Downtown Long Beach summer is a state of mind.
Locals can spend an 80-degree day at the beach in January, so with extended daylight, summer means more time for adventuring, relaxing, and enjoying the best parts of our neighborhoods.
In the years preceding COVID-19, studies show that approximately six million visitors per year generated an estimated $300 million in overall economic benefit to the city. With conventions expected to come back in August and the Long Beach Grand Prix and Pow! Wow! in September, there is hope of a return to some sense of “normalcy” for the rest of the year. Until then, locals can expect in-person events to come back in full force like Third Fridays on Pine, Taste of Downtown, and other festivals. See the link at the end of the article to our DTLB Summer Photo Contest for a chance to win a $200 gift card to a Downtown Long Beach business of your choice!
With the economy finally reopened, many DTLB businesses are offering summer promotions that are focused on hyper-locals as well as regional neighbors. There are a variety of ideas to make summer in Downtown great and support our friends and neighbors, the small businesses of DTLB, to help rebuild.
Friday’s Farmer’s Market on the Promenade is the perfect locals’ field trip, while simultaneously knocking out a couple of chores. They are one of the oldest in the state, having celebrated their 41st year of weekly markets on July 4, 2021.
Kelli Johnson, manager of the market, loves her Fridays in DTLB. “Until the prepared food vendors are back on site, no market trip is complete without lunch at Ammatoli, dessert at Romeo’s Chocolates, a quiche for the freezer at The Pie Bar, and stops in the East Village vintage shops and BYO refill store.”
Golden Farms has a “bumper crop” of pickling cucumbers, 5# for $3.75, which can easily be turned into everyone’s favorite summer condiment. Try Johnson’s favorite cucumber recipe. Watch for other specials on their beautifully curated Instagram: @dtlbfarmersmarket.
As the sun starts making its appearance earlier, Shoreline Village is getting busier with people looking to stay cool near the water. “We’re so excited to see people back and feel fortunate that we have plentiful open-air, tons of patio dining, and things to do in the outdoors,” said Claudia Ayala, Assistant Property Manager, Shoreline Village.
The arcade reopened after being closed for over a year. In addition, there are several fun activities – some with new weekly specials – like parasailing, bike riding, and harbor cruises for family fun adventures.
It all begins at 9:30 AM at Twisters & Coffee with Wag n Walk Wednesday, where you can go for a leisurely stroll with new friends, with or without your dog, through Shoreline Village and down the scenic Shoreline Marina pedestrian path. You’ll also receive a free gift and two hours of free parking.
Next up at 12:00 PM is a free 30-minute harbor cruise with the purchase of lunch “to-go” from participating restaurants. Simply preorder lunch from the restaurant to reserve your seats.
End your day by celebrating Wind Down Wednesday through the end of August where specials from various stores and restaurants, as well as live entertainment, are offered.
Speaking of live entertainment, the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel introduced two new weekend events over the 4th of July holiday. Saturdays will now offer background-appropriate DJs and musicians to add a little life to the lobby without turning off any regular diners. Sunday Outside Sessions at SIP (SOS @ SIP) now offers a patio party-vibe every Sunday from 2 PM-9 PM. Performers will be announced on Instagram: @sipbarlounge.
David Arnieri, Senior Beverage & Food Operations Manager at Renaissance said, “The B+F Team is excited that summer has bestowed upon us the freedom to be able to get some fun activations to host groups once again. After a long year and a half of not being able to program live music, events, and host crowds – we now are happy to bring to you and our guests our newly activated summer programming.” He added that events like these give locals and visitors alike an opportunity to mingle in a safe environment without putting on a full-scale event.
The Aquarium of the Pacific, the world-renowned aquarium, will offer a mix of virtual and live events to continue the educational fun for everyone.
The featured exhibit for the summer, which only ran for three weeks last year due to the pandemic, is all about the world’s Coral Reefs. The exhibit also features a new show in its Honda Pacific Visions Theater, giving visitors the opportunity to experience a virtual dive and see coral reefs up close.
“The Aquarium is thrilled to welcome visitors back after the closures due to the pandemic. In addition to our 12,000 animals and Coral Reefs exhibit, we have several fun events scheduled throughout the summer—some for guests of all ages and others just for adults. We can’t wait to see everyone, including our local members and supporters,” said Claire Atkinson, Senior Manager of Communications, Aquarium of the Pacific.
Tune in on the first Wednesday of each month to take part in their virtual lecture series featuring experts in the science, conservation, and government fields, as well as artists, authors, explorers, and more.
On the first Saturday of each month, consider volunteering a couple of hours of your family’s time to help restore the habitat of the Los Cerritos Wetlands. This is a great opportunity to visit and learn about the local wetlands, help the environment, and support the Aquarium of the Pacific.
For those nights that you want to hit the aquarium for adult fun, check out the monthly Night Dive events. Night Dive is an adults-only (18+) event full of local bands rocking out right next to the fish, with DJs spinning in the Aquarium’s galleries, inspiring works of art, cocktails, and food trucks on the front plaza.
For a double dose of Aquarium fun, purchase a Blue Whale & Sea Life Cruise + Aquarium of the Pacific combo ticket. On this three-and-a-half-hour cruise, you will hopefully get to see the endangered mammals, as well as dolphins, seals, sea lions, and other marine animals.
Finally, get the opportunity of a lifetime to sit next to a penguin as it waddles outside its habitat before the Aquarium opens. Join an Aquarium educator and animal care staff for this private animal encounter.
A summertime note from the author (Justine), a local who works in Downtown:
When I was a pre-teen, my mom brought my little brother, me, and our rollerblades to the Belmont Pier to skate down the bike path to the Queen Mary nearly every week during summer. She even let us play hooky on especially beautiful days before school was out. We’d skate the 3-mile trek to Shoreline Village, win some prizes at Pelican Pier Pavilion, get pizza (where Gilan Pizza & Grill is now located) and a sweet treat from Ice Cream on the Boardwalk, and were always too tuckered out to skate back to the car.
As an adult, my perfect DTLB summer day looks a little different: First, I’d pick up a Hoppy Iced Coffee from Recreational Coffee and head over to Natural Cultures for one of the prettiest Acai Bowls in LB. Once the Friday morning Farmer’s Market opens, I’d stroll through the market for some groceries and gorgeous summery flowers. It’s almost always happy hour at Big Catch Seafood, so I’d then grab some oysters and a beer before heading down to the rooftop pool at The Renaissance Hotel to catch some rays. The next stop is Risu for a refreshing cocktail, spicy shrimp tacos, and a gorgeous view of DTLB. I’d work my way down Pine Avenue to the swan boats at Wheel Fun Rentals to watch the sunset, and on to Rainbow Harbor for the award-winning ribs at Q Smokehouse. A summer day isn’t complete without a harbor cruise, so I’d hop on the free Aqualink water taxi to Alamitos Landing and back. Finally, I’d head over to Parker’s Lighthouse for a waterfront nightcap, key lime pie, and live jazz upstairs at Queensview Steakhouse.
What’s your perfect summer day in DTLB? Share your best summer-in-DTLB photo for a chance to win a $200 gift card to a Downtown Long Beach business of your choice! The winner will be randomly chosen and announced in our August Downtown Scene Newsletter. Submit a photo here.