Going ashore in Long Beach

Long Beach featured image

The Port of Long Beach is one of United States’ largest container ports. The city is situated in Los Angeles County, in the Southwestern part of California, on San Pedro Bay. Although the port is very big and crowded, going out for a visit into the city is not a difficult task which requires no more than 20 minutes.

Walking inside the terminal is not permitted, but the port offers one of the most reliable transportation services in the country – working 24/7 on demand. The shuttle bus will take to you to the gate in only 5 minutes. From there you have to continue the journey on foot for a few hundred meters towards the Immigration Office – crossing the big parking lot – where your papers will be checked. The very nice officials working in the office will assist you in any way they can and they will even call a taxi to take you wherever you want.

After only 15 minute taxi drive from the port – over the Vincent Thomas Bridge – you’ll reach Long Beach waterfront, the best place to spend a few hours of relaxing time at your own pace.

Vincent Thomas Bridge

Long Beach waterfront

Long Beach waterfront marina hosts many tourist attractions, numerous entertainment options, shops, restaurants and a beautiful wooden promenade like alley which goes along the pleasure port. If your time allows it, you can explore the area as regular tourists do and visit some of its famous landmarks – Aquarium of the Pacific, Queen Mary, Shoreline Village, The Pike and Rainbow Harbour.Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach

Rainbow Harbour Long Beach

Queen Mary is the historic ocean liner that used to carry passengers over the Atlantic until 1967 when it retired from service, sold to the city of Long Beach and transformed into a luxurious hotel, restaurant and museum. The largest, fastest and most luxurious liner of her time – which held the trans-Atlantic speed record for a long time before the war – Queen Mary is docked on one side of Rainbow Harbour.Î

Rainbow Harbour Long Beach

Rainbow Harbour Long Beach

Rainbow Harbour Long Beach

The Pike is an entertainment centre which host lots of shops, restaurants and a beautiful wheel.

The Pike Shopping Centre Long Beach

Shoreline Village is located opposite the Rainbow Harbour and represents the replica of an early Californian seaport (19th century). The colourful two story houses host lots of souvenir shops, restaurants and bars and they are very popular among tourists in search of cheap – mostly kitschy – gifts.

Shoreline Village, Long Beach

Shoreline Village, Long Beach

Shoreline Village, Long Beach

Shoreline Village, Long Beach

Shoreline Village, Long Beach

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, with ~ 9 km of sandy beach front and other inland bays and waterways –  Long Beach is a perfect destination to relax and rewind for a few hours under the summer Californian sun. You can reach the beach after a ~ half an hour walk along the marina – after the Shoreline Village. The beach hosts lots of entertainment activities like sport events, car racing circuits, music festivals, water sport competitions for all ages and parades all year round.

Under way to the beach, Long Beach

Long Beach

If you are a nature and wild life lover you can book a trip on board one of the small pleasure cruisers which offers trips to the nearby island of Catalina or other shore destinations (Seal Beach) or you can explore the Pacific Ocean and enjoy whale watching excursions off the coast of Long Beach. You can see gray whales, bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, orcas and blue whales depending on the season.

Long Beach whale watching

If you have a whole day in front of you and you are ready to explore more and see more, you can pick up a taxi and go to Hollywood. In a normal day – without traffic congestion – you can reach Hollywood (from Long Beach Port) in ~ 45 minutes. You will have to pay ~ 120$ for one way or you can arrange with the taxi driver upon a 200$ fee for a return journey, with a 3-4 hour stop in the city.

Hollywood can be a top holiday destination for millions of tourists every year, but it cannot be more than a few-hour visit for a seafarer or passenger working or travelling on board a port container vessel.

If you decide to take the risk (and pay for it), the driver can take you to Hollywood Boulevard where you can start your journey of quest among the ~ 3000 stars along one of the world’s most famous avenue – Hollywood Walk of Fame. You will need more than a few hours to read all the names written in the marble stone stars and placed at a distance of ~1.8 meters from one another along Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Vine Street and Yucca Street, but you can check the names and exact positions of your favourites in a special map which is available at the Tourist Information Centre.

Hollywood Walk of fame

Hollywood Walk of fame

Hollywood Walk of fame

Hollywood Walk of fame

Hollywood Walk of fame

You can check the stars and admire the surroundings at the same time, paying visits to some of the popular entertainment centres situated along the same Hollywood Boulevard or only admiring them from outside – Hollywood Guinness World of Records, Ripley’s Believe it or not, The Hollywood Museum, Hollywood Wax Museum, Chinese Theatre, Kodak Theatre and Universal Studios.

Ripley's believe it or not, Hollywood

In front of the Chinese Theatre (Grauman’s Theatre) you can admire and photograph some of your favourite actors’ foot and palm prints who have left their signatures in the cement for 80 years – with the oldest one belonging to the child star Shirley Temple in 1935.

Chinese Theatre Hollywood

Handprints and footprints in front of Chinese Theatre Hollywood

Handprints and footprints in front of Chinese Theatre Hollywood

Handprints and footprints in front of Chinese Theatre Hollywood

Handprints and footprints in front of Chinese Theatre Hollywood

Handprints and footprints in front of Chinese Theatre Hollywood

Before you head back towards the port of Long Beach, take at least few minutes to admire and observe the tumult of the street – with all the tourists, street vendors, artists of all kind and different types of vehicles – and find a good place to take a photo with the world wide famous Hollywood sign, situated on top of Mount Hollywood.

Hollywood sign, Hollywood

Useful Information

– If you have only a few hours available and you want to do some shopping – in the American way – you have many options to choose from. Only 15 minute ride from the port, you’ll find a big shopping centre including  a Walmart supermarket (Long Beach 5th Street). For a better shopping experience, you’ll have to go a little further – ~ 40 minutes by taxi – to the ‘Del Amo Fashion Centre’, a huge multiple- story Mall which host all famous international and American brands, as well as popular fast food restaurants;

– When you reach the Immigration Office at the gate and ask for a taxi, be sure to communicate the number of persons requiring transportation as the taxi company can send small cars, bigger cars or minivans accordingly;

– Inside the port, as soon as you step outside your vessel and until you reach the taxi, you are required to wear a high visibility vest;

If you come back at the terminal gate during night time, you’ll have to find a security man and ask him to open the gate for you. For going out of the port, these gates are accessed from inside and can be easily opened, but this procedure is a little more complicated when entering as you require  a special badge that automatically opens the gates. The security man who can help you is usually wandering around the parking lot and he must be called upon in order to assist you. He will also call the shuttle bus for you. If you cannot find this security man, you can ask anybody else’s help. There are many workers going in and out of the port at every hour and they can call the security man or the shuttle bus for you. You have to ask somebody for help, unless you want to wait at the gate for hours;

– If you decide to travel as far as Hollywood, you have to know that traffic can get very crowded at certain hours (but also due to accidents) and a 45 minute taxi ride can easily become a one hour or even one hour and a half journey. The train is always a better and much cheaper option. The travel time is ~ one hour, but you will have to pay only 2.5$ for the ticket;

Recommendation:

– There are lots of restaurants along the Long Beach waterfront. If you like seafood, but you do not want to pay a fortune for a decent meal, you can choose the Bubba Gum Shrimp Restaurant, located opposite the Aquarium of Pacific. Here you will find a wide display of food and beverages at decent prices.

Bubba Gump Shrimp, Long Beach

Bubba Gump Shrimp, Long Beach

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *