Mr Bell In California: A Day Off In Long Beach

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Flying into Los Angeles always excites me, don’t ask me why, maybe it’s because I’ve seen so much of it in the movies, I don’t really know but what I do know is I love visiting here.

I was staying in the city of Long Beach. Now I’ve been here many times before and done quite a lot of the touristy things like the Queen Mary so this time I decided I just wanted to wander around with my camera and see what I could find.

The clock by the bed said 4 am and I was wide awake, well it was midday at home in the UK. I put some coffee on, showered and waited until the sun just started to come up.

The day was just starting to break when I left the hotel. The Long Beach Performing Arts Center was all lit up with Christmas lights, very pretty.

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As I walked down to the waterfront the sky had a beautiful orange glow to it from the rising sun, the beach and the mountains looked amazing.

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The boardwalk was starting to fill up with early morning joggers, cyclists and dog walkers. I continued walking passing the marina with its yachts bobbing around in the calm water.

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On the other side of the bay the Queen Mary sat bathed in sunshine and looked like she could’ve just docked from a luxury cruise, imagine what that must have been like back in the day.

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Eventually I arrived at the Shoreline Village, a colourful and quirky shopping and entertainment complex set on the waterfront around another marina. As it was so early nothing was open but it was nice and quiet and I got some good photo’s.

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A little further around and I came to Pine Avenue Pier, another area with restaurants and bars and where you can also take boat trips to Catalina Island or whale watching.

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Leaving the waterfront area I crossed the road and started to make my way back up to my hotel, I was hungry and a buffet breakfast was just what I fancied after my walk. As I walked up I passed by the Pike Outlets – more about those later – with its distinctive fairground theme.

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The last part of my morning walk took me up past the Long Beach Convention Center and finally back to my hotel.

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It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm so after a long leisurely breakfast I headed back out, this time into the downtown part of Long Beach.

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I have to be honest the area isn’t the best and there are a lot of weird people hanging around but there is some fantastic architecture here.

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There was no plan and so I just walked around taking pictures of anything I thought was interesting.

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I particularly liked some of the art deco styles and even though some of them were a bit run down they still had a certain charm about them.

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One of my favourites was the old 50’s style motel, I loved the signage and the look.

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The downtown area isn’t that big and after a couple of hours I was back at the hotel where I bumped into a friend of mine. She was going off shopping to the Pike Outlets so I decided to tag along.

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I was surprised to find quite a few decent shops down there including a Nike, GAP, H&M and Forever 21 outlets as well as some other smaller stores. I managed to pick up a few (un) necessary purchases and even some last minute Christmas shopping.

After several hours in the shops it was decided that it was time for a well deserved rest so we headed down to the waterfront to the Shoreline Village where we stopped at Parker’s Lighthouse, a great little restaurant with an outside deck and views over to the Queen Mary. A bottle of wine was ordered and several hours of eating, drinking and gossiping then took place outside in the beautiful sunshine. It was the perfect way to end a great day.


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I live in London and work for a large international airline but apart from being my job travel is my passion. I've been very lucky and have travelled all over the world. In this my 20th year working for the airline I decided to start photographing and writing about the places I visit including my home town London. I hope you enjoy my adventures around the world.

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