Long Beach, CA
Life has been pretty mundane here in gloomy Oregon, so my boyfriend and I made a trip down to Long Beach, California to visit friends and family on his spring break. We have a very tentative plan to maybe move to southern California once his work in Eugene is done, so it was fun to play house for a week in our potential future environment. If you're ever in Long Beach, check out this list of fun and inexpensive activities!
WALK AN ART DECO ARCHITECTURE TOUR
Los Angeles is a treasure trove of Art Deco architecture because of the large influx of construction in the 1920s and 30s, and the style sprawls all throughout southern California. Long Beach has a few guided tours, one that includes a book on the subject as well as complementary wine, but we decided to conduct our own walking tour to save some cash. I Googled "Art Deco in Long Beach" and came across this awesome self-guided tour as well as a few others. My favorite thing to see was the Long Beach Recreation mural, shown in the picture above, created by local artists with funding from the Works Progress Administration in 1937. It's over 800 sq ft, and is made up of 466,000 individual square tiles. The mural features activities that Long Beach natives were known for. This was a must see on my list, if only for the great Instagram opportunity.
RETAIL THERAPY, DUH
Long Beach has a ton of cute local boutiques, as well as the Pike Outlets with bigger brand names and amazing prices (side note–how am I just now learning that there is a Restoration Hardware WAREHOUSE? Does no one love me? I needed to know this). There's a boardwalk across from the Pike Outlets right by the harbor with quirky little shops, and then there's Belmont Shore a little further away with even more to choose from. Downtown Long Beach also had also had a lot of shopping options. The whole city is fairly navigable, whether it be by public transit or just walking, so we didn't have to research much; aimless walking is definitely the way to do Long Beach.
TOUR THE BEMBRIDGE HOUSE of LONG BEACH
If you've read any of my #wellspentweekends blog posts, you know I'm a sucker for a guided tour. For a $5 donation, the Long Beach Heritage Organization has an interactive tour of a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian home from the late 1800s, owned by multiple families but most notorious for the Rankin family, particularly Thomas Rankin's daughter, Dorothy Bembridge. We only went on this tour because my boyfriend is obsessed with murder mysteries and anything paranormal, and Dorothy Bembridge, the last person to live in this home, was murdered in cold blood at the age of 89. He was hoping for ghosts, I was hoping for turrets and decorative trimwork—unfortunately, only one of us got what we came for. The tour doesn't mention the murder of Dorothy Bembridge, probably out of respect for the family, but it was still interesting and very cheap. Something unique about this home is that all of the decor was original to the Rankin family, and has been kept in mint condition over the last century. I wanted to steal all of the Persian rugs.
ENJOY SOME AMAZING LOCAL CUISINE
One of my dear friends in Oregon is from southern California, and the one thing she could recommend to do in Long Beach was to go to "that place that puts Hot Cheetos on everything," also known as The Attic. This was possibly the best meal of my entire life. My boyfriend's Bloody Mary came with a pulled beef slider as a garnish. Every day we got to look forward to another disgustingly good menu. My recommendations besides The Attic are: any of the food trucks, L'Opera for some live opera and fancy Italian food and drink, Panama Joe's for Taco Tuesday and a Buy 1 Get 1 for $0.25 happy hour, and of course, the California holy grail, In-N-Out. My mouth is actually watering as I type this.
HEAD to the BEACH
It's not a spring break trip if there isn't a beach involved! We drove down to Hermosa Beach to enjoy a day in the sun and, no surprise, more amazing food. I've never been to Santa Monica, Huntington, or any other LA beach, so maybe they're all this cute, but Hermosa Beach had an adorable farmers' market, and live music, and beautiful local shops lining the shore. I definitely want to explore more CA beach towns on our next trip. If anyone has any suggestions, leave a comment below!
AND MAYBE, IF YOU'RE LUCKY,
RUN INTO a CELEBRITY
We drove into LA for a day, and not 20 minutes after getting out of the car we ran into Lisa Vanderpump! I don't have any advice as to how to do this yourself, I just couldn't not add this picture to the blog post.
That's a wrap on this travel blog–leave a comment below if you've got any SoCal suggestions!