DLBA’s first-ever digital scavenger hunt scored high marks with the 134 participants who went on a multi-day quest Downtown from Shop Small Saturday to New Year’s Eve. The vast majority of participants surveyed gave the DTLB Holiday Adventure a thumbs up and said it enhanced their perception of DTLB.

The creative placemaking-driven effort challenged participants to earn points for valuable gift cards. Adventurers followed fun clues to discover hidden gems and cool spots around Downtown. Through an easy-to-use app, the scavenger hunt generated 1,534 challenge responses (i.e., trivia question answers, GPS check-ins, content submissions), and included 263 photos and 63 videos.

“We wanted to create a fun and interactive way for people to explore and rediscover the beauty and diversity of Downtown Long Beach, from its public art to its local businesses,” said Stephanie Gonzalez, DLBA Placemaking Manager. “The scavenger hunt not only provided a unique and enjoyable experience for participants, but also helped improve their perception of the area and encouraged them to return and support the community.”


The top 50 adventurers on the leaderboard grabbed a share of almost $3,000 in gift cards purchased by DLBA from Downtown businesses.

“This was a fun event! As someone who has lived Downtown for the past couple of years, it was great to get out and explore the area during the holiday season and find some hidden gems for food and shopping,” said Vincent De Fazio, the top point-getter who received $1,000 in gift cards to Downtown businesses of his choice. 

To earn points, adventurers were encouraged to share some of their favorite things in Downtown including happy hours, lunch spots and places to buy holiday gifts. They also completed several trivia questions including: “What Will Farrell movie features an iconic scene taking place at The Lion Lighthouse at Shoreline Aquatic Park? (Anchorman); What year was the Port of Long Beach Established? (1911); and what artist painted the Whaling Walls mural in the Long Beach Area? (Wyland).

Holiday Shopping Boost

 The scavenger hunt was part of a DLBA holiday blitz to support local businesses, residents and visitors in November and December. This included advertising and social media campaigns, and featured several DLBA placemaking-based initiatives designed to enhance the Downtown shopping experience: 

  • Free metered street parking was made available on Shop Small Saturday in conjunction with City of Long Beach.
  • 20 local artists performed free at live music activations throughout DTLB on several Saturdays. 
  • 140 wreaths, related red bows and lighted garlands were installed on Pine, The Promenade, East Village.
  • 30 new holiday street pole banners were put up on Broadway & 3rd Street.
  • Free Holiday Shop and Dine Guide (online & print) featured more than 50 businesses.

“The scavenger hunt was another opportunity to connect with and boost our local business community during a prime shopping, dining and entertainment season. We hope it encouraged more residents and visitors to get out and explore some of the wonderful things Downtown has to offer,” said Michael Berman, DLBA Communications and Marketing Manager. “The campaign drove hundreds of thousands of views on social media and helped to increase local pedestrian traffic for Shop Small Saturday by 10 percent, year over year.”

Adventure Survey Results

In a post-program survey, participants provided positive feedback on their DTLB Holiday Adventure:

  • 90% rated it as “It Was Great”
  • 81% also dined at a restaurant and/or grabbed a drink
  • More than 30% visited a museum or art exhibit
  • 43% lived Downtown and 25% worked and lived Downtown
  •  About 60% took the adventure with one or more people

Several folks also shared some direct comments:

  • For Devincalifornia, the adventure was “fun and great. I definitely went to Downtown more specifically for the scavenger hunt and explored places I wouldn’t normally go.”
  • Sladeythelady said: “It was such a fun and refreshing experience. One day whilst in the midst of the hunt, a friend and I rode bikes around shoreline village and the rainbow park area, checking in at different locations along the way, it was a great time and a truly memorable experience. Thank you for your help in facilitating that.” 

Based on scavenger hunt participation, there were also several trends:

  • Over half shared their favorite Downtown mural, visited MOLAA, or checked out the ground mural on The Promenade.
  •  About half joined DLBA in person at Lincoln Park Winter Fest, Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting, or New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show on the Waterfront.
  • More than a dozen adventurers visited the Billie Jean King Library to share their favorite books.

DLBA thanks everyone who participated. Based on the results, another adventure is being considered for later this year and updates will be provided on social media.