanks, I had always been under the impression that Long Beach was just an LA sub division. Aren't the schools LAUSD? Not sure...

The drive into Long Beach will be enjoyful, (driven it MANY a time down that ole Harbor Freeway!).
just1dayoutoflife is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 08:41 AM
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just: No problemo-- my apologies. I wasn't YELLING yelling, but just pointedly typing. We get a little tired of being lumped in as a suburb of LA (just like San Pedro is constantly, I might point out-- another separate city); there are over 450,000 of us after all. And no, LB schools are most decidedly not part of LAUSD (and some are quite good).

The Queen Mary is not a theme park, after all; it's a piece of history. If you aren't interested in the splendor of its design or its neat history (ocean liner AND troop ship!), by all means skip it. I don't send people to the Schindler House in West Hollywood if they're not interested in early "modern" architecture or the arts scene in LA in the early 20th century. It all depends on what you're into.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Jun 4th, 2004, 11:12 AM
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regarding the Queen Mary...do you have to pay to board if you have restaurant reservations? I don't think I've ever paid to get onboard.

BTW Sir Winston's has a Sunday Brunch, pricey, but I hear well worth it.

Also in downtown Long Beach there is a bus I believe it's called The Wave. It will carry you back and forth from Shoreline Village and Pine.

luvlondon you'll be out of Houston during it's hottest temps. I use to live in Long Beach and now I live in Houston. Do you need someone to carry your bags???
tlegray is offline  

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