Did you know that the cheapest beach town in California, Long Beach is gifted with a lot of free things to do? The town is packed with fun and entertainment!
The lifestyle of Long Beach is so simple and beautiful that you cannot wonder that those big giants like Los Angeles and Santa Monica sit beside it.
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The reasons I love staying in Long Beach are its beautiful seaside setting, beaches, and a lot of free things to do. People say you can have fun only if you’ve money. There are so many amazing things about California!
But I believe you can have fun without it too. So, here I bring you a list of affordable and free things to do in Long Beach, California.
Why should only rich people have all the fun?
Table of Contents
Cheap Things to do in Long Beach, California
1. Enjoy the beauty of sunset at Sunset View Park
Nothing is more beautiful and peaceful than watching the sky changing its color from blue to red, pink, and orange – a sunset at Sunset View Park, Long Beach, CA is mesmerizing.
The park sits at the corner of Skyline Drive and Hill Street, between oil derricks and the residence area. However, the place is small and you’ve to hike to reach here.
Watching the panoramic views of sky, sea, and land from Sunset View Park with your loved ones is the most romantic free thing to do in Long Beach.
My father used to come here for jogging on weekends, on my 12th birthday for the first time he brought me here. I’ve so many fond memories!
I was awe-struck seeing the Long Beach skyline, ports, Orange County, Downtown, the ocean, mountains, and radio stations. It looked so different and gorgeous!
Tip: Park your car on the street
2. Hike or walk the DeForest Park
The best free stuff to do in Long Beach is tasting the slice of nature at DeForest Park and enjoying the peaceful greenery. However, people say it is haunted!
DeForest Park is fifteen acres of land where locals say you can hear voices in the wind, a sudden gust of cold air hit your back, an awful pricky feeling, and more.
It feels like someone is watching you, all these happen at night. It sits beside The Queen Mary. I thought to check it by myself, so one fine morning I came here for a hike.
The City council is taking an effort to restore the wetland with the plantation of native species. The place is a little dirty, but ideal for a hike and bird watching. Don’t forget to bring your travel binoculars.
I did not feel any paranormal activity, maybe the sun was out so the ghost was afraid to say “Hi”. I do not know, it’s better to taste adventure staying on the safe side.
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3. Take a selfie in the backdrop of Instagramable Murals
I love to pose in front of murals to make my photos more engaging and attractive. So, I thought to bring you a list of selfie backdrop corners in Long Beach.
More than that I think you should explore the city’s colorful cultural scene as this is the most fun and cheap thing to do in Long Beach, California.
At the juncture of the Promenade and Long Beach Plaza, you’ll find a mosaic border 38’ ft. in height naming it as “Typical Activities of a Beach and Harbor City”. My favorite!
Let me put a list of places where you can visit –
- In the parking lot on the corner of E. Seaside Way and Pine Avenue, check out – “The Poacher”
- Right next to a large grey sculpture at the corner of E. Ocean Boulevard and Pine Avenue, sits a beautiful “Ball Pit Boy” mural
- In front of Dana Neighbourhood Library in Bixby Knolls check out the mural narrating about the love of sisterhood, despite borders
- Behind Atlantic Studio 425 on N Frontenac Ct. sits an untitled artwork commonly known as Pow! Wow! Long Beach
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4. Attend the annual events in Long Beach
If you’re in search of free events in Long Beach, then I’ve got a piece of good news to share. Long Beach is lined up with incredible festivals and events throughout the year.
There is no rest to fun! Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is one of the premier ocean aquariums. There are a lot of water focus events. You should come here!
There are hours of entertainment and wonderful events, let me jot down for you –
- In the month of April, the streets of Downtown Long Beach see car racing speeding up to 200 miles per hour. The Gran Prix Long Beach is the biggest event!
- In the month of June, attend their cultural Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration. It’s all about live music, food, and fun!
- You should attend the second largest event in Long Beach – The Long Beach Pride walk. It happens in the month of July
- Attend a marathon or 5K run along the waterfront in the month of October
- Celebrate December’s annual tree-lighting event at the Terrace Theatre Plaza
5. Photograph the beauty from the Hilltop Park
Don’t you want to capture the beauty of Long Beach from the top? The best free thing to do in Long Beach this weekend is coming to Hilltop Park.
The place is in Signal Hill. It is very popular among locals, hikers, and couples. Its quietness and calmness attract people to it.
I haven’t been to this place during sunset but I’ve heard it is one of the best places to come in the evening to witness the Long Beach beauty.
- You can bring your dog. Remember to keep him on a leash
- In the evening the temperature falls and the climate can be chilled. So, do not forget to carry your warm jacket
6. Treat yourself at weekend Long Beach Antique Market
Who does not want to buy things at hefty discount rates? Welcome to Long Beach Antique Market which happens only once a week. Weekend plans are sorted here!
People arrive here before sunrise to buy antiques, collectibles, treasures, and things to decorate their homes. The market sits at the Long Beach Veterans Stadium.
Shopping from this flea market is one of the fun cheap things to do in Long Beach as you can see 800 vendors selling things ranging from clothes and quirky things.
Long Beach Antique Market encompasses over 20 acres of land. Trust me strolling around and seeing people all around is so much fun!
- The best flea market in the USA
- Open-air market
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7. Check out Naples and Venetian canals
If you want to explore the classic unique charm of the South California neighborhood, there is no better than Naples, the best place to go in Long Beach for free.
Naples is a group of three islands designed mostly to bring the European touch to it by naming it “California’s Little Italy”.
This little Italian town is a great weekend escape spot for relaxed, romantic dates or extravagant holidays. The narrow streets and colorful homes are so gorgeous.
To get a different perspective of Venetian Canal you should take the 50 minutes gondola ride. I would tell you this place is postcard perfect!
Stroll around the streets – go around the restaurants and cafes clicking pictures. I’m sure your friends would think you’re in Venice.
Trust me, for romantic free things to do in Long Beach, Naples is an ideal spot. You should do the paddle boarding together and click the picture at La Bella Fontana Park.
- In winter, Naples becomes quite beautiful. The streets are so gorgeously decorated with lights
- Carry a cozy shawl for a gondola ride. It can be a little cold!
- In the month of December, there is a holiday cruise on the island that takes you around showing the Christmas lights after sunset. It’s very romantic!
- There is not much place to parking
- To reach here you’ve to drive along East 2nd Street
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8. Catch some rays at Mother’s Beach, Naples
As Appian Way crosses onto Naples Island, you’ll see Marine Park Beach which is also known as Marine Beach.
There is a northeast-facing park called Mother’s Beach which sits top of the list of free things to do in Long Beach with kids and family.
Let me tell you that Mother’s Beach is not an ocean so your kid is safe, it is a canal and waterways stemming from Alamitos Bay. Also, it is a lifeguarded beach.
You can enjoy the soft sand and warm water. Paddle-boarding and swimming are very popular here. There is a playground, snack bars, and a picnic area too.
- In the playground there are crawling, swings, and slides, so no moment of unhappy eyes
- Enjoy the Naples Christmas boat parade from Mother’s Beach
9. Take your child to California State University Long Beach
One of the free things to do in Long Beach with kids is a walk around the University. You might be asking “why”? Why not make your child dream to get here?
Long Beach University is a public research education institute that has the second-largest campus in the California State University System.
Apart from this, the campus is built with extra care towards the environment so that it motivates people living and working here. Aesthetically the place is very pleasing.
The interior space, window walls, outdoor landscaping, water pyramid on the campus, fresh air, and the cosmopolitan feel makes this place beautiful for a walk.
Tip: Take a photo of the Water pyramid, it resembles an Egyptian pyramid.
10. Let your dog run free or swim at Rosie’s Dog Beach
Just 8 minutes away from Alamitos Beach along Ocean Blvd between Granada Avenues and Roycroft sits a dog-friendly beach named – Rosie’s Beach.
You know you’re at the right spot when you find the crowd is less and a sculpture outside saying – “Dogs at Play”. It is free to visit!
The only reason, I love taking Benji here is because the place is wide and he can spread out and play. I feel very free because I know he is in a solid spot.
Rosie’s Beach is a four-acre waterfront spot and an official off-leash dog beach in California with no fence marking but a paradise for pets and pet guardians.
The sand is soft, water is calm, and warm, making it an ideal spot for a budget trip to Long Beach, California with dogs. No need to keep your pup at home!
You can check out other dog-friendly beaches in California!
- Every year in the month of August there is a contest called Grand Sand Sculpture where professionals come to create an amazing sand creation. You can come during this time to enjoy art, great food, live music, and some fun activities.
- The beach is open from 6 am – 8 pm
- For free parking keep your car behind the beach and walk a bit
11. Get a good tan at Junipero Beach
The personality of Junipero Beach is completely different as walkers, drivers, and family people love it as they get an open view of the ocean and no sign of buildings.
Along Buff Park and the end of Alamitos Beach sits the crowd’s favorite – Juniper Beach which is also called Cherry Beach as it is easy to pronounce.
In search of free things to do in Long Beach with families, I think it is a great place to soak some sun and play with kids in making a sandcastle.
But I want to take you to Juniper Beach Playground! As a lot of people do not know about it. There are a lot of climbing structures, bike paths, basketball courts, and more.
You can see your kids climbing, the park is designed for kids! This is such a fun thing to do in Junipero Beach for free.
Go to the Shoreline Pedestrian Bike path to enjoy panoramas of the pier. If you’ve picnic plans, visit Bixby Park and in the evening go to Long Beach Museum Art.
- At Juniper Beach Playground there is a rope ladder, monkey bar, and swings.
- There are many frequent free yoga classes that you can attend.
- The beach is 30 – 40 feet below the buff, hence, use the staircase to reach
- You cannot bring your dog on the sand but can take him behind the beach on the walking spot
- Check the tides news before jumping into the water
- For free parking, you can try street parking but it’s better if you choose a metered parking spot
12. Go to Belmont Shore for some surfing, kayaking, movie date, and socialization
From Belmont Veterans, Memorial Pier to Long Beach Peninsula sits Belmont Shore Beach, famous for its pier, Spanish-style homes, bubbling neighborhood, and more.
Belmont Shore is known for its attractive canals, serene lagoon, and bustling energetic environment. The coastal area is a paradise full of activities.
Thrill-seekers and water sports enthusiasts love kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing. If you want, you can simply relax or enjoy the sun tanning on the beach.
If you’re searching for free attractions in Long Beach, Belmont Shore cannot be missed. Visitors love to watch Moonlight Movies on the beach which starts each June and ends in mid-August.
Also, a walk with your loved one along the fishing pier at Belmont Shore is all memory worthy. You can fish with an open view of the water and enjoy it for dinner!
- Head to Belmont Plaza Pool for casual swimming or to cool off in the summer
- Belmont Shore fishing pier hosts a number of on-pier festivals and events
- Every summer during Long Beach International Sea Festival the beach host Pier Daze Pirate Invasion and Kid’s Fishing Rodeo, do come during this time!
13. Explore the “nice corners” – Downtown Long Beach
What can be the most fun things to do in Long Beach than exploring unique local shops, tasting the local flavors in restaurants, and walking the pretty space?
If you’re traveling with friends, kids, or a lover, the boat ride is always fun. I used to come to Rainbow Lagoon to swan boat and pedal and enjoy the views!
I’ve been to Long Beach’s East Village so many times, I love clicking pictures with murals and having dinner at East Village Cafe. Trust me, the place is very lively.
I’ve heard people going to Shoreline Aquatic Park for bird watching and spend their evenings. The view of tree lines trails and palm trees are so eye soothing.
Out of everything, Shoreline Park is my favorite under-free thing to do in Long Beach, California. The grassy park is ideal to chit chat with friends over snacks!
- Take the red Passport shuttle for complimentary rides. You can also take a jiffy to explore the Downtown
- In search of romantic free things to do in Long Beach, I recommend renting a LED-lighted swan boat to enjoy pedaling under the moon. Get a blanket and some coffee!
14. Inhale the classic vibe of Shoreline Village
The best thing to do for free in Long Beach is to visit and explore Shoreline Village, a coastal paradise full of fun water activities and a family spot.
I went to Rainbow Harbor but did not know that just right to it sits the Shoreline Village. Colorful wooden buildings and great boardwalks make this place an amazing tourist spot.
Go to Parkers Lighthouse seafood restaurant to taste the best funnel cake, ice creams, and chocolates. Walk around the village to enjoy waterfront views and food!
I’m sure your phone gallery will be full after returning from Shoreline Village. You should definitely get an external hard disk for yourself.
This spot is the best romantic getaway in California for couples filled with sightseeing spots, shopping areas, and beautiful cafes.
- Go to Tequila Jack’s for tasting fine cocktails
- You can take a tour of the shoreline exploring the life in the bay
15. Did you go for an evening walk at Rainbow Harbor Esplanade?
You know how important it is to inhale fresh air to calm your busy mind at the end of the day. And, what can be better than a walk along the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade?
Sitting there and seeing the boats and yachts floating or the sun setting down turning the sky from blue to orange and red is the best free thing to do in Long Beach.
You can also go to the Pike, neighborhood in Long Beach at Rainbow Harbor to chill out at any cafes or meet friends. I love the boardwalk routes!
- Try the Pike’s Giant Wheel for a thrilling evening experience
- Rainbow Harbor Esplanade has a carnival charm making the place fit for family hangouts
16. Get in touch with your inner child at Rainbow Lagoon Park
If you’ve longed for free activities in Long Beach, look no further than Rainbow Lagoon Park. A gorgeous venue for events and celebrations with breathtaking views!
The lush green lawn overlooking a saltwater lagoon is absolutely breathtaking. You should come here in the afternoon to walk around Lagoon Park.
This Japanese-style park encompasses 12 acres of land surrounded by pretty tropical plants making it the best spot to spend time with your partner.
In the evening the Rainbow Bridge which connects the two islands illuminated in different colors making it so beautiful and traditional.
- Come to the mini-bridge area to click beautiful pictures
- Green space and blue waters and skies are perfect for afternoon family lunch
17. Visit El Dorado Nature Centre
To keep yourself busy for the whole day, the best cheap thing to do in Long Beach, California is set back in time at El Dorado Park. This is a city’s secret place!
You cannot think that in the midst of the gorgeous city between the 605 Freeway and San Gabriel River, you’ll find 105 acres of green pasture ideal for walking and more.
El Dorado is home to a park, 6 lakes, and tons of sports courts. The trail between lakes and streams is ideal to sit and spot birds, turtles, and frogs.
One of the best things to do in Long Beach is camping in the forest, no place is perfect than El Dorado. You’ll venture into the world of nature.
If you love fishing – then try your hands at catching Largemouth Bass, Trout, or Bluegill. Also, the barbeque area is a nice place to host a family picnic.
- El Dorado is a sports lover’s paradise – bike trails, playgrounds, an archery area, fitness courses, a skate park, basketball, and a volleyball court.
- If you’re over 16 and want to try fishing, remember to get your fishing license
- The Centre is an island – accessible by a bridge
18. Museum lovers come to the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is an exclusive museum dedicated to Latino and Latino American modern and contemporary art.
You’ve to pay $10 or $7 as an entrance fee. Hence it is not completely free but one of the pocket-friendly things to do in Long Beach. Check out the free Sunday events too!
MOLAA is an indoor museum casting work of 1,300 works of artists. It also has an outdoor garden with two fountains, and a colorful area to relax.
Tip: MOLAA exhibits the “Day of the Dead” culture of Latin America
19. Look at the beauty of Earl Burns Miller’s Japanese Garden
Coming to Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden with your lover and soaking in the beauty is one of the best romantic free activities in Long Beach for couples.
The park is inside California State University Long Beach Campus. The attractive thing about this garden is the hybrid South California horticulture and Japanese landscape.
This tranquil garden has a pond where you can spot colorful fishes. There are benches to sit back and breathe. The best part is you can sit and talk for hours!
The Garden looks like Imperial Gardens in Tokyo so people are very curious about its architecture. I used to come here for a daily walk!
Tip: Open from Tuesday to Friday from 9 am – 4 pm and on Sunday it is open from 12 pm – 4 pm
Fun Things to do in Long Beach
20. Take a helicopter tour
Take a helicopter tour that lasts for 15 – 45 minutes (as much as you pay) to enjoy a birds-eye view of the iconic coastline and view of Hills.
21. Experience The Queen Marry
Do you really want to say “hello” to a ghost? As the sun goes down, you can take a special tour to explore Queen Marry, the haunted place in Long Beach. There is also 2 hours paranormal ship walk tour taking you through the rooms and sharing stories. You can check this out!
22. Spend some “me time” at Colorado Lagoon
If you’re wondering about things to do in Long Beach for free, I would suggest going to the Colorado Lagoon to inhale fresh air and treat your eyes to a beautiful sunset.
23. Take your child to Rancho Los Alamitos
The best thing to do in Long Beach Island for free is to visit Rancho Los Alamitos, a ranch house and museum to know the history of the 1860s and 1880s.
I hope I’ve suggested epic adventurous free things to do in Long Beach, California which won’t ask for hundreds of dollars!
Let me know, which one is your favorite!
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FAQ: Free Things to do in Long Beach
1. What is Long Beach best known for?
A. Long Beach is known for budget travel stories – exploring art, museums, food, beach, and Aquarium of the Pacific and Shoreline Village.
2. Is Long Beach cheap?
A. Yes, places like Signal Hill and Bixby Knolls in Long Beach have an affordable cost of living.
3. Is Long Beach CA worth visiting?
A. Yes, Long Beach in California is worth visiting as this place is rich in culture, seafood, and budget tourist attractions.