Fun and Food
In Long Beach
Story and photographs by Greg Aragon
ong Beach is known for its world-class Aquarium of the Pacific and the
legendary Queen Mary ocean liner. But as I recently learned, the water-front
city is also an eclectic paradise, full of incredible restaurants, great
hotels, and a myriad of awesome activities.
Long Beach is a water-front paradise full of great
restaurants, hotels and activities.
My summer getaway to the city began at the luxurious
Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, located in the heart of the entertainment
district in downtown. Here I checked into a gorgeous 10th-floor suite
with a wall of windows overlooking the Queen
Mary and Carnival Cruise Ship Dome, the historic 1926 Breakers Hotel,
and the Pacific Ocean. With chic, casually elegant rooms and great location,
the hotel made a perfect launching pad for my visit.
The Renaissance Long Beach Hotel makes a perfect
home base while visiting the city.
Once acquainted with the 374-room hotel, I began my
Long Beach tour with an incredible Shrimp Po'Boy sandwich and a spicy
Bloody Mary at the nearby Attic
on Broadway. Featuring New
Orleans-styled Southern food in an historic Long Beach house, The
Attic's eclectic menu serves favorites such as Mac 'n Cheetos with bacon;
bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with crab and cream cheese; chicken
and okra gumbo; fried green tomatoes; barbecued St. Louis pork ribs;
and a host of Bloody Mary's with garnishes such as pickled eggs, beef
ribs, and hamburger sliders hanging off the rim.
The Attic on Broadway has tasty Southern food and
a fun Bloody Bar
After lunch, we embarked on an electric bike adventure
down the boardwalk with Pedego
Electric Bikes. Featuring a fleet of cool, pedal-assisted bicycles,
the company offers visitors a unique way to explore Long Beach. With
a powerful, yet compact electric motor, the bikes are perfect for people
of all ages and physical abilities.
Our trek began near Shoreline Village and took us about
8 miles down the beautiful winding bike path along the shore. It was
a great ride. Whenever I felt a little winded I pulled back on the throttle
and the electric motor took over. And as an added benefit, I was sporting
the best bike in the fleet. With wood paneling wrapped around its chassis,
the bike was a tribute to the classic Woodie surf wagon of the 1960s.
Pedego Electric Bikes offers an exciting way to
see Long Beach
Back at the Renaissance Hotel, I soaked in the Jacuzzi
and relaxed before my next adventure a voyage through the canals
of Long Beach's legendary Naples Island. Led by the Gondola
Getaway company, the journey brings old world charm and thousand-year-old
tradition to the city, as passengers cruise on authentic Italian gondolas
through serene canals, under bridges, and past multi-million dollar
mansions. It's no wonder Gondola Getaway has been featured in Westways
Magazine, on CNN, and now in Greg's Getaway.
Along our cruise, we sipped wine, nibbled on snacks
and were treated to an Italian song by our gondolier. And as dusk approached
on the warm summer night, we were rewarded with an amazing sunset that
reflected off the water and bounced through the canals.
Gondola Getaway takes passengers on authentic Italian
gondolas through Long Beach's serene canals
After our gondola ride we drove to The
Boat House on the Bay for a wonderful seafood dinner. Located on
Long Beach's Alamitos Bay, the restaurant serves an array of fresh seafood,
sushi, sashimi and oysters, as well as organic steaks, salads and pastas.
My Boat House dinner included a half-dozen fresh oysters on the half
shell, a tasty jumbo shrimp cocktail with horseradish sauce, and an
exciting Sashimi Roll, with tuna, yellowtail, salmon, crab and avocado,
tempura fried with spicy mayo, eel and ponzu sauce.
In the morning I discovered 4th
Street, also known as "Retro Row." Stretching about 3
blocks, this colorful district is home to more than 40 independent merchants,
including numerous thrift shops; vintage clothing, furniture, books,
antiques and art stores; skateboard and surf shops; as well as locally
owned restaurants, coffee shops and wine bars. Adding to the retro vibe
of the street is the restored 1920s Art Theatre, which hosts a
mix of first-run and art films, live concerts, comedy and other unique
Lola's Mexican Cuisine serves up fresh seafood and
While in the neighborhood I enjoyed lunch on the patio
Mexican Cuisine. This delectable meal included a cold Corona beer
and Ceviche Verde de Camaron, with lime-marinated Mexican gulf shrimp,
mixed with chopped green tomatillos, cilantro, green onions, and habanero
and jalapenos peppers.
From here it was back to the Renaissance Hotel to rest
and then off to the world-famous Queen
Mary for a behind-the-scenes tour. Led by an expert historian, the
excursion discussed the glory days of Queen Mary's tenure on the high
seas. Our guide talked about her groundbreaking construction, her time
as a troopship during WWII and her days as the worlds most luxurious
and technologically advanced ocean liner. We even visited the exact
cabin that Sir Winston Churchill stayed in.
No trip to Long Beach is complete without a visit
to the Queen Mary
Sir Winstons's boasts gourmet
seaside views and historic elegance
After the tour I enjoyed a memorable dinner at Sir Winstons
Restaurant & Lounge, the Queen
Mary's signature five-star restaurant. Named after Winston Churchill,
the restaurant boasts incredible seaside views and a mystic and historic
elegance that must be experienced to truly understand.
My meal at Sir Winston's began with lobster ravioli,
with sambuca rosa sauce, chive, concasse, and parmigiano reggiano, followed
by a succulent plate of grilled shrimp, with warm lobster and crab salad,
baby carrots, roasted potatoes, and blood orange syrup. While dining,
I listened to waves splash against the ship's hull and I thought of
the all the history that went on inside this magical ocean liner.
For more information on visiting Long Beach, visit www.visitlongbeach.com.
For more information on staying at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel
and for current summer specials, visit www.renaissance-hotels.marriott.com/renaissance-long-beach-hotel.
for Blue Whales at Long Beach; The
Queen Mary; Top
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to Catalina Island; Laguna
Beach "State-Cation"; Winter
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