Since the days of the long-gone Pike amusement park, the Long Beach waterfront has buzzed with beauty, boats, and buoyant fun, all of which you can enjoy on a 3.5-mile trek, followed by a surprise treat. Park at The Pike Outlets (validation at stores) or in a metered spot and cross the bridge toward the ocean. The landmark bridge represents the old Pike roller coaster and leads you over Shoreline Drive to the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Continue to the water and you’ll reach Shoreline Aquatic Park, full of naval memorials, interpretive historical signs, and a view of a very big boat. Maybe you’ve heard of it: the Queen Mary herself. From the same perspective you can see where the Los Angeles River meets the bay at Queensway Bridge. Head east on the pedestrian path toward Rainbow Lighthouse, perched on a hill and offering sweeping views of the Long Beach skyline and Rainbow Harbor. Heading back toward the aquarium, you’ll walk on a boardwalk through sand and scrub, representing the formerly dune-dominated coast.
Keep hugging the water as you pass Shoreline Village’s shops and eateries on one side, boats on the other. Lots of boats. And more boats, as you stroll between them and the marina green. At roughly the 2-mile mark of this urban walk, you’ll reach the sprawling sands of Alamitos Beach, perfect for a lazy Sunday. Looming above you is the gothic gray and green of the Villa Riviera complex, once the tallest private building in Southern California. This is a good spot to head back, but first cross Shoreline Drive to admire the humpback whale mural on the Long Beach Arena, and stroll through Rainbow Lagoon Park, a Japanese-style strip of serenity.
TREAT: When you reach The Pike Ferris wheel, take a spin or not, but be sure to head next door to Snowopolis, a wonderland of delectable desserts that are as Insta-friendly as they are tasty. We like the classic Hawaiian shave ice, but they also have gourmet shakes that scream indulgence and are served in little floaties and tableside s’more kits. With all this amusement, it won’t be longbeachfore you return!
Take the I-710 to Exit 1C toward downtown Long Beach. Continue onto Shoreline Dr., which takes you 1.5 miles to The Pike outlet mall and parking structure. No dogs in Snowopolis, but the trek is dog-friendly!