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Where to Stay in Long Beach
There are two main lodging districts in Long Beach: Downtown Long Beach, perched right on the waterfront at the eastern end of the Long Beach Naval Complex and Harbor, and along the East Pacific Coast Highway, about one mile north of Downtown.
The hotels clustered in Downtown Long Beach are within convenient walking distance of the city’s hottest nightlife, most popular restaurants and major attractions like the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Long Beach Museum of Art. The Queen Mary, formerly the world’s fastest ocean liner and currently a floating museum, restaurant and hotel facility, is moored just across the water on the harbor’s edge.
Long Beach Hotel Tips
Long Beach has numerous upscale hotels, including a few of the most luxurious hotels in Southern California. Most of these exclusive properties are glass-paneled high-rises and trendy boutique properties located in Downtown Long Beach, though there are a few other standouts farther inland. Classic interpretations of luxury accommodations are hard to come by; most of Long Beach’s finest hotels are thoroughly modern in substance and style.
Mid-range and budget hotels are hard to find near the ocean, but if you’re willing to stay as far as a mile inland, you’re bound to find an excellent deal. National hospitality chains dominate the mid-range category, while the most affordable lodging options are a fairly even mix of independent motels and familiar brands like Super 8.
Long Beach Hotel Recommendations
Though there are more luxurious hotels in Long Beach, none are more interesting than the Hotel Queen Mary, which consists of 314 rooms and suites housed in the cabins of the fabled RMS Queen Mary, now permanently moored at the harbor. As an active ocean liner, the RMS Queen Mary was a luxury cruise ship and even a troop transport during WWII. Today, its small but charming and well-appointed guest quarters offer all the fun and novelty of staying at sea without all the sailing. A museum, a health and beauty spa, interesting boutiques and three restaurants are also on board the vessel.
If you’d like a little more room to stretch out, consider the Hyatt Regency Long Beach. All 528 of its rooms have water views, wireless Internet access and premium bedding, and the pool area is one of the city’s most spacious and attractively landscaped. Nearby, the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel offers its guests a raised, heated terrace with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sun deck and fire pit. If you prefer to avoid large crowds, call ahead to ask if there are any major conventions scheduled during your travel dates; the Renaissance is located across the street from the Long Beach Convention Center, and books up quickly for events.
For a boutique hotel experience, look into Doubletree’s Hotel Maya, a Latin-inspired gem near the waterfront. The private guestroom balconies are perfect for admiring the ocean and harbor, and the on-site Fuego Restaurant is a local hotspot for south-of-the-border cuisine.
Long Beach Transportation
Despite Long Beach’s moderate traffic, it’s handy to have your own vehicle when exploring the area. Parking congestion and pay lots are only common in Downtown Long Beach; in the rest of the city, it’s usually free and easy to park. If you’re arriving by air, you can rent a car after your flight to Long Beach at the Ground Air Transportation Center in Long Beach Airport. Even more rental car agencies operate on-site at the nearby Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Taxis are also plentiful and easy to hail on the street in tourist and nightlife districts, though there are many parts of town where you’ll need to call for a ride if you want one.
Long Beach also has several public transportation options. Long Beach Transit operates the main local transit system consisting of buses, water taxis and The Passport, a special system of buses that connect Long Beach’s top tourist attractions. Some routes on The Passport are free, while others require the same fare as the regular buses.
If you want to visit Los Angeles, or if you’re flying out of town through LAX, you can take the Los Angeles County Metro Rail. The Blue and Green Lines both extend to Long Beach, with the Blue Line leading to Downtown L.A. and the Green Line passing through Los Angeles International Airport.