Top Affordable Activities in Long Beach

If you’re planning a budget-friendly weekend getaway, don’t overlook Long Beach, California. While its neighbors, Los Angeles and Santa Monica, may steal the spotlight, Long Beach has plenty to offer without breaking the bank. From beautiful beaches to vibrant neighborhoods, there are numerous free attractions that will make your visit memorable.

Explore Downtown Long Beach

Start your Long Beach adventure by exploring the vibrant and lively neighborhood of Downtown Long Beach. This central district is known for its local shops, dining options, and nighttime entertainment. Take a leisurely stroll down Pine Avenue, a historic thoroughfare lined with bars, restaurants, and cafes. You can start inland and make your way to the colorful waterfront.

Downtown Long Beach

Wander Along the Waterfront

No visit to Long Beach is complete without a trip to the Downtown Waterfront. Located in the southern part of the city, this area is packed with attractions for everyone. Explore the Aquarium of the Pacific (with an entry fee) and visit the Long Beach Convention Center. Take a stroll through Shoreline Aquatic Park and enjoy the stunning views of Queensway Bay. Don’t forget to check out the many fantastic restaurants, bars, and cafes along the waterfront, perfect for people-watching and savoring delicious food and drinks.

Waterfront in Long Beach

Visit Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, a 1.3-acre park located on the California State University Long Beach campus. This beautiful Japanese garden blends Southern California horticulture with traditional Japanese landscaping. Take a leisurely walk through the park and admire the pagodas, stone lanterns, decorative wooden bridges, and Zen garden. Although entrance is free, make sure to make an online reservation for your visit. The garden is also a popular venue for outdoor events and workshops.

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

Explore El Dorado East Regional Park

Nature lovers should not miss El Dorado East Regional Park, located just 15 minutes away from downtown Long Beach. Spanning 105 acres, this park offers a peaceful retreat from the city. Explore the forested areas, streams, woodlands, and lakes by hiking along the four miles of trails. You can also enjoy other activities such as archery, playgrounds, fitness courses, disc golf, and even camping. The El Dorado Nature Center, located at the park’s entrance, provides educational displays and hosts various events and tours.

El Dorado East Regional Park

Take a Stroll at Rosie’s Dog Beach

If you’re traveling with your furry friend or simply enjoy a pet-friendly atmosphere, head to Rosie’s Dog Beach. This lovely stretch of sand is located on the southern border of Long Beach and offers a quieter beach experience compared to the more crowded areas. Bring your dog between 6 AM and 8 PM to enjoy some playtime on the sand or a refreshing swim.

Rosie's Dog Beach

Visit Long Beach Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit the Long Beach Museum of Art. Every Friday, admission is free, making it an affordable way to explore the museum’s collections. Housed in a century-old summer home, the museum boasts an extensive collection of European and American art from the early 20th century. Enjoy the exhibits, stroll through the sculpture garden, and attend family art-making workshops.

Long Beach Museum of Art

Explore the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)

For art lovers, a visit to the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is a must. Every Sunday, admission is free, allowing you to explore the impressive collection of contemporary Latin American art. With over 1,500 artworks ranging from paintings and photos to drawings and sculptures, this museum is a paradise for art enthusiasts. Don’t miss the outdoor Sculpture Garden and the art studio.

Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)

Enjoy a Beautiful Sunset from Hilltop Park

For a romantic experience with breathtaking views, head to Hilltop Park, also known as Signal Hill. From this hilltop location, you can enjoy panoramic views of Long Beach, Downtown LA, Orange County, the mountains, and the ocean. Pack a picnic and relax while watching the sunset over the city skyline. Remember to arrive early as parking spots might be limited during sunset hours.

Hilltop Park

Bike the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade

If you enjoy biking, take a ride along the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade. This scenic route runs parallel to the waterfront and offers stunning views of the pier. Rent a bike from one of the many rental shops near Shoreline Village and cruise along the path. Along the way, you’ll pass top attractions like Shoreline Village and the Aquarium of the Pacific. Plan your ride for the late afternoon or early morning to catch the beautiful sunrise or sunset views.

Rainbow Harbor Esplanade

Explore the Long Beach Antique Market

If you’re a fan of flea markets and antique shops, don’t miss the Long Beach Antique Market held at the Long Beach Veterans Stadium. This traditional flea market takes place on the third Sunday of every month, offering a wide range of antique items and unique souvenirs. With over 700 shops spread across 20 acres, you’ll find everything from furniture to jewelry to collectibles. Spend a few hours exploring this treasure trove of vintage finds.

Long Beach Antique Market

Check Out the Pike Outlets

While shopping and dining may come with a cost, a visit to the Pike Outlets can still be an entertaining free activity in Long Beach. Located across from the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, this waterfront shopping center offers beautiful architecture, an iconic Ferris wheel, and opportunities for window-shopping. Take a leisurely stroll, enjoy the views, and choose from various dining options ranging from fast food to casual and sit-down restaurants. You can also catch a comedy show or watch a movie at the theater.

The Pike Outlets

Experience Naples

Inspired by Italy’s vibrant Venetian canals and the city of Naples, the Naples neighborhood in Long Beach is a must-visit. Explore the neighborhood on foot and admire the boutique shops, cafes, bars, and excellent restaurants. Take a gondola ride through the pretty canals, enjoy the colorful houses, and visit La Bella Fontana Park, home to an iconic three-tiered fountain. You can also rent a kayak to navigate through the narrow streets and colorful homes. Naples is a unique and picturesque area worth exploring.


Relax at Mother’s Beach

Located on Naples Island, Mother’s Beach is a small but popular beach known for its soft sands and calm waters. It’s an ideal spot for families as the water is gentle and safe for children. Enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, playing on the sand, or having a picnic. Mother’s Beach also hosts free movie screenings during summer nights, creating a fun and memorable experience for everyone.

Mother's Beach

Additional Free Things To Do in Long Beach

There are still plenty of other free activities to enjoy in Long Beach. Here are a few more recommendations:

  • Visit Dominguez Gap Wetlands to explore its trails and spot birds and wildlife.
  • Pay tribute to the Queen Mary, a historic ocean liner docked in Long Beach. While there are paid activities on the ship, you can still admire it from the waterfront.
  • Explore the East Village Arts District, known for its murals, galleries, and local shops.
  • Have a picnic at Bluff Park and enjoy the stunning views of the beach and the ocean.
  • Check out Shoreline Village, a waterfront area packed with restaurants, bars, and shops.
  • Watch movies under the stars at Long Beach Parks’ outdoor film screenings during the summer.
  • Visit Rancho Los Alamitos, a historic ranch house and museum showcasing the area’s history and heritage.
  • Relax at Bixby Park, a large park with a playground, skate park, and sports field.
  • Visit Colorado Lagoon, a peaceful park with trails and beautiful views.
  • Spend time at Junipero Beach and enjoy the soft sand and calm waves.
  • Join free yoga classes on the beach for a rejuvenating experience.
  • Stroll around Rainbow Lagoon Park and rent a pedal boat to enjoy the water.
  • Explore the Thursday Night Market for unique products and local goods.
  • Check out the Skinny House, the skinniest house in America according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • Go whale watching from the beach and spot the magnificent marine animals.
  • Have a picnic day at Heartwell Park, which offers various activities and amenities.
  • Relax at Alamitos Beach and enjoy the calm waters and pretty park.
  • Visit Belmont Shore and Pier for its trendy shops, bars, and restaurants.
  • Take advantage of free Yoga classes held at Junipero Beach.
  • Stroll around Ranbow Lagoon Park, a Japanese-style park with a lagoon.
  • Explore the Thursday Night Market for unique products and local goods.
  • Check out the Skinny House, the skinniest house in America.
  • Go whale watching from the beach and spot the magnificent marine animals.
  • Have a picnic day at Heartwell Park, which offers various activities and amenities.
  • Relax at Alamitos Beach and enjoy the calm waters and pretty park.

Plan your visit to Long Beach and enjoy these free activities for a budget-friendly and memorable experience. Long Beach has something for everyone, and with this list, you’ll never run out of affordable things to do in the city.

For more information on Long Beach and to plan your visit, check out Ambassadeur Hotel here.