20 Fun Free Things to Do in Long Beach, CA


10 min read
Blue ocean water with greenery in the foreground and buildings on the shore
Travelers on a budget will find many free things to do in Long Beach

One of the best places to visit on the West Coast of the United States is Long Beach. Located in Southern California, this beautiful town has many attractions that will appeal to all types of travelers.

If you're traveling on a budget, you can still find an array of things to do at no cost. Fun free things to do in Long Beach, CA, include spending time on the beach and following trails around parks. You can also visit some attractions for free, like the El Dorado Nature Center and the Museum of Latin American Art.

To discover all of the exciting free Long Beach activities you can try, read on for 20 fun suggestions!

  • 20 Long Beach things to do

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20 Fun Things to Do in Long Beach for Free

Long Beach Things to Do Map

A map of Long Beach. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

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A canal with boats on either side and houses and palm trees on the shore
The waters around Belmont Shore are the perfect place to kayak

Go kayaking in Belmont Shore

The Belmont Shore neighborhood of Long Beach is known for its lagoons and canals. If you have your own kayaking or paddleboard equipment, going here to sail on the water is a must.

As you paddle down the canals, you can admire the surrounding views complete with plants, palm trees, and quaint seaside-style houses.

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Wander around the Long Beach Antique Market

One of the most popular weekend attractions in Long Beach is the Long Beach Antique Market. Many even call it “the best flea market in the US!”

The open-air market has an array of vendors selling antique furniture, jewelry, decor items, and more. Walking around the market and discovering all the unique pieces for sale is a fun and free thing to do.

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Bright blue water, a sandy shore, and a pier, with buildings in the background
Huntington Beach is a beautiful place to spend the day

Spend the day at Huntington Beach

If you have a car or can catch a lift, going to Huntington Beach for the day is highly recommended. Although the beach is in Orange County, you can reach it in 35 minutes when driving.

Huntington Beach is a well-known surfing spot that also has sandy shores to relax on. Along with surfing and sunbathing, you can play beach games and explore the surrounding area.

Another of the great things to do in Orange County is walking down the Huntington Beach Pier. The landmark pier is 1,850 feet long, making it one of the longest piers on the West Coast. Walking on the pier allows you to admire the surrounding ocean and seaside views.

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Tour Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens

Located about 20 minutes from Central Long Beach, Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens is a must-visit free attraction. Rancho Los Alamitos opened in 1834 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

The seven-and-a-half-acre site features the ranch house and pretty gardens. During a visit, you can tour the ranch, learning more about its history. You’ll also find out more about the land the ranch sits on, which has been inhabited in some capacity for thousands of years.

After a tour of the ranch building, you can wander around the gardens, admiring the scenery. While reserving a tour spot is not required, it is highly recommended and can be done on the Rancho Los Alamitos website.

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A black and white ocean liner that says "Queen Mary" on it
The Queen Mary is an interesting landmark to see in Long Beach

See the Queen Mary

One of the most interesting attractions in Long Beach is the Queen Mary. Docked in Queensway Bay, the vintage ocean liner houses a hotel, bars, and restaurants.

While you must pay for a room or food and drinks to go on the boat, you can view it in the harbor for free. When in the area, be sure to snap some pictures of this unique Long Beach landmark.

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Admire artworks at the Museum of Latin American Art

The Museum of Latin American Art, or MOLAA, is one of the places to go in Long Beach for free that you must make time to visit. While there is usually an admission fee, the Museum of Latin American Art hosts free Sunday events.

Founded in 1996, the museum is the only gallery in the US dedicated to contemporary Latin American art. During a visit, you’ll be able to see 1,500 works, including paintings, drawings, and sculptures.

Do note that making a reservation is recommended if you want to attend the free Sunday event. You can do so easily on the MOLAA website.

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A white building with red awning, flags, and a "Laugh Factory" sign
Laugh Factory frequently hosts free comedy shows

Catch a free show at Laugh Factory

Laugh Factory is a much-loved comedy venue in Long Beach. The attraction hosts various comedians, including world-famous acts and local performers.

Although many of the shows cost money to see, Laugh Factory frequently hosts free events. Simply visit their website to determine when free comedy shows are being held.

If a free event is on when you’re in the area, going to the show is a must! As many of the performers at these events are up-and-coming comedians, you may discover a new favorite act.

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Relax on Alamitos Beach

Long Beach is one of the best beach towns in California. Due to this, you can find a selection of great beaches to hang out on in the area. Best of all, doing so is free!

Alamitos Beach is one of the most popular in Long Beach. It has a soft sandy shore and calm, warm water to swim in. On the beach, you can sunbathe or chat with friends and family. Watching the sunset here is a great idea too.

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A pier with benches and lamps on it and the ocean on either side
Belmont Pier offers ocean views and is a great place to see the sunset

Watch the sunset from Belmont Pier

One of the best places to enjoy Long Beach’s ocean views is from Belmont Pier. Also known as the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, the attraction is at the end of Long Beach City Beach.

As you walk down the pier, you’ll be able to take in the surrounding views of the sparkling ocean and sandy beaches. This location is also another perfect place to go to watch the sunrise or sunset.

After walking on the pier, you can spend some time relaxing on the sand and appreciating the views some more.

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Check out the Thursday Night Market

Another of the fun things to do in Long Beach, CA, for free is going to the Thursday Night Market. The market is held on Thursdays between 3rd and 4th Street on the Promenade. It begins at 5 PM and closes at 9 PM.

At the market, you’ll discover lots of local vendors. Items for sale include clothing, craft items, pottery and art, baked goods, and much more. Walking around the market and looking at all the products on offer is a fun activity, even if you don’t buy.

You can also enjoy the bustling market atmosphere. Thursday Night Market is very family-friendly, and dogs are welcome too.

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A canal with boats on it and buildings and palm trees on either side
You can enjoy the views as you walk along the Naples Canals

Walk along the Naples Canals

Naples Island is located next to Belmont Shore. It’s known for the scenic canals that surround it, called the Naples Canals. Walking on the banks of these canals is a popular free activity to enjoy when in Long Beach.

As you stroll along, you can admire the views and will likely spot boats and even gondolas. Charming seaside homes also line the canals, adding to the beachy atmosphere.

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Immerse yourself in nature at the El Dorado Nature Center

One of the best free things to do in Long Beach, California, for outdoor enthusiasts is going to the El Dorado Nature Center. The 105-acre attraction has scenic trails, woodland areas, streams, and lakes.

You’ll also see wildlife while exploring the nature center. Animals to see include numerous species of birds, plus frogs, rabbits, and squirrels, among many others.

Do note that this attraction is only free for those entering by foot or on bike. If you want to drive in and park, there is an entrance fee.

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A lake with a bridge over it and a path, palm trees, and grass beside it
Another free outdoor attraction to visit is Rainbow Lagoon Park

Stroll around Rainbow Lagoon Park

You can discover numerous free activities in Long Beach, CA, that allow you to enjoy the outdoors. One of the best outdoor things to do is exploring Rainbow Lagoon Park.

The beautiful Japanese-style park has a lagoon, plus water features and pretty tropical plants. You can rent swan pedal boats to take out on the water too, however, there is a fee to do so.

If visiting the area with your partner, walking around Rainbow Lagoon Park is also one of the many romantic things for couples to do in Long Beach.

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Take your pup to Rosie’s Dog Beach

Are you traveling with your dog? If so, make sure you go to Rosie’s Dog Beach. This attraction is the only dog beach in the area and is, of course, free to visit. You can hang out on the beach with dogs between 6 AM and 8 PM.

At the beach, your dog can enjoy playing on the sand and swimming in the calm waters. This spot is popular amongst local dog owners too, so your pup is almost guaranteed to find some other dogs to play with.

For those not visiting with a dog, you could still head to the beach to watch the adorable canines playing!

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Palm trees next to a body of water with buildings in the distance
Rainbow Harbor is a must-visit area of Long Beach

Bike on the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade

Biking or walking along the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade is another of the free fun things to do in Long Beach. Located next to Rainbow Lagoon Park, the esplanade runs next to the waterfront and offers scenic views.

As you make your way down the esplanade, you’ll be able to watch boats and yachts come in and out of the harbor. You’ll pass attractions like Shoreline Village and the Aquarium of the Pacific too.

Rainbow Harbor Esplanade is also another of the many places to enjoy the sunrise and sunset in Long Beach.

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Hang out on Long Beach City Beach

Long Beach City Beach is the area’s main beach. Like other beaches in Long Beach, it has beautiful sandy shores and tranquil water to swim in.

Long Beach City Beach is a popular place to surf too and there is a boardwalk to walk or cycle along. After a day at the beach, you can walk on Belmont Pier and watch the sunset.

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Green grass and palm trees with a white lighthouse in the distance under a blue sky
You can see The Lion Lighthouse at Shoreline Aquatic Park

Explore Shoreline Aquatic Park

Shoreline Aquatic Park is a grassy park found next to the downtown marina. It has lots of places to sit and relax with friends or share a picnic. Shoreline Aquatic Park is known for being a great birdwatching spot too.

When in the park, you can also follow some palm tree-lined trails which offer scenic views. In addition, you can see The Lion Lighthouse, which is a Long Beach landmark.

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Let your kids play at Bayshore Playground

If in Long Beach with kids, taking them to Bayshore Playground is a fun and affordable thing to do. The playground is on the edge of Belmont Shore by Bayshore Beach.

At the playground, your children can play on jungle gyms, slides, and swings. There are also basketball, tennis, and handball courts. After enjoying the playground, you can spend some time on the sand at Bayshore Beach.

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Visit Colorado Lagoon

Going to Colorado Lagoon is another of the things to do for free in Long Beach. The park is located near California State University and is a great place to relax in the fresh air.

During a visit, you can follow trails around the lagoon and will likely see model boats sailing on the water. There’s also a children’s playground to go to if traveling with little ones.

Colorado Lagoon is next to Recreation Park. This park has another kid’s playground, a dog park, and a golf course.

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One of the fun free things to do in Long Beach, CA, is browsing at Shoreline Village
Browsing at Shoreline Village is one of the fun free things to do in Long Beach, CA

Window shop at Shoreline Village

Shoreline Village is an open-air shopping mall on the harbor front. The quaint seaside shopping area houses an array of specialty shops to explore.

Outlets sell clothing and accessories, home decor items, souvenirs, and more. Going to the village to look around the shops is highly recommended. Even if you don't plan to purchase anything, browsing and seeing all the unique pieces for sale is a fun experience in itself.

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In Summary

As you can see, there's an array of fun and free stuff to do in Long Beach, CA. Activities to enjoy at no cost include going to beaches, exploring parks, and window shopping at malls and markets. Long Beach has something for everyone, from solo travelers to couples and families.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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