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Warming up in sunny Southern California certainly sounds like the ticket for chilled-to-the-bone New Yorkers right about now. You could head to Los Angeles, an obvious big city choice, or for a more navigable destination, check out the smaller neighboring city of Long Beach.
Long Beach is technically part of the Los Angeles metro area and has a population at around 462,000 (Los Angeles has a population of about four million, for comparison's sake). Like L.A., Long Beach has great weather, a thriving cultural scene, some quirky neighborhoods, and a few beaches. It's also a bit more manageable than its much bigger neighbor, and if you need to visit Los Angeles proper, it's just a drive away, provided you can stomach the traffic.
Long Beach highlights include The Pike, a waterfront area with a small amusement park and shopping zone, much like Santa Monica; the Aquarium of the Pacific, which is also located along the waterfront, is spectacular and should not be missed, particularly if you have with children. For fans of history and ghost tours, the famed Queen Mary luxury cruise ship is parked in Rainbow Harbor. It offers, among other things, a fun (if touristy) Royal Sunday Brunch and a whole bevy of tours and exhibits, spooky ones included.
There are a bunch of great places to eat in Long Beach, including (but not limited to) comfort food and bar spot The Ordinarie; Los Angeles Koreatown transplant Beer Belly; and Cambodian eatery Phnom Penh Noodle Shack. Long Beach is also a great town for music—bands like War, Crystal Antlers, and Sublime originated here—and you can see live music at underground-ish spots like Alex's Bar and The Wine Bar.
And of course, there's the real estate scene. Though Long Beach doesn't have the same breadth of options as Los Angeles, the city is in the middle of a development boom, and prices are on the upswing. Still, there are some good deals and spacious houses and condos to be found here, as well as some multimillion dollar mansions, if that's what you're looking for. Here's a taste of what's out there.
3811 East Livingston Dr., Apt. 102, Belmont Heights
This three-bedroom, three-bath duplex condo, also pictured top, is just a few blocks from the beach. Highlights include an open concept living room/kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a breakfast bar, hardwood floors, a fireplace, and a balcony. The master bath has ocean views and a soaking tub, and there's an in-unit washer/dryer. Belmont Heights is home to a surprising number of parrots, and the popular Belmont Brewing Company. The unit is priced at $749,900
1318 East 2nd St., Apt. 10, Alamitos Beach
Alamitos Beach is close to The Pike and home to its own beach, vibrant nightlife, and thriving LGBTQ scene. This two-bedroom, two-bath condo is located just a few blocks from the beach, and has an airy open-concept living/dining room and kitchen, which has quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, and breakfast bar. Other highlights include crown molding, marble-accented bathrooms, and new A/C units in the bedrooms. The unit is priced at $519,000.
637 East 4th St., Unit A, East Village
The East Village is Long Beach's Art District, complete with funky boutiques, art galleries, hip restaurants, and, notably, The Blind Donkey, (used as the setting for Seb's in the movie "La La Land.") This one-bedroom, two-bath loft located in the heart of the neighborhood has super high ceilings, big windows, skylights, and a gas fireplace in the main living area. There's also a private front patio with space for grilling, and a master bath with a double-jetted tub and separate glass-enclosed shower. The unit is priced at $639,000.
1 East Neapolitan Ln., Naples
If you've got some extra cash to play with—like, a lot of extra cash—consider this custom built four-bedroom, five-bath house in Naples, a posh neighborhood made up of three islands off Long Beach proper. The house has ocean views, multiple balconies, and a patio, in addition to a living room with vaulted ceilings, and a handsome eat-in kitchen outfitted with stainless steel appliances. Other highlights include a master suite with a walk-in closet and fireplace. The house is priced at $2,250,000.
1096 Gaviota Ave., Hellman District
This four-bedroom, three-bath house, which can be split into two units, has a patio, sun deck, balcony, two kitchens, light-filled rooms, and an in-unit washer/dryer. Other highlights include a garage with car space for each unit, and a master bath with a walk-in closet and jetted tub in the bath. The house is located in the Hellman Street Craftsman Historic District, an older neighborhood rife with Craftsman bungalows that's close to North Alamitos Beach. The house is priced at $750,000.
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