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Long Beach is one of the busiest port cities in America. Cruise ships depart from its port, harbor cruises can be taken year-round, whale watching cruises take place during certain times of the year, and you can reach Catalina Island from Long Beach. On Friday evenings and you can enjoy a Blues Cruise if you're over 21.
One ship that doesn't move is the Queen Mary. Complete with its amazing history, restaurants, lodging, and places to explore, the Queen Mary is a popular tourist attraction. The Queen Mary hosts special events thoughout the year, including a massive Halloween Party complete with ghosts. In the Christmas season there is Chill, a winter festival with an ice skating rink, ice sculptures and ice tubing. One of the best Sunday brunches in the LA area can be enjoyed aboard the Queen Mary; if you're interested be sure to make your reservation early. It is also a good place to enjoy New Year's Eve. For more stationary-ship exploration there is a Russian Submarine right next to the Queen.
Long Beach is home to the Aquarium of the Pacific, an interesting experience that takes only a few hours to enjoy. But if the Aquarium isn't your thing you can go over to The Pike or Shoreline Village for theaters, shops and restaurants. For one of the best dining experiences in the Long Beach area, book dinner reservations at The Sky Room.
North of the ocean, on Pine Avenue there are numerous restaurants, many with outdoor seating. There is even a restaurant/brewery.
If you are staying several days in Long Beach a nice drive is along Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) from Long Beach to Laguna Beach. PCH runs parallel to some of the best beaches and ocean views in Southern California, with many places to stop and enjoy along the way.