It’s a Shore Thing! A Belmont Shore Getaway
For some, Belmont Shore is Long Beach. And for just as many, Second Street is Belmont Shore. Its concentration of shopping, sand, and dining options provides a heady, enjoyable mix for the uninitiated and devotee alike.
In just a few strollable blocks, you can see, shop, eat and drink at homegrown and national establishments – everything from local oldies to fashionable hotspots. Belmont Shore is where you can activate as much or as little as you wish, a place where you can find designer Christmas ornaments, one-of-a-kind jewelry, crystals and candles, Long Beach tchotchkes, or old-school hardware stores (yes, they still exist). Here’s a few suggestions for navigating The Shore.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more local, “locals” establishment than Chuck’s Coffee Shop (4120 E. Ocean Blvd). The menu is traditional diner fare – the exception being its signature “Weasel” (three eggs scrambled topped with homemade chili, cheese and onions optional). They do everything well and the joint is just steps from the beach.
While Chuck’s authenticity has been built over the decades, a recent addition to Second Street is garnering its own loyal and growing following. What’s Crackin (4722 Second St.) is getting a lot of buzz for its innovative take on breakfast and brunch including Breakfast Nachos, Eggs Benedict Sandwich and the Charcuterie Breakfast Board. For a full rundown of breakfast offerings on Second Street, visit belmontshore.org.
Arguably, shopping is what made Second Street a destination. There are a wide range of options: everything from clothes to garden features to the unique items found in gift shops like Blue Windows (5276 Second St.), a curated shop with everything from cookbooks to candles and high-end denim, and Luna (4928 Second St.), which has a year-round supply of some of the most unique Christmas ornaments to be found anywhere in addition to handmade jewelry, home accents and more.
Two old reliables are McCarty’s Fine Jewelry and Billings Hardware. McCarty’s Fine Jewelry (5011 Second Street), set to celebrate 90 years on the street, is still offering some of the most beautiful jewelry, watches and one-of-a-kind estate items. Billings Hardware (5006-5004 Second St.), which has been on the street for 80 years, is that kind of hardware store where you not only find hammer and nails but train sets, Tiki furnishings, plastic wading pools and, yes, Christmas ornaments.
There’s something for every age to enjoy on the street. From crystal healing to Long Beach souvenirs, bathing suits to potted plants, and much more, click here for the Belmont Shore Business Association’s full list of shops along 2nd Street.
Second Street borders Alamitos Bay Beach, also known simply as Bayshore, which is popular with young singles and families. The bay’s calm waters make it great for swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding, and safe for young kids. Walk toward Ocean Boulevard and you’ll find a legendary basketball court where there’s always a game, as well as an outdoor roller rink that hosts sunset skates complete with DJs.
If you continue across Ocean Boulevard you’ll be on the much larger Belmont Shore Beach on the Pacific Ocean. It’s a popular destination for kite surfers and beach volleyball players, and features a 5.5-mile bike/pedestrian path that runs all the way to Shoreline Village. If you need anything to make your beach day complete, rent a paddleboard or other small watercraft through Kayaks on the Water, located on the Peninsula side of Bayshore. Bring a hat, and paddle the day away!
Whether afternoon or evening, there’s plenty of places to eat on the street, ranging from national chains to local landmarks. Regarding the latter, three of the most popular and time-tested spots are Domenico’s, Nick’s on 2nd and Open Sesame. Domenico’s (5339 2nd St.) is the city’s oldest restaurant and features classic Italian fare, including some of the best pizza in the city. Nick’s on 2nd (4901 2nd St.) is popular for business meals and date nights. Its straightforward menu boasts some of the best fish and meat around. Open Sesame (5215 Second St.) is easy to spot: it’s the place where folks patiently, and gladly, wait for a table along the sidewalk. It features outstanding Mediterranean fare, including roasted Garlic Potatoes and Flash Fried Cauliflower that is otherworldly.
Whatever you’re craving, Second Street has it – the strip is known for international cuisine, boasting Korean, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Indian, and more – click here for a full list.
Few places are as electric as Second Street during big sporting events, with cheers echoing up and down the street from its numerous sports bars. Of course, at the top of that list is Legends (5236 Second St.), which basically invented sports bars back in 1979. But this place doesn’t rest on its historical significance. It recently upgraded its TV game and now boasts 30 HD TVs as well as two giant projection screens--240- and 326-inches wide. There are daily drink specials, good food and, yes, wings.
Just across the street is Riley’s on 2nd Street (5331 Second St.), a cozy spot that recently upgraded its menu to not only include usual bar fare – yes, wings – along with sophisticated items such as Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad and Fig and Pig Pizza. Riley’s has its share of TVs also, including a few on its patio out front.
Bars, pubs, lounges, sports bars, whatever: there’s so many on 2nd Street, that’s a list in itself. One of the oldest is Murphy’s Pub (4918 Second St.), a classic, laid-back beach bar that features more than 70 draft beers, as well as such bar classics as pastrami and pickled eggs.
Saint & Second (4828 2nd St.) has quickly become one of the most fashionable destinations in the shore. That has a lot to do with fantastic food and a great cocktail program that can be enjoyed on their spectacular, upstairs patio lounge. It’s a great place to relax and watch the world stroll by below. If you’re looking to hop between watering holes, click here for more locations.