Long Beach, California

Long Beach began in 1784 as a Spanish land grant for a 28,000-acre ranch. It became in the 20th century a major North American shipping port. The neighborhoods of this city reside 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, along five-and-a-half miles of beautiful sandy coastline. Kayakers and windsurfers dot the blue waters, and waterfront pier cafes light up at night.

Aquarium of the Pacific is a perfect exploration for families with children. Browse the Long Beach Museum of Art, housed in its historic Craftsman mansion, or find your way to the eclectic East Village Art District. If a light evening feels right, you’ll find top stand-up comedy performers at the Laugh Factory.

Go for a run on the beach at Bluff Park. Long Beach is also a very bicycle-friendly urban area. Shoreline Pedestrian Bikepath runs along the ocean, and you can ride the L.A. River bike path from downtown to the Port.

Tantalum Restaurant on the waterfront overlooks beautiful Rainbow Harbor. The Federal Bar in Long Beach offers a speakeasy with pub fare in a 1925 well-preserved bank building. Spanish-style Sevilla Café and Nightclub enchants with Flamenco dinner shows on the weekends.