Long Beach is the 36th-largest city in the nation and the fifth-largest in California. As of 2006, its estimated population was 466,718. In addition, Long Beach is the largest city statewide that is not a county seat.
The Port of Long Beach is one of the world's largest shipping ports. The city also has a large oil industry; oil is found both underground and offshore. Manufacturers include aircraft, automobile parts, electronic and audiovisual equipment, and home furnishings. It is also home to headquarters for corporations such as Epson America, Molina Healthcare, and Scan Health Plan. Long Beach has grown with the development of high-technology and aerospace industries in the area.
Indigenous people have lived in coastal southern California for at least ten thousand years. Over the centuries, several successive cultures inhabited the present-day area of Long Beach. By the time Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, the dominant group were the Tongva people. They had at least three major settlements within the present day city boundaries. Tevaaxa'anga was an inland settlement near the Los Angeles River, while Ahwaanga and Povuu'nga were coastal villages. Along with other Tongva villages, they disappeared in the mid 1800s due to missionization, political change, and a drastic drop in population from exposure to European diseases.
The Rancho Los Cerritos and Rancho Los Alamitos were divided from the larger Rancho Los Nietos, which had been granted by the Spanish Empire's, King Carlos III in 1784 to a Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto. The boundary between the two ranchos ran through the center of Signal Hill on a southwest to northeast diagonal. A portion of western Long Beach was originally part of the Rancho San Pedro, and was in dispute for years, due to flooding changing the Los Angeles River boundary, between Juan Jose Dominguez and Manuel Nieto's ranchos.
Rancho Los Cerritos was bought in 1843 by John Temple, a Yankee who had come to California in 1827 . Soon after he built what is now known as the "Los Cerritos Ranch House," an adobe which still stands and is a National Historic Landmark. Temple created a thriving cattle ranch and prospered, becoming the wealthiest man in Los Angeles County. Both Temple and his ranch house played important local roles in the Mexican-American War.
Meanwhile, on an island in the San Pedro Bay, Mormon pioneers made an abortive attempt to establish a colony (as part of Brigham Young's plan to establish a continuous chain of settlements from the Pacific to Salt Lake).
In 1866 Temple sold Rancho Los Cerritos to the Northern California sheep-raising firm of Flint, Bixby & Co, which consisted of brothers Thomas and Benjamin Flint and their cousin Lewellyn Bixby, for $20,000. Two years previous Flint, Bixby had also purchased along with Northern California associate James Irvine three ranchos which would later become the city that bears Irvine's name. To manage Los Cerritos, the company selected Lewellyn's brother Jotham Bixby, the "Father of Long Beach", to manage their southern ranch, and three years later Jotham bought into the property and would later form the Bixby Land Company. In the 1870s as many as 30,000 sheep were kept at the ranch and sheared twice yearly to provide wool for trade. In 1880, Bixby sold 4,000 acres (16 km²) of the Rancho Los Cerritos to William E. Willmore, who subdivided it in hopes of creating a farm community, Willmore City. He failed and was bought out by a Los Angeles syndicate which called itself the "Long Beach Land and Water Company." They changed the name of the community to "Long Beach", which was incorporated as a city in 1888.
Overlooked, but probably even more influential in the development of the city was another Bixby cousin, John W. Bixby. After first working for his cousins at Los Cerritos, J.W. Bixby then leased land at Rancho Los Alamitos, and then put together a group consisting of himself, mega-banker I.W. Hellman and Lewellyn and Jotham Bixby to purchase the rancho. In addition to bringing innovative farming methods to the Alamitos (which under Abel Stearns in the late 1850s and early 1860s was once the largest cattle ranch in America), John W. Bixby began the development of the Alamitos' oceanfront property near the city's picturesque bluffs. Under the name Alamitos Land Company, J.W. Bixby named the streets and laid out the parks of his new city. This area would include Belmont Heights, Belmont Shore and Naples and would soon become a very thriving community of its own. Unfortunately, J.W. Bixby died in 1888 of apparent appendicitis, and the Rancho Los Alamitos property was split up with Hellman roughly getting the southern third, Jotham and Lewellyn the northern third and J.W. Bixby's wife and heirs keeping the central third. The Alamitos townsite was kept as a separate entity but it was basically run by Lewellyn and Jotham's Bixby Land Company.
When Jotham Bixby died in 1916 the remaining 3,500 acres (14 km²) of Rancho Los Cerritos was subdivided into the neighborhoods of Bixby Knolls, California Heights, North Long Beach and part of the city of Signal Hill.
The town grew as a seaside resort (The Pike was one of the most famous beachside amusement parks on the West coast from 1902 until the 1960s) and then as an oil, Navy, and port town. The town was once referred to as "Iowa by the sea," due to a large influx of people from that state and other states in the Midwest. Huge picnics for each state were a popular annual event in Long Beach until the 1960s.
The Long Beach earthquake of 1933 was a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that caused significant damage to the city and surrounding areas. Most of the damage occurred in unreinforced masonry buildings, especially schools. One hundred twenty people died in this earthquake.
Long Beach once had a sizable Japanese-American population mostly working in the fish canneries on Terminal Island and small truck farms in the area, but the Japanese and Japanese Americans were removed for internment in 1942, and most did not return after their release from the camps. Due to this, interracial marriage, and other factors, they now make up less than 1% of the population of Long Beach. There is still a Japanese Community Center and a Japanese Buddhist Church in Long Beach. The Japanese-American Cultural Center is just over the Gerald Desmond Bridge and the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.
The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific, located in Downtown Long Beach opened to the public in 1998 and has since become a major attraction visited by more than 13 million people since its opening. The Aquarium was rated #2 Los Angeles area Family Destination in the most recent Zagat U.S. Family Travel Guide, second only to Disneyland. The Aquarium’s architecture is inspired by the towering, breaking waves of the Pacific and mirrors the fluid and dynamic temper of the ocean. Kajima International, developers of the world’s most critically acclaimed and technologically advanced aquariums, was the developer of the Aquarium of the Pacific and architects included the Los Angeles office of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassanbaum and Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis of San Francisco. Construction was a joint venture of Turner Construction Company and Kajima International. The Aquarium of the Pacific recently made history as the first in the museum, zoo, or aquarium industry to become a Climate Action Leader™ for voluntarily measuring, certifying, and reporting our green house gas emissions to the Climate Action Registry and the public.
Long Beach is located at 33°47' North, 118°10' West, about 20 miles (30 km) south of downtown Los Angeles. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 170.6 km² (65.9 mi²). 130.6 km² (50.4 mi²) of it is land and 40.0 km² (15.4 mi²) of it (23.42%) is water.
|Rec High °F||93||91||98||105||104||109||107||105||110||111||101||92|
|Norm High °F||68||68.5||68.9||72.7||74||78.3||82.9||84.6||83.1||78.9||73.4||68.8|
|Norm Low °F||46||48.1||50.4||53.2||57.8||61.3||64.6||65.6||63.7||58.3||50.1||45.3|
|Rec Low °F||25||33||33||38||40||47||51||52||50||39||34||28|
The area that is now Long Beach historically included several ecological communities, with coastal scrub dominating . A handful of the native plants of the region can still be found in the city. These include California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), and California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)). Some stands of coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) still remain in the El Dorado Nature Center. California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera), a plant native further inland, was introduced to the city as a garden ornamental and is now naturalized. Some indigenous species of birds, mammals, and other wildlife have adapted to development.
Since the arrival of Europeans, many alien species have become naturalized in the area. Introduced plants include yellow mustard, eucalyptus, wild radish, and tumbleweed. Unfortunately, these plants now far outnumber the indigenous plants and spread rapidly in the city's vacant lots and oil fields.
However, the city and its residents have initiatives underway to preserve and reclaim a small part of its ecological heritage. The RiverLink project has begun to revegetate the Long Beach stretch of the Los Angeles River with indigenous plants. Part of the remaining Pacific Electric Right of Way was cleared of nonnatives, planted with indigenous plants, and made accessible with foot and bike paths. This community open space is now known as The Long Beach Greenbelt and is the focus of continuing efforts in restoration and community education. The El Dorado Nature Center has changed its original "hands-off" approach and begun to actively introduce indigenous species . The Los Cerritos Wetlands Study Group, state government agencies, and grassroots groups are collaborating on a plan to preserve Long Beach's last remaining wetlands. Long Beach is the first city in California to join the 'EcoZone' Program, intended to measurably improve environmental conditions through public-private partnerships. Such projects seek to reduce pollution, restore native habitat, provide green areas for the city's residents to enjoy.
Other places in Long Beach to see natural areas include Bluff Park (coastal bluffs), the Golden Shores Marine Reserve, the Jack Dunster Marine Reserve, Shoreline Park, and DeForest Park.
As of the census of 2000, there were 461,522 people, 163,088 households, and 99,646 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,532.8/km² (9,149.8/mi²). There were 171,632 housing units at an average density of 1,313.8/km² (3,402.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.16% White, 14.87% African American, 0.84% Native American, 12.05% Asian, 1.21% Pacific Islander, 20.61% from other races, and 5.27% from two or more races. Latino of any race were 35.77% of the population.
Non-Hispanic/Latino whites were 33.13% of the population. This has been a significant decrease since the 1950s, when the city was mostly Anglo-American and nicknamed "Iowa by the Sea" or "Iowa under Palm Trees." The city was long a major port of entry for European, Asian and Latin American immigrants headed to Los Angeles in the 20th century. The Harbor section of downtown Long Beach was once home to persons of Dutch, Greek, Italian, Maltese, Portuguese and Spanish ancestry, most of them employed in manufacturing and fish canneries until the 1960s.
According to a report by USA Today in 2000, Long Beach is the most ethnically diverse large city in the United States. Its Asian community includes a large Cambodian community, the second-largest Cambodian community outside of Asia (after Paris); and a neighborhood along Anaheim Street is called "Little Phnom Penh". There are also sizable populations of immigrants and descendants from Vietnam and the Philippines.
It has a relatively high proportion of Pacific Islanders (over 1 percent), from Samoa and Tonga. Most American Indians, about 2 percent of the city's population, arrived during the Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs urban relocation programs in the 1950s.
Long Beach once had a sizable Japanese-American population who mostly worked in the fish canneries on Terminal Island and small truck farms in the area. They were victims of racial prejudice and transported to internment camps in 1942, supposedly for national security reasons. Most did not return to Long Beach after their release from the camps. Due to their transportation, interracial marriage, and other factors, Japanese Americans make up less than 1% of the population of Long Beach. There is still a Japanese Community Center and a Japanese Buddhist Church in Long Beach. The Japanese-American Cultural Center is just over the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.
There were 163,088 households out of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% were non-families. 29.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.55.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.2% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $37,270, and the median income for a family was $40,002. Males had a median income of $36,807 versus $31,975 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,040. About 19.3% of families and 22.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.7% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over. In 2008, the Census Bureau showed the amount of people living below the poverty line had dropped to 18.2%.
The top commercial businesses in Long Beach, based upon the number of employees, are: Boeing, Verizon, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, and The Bragg Companies (crane and heavy transport sales). Several local hospitals are major employers, including: Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, St. Mary Medical Center, and Pacific Hospital of Long Beach. Major government and educational employers include: Long Beach Unified School District, City of Long Beach, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach City College, United State Postal Service, and Long Beach Transit.
As of 2005, the Port of Long Beach was the second busiest seaport in the United States . The port serves shipping between the United States and the Pacific Rim. The combined operations of the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles are the busiest in the USA.
Rail shipping is provided by Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway, which carry about half of the trans-shipments from the port. Long Beach has contributed to the Alameda Corridor project to increase the capacity of the rail lines, roads, and highways connecting the port to the Los Angeles rail hub. The project, completed in 2002, created a trench long and deep in order to eliminate 200 grade crossings and cost about US$2.4 billion.
Long Beach is the southern terminus for the Los Angeles Metro Blue Line light rail corridor. Blue Line trains run from Long Beach City Hall to Downtown Los Angeles. The Metro Rail Blue Line Maintenance Shops are also located in Long Beach just south of the Del Amo Blue Line station.
There is an Amtrak Thruway bus shuttle starting in San Pedro, with stops at the Queen Mary and downtown Long Beach, that then goes to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, and ends in Bakersfield. The Blue Line MetroRail connects downtown Long Beach to the Staples Center and downtown Los Angeles where it connects with Hollywood and Pasadena.
Greyhound Lines operates the Long Beach Station in downtown Long Beach.
Public transportation in Long Beach is provided by Long Beach Transit. Besides the normal bus service, which charges a fare, Long Beach has free routes, the Passport routes, which use mini-buses to shuttle passengers within the downtown area. The Passport "C" route between the downtown, The Aquarium, The Pine Ave. Circle, Shorline Village, and the Queen Mary, and Passport "A" and "D" buses go East-West along Ocean Boulevard, linking the Catalina Landing in the west with Alamitos Bay or Los Altos via Belmont Shore in the east. A 90-cent fare is required when traveling east of Alamitos Avenue. Another free route, Passport "B" in the East Village, visits museums and other points of interest. Long Beach Transit Web Site
Long Beach Transit also operates the 49-passenger AquaBus water taxi, which stops at the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Queen Mary, and four other locations; and the 75-passenger AquaLink water taxi, which travels between the Aquarium, the Queen Mary, and Alamitos Bay Landing next to the Long Beach Marina.
There is also limited bus service to Orange County through Orange County Transportation Authority buses. Route 1, from Long Beach to San Clemente is the longest bus route in the OCTA system. Traveling along Pacific Coast Highway for most of the route, it takes 2-2.5 hrs to complete.
Torrance Transit buses go from downtown Long Beach to the South Bay. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has bus service from downtown to San Pedro, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) has two regional bus lines that serve downtown Long Beach.
Long Beach Airport serves the Long Beach, South Bay and northern Orange County areas, but is relatively small, considering the area's population. It is the West Coast hub for JetBlue Airways. It is also the site of a major Boeing (formerly Douglas, then McDonnell Douglas) aircraft production facility, which is the city's largest employer.
Several freeways run through Long Beach, connecting it with the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas. The San Diego Freeway (I-405) bisects the northern and southern portions of the city and takes commuters northwest or southeast to the Golden State/Santa Ana Freeways (I-5). The San Diego Freeway also provides regional access to Long Beach Airport, which is located on the north side of the freeway near Signal Hill. The Long Beach Freeway (I-710) runs north-south on the city's western border, with its southern terminus adjacent to the Port of Long Beach on Terminal Island at the intersection of the Terminal Island Freeway (SR 103) and State Route 47. The Long Beach Freeway is the major spur route serving Long Beach from Downtown Los Angeles, with its northern terminus near Downtown Los Angeles in Alhambra. Along with the Harbor Freeway (I-110) to the west, the Long Beach Freeway is one of the major routes for trucks transporting goods from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to railyards and distribution centers in Downtown Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. The southern end of the Long Beach Freeway joins Long Beach with Terminal Island via the Gerald Desmond Bridge...
Southeast Long Beach is served by the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605), which joins the San Diego Freeway at the Long Beach/Los Alamitos border. The Artesia Freeway (SR 91) runs east-west near the northern border of Long Beach. The western portion of the Garden Grove Freeway (SR 22) provides a spur off of the San Diego and 605 Freeways to 7th Street in southeast Long Beach for access to the VA Hospital, California State University, Long Beach, and Alamitos Bay.
Pacific Coast Highway (SR 1) takes an east to southwest route through the southern portion of Long Beach. Its intersection with Lakewood Bouelvard (SR 19) and Los Coyotes Diagonal is the Los Alamitos Traffic Circle.
The city is effectively on a "grid" system, in which Ocean Boulevard serves as the dividing line between north and south, and Pine Avenue dividing the city on the east and west. Almost all of the city is north of Ocean Boulevard, thus only addresses which are on the south side of the city need to be identified as being "south", while addresses in the north section of the city are never identified as "north". While more than 2/3 of the city is east of Pine Avenue, addresses on the west side are not given a geographical designation, addresses on the east side are designated as "east". Also, with limited exceptions, streets running north-south are called "Avenue" and streets running east-west are called "Street". The most common exception is that short streets or avenues are typically called "Court", "Place", or "Way". Additionally, wide "avenues" will typically be named "boulevard", and the Traffic Circle has one exit for "Los Coyotes Diagonal", a road which runs from southwest to northeast as, obviously, a diagonal road.
Long Beach has some bike paths along city streets, plus the Shoreline Pedestrian Bikepath along the ocean from Shoreline Village to Belmont Shore. The southern terminus of the L.A. River bicycle path is located in southwest Long Beach between Downtown and the Port. The southern terminus of the San Gabriel River bicycle path is located just east of Long Beach in Seal Beach, and the trail runs north through the El Dorado Park neighborhood in east Long Beach and adjacent to El Dorado Regional Park.
Balboa Amusement Producing Company, also known as Balboa Studios, was located at Sixth Street and Alamitos Avenue; they used 11 acres (45,000 m²) on Signal Hill for outdoor locations. Silent movie stars who lived in Long Beach included Fatty Arbuckle and Theda Bara. The 1917 film Cleopatra, starring Theda Bara, was filmed at the Dominguez Slough just west of Long Beach, and Moses parted the Red Sea for Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 version of The Ten Commandments on the flat seashore of Seal Beach, southeast of Long Beach.
Because of its proximity to LA-area studios and its variety of locations, today Long Beach is regularly used for movies, television shows, and advertisements. The city has filled in for locations across the nation and around the globe. One advantage for Long Beach is that the film industry uses a zone that extends from Beverly Blvd. and La Cienega Blvd. in the West Hollywood area. It is cheaper to film within that zone, so Long Beach and other South Bay cities often stand in for areas of Orange County (such as for The O.C. TV show) because almost all of Orange County is outside of the zone.
One of the most famous Long Beach movie locations is the home of Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Though the film was set in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago the actual house is located at 4160 Country Club Dr.
Long Beach's high schools are especially popular with the film industry. Long Beach Polytechnic High School has played host to numerous films, providing the outdoor high school grounds of Coach Carter and the indoor high school rooms and hallways of American Pie, among others. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School has been a very popular place to film movies as well, with 2-4 movies filmed per year. Recently, a film was shot in Jordan High School. St. Anthony High School's gymnasium has also been featured in many movies and television shows, including Coach Carter and Joan of Arcadia. Other locations in Long Beach have been used quite frequently as well. Many car chase and crash scenes have been filmed on stretches of road near the Long Beach harbor such as the 1963 movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Long Beach's downtown neighborhood has stood in for various urban areas in a variety of films. Multiple scenes from the movie Gone in Sixty Seconds and Speed were filmed in Long Beach. "CSI: Miami" and "Dexter" (TV Series) (also set in Miami, FL.) are some of the many television shows that regularly uses Long Beach to film. Transformers 2 is being filmed in Downtown Long Beach.
The city of Long Beach is a full-service Charter City and is governed by nine City Council members, who are elected by district, and the Mayor, who is elected at-large. The City Attorney, City Auditor, and City Prosecutor are also elected positions. The municipality is supported by a budget of $2.3 billion with more than 5,500 employees.Long Beach was first incorporated in 1888 with 59 buildings and a new school. Nine years later, dissatisfaction with prohibition and high taxes led to an abortive and short-lived disincorporation. Before the year 1897 was out, the citizens voted to reincorporate, and the 1897 incorporation is shown on the city seal.
Other school districts that serve sections of Long Beach include:
The Long Beach City College is a community college established in 1927. It's composed of two separate campuses. The Liberal Arts Campus located on the residential area of Lakewood Village, while the Pacific Coast Campus is in Central Long Beach.
Brooks College is a private for-profit vocational school best known for its fashion design and fashion marketing programs is located near the Traffic Circle Area. The school will close its doors at the end of March 2009.
DeVry University, Long Beach is located in the Kilroy Airport Center. DeVry Long Beach serves students who live or work in the area with undergraduate and graduate degree programs in various career fields.
Aquarium of the Pacific
The Aquarium of the Pacific is an educational facility dedicated to instilling a sense of wonder, respect, and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants and ecosystems. In addition to visiting the Aquarium’s many marine mammals, fish, and birds, guests can learn how to help these species in the wild by protecting the ocean all humans depend on. The Aquarium of the Pacific’s new Ocean on the Edge exhibition and guest speaker series enables the public to learn about the top 10 environmental issues currently facing our ocean, the impacts on people and animals, and how they can help. The Aquarium has hundreds of thousands of school children who visit each year and learn about how their actions impact the ocean. Throughout its 10 years the Aquarium has also been involved in creating forums on a variety of pressing and controversial topics that have involved people in the government, business, and private sectors. The goal of the Aquarium’s forums is to get stakeholders with varying opinions in the same room to identify and evaluate alternative solutions.
The RMS Queen Mary is a 1936 art deco ocean liner permanently docked at Long Beach. It is roughly 200 ft. longer then the Titanic, and is famous for being the fastest in the world from 1936 to 1952, and for its rare and fine woods used in its paneling and artwork. It came to Long Beach in 1967 for conversion to a hotel and museum.
The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is located on a five-acre site on Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, Calif.—across the water from the Long Beach Convention Center, Shoreline Village, and the Queen Mary Hotel and Attraction. The Aquarium features a collection of over 12,500 animals representing over 550 different species. The facility focuses on the Pacific Ocean in three major permanent galleries, sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific. Favorite exhibits at the Aquarium also include the Aquarium's interactive Shark Lagoon (guests can pet sharks and sting rays) and Lorikeet Forest (guests can feed nectar to colorful lorikeet birds). Exhibits at the Aquarium introduce the inhabitants and seascapes of the Pacific, while also focusing on specific conservation messages associated with each region. Exhibits range in size and capacity from about 5,000 to 350,000 gallons. The Aquarium of the Pacific has been visited by more than 13 million people since its opening. The Aquarium was rated #2 Los Angeles area Family Destination in the most recent Zagat U.S. Family Travel Guide, second only to Disneyland. The Aquarium of the Pacific is also the only major nonprofit aquarium in the nation to have attendance increases for the past six years in a row. Morey & Associates’ research ranked the Aquarium of the Pacific as number one in visitor diversity among all of the nation’s leading aquariums.
The Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine received a Gold Medal award from the National Parks and Recreation Society in 2002, 2003, and 2004, recognizing the Department's "outstanding management practices and programs." The Department manages 92 parks covering over 3,100 acres (13 km²) throughout the city, including the 815 acre (3.3 km²) El Dorado Regional Park, which features fishing lakes, an archery range, youth campground, bike trails, and picnic areas. The Department also operates four public swimming pools, and four launch ramps for boaters to access the Pacific Ocean.
The El Dorado Nature Center is part of the larger El Dorado Regional Park. The center features lakes, a stream, and trails, with meadows and forested areas.
The Municipal Fly Casting Pool at Recreation Park in East Long Beach is a 260-by-135-foot clear water, fishless pond built and operated since 1925 by the Long Beach Casting Club as only one of two Southern California city operated casting ponds (the other being in Pasadena). Described recently as a serene pond "surrounded by a seemingly endless stretch of green grass against a backdrop of mountains and palm trees," several movie stars from the 1940s were taught to fly cast at the pond, including Robert Taylor, Clark Gable, Jimmy Durante, and Barbara Stanwick. In 1932, the fly fishing clubhouse adjacent to the fly fishing pond was used for the Summer Olympic Games and housed military personnel during World War II.
The Long Beach Greenbelt is a section of the old Pacific Electric right-of-way, restored by community activists as native habitat. It currently supports approximately 40 species of California native plants as well as a plethora of urban wildlife. Its pleasant, relaxing atmosphere provides for community open space while educating citizens about what the land was like prior to industrialization and urbanization.
Rancho Los Alamitos is a historical site owned by the City of Long Beach and is near the Long Beach campus of the California State University system. The site includes five agricultural buildings, including a working blacksmith’s shop, four acres of gardens, and an adobe ranch house dating from around 1800. The Rancho is within a gated community, so you must pass through security gates to get to it.
Rancho Los Cerritos is a historical site owned by Long Beach in the Bixby Knolls area near the Virginia Country Club. The adobe buildings date from the 1880s. The site also includes a California history research library
Long Beach offers singing gondolier trips through the romantic canals of Naples. Along with gondola rides on Lake Merritt, on the Napa River, in Huntington Beach, in Newport Beach, in Redondo Beach, and at The Venetian (Las Vegas), Long Beach is only one of seven places in the Western United States where tourists may ride in a gondola.
The front beach area of the city was once home to a now-defunct amusement park. Its first rollercoaster opened for business in June 1907. It was named the Figure 8 after the shape of the tracks, and was built on pilings that reached out over the water. In 1914 the Pike Amusement Zone undertook several upgrades and a new roller coaster named the Jack Rabbit Racer was opened in May 1915 becoming the second largest racing coaster in the country. It was part of the Silver Spray Pier which included several new rides and concessions. In the mid twenties, several expansions were made to the area and the Jack Rabbit Racer was remodeled raising the ride's dips to a greater height and steepness but it was soon removed to make way for the Cyclone Racer roller coaster which opened May 1930. The new coaster was also built on pilings over the ocean, but as the breakwater was built and the harbor expanded, the sandy beach extended. Eventually the entire pier stood over the beach. When demolished in September 1968, the Cyclone Racer was the only two track roller coaster in the United States.
Although California's surfing scene is said to have gotten its start in Long Beach when in 1911 two surfers returned from Hawaii and the city hosted the first National Surfing and Paddleboard Championships in 1938, surfing is now uncommon in Long Beach due to a long breakwater built in 1949 to protect the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The breakwater reduces "mighty waves to mere lake-like lapping along the city's beaches." Some Long Beach residents also cite the breakwater as a reason for the dirtiness of the water in Long Beach, as the water is not able to circulate. The fleet left in the 1990s, and now some residents are calling for it to be lowered or eliminated and the city has commissioned a $100,000 study for this purpose.
The Long Beach Dog Beach Zone is the only legal off-leash area on the beach for dogs in all of Los Angeles County. This area is situated in Belmont Shore between Roycroft and Argonne avenues.
The local daily newspaper is the Long Beach Press-Telegram, which is distributed throughout most of the Gateway Cities and South Bay areas of southwest Los Angeles County. The Press-Telegram is part of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, which has several newspapers in the Southern California area that share some resources and reporters.
As of 2007, Long Beach is served by The District Weekly, an alternative weekly that covers news, the arts, restaurants, and the local music scene. The OC Weekly and LA Weekly are also distributed widely in Long Beach.
There are a number of weekly and biweekly newspapers, which highlight the city's educational, political and business goings-on. The Beachcomber, Grunion Gazette and Downtown Gazette are community-centric papers with substantial distribution. Business news is covered by the biweekly Long Beach Business Journal.
There are several local online news sources. LBReport.com (est 1999) engages in 'hard' journalism and investigative reporting of local stories, issues and officials. The LBPost.com (est 2007) features news and opinion from a pool of columnists. LongBeachCulture.org is the dominant clearinghouse and calendar for arts & cultural events.
Long Beach is part of the Los Angeles DMA radio and television markets. Although a few radio stations have had studios in Long Beach over the years, including the 80's alternative music and later hard rock station KNAC, the only remaining radio stations in Long Beach are the jazz and blues station KKJZ on the Cal State Long Beach campus, and the Christian radio broadcaster KFRN.
The Long Beach Museum of Art is owned by the City of Long Beach, and operated by the Long Beach Museum of Art Foundation. Long Beach also features the Museum of Latin American Art, founded in 1996 by Dr. Robert Gumbiner. It is the only museum in the western United States that exclusively features Latin American art.
The University Art Museum on the Long Beach State campus (founded in 1973) has a national reputation for its high-quality and innovative programs. Long Beach State is also home to the largest publicly funded art school west of the Mississippi.
In 1965, Long Beach State hosted the first International Sculpture Symposium to be held in the United States and the first at a college or university. Six sculptors from around the world and two from the United States created many of the monumental sculptures seen on the campus. There are now over 20 sculptures on the campus.
On the exterior of the Long Beach Sports Arena is one of the artist Wyland's Whaling Walls. At 116,000 square feet (11,000 m²), it is the world's largest mural (according to the Guinness Book of Records).
Shops and galleries in the East Village Arts District, in downtown Long Beach hold their monthly art openings and artists exhibit in street galleries on the second Saturday of the monthduring the Artwalk.
Long Beach has a percent for art program administered through the Arts Council of Long Beach and the Redevelopment Agency which ensures that new private developments contribute to the arts fund or commission artworks for their new projects .
The CSULB in 2008 changed its music department to Bob Cole Conservatory of Music which is a leading music conservatory in California, the Conservatory has many performances every year.
The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra plays numerous classical and pop music concerts throughout the year. The symphony plays at the Terrace Theater in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. .
Long Beach Opera, founded in 1979, is the oldest professional opera company serving the Los Angeles and Orange County regions. It presents performances of standard and non-standard opera repertoire at various locations, including the Terrace Theater and Center Theater of the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center and the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at CSULB.
Long Beach Community Concert Association LBCCA is a 49 year old, volunteer organization that provides quality musical entertainment appealing to seniors and others, four Sunday afternoons a year at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center at CSULB. LBCCA also has an outreach program taking musical entertainment to senior care and senior housing facilities around the greater Long Beach area.
KJAZZ 88.1 FM (KKJZ) broadcasts from California State University, Long Beach. The station features jazz and blues music exclusively and can also be listened to over the Internet. Kbeach is the student owned and operated web-only radio at CSULB.
Long Beach is the host to a number of long-running music festivals. They include the Bob Marley Reggae Festival (February), the Cajun & Zydeco Festival (May), the El Dia De San Juan Puerto Rican Festival (Salsa music, June) the Aloha Concert Jam (Hawaiian music, June), the Long Beach Jazz Festival (August), the Long Beach Blues Festival (September, since 1980), and the Brazilian Street Carnaval (Brazilian music, September).
The Long Beach Municipal Band, founded in 1909 is the longest running, municipally supported band in the country. In 2005, the band played 24 concerts in various parks around Long Beach.
Long Beach has several resident professional and semi-professional theater companies, notably:
International City Theatre, who produces plays and musicals at the Center Theater (part of the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center);
The Long Beach Playhouse, in continuous operation for over 75 years, has shows running 50 weeks out of the year on two stages.
Additionally, Long Beach is home to a number of smaller and “black-box” theaters, including the Found Theatre, the Garage Theatre (http://www.thegaragetheatre.org), and California Repertory Company (part of the graduate theater program at CSULB) that performs at the National Guard Armory in downtown Long Beach. Numerous tours and other stage events come through Long Beach, particularly at the Terrace Theater and the Carpenter Center, and both CSU Long Beach and Long Beach City College maintain active theater departments.
In October, Long Beach State hosts the CSULB Wide Screen Film Festival, at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center. The festival started in 1992 as a showcase for movies filmed in the widescreen format, but has since been transformed into an artist-in-residence event. A major film artist (such as former CSULB student Steven Spielberg) screens and discusses their own work as well as the ten films that most influenced their cinematic vision.
Christmas boat "parades" are a Southern California tradition, with at least one held every weekend night from December 1 till Christmas. The "Naples Island Christmas Parade" has been held since 1946, and passes through the canals of Naples and around Alamitos Bay past Belmont Shore. The "Parade of A Thousand Lights" is in the Shoreline Village area (near Downtown Long Beach and the RMS Queen Mary). There is also a Christmas boat parade in the nearby Port of Los Angeles/San Pedro area, and another in the Huntington Harbour community of nearby Huntington Beach.
The Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Parade & Festival has been held in May or June since 1984 . It is the second largest event in Long Beach, attracting over 125,000 participants over the two day celebration. It is the third largest Gay Pride Parade in the United States.
The Long Beach Sea Festival is held during the summer months (June through August). It features events centered around the ocean and the beach. These events include beach volleyball, movies on the beach, and a tiki festival.
The Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame is located on South Pine Avenue in front of the Long Beach Convention Center adjacent to the Long Beach Grand Prix circuit. The Walk of Fame was created in 2006 to honor key contributors to motorsports and annually inducts new members in conjunction with the Long Beach Grand Prix. A bronze medallion is placed in the sidewalk for each new inductee. The medallion includes a rendition of the racer’s car and lists top achievements in motor sports.
The Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League plays at Blair Field. Ex-Major Leaguer Darrell Evans manages the team that features former major league players as well as rookies looking to reach the Majors for the first time.
The Southern California Summer Pro League is a showcase for current and prospective NBA basketball players, including recent draft picks, current NBA players working on their skills and conditioning, and international professionals hoping to become NBA players. The league plays in the Pyramid on the Long Beach State campus during July.
The Leeway Sailing and Aquatics Center on Alamitos Bay in Belmont Shore is a youth sailing program founded in 1929 . It is recognized as one of the premier municipal instructional sailing programs in the country.
The sports teams at Long Beach City College have also done well, including national championships in Men's Gymnastics (6), Football (5), Women's Soccer (3), and Men's Doubles and Singles Tennis (1 each). They have also had state championships in numerous sports, including 2006-7 championships in Men's and Women's Water Polo.
Long Beach is the childhood home of tennis legend Billie Jean King, three-time Super Bowl-winning NFL linebacker Willie McGinest, and eight-time National League batting champion and longtime San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn. Each attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Jeff Severson, the "Singing Safety" and 9 year NFL veteran, went to Wilson High School.
2004 Summer Olympics gold medal winning beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor graduated from California State University, Long Beach (where she won a national championship and several other awards), and currently resides in Long Beach.
US Olympic Water Polo Team Member, Ryan Bailey, was raised in Long Beach where he attended Robert A. Millikan High School. Tony Azevedo also went to school at St. Joseph Elementary, and Wilson High School in Long Beach.
US Olympic three-time softball gold medalist, Lisa Fernandez, resides in Long Beach with her husband and son.
The first Miss Universe Pageant was held in Long Beach in 1952. It was won by Armi Kuusela from Finland, who gave up her title to get married to a Filipino tycoon, Virgilio Hilario, shortly before her year was complete. The pageant remained in Long Beach until 1968, when the contest moved to Japan. The Miss International contest was again held in Long Beach in 1971 before returning permanently to Japan.