Free and Low-Cost Things to Do In and Near Long Beach

long beach landscape

There are dozens of ways to have fun and find adventure on a budget in Long Beach, CA.

1. El Dorado Park and Nature Center

Take a walk through El Dorado Park and Nature Center's flora and fauna for a chance to breathe in the fresh air and connect with nature. This 105-acre park is ideal for those looking to find some peace with a picnic on the grass, an afternoon fishing by the lake, or the chance to get active and break a sweat using one of the park's many recreation opportunities. The park is stocked with tennis courts, baseball fields, disc golf, volleyball, archery, a skate park, and much more. Please note, those who plan to fish on the property are required to get a permit beforehand.

el dorado nature center

2. Head to the Beach

California is known for its scenic beaches, and Long Beach is no exception. Spend the day searching for seashells, flying kites in the breeze, building sandcastles in the warm sun, and swimming in the Pacific Ocean. Long Beach City Beach, Alamitos Beach, and Belmont Beach are just a few of your options while in town. Just remember to bring a towel and your sunscreen!

Long Beach

3. Tour the East Village Arts District

Take a walk through the East Village Arts District in Long Beach for an afternoon of inspiration and public art. Thanks to Pow! Wow! Long Beach and local mural festivals, there's a vibrant selfie backdrop around every corner of town. If you've already seen the murals, Long Beach is also home to incredible architecture and several galleries. Take a walking tour of the area's historic buildings for a chance to learn about Long Beach's history or get to know the local artists that make the community so unique and spend some time with their work at one of the art galleries in town.

East Village Shopping

4. Stroll Through Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

Head over to the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, located on California State University's campus, and explore the lush trees, beautiful bridge, and glimmering waterfalls. The 1.3 acres is inspired by the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo and is the event space of many Long Beach functions, including Koi auctions and chrysanthemum shows. The garden's natural beauty inspires its guests and offers an ideal backdrop for your Instagram photos. The garden charges a small admission fee of $5, but it is certainly worth it for a view of the scenery alone.

earl burns miller japanese garden

5. Visit Rancho Los Cerritos

A place for learning, Rancho Los Cerritos provides its visitors with a look into the life of those living in Southern California in the late 1800s. Guests can tour the historic adobe house and beautifully landscaped gardens and learn about Spanish, Mexican, and American California history. Admission to the site's exhibits, public tours, and parking are free, although donations are appreciated!

Rancho Los Alamitos

6. Bike Along the Shoreline Pedestrian Bike Path

This 4-mile multipurpose trail is ideal for a scenic walk or a bike ride along the white sandy beach. Gain views of Long Beach’s most picturesque locations, including the blue waters of the Pacific, gorgeous real estate, anchored ships, and much more. The path is wide enough for bikers and pedestrians and provides drinking fountains, restrooms, and plenty of spots to park your car.

bike ride

7. Long Beach Downtown

Walk through Long Beach's downtown area and get to know the vibrant culture that makes this city special. Window shop at boutiques, grab a coffee at a local cafe, and gain ocean views from the waterfront. Each area has something unique to offer, so explore it all! Shoreline Village, which overlooks Rainbow Harbor and Queensway Bay, has impressive turn-of-the-century buildings and one-of-a-kind restaurants and shops. The Rainbow Harbor Esplanade is known for its luxury yachts, water taxis, fishing boats, pleasure crafts, and more. There's plenty to see and do for free, so make sure you have a few hours set aside!

downtown long beach

Not sure where to start? Download Visit Long Beach’s visitor guide to plan your trip.

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