It is situated on San Pedro Bay, 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of Los Angeles, and surrounds the independent city of Signal Hill.
As of July 2020, the population of Long Beach is about 465,000 people. It is the 7th most populous city in California and the 43rd most populous city in the United States.
The city covers a total area of 51 square kilometers (133 square miles).
The average altitude is 16 metres (52 feet) above sea level.
Indigenous people have lived in coastal Southern California for over 10,000 years, and several successive cultures have inhabited the present-day area of Long Beach.
By the 16th-century arrival of Spanish explorers, the dominant group was the Tongva people.
Laid out in 1880 by W.E. Willmore as Willmore City, the town was first settled in 1882.
It was soon promoted as a seaside resort and was renamed (1888) for its 13.5-km (8.5-mile) beach.
Industrial and harbour development was stimulated by the discovery of oil in 1921 at Signal Hill, and Long Beach expanded with the post-World War II growth of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
In 1967 the city purchased the historic British transatlantic liner Queen Mary, which is moored in the harbour and functions as a maritime museum, meeting centre, and hotel – it adjoins the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, one of the largest halls in the region. The ship is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has accepted the Queen Mary as part of the Historic Hotels of America.
The Long Beach Museum of Art is a museum located on Ocean Boulevard in the Bluff Park neighborhood of Long Beach. The museum’s permanent collection includes approximately 3,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, works on paper, and decorative arts objects. Particular strengths include American decorative arts objects, early 20th century European art, California Modernism, and contemporary art of California.
The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) was founded by Dr. Robert Gumbiner in 1996 in Long Beach, and serves the greater Los Angeles area. MOLAA is the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art.
Naples is a neighborhood of Long Beach, built on three islands located in Alamitos Bay. The islands are divided by canals which open into the bay. Most of the streets on the island have Italianate names. The center of Naples features a large fountain which serves as a popular meeting spot.
The Aquarium of the Pacific formerly the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific is a public aquarium on a 2-hectare (5-acre) site on Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach. The Aquarium features a collection of over 11,000 animals representing over 500 different species in exhibits ranging in size and capacity from about 5,000 to 350,000 gallons. The Aquarium sees about 1.5 million visitors per year.
The Shoreline Village is a popular place to hang out in Long Beach for dining, shopping, and entertainment. A selection of specialty shops, such as Latin Waves, Raindance and Purple House sell handmade clothing, jewelry, arts and crafts, while a variety of restaurants serve all types of cuisine, from all-American burgers and shakes to freshly baked cakes and homemade ice cream.
The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is a Japanese garden encompassing 0.53 hectare (1.3 acres) on the campus of California State University, Long Beach. It was dedicated in 1981. Ed Lovell, landscape master plan architect for the University, traveled to Japan and took inspiration from the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo before designing the garden. Among the annual events held at the Japanese garden is a Koi auction and a chrysanthemum show.
The Port of Long Beach is the second busiest container port in the United States and is among the world’s largest shipping ports.
The city is over an oilfield with minor wells both directly beneath the city as well as offshore.
The Grand Prix of Long Beach is an IndyCar Series race held on a street circuit in Long Beach.
The California State University, Long Beach, one of the largest universities in California by enrollment, is located in the city.
Long Beach is the host to a number of long-running music festivals.