15 Free Things to Do in Long Beach, CA

Free Things to Do in Long Beach, CA
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Long Beach, California, is virtually on everyone's travel bucket list.

There are dozens of reasons to spend your weekend or short vacation in this gorgeous California coastal city.

Located in Los Angeles County, Long Beach is renowned for its long stretch of white sand beaches and lively neighborhood full of excitement and fun.

A half-hour drive south of Los Angeles, Long Beach is less-crowded, making it an excellent alternative destination.

Like most popular tourist destinations, Long Beach has plenty of activities to enjoy without burning a hole in your pocket.

You can soak under the sun, swim, or stroll through its lively neighborhood.

If you want a more curated itinerary, here are the free things to do in Long Beach, California.

Take a Walk along Downtown Long Beach

View of Downtown Long Beach at night
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Downtown Long Beach serves as the central hub for the city's majority of businesses, residences, and offices.

You can find most of Long Beach's attractions, such as shopping malls, parks, and art galleries.

Thus, it's a must-visit place upon arriving in the city.

Buildings along Downtown Long Beach
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Walking through the busy downtown is a worthwhile activity amidst the vibrant atmosphere.

You'll enjoy window shopping, checking out public art installations, and taking gorgeous photos as souvenirs.

Above all, Downtown Long Beach is the first place you'll see upon arrival, so you might want to start your travel adventure here.

A restaurant at Downtown Long Beach
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Feel the Sea Breeze at Waterfront Long Beach

View from Waterfront Long Beach
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Compared to Downtown Long Beach, Waterfront Long Beach offers you the best of both worlds.

It has a bustling city scene on one side and the city's picturesque beaches on the opposite side.

You can visit this area along Queensway Bay, where you can traverse a long, gorgeous beachside boardwalk.

This area allows you to enjoy a morning or afternoon walk through various parks and gardens.

Pathway of Waterfront Long Beach
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Like the downtown area, it's packed with shops, art galleries, malls, and chain hotels, while meeting visitors and locals on their beach attires.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy your visit to the Waterfront Long Beach.

You can hike, jog, or walk your dog and enjoy the scenic view of the beaches nearby.

If you're looking for food and drinks, you won't run out of terrific restaurants, cafes, and bars lining the waterfront's streets.

Travel to the Past at Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens

Adobe house at Rancho Los Alamitos
Monacat, CC BY-SA 3.0 US, via Wikimedia Commons

Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens is a 1700s historical ranch house and garden along East Bixby Hill Road.

The entire area, whose name comes from an 1834 Mexican partition, spans over 7.5 acres on the Tongva-Gabrielino land.

Since it has free admission, you can bring your family to this charming historical site known for various outdoor activities.

When visiting, you can tour its historic barns, horse corrals, feed shed, and fully-functional blacksmith used in the 1700s.

It's also a fun place to bring kids since it has a small ranch with farm animals such as rabbits, chickens, ducks, and draft horses which you can interact with through feeding sessions.

Likewise, you and your family can enjoy its cultural workshops and school tours at Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens.

Feel the Serenity of Alamitos Beach

Sunset at Alamitos Beach
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Alamitos Beach is one of the numerous public beaches throughout Long Beach.

You can visit this beach along Alamitos Avenue in Long Beach's southernmost part.

It mainly features soft white sand, warm and calm waters, paved paths, and beach amenities.

People enjoying the sun at Alamitos Beach
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It's a nice place to enjoy what Long Beach offers best: swimming and other beach-related activities.

If you want some time off, Alamitos Beach is a perfect place since it's less crowded than other public beaches in Long Beach.

Signage of Alamitos Beach
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Marvel at the RMS Queen Mary

View of the docked RMS Queen Mary
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The Queen Mary is one of Long Beach's most famous tourist attractions.

This famous ship started voyaging in 1936 for Trans-Atlantic travels.

It retired in the 1960s and permanently docked in Long Beach's Queensway Bay.

Today, it's known throughout California as a floating hotel and restaurant.

At the same time, it's also known as one of Long Beach's most haunted places, drawing thousands of tourists annually.

A room in the RMS Queen Mary
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However, climbing aboard this famous ship has an admission fee.

Nonetheless, you can still head to Queensway Bay and strike a pose with the Queen Mary as your backdrop.

Besides taking photos of this famous ship, you can take a good view of its elegance and awe-inspiring size.

Aerial view of the RMS Queen Mary
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Breathe Fresh Air at the El Dorado East Regional Park

The grounds of El Dorado East Regional Park
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El Dorado East Regional Park encompasses over 105 acres along E. Spring Street in Long Beach.

This public park is one of the locals' favorite places to hang out since it's a few minutes from Downtown Long Beach.

Since it's the most extensive park in the city, you can enjoy plenty of outdoor recreation.

Pedal-boating at El Dorado East Regional Park
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It has a vast green open space, a playground, an archery range, a disc golf course, a skate park, and a duck pond.

However, the best way to enjoy visiting El Dorado East Regional Park is simply relaxing while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

Water reeds at El Dorado East Regional Park
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Explore Belmont Shore

Memorial pier at Belmont Shore
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Belmont Shore is a small Long Beach community best known for its eclectic collection of shops, beaches, and restaurants.

It's a unique destination in Long Beach's southeast corner, making it a must-visit place.

Stroll through the streets full of locally-owned shops and restaurants while rubbing elbows with locals.

Beach volleyball at Belmont Shore
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If you're up for window shopping, Belmont Shore has over 50 establishments guaranteeing a satisfying experience.

At the same time, you can stop by one of its public beaches or its pier for a lovely picnic with your friends or family.

Belmont brewing co at Belmont Shore
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Catch Golden Hour at the Bluff Park

For a laid-back activity, head to Bluff Park along Ocean Boulevard.

The small neighborhood within Long Beach spans 13.2 acres, known for its scenic beach stretching a couple of miles.

It mainly features Long Beach's residential area, a peaceful place to stroll and enjoy the scenic view of the beach and the Pacific Ocean on the horizon.

However, many guests go to Bluff Park every afternoon to catch the golden hour.

Many people go to Ocean Boulevard, walk down Bluff Park's shoreline trail to see the gorgeous sunset, and spend the afternoon relaxing.

Don't forget to drop by this Long Beach neighborhood for a relaxing experience.

Check Out Naples Canals

Boats at Naples Canals
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Naples Canals is a community within Long Beach, California, on Naples Island.

You don't need to travel to Venice, Italy, to see the famous canal streets.

The Naples Canals in Long Beach remind visitors of this favorite travel destination.

If you want a romantic place to stroll within Long Beach, take your partner to this place for a romantic afternoon.

The waters of Naples Canals
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Otherwise, take your entire family for fun outdoor activities such as paddle boarding or kayaking.

Besides outdoor activities, don't forget to take gorgeous photos of Naples Canals' beautiful streets to complete your visit.

A trail at Naples Canals
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Make a Splash at Junipero Beach

People at Junipero Beach
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Junipero Beach is one of Long Beach's numerous beach areas, known for its fine white sand and blue waters.

You can visit this public beach along E. Ocean Boulevard for beach outings with your family or friends.

As one of the most favorite beach spots in Long Beach, Junipero Beach has plenty of space for everyone to spread their beach towels.

Sunny day at Junipero Beach
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At the same time, it has paved pathways perfect for hiking and jogging for those who avoid getting wet.

If you're looking for more activities, this beach has a free yoga class for everyone to take part in.

You can enjoy plenty of exciting activities at this famous beach, primarily free of charge, so don't forget to include this in your itinerary.

Bicycle ride along Junipero Beach's pier
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Pedal through the Scenic Rainbow Harbour Esplanade

Afternoon scene at Rainbow Harbour Esplanade
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Rainbow Harbour Esplanade is a long stretch of scenic boardwalk that overlooks Queensway Bay.

You can visit this famous esplanade along E. Shoreline Drive and enjoy various outdoor activities.

Biking from the Rainbow Lagoon Park to the Long Beach Shoreline Marina is an excellent way to enjoy your time at this esplanade.

There are numerous bike rentals throughout the esplanade for those who forgot to bring their bike.

Trees along Rainbow Harbour Esplanade
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If you don't have money to spend on bike rentals, you can still stroll and enjoy the breathtaking views of the harbor.

Along the way, you'll pass through a wide array of shops, restaurants, and shopping centers at Rainbow Harbour Esplanade.

On the opposite side are long lines of yachts and boats of all sizes docked on the harbor, giving you a picturesque scene and an excellent photo opportunity.

Aerial view of Rainbow Harbour Esplanade
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See Local Art at Long Beach East Village Arts District

Wildlife habitat at Long Beach East Village Arts District
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Head to the Long Beach East Village Arts District to witness the vibrant local arts scene.

You can check out this attraction at East Village within Long Beach.

It's a lovely attraction that perfectly combines the vibrant lifestyle and arts of Long Beach.

It has an eclectic collection of shops, restaurants, art galleries, and businesses housed in restored historic buildings.

Above all, some of the buildings at this location became sets of famous films such as "La La Land," "This is Us," and "Jane the Virgin."

It's a charming place to visit and take lovely photos of these wonderfully decorated buildings while passing by numerous art installations.

Overall, Long Beach East Village Arts District is a must-visit place to see what the city can offer besides its famous beaches.

Take Gorgeous Photos at the Historic Rancho Los Cerritos

Rancho Los Cerritos, or the Casa de Los Cerritos, is a famous events venue and historic site along Virginia Road in Long Beach.

The entire property spans 4.8 acres of well-preserved 1800s Spanish-era buildings, once a Monterey-style ranch.

Today, the historic property is an events venue open for weddings and other private affairs.

At the same time, it is also a public museum that details California's early ranching industry and its extensive Spanish-Mexican history.

Visit this ranch if you want to take a historical side trip around Long Beach.

It offers free admission through ticket reservations, while walk-in guests can also enter this historic place.

Bring your camera and pose for gorgeous photos to make the most of your visit to Rancho Los Cerritos.

Unleash Your Pup at Rosie's Dog Beach

A happy bulldog at Rosie's Dog Beach
Justinrudd Justin Rudd!, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Parents and dog lovers will surely appreciate Long Beach for putting up a separate beach dedicated to dogs at Rosie's Dog Beach.

You and your pup can visit this public dog beach along E. Ocean Boulevard and take advantage of its free entry.

This dog beach comprises a long stretch of white sand and calm waters, perfect for letting your pup have fun the entire day.

Rosie's Dog Beach opens daily from morning to evening, making it an excellent place to let your pup enjoy what it offers best.

Commune with Nature at Dominguez Gap Wetlands

Dominguez Gap Wetlands is a buffer zone between Long Beach's bustling metropolitan scene and Los Angeles County's natural area.

It's a pretty place to take a break and connect with nature without driving outside Los Angeles and Long Beach.

It features pristine and vast wetlands famous for wildlife viewing, hiking, and off-road biking.

Visiting the wetlands won't just allow you to enjoy various outdoor activities.

You'll also see Long Beach's hidden natural area and local wildlife.

While exploring, you'll spot various bird species, amphibians, small mammals, and native wildflowers.

Spend a day at the Dominguez Gap Wetlands to end your Long Beach adventure with pristine natural beauty and calming environment.

Final Thoughts

Long Beach is an outstanding travel destination.

It blends a busy, highly-urbanized city and a gorgeous long stretch of white-sand beach.

You won't be surprised that there are plenty of exciting free things to do in Long Beach, California.

Don't forget to pin this post as your handy itinerary to explore Long Beach on a budget.

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