Long Beach back in the 80’s and 90’s used to be a commonplace for criminal activity in dicey neighbourhoods. Now, the up and coming city within LA county offers much more than one would initially expect. LA with its tall skyscrapers, areas of mass urbanisation coincided with a paradoxical amount of homelessness is a place worth visiting for sure. Maybe for a day or so? But why on my Southern California adventure did Long Beach inspire me so much? Why did it make LA seem like a cuckoo land of people who never made it? And why would I recommend any vacationers out there looking to go to California to make base in Long Beach rather than LA? Here is why.
Relatively, yes. Rent prices, cost of living prices as well as food and entertainment prices are cheaper than what I experienced in LA. My money lasted longer comparing it to the same amount of time spent in LA and I wasn’t as shocked as I was when being quoted the price for a pint of ale. Don’t believe me? Check out the statistics here.
It’s more safe
Okay, so it’s not perfect but you feel comfortable walking around at night.
Everything you can get in LA you can get in a couple of streets in Long Beach
Apart from the Hollywood walk of fame maybe but you have bohemian shops and international food on 2nd street, a pier and a white sanded beach, accompanied with spacious parks, shopping malls and an entertainment hub.
Long beach beach is better than Santa Monica
Although the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier is mainly used for a retirees day out fishing, the beach itself is perfectly clean, quiet and ridiculously spacious. We went down there twice and we were the only people in sight.
Virtually zero tourists
We stayed with Georgias second cousin in an apartment opposite the promenade for the beach and she said that almost no tourists venture as far south as Long Beach when visiting LA. It seemed true as we didn’t see anyone that stuck out as not been a local (apart from when looking in the mirror).
People are much friendlier
Again, I’m not saying all people from LA are unfriendly, I’m just saying that I had more of a positive experience with waiters, uber drivers and the general public in Long Beach as I did LA.
Public transport is better
You can use the metro to go to and from Long beach to LA (takes about an hour) but what I’m comparing here is the local Long Beach Transit bus system which goes everywhere and is frequent. Also, Long Beach has its own airport so you don’t even have to head for LAX.
It’s way less crowded
No traffic on the road, even in downtown during rush hour is the only example you’ll need to compare the business of the two areas.
It’s more green and well looked after
This point is not that tangible but the whole environmental ethos seemed more visible here. It wasn’t as dusty and dry but again it is a more up and coming area.
That’s it folks, in my opinion if you’re planning a short trip to LA by all means go for it, but I’d recommend to allocate most of your time in Long Beach instead.