There’s a lot to love about Long Beach, especially if you’re in love or looking to end up that way. Well, the LBC could very well be your ticket to an LTR with its myriad romantic destinations. We’re offering you seven suggestions – one for every day – that work for relationships just starting as well as those looking to keep the lovelight burning. Perhaps best of all, our date locations are within walking distance of each other, and some are actually connected. So, if you struggle with committing fully, even to a date, we got you… and you’re welcome.
The movie date is a time-honored affair, offering welcome talking points for new couples running out of things to say and a welcome respite for long term couples who’ve pretty much said it all. Recently refurbished inside, The Art Theatre remains a Long Beach gem and one of the best art film houses in the Southland. If you allow enough time before your movie, go to Lola’s Mexican Cuisine located directly across the street. One of the city’s most popular and beloved restaurants, Lola’s manages to offer both a traditional and contemporary take in its food and cocktails. If you’re pressed for time, The HipPea is connected to the theater and offers freshly made falafel, pita, hummus as well as French fries. After the movie, walk the five seconds it takes to get to Art du Vin, also attached to the Art, and discuss what you just saw over a glass of wine.
Here’s one to consider early on, perhaps even for a first date. Begin at Berlin Bistro and dine on some healthy, delicious options – avocado beet toast, risotto pancakes, smoked salmon flatbread – or just break the ice with a coffee or tea, maybe beer or wine if you’re feeling it. Then, walk directly into Fingerprints Music because there’s no better way to get to know someone than to discover what kind of music moves them. Fingerprints is one of the best music stores in the country, having played host to in-store performances by Foo Fighters, Brian Wilson, Jack Johnson and a whole lot more. If that goes well, walk a few blocks to the historic Broadlind Hotel where you’ll find great dining options like Burger Daddy’s inventive take on the burger – the Katsu is popular – or Thai District and its modern take on traditional Thai cuisine. The outdoor parklet for Thai District has lanterns that light up after dark, making for a background so it enchanting it was recently shown in a Justin Bieber music video. If it’s still going well – Congrats! – end things in the Broadlind’s basement at The Blind Donkey, a whiskey bar (it also has beer and wine) with such an exceedingly cool vibe that it was featured in the film “La La Land.”
With unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean, Queen Mary and Catalina Island, Claire’s at the Museum has arguably the best view of any restaurant in the city. This makes it an ideal location for two people who are comfortable enough with each other to quietly take it all in while enjoying great food and drinks. Claire’s is a popular destination for brunch, lunch and dinner and, as the name suggests, is located on the campus of the Long Beach Museum of Art – the dining area surrounds Claire Falkenstein’s water sculpture, “Structure and Flow.” Before or after Claire’s – your call – journey into the museum located in a stunning, converted 1911 Craftsman-style home as well as an accompanying two-story gallery space.
Belmont Shore’s Second Street has long been a date destination because you can do as much or as little as you want. Want to grab a coffee and simply stroll Long Beach’s charming and popular retail and dining district? Have at it. Hungry? The street offers options ranging from fine dining to bar food. If you want to experience a little bit of the Shore’s history, head to Domenico’s, the oldest restaurant on Second Street serving traditional Italian dishes and pizza. If the two of you bond over sports head to Legends, which has the distinction of being the nation’s first sports bar. Legends serves great food and their wings are, well, legendary. You can also walk a few blocks to Bayshore Beach to catch some rays, rent some kayaks or go for a walk or ride on the Shoreline Pedestrian/Bike Path.
Bixby Knolls is a popular retail and dining spot located in north Long Beach that has gained added recognition of being home to a bevy of brewpubs serving some of the best craft beers in the state, earning the area the nickname of Brewery Knolls. And though you can go any time and have a great time eating, drinking and shopping, we’re suggesting heading there for its monthly First Fridays event. Held on the first Friday of every month, you can walk block after block of sidewalks chocked full of people checking out artists and retail shops displaying and selling their wares. And at virtually every block you’ll hear live music from artists and bands curated to fit a particular theme. It’s a night full of creativity and energy while also being fairly mellow and allowing you to go at your own pace.
L’Opera Ristorante has been a Downtown Long Beach staple since 1990, in part because the entire vibe and flavor of the place exudes a time long ago. Its romantic interior and award-winning Northern Italian cuisine make it the kind of place where you take someone very special and luxuriate over great food and long conversations, perhaps about future plans together. Of course, if you’re also looking to be entertained there’s plenty of that located just across nearby Ocean Boulevard where sits the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. There you can see the likes of big-name comedy and musical acts, as well as performances by Long Beach Symphony and Musica Angelica, and top-notch theater productions by International City Theatre and Musical Theatre West, among others.
ON THE WATERFRONT
One of the most popular destinations for out-of-towners, Shoreline Village offers an energetic mix of tourist activities, dessert shops, barbecue and large-scale restaurants. Perhaps the headliner is Parkers’ Lighthouse. With beautiful accommodations both indoors and out, the restaurant sits directly across the harbor from the Queen Mary. It’s a big, welcoming establishment designed to handle large parties, maybe the kind of place you invite lots of friends and family to meet your new squeeze. After dinner, after saying goodbye to everyone, you and your special someone might think of jumping on one of Harbor Breeze Cruises’ romantic harbor tours.