LONG BEACH, California (Reuters Life!) - Movie stars enjoyed the beach here during Hollywood’s early days and Elizabeth Taylor spent a honeymoon in Long Beach.
Today celebrities and tourists still relax and enjoy the scenic and historic charm of the city. Reuters correspondents with local knowledge offer tips on how to get the most out of one of the few California towns where walking shoes will suffice to see most of the sights.
4 p.m. - Check into your hotel downtown and within eight blocks 100 restaurants are ready to serve whatever type of food you fancy.
4:30 p.m. - Savor drinks at the Up Lounge in the old Breakers Hotel, where World War Two soldiers looked out to the sea that would soon to carry them to war. Stories of romance and friendship abound in this breathtaking panorama. Dance in the sky room below. www.theskyroom.com
6:30 to 9 p.m. - Dine on Pine Avenue. First stop is the Tapas Bar in Cafe Sevilla. Next try George’s Greek Cafe for flaming Saganaki and Dolmathes. Try King’s Fish House for local spiny lobster or fresh Pacific swordfish and finish at L‘Opera for homemade desserts such as Luna Piena and L.Incanto.
10:30 p.m. - Indulge in a romantic gondola ride through Naples Island canals. Enjoy the wine, the stars and the opera singing in an authentic Venetian gondola, complete with striped shirts and berets. www.gondolagetawayinc.com
9 a.m. - Enjoy breakfast at the Omelette Inn which serves 12 different omelets. www.omeletteinn.com
10 a.m. - Visit the contemporary art galleries of the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), the only Western museum dedicated to Spanish speakers in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. www.molaa.org
11 a.m. - Explore Shoreline Village and its boutiques.
Noon - Lunch at Parker’s Lighthouse where you can eat some of the same kinds of fish as the pelicans seen through the ocean view windows. www.parkerslighthouse.com
2 p.m. - A free tour of Rancho Los Alamitos displays a Mesa home where the history of southern California is on view, ranging from a sacred Native American village to the discovery of oil. www.rancholosalamitos.com
5 p.m. - Dress for dinner fit for a queen on the Queen Mary. A tour with Will Kayne tells where every ghost hides. This grande dame of the ocean set sail in 1936 and has been restored to her full glory. www.queenmary.com
6 p.m. - Enjoy dinner in Sir Winston, the formal dining room of the Queen Mary where the Beef Wellington with truffle sauce is a favorite.
8 p.m. - Save room for dessert at La Traviata, a 19th Century Opera House-styled restaurant where real opera singers perform. www.latraviata301.com
9 p.m. - View the Flamenco Show at Alegria. Stay for the band at 10:30 to try your own moves. Alegriacocinalatina.com.
8:30 a.m. - Enjoy breakfast at Creme de la Crepe where the Allechante Crepe showcases California avocados. www.cremedelacrepe.com
10 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. - More than 12,000 ocean animals swim, float, crawl, fly and waddle in 19 habitats and 32 focus exhibits in the Aquarium of the Pacific. January through March, catch a two-to-three hour boat trip to spot gray whales. www.aquariumofpacific.org
1 p.m. - Ladies and girls can leave the men at the shark tank and snack shop and head to the Vintage Tea Leaf. Here, you can indulge in high tea. Boas and hats are provided along with selected savory and sweet treats. www.vintagetealeaf.com
3:00-4:00 p.m. - Explore Belmont Shore with its beach. There is also a walking, biking and skating path and fishing pier. Fish, shop or just enjoy the view.