Well, I was born in Long Beach, but I only lived there for like 3 years, so I dont remember living there much, but yeah..
Long Beach is a great city, it has a vibrant downtown that is growing, its about 20 to 30 minutes from LA, its a beach.. It has its good areas (belmont shore, naples, bixby knolls, signal hill (although technically another city, the borders are entirely surrounded by LB), and theres also many "not so good" areas, like North Long Beach, some areas directly north of the dt...
overall I think its a great city, theres a lot of diversity, theres ghettoes, theres mansions, theres beaches, theres an urban atmosphere, theres a suburban, Long Beach has everything
He's pretty accurate in his observation of Long Beach. I live in downtown LB, and I think its a great city. I truly believe had it not been so close to LA, the city would certainly have more attention focused on it, and more well known around the country. As mentioned before, its a urban city and has a decent, and growing downtown. My one complaint is we have no waves at the ocean, and this is due to the breakwater. The beach is nice, but it reminds me more of something like Chicago's Lake Michigan because the water is mostly calm, and you don't have the sound of waves crashing up against the shore like other beaches around southern california.
Long Beach is fabulous--especially for LGBT people. And the south-facing oceanside location means that it gets very little of the smog that can settle over the L.A. basin and the Inland Empire. It also doesn't get the heat that affects inland areas. It may be 92 in Woodland Hills or East L.A., but it'll be 75 in Long Beach.
The downtown area and Belmont Shore are hopping--with many restaurants, clubs, boutiques, galleries, etc. And Downtown (less so Belmont Shore) is very diverse. The oceanfront is home to a first-rate Aquarium and the Queen Mary; it's also the locale of the Long Beach Grand Prix race and what to many LGBT people is the only pride event worth bothering with in Southern California (L.A.'s having gone lackluster about 10 years ago). The Performing Arts Center hosts many concerts and events; the Long Beach Opera and local theaters trend more toward experimental genre-crossing productions.
As I see it, one of the biggest challenges for Long Beach is that it is becoming more and more of a bedroom community, even though it is very much a city in appearance. That's because some of the biggest employers--Boeing in particular--have closed shop. That's not to say there aren't employers: You have Cal State Long Beach and various companies servicing the mammoth L.A.-Long Beach harbor, now arguably the largest harbor in volume in the U.S. Still, a number of Long Beachers work in L.A., the South Bay, or Orange County. Many people are self-employed or work in the growing tourism and hotel sectors.
Long Beach has excellent Metro service direct to downtown L.A.--in fact, the Blue Line between downtown L.A. and Long Beach was the first Metro train line (actually a light-rail train) to open. Unlike in much of the L.A. basin, it's not that hard to commute even fairly long distances if you don't have a car.
Sure, Long Beach has some sketchy areas--which get far more negative press than, say, Panorama City in the San Fernando Valley or Highland Park in N.E. L.A. (I lived for two years on a Highland Park street that experienced frequent gang activity, including several killings, so I'm not going to be phased by negative talk about violence in some of Long Beach's troubled areas.)
Here's a wonderful thread on this site about recent projects in Long Beach--for those who haven't already seen it:
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