Introverts' Guide to Long Beach
An estimated third of the world’s population identify as introverts. In a city as big and vibrant as Long Beach, there are endless ways to explore solo – here's our list!
THE ACTIVE INTROVERT
Are introverts active? Perhaps we should ask a couple of self-proclaimed introverts by the names of Mia Hamm and Michael Jordan about that! Ideally, the Active Introvert finds something that allows them to be active on their own, with the option of participating in a group if you feel like it: think standing paddleboards and kayaking, for instance. From their Bayshore Beach location, Kayaks on the Water (5411 E. Ocean Blvd.) not only offers plenty of gear – their motto is, “We never run out of equipment” – but an ideal jumping off point to enjoy and explore Alamitos Bay and the Naples canals.
A dry land option across the street from Kayaks on the Water is the Long Beach Pedestrian/Bike Path, a 4.5-mile path connecting Belmont Shore to Shoreline Village, with dedicated lanes for walkers and runners and those on skates or bikes. If you’re in need of some wheels, Wheel Fun Rentals (429 Shoreline Village Dr.) in Shoreline Village rents everything from beach cruisers to electric bikes to surreys.
THE SAUNTERING INTROVERT
The introvert interested in a pensive stroll should consider the Fourth Street shopping district, including Retro Row. Belmont Shore’s Second Street is also acceptable, though it can be a bit more bustling. Iconic Fourth Street residents such as Meow (2210 E. Fourth St.) tend to leave people to their own devices and vintage letterman jackets. The Hangout (2122 E. Fourth St.) is a collective of small businesses, offering everything from Bel Canto Books to an array of hand made and curated vintage items. And is there anything more mindful than the processes of freshly baked bread? Just a few blocks down from Retro Row you’ll find Gusto Bread (2710 E. Fourth St.), which has quickly become a local baking legend with a national profile–the New York Times called it “Inspired Baking Mastery.” If you’re looking to get off your feet, you can enjoy a coffee or tea at uber cool Portfolio Coffee House or plop yourself in the Art Theatre (2025 E. Fourth St.), well-known for showing thoughtful indie and international films. Who knows? Perhaps they’ll be showing something starring well-known introvert Meryl Streep.
THE BEAUTY SEEKING INTROVERT
Beauty can be found all over the city, starting with a little puddle of magnificence called the Pacific Ocean, which can be seen and experienced from literally countless vantage points. But for the Introvert seeking something a bit more intentional, perhaps curated, the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden (Earl Warren Dr.), on the campus of Cal State Long Beach, is remarkable in how it utilizes its limited, 1.3 acre space to create tranquil spaces around Koi ponds, waterfalls and various tended fauna. Typical of Japanese gardens, the Miller brings together air, water and earth in a manner that both honors nature while ordering it.
If your search takes you indoors, the Museum of Latin American Art (628 Alamitos Ave.) is the only museum in the nation dedicated to exhibiting modern and contemporary Latin American and Latinx art, and it does it on a sprawling campus – it was once a silent film movie studio – featuring an outdoor sculpture garden and spacious rooms with high, vaulted ceilings featuring fantastic art to transport you into a world of your own.
THE RESTORATIVE INTROVERT
You don’t have to be an introvert to want to take a break from the everyday hustle, you know, find some place to catch your breath, preferably while wetting your whistle. District Wine (144 Linden Ave.) is like a series of comfortable dens, with easy chairs and couches arranged about, and a staff that is extra helpful and not the least bit snooty about wine. The menu has a lot of small plates, terrific for one or to share with someone – it’s pretty much required you get their famous prosciutto-wrapped dates with goat cheese. Likewise, The Library Coffeehouse (3418 E. Broadway) is beloved by readers, writers, students and just about any frazzled human looking for a calm corner to call their own. Described as comfortable and cozy, its interior wonderfully thrown together, The Library is a comforting mish mash of books, sofas, easy chairs, tables and books, books, books. What’s more, The Library not only serves terrific coffee and tea but has wonderful food, including delicious pastries.
The Cat-Lover Introvert
Introverts and cats are a great match: each tends to be thoughtful beings, each absolutely fine with being on their own and each is not needing or searching for your approval. That’s why Feline Good Social Club (301 Atlantic) is such a perfect haven for cats and the introverts who love them. Afterall, cats are very good about respecting others' space. (Let’s face it, dog people, pups are wonderful, but they’re also needy and sometimes downright rude.) This cat lounge allows you to relax, bond and generally cuddle with its 25-plus cats. And though there are other people there, everyone tends to pair off with their kitty buddies, entering a focused, kind of zen-like feline state. This place can also act as a sort of tryout for bringing a cat into your everyday life: Feline Good Social Club facilitates rescue cat adoptions since all their cats are friendly and healthy and come from their rescue partner, Long Beach Felines.