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Beyond the communities closest to the ocean Long Beach spreads out in every direction, making it the second largest city, behind Los Angeles, in L.A. County and the seventh largest city in California. The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s largest shipping ports, delivering everything from aircraft parts to furniture. And contrary to other beach cities in California, the coast is actually south-facing, with Alamitos Blvd dividing east and west sections of the city.

To the residents living here, Long Beach feels like a small, connected beach town. Sure you live in Bluff Heights, but when you go to Belmont Shore to eat, you’ll probably see someone you know. Next week, when you go Downtown to the East Village Arts District to browse music, you’ll see them again. It’s this close-knit feeling that makes Long Beach great. However, this is not to say that the city is so small that you won’t meet new people each year. In fact, just the opposite is true. The city is big enough to really feel like a city, and small enough to feel like a beach town.

There are so many neighborhoods in Long Beach, some of which are recognized by the city and others that are nick-named for the park or city features nearby. Although all relatively close to the beach, each community has its quirks that make it unique. And believe us when we say, there are great homes in all areas! Here we’ll give you a brief overview of a few of the communities so you can decide for yourself what area of Long Beach suits you best…

Marine Stadium, Alamitos Bay

Southeast of Naples, this area is right off of Second Street and Pacific Coast Highway. Close proximity to the water (think kayak  time!), movie theaters, grocery stores (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods) and the big weekend farmers market that’s held in the parking lot of the marina. Close to Studebaker and the 22/405 Frwys. This area has plenty of condos.

Naples

Right off of Second Street, Naples is actually a small (emphasis on the small) island right next to Belmont Shore (the two areas are connected by a bridge and divided by a canal and small beach). Naples is known for gorgeous, high-priced homes, unique restaurants, and a tight-knit community feel. On the northeast side of Second Street there are smaller, historic beach homes. However, don’t expect the price to be too much lower–remember, Naples is a highly desirable area for it’s location.

Belmont Shore

Just like it sounds, this neighborhood is near the shoreline. Second Street runs through the middle offering plenty of shopping and dining options, and is an active nighttime hang-out area, especially during the summer. The houses that line the quiet side streets range from small historic homes to brand new or remodeled large beach homes in all styles, with Spanish bungalow and Mediteranean being the most popular.

Belmont Heights

Belmont Heights is just north of Belmont Shore, still walking distance to the beach, and just below the Colorado Lagoon near 4th. Heights homes have bigger lots, and each home is built in a different style, all with beautiful landscaping. The neighborhood is very family friendly and walkable. Because of its location and large homes, be ready for a much higher price tag.

Alamitos Heights

This gorgeous, family friendly track of homes sits above Colorado and stretches to just above 7th Street, with Bellflower Blvd and CSULB to the east. The golf course and Recreation Park are adjacent. Expect wider tree-lined streets. This area is suprisingly quiet and has an almost ‘lazy’ feeling despite being bordered by busy 7th Street.

Eastside, Circle Area

This neighborhood is, like it sounds, around the traffic circle. The traffic circle connects east, west, north, and south areas of Long Beach by way of PCH, Lakewood Blvd, and Los Coyotes Diagonal. This section extends to Wilson High and includes quiet suburbs, higher-priced University Park Estates, and affordable renting.

Los Altos

Right next to CSULB in east Long Beach, Los Altos is a quiet, established, family friendly beach suburb. Expect great value for your home. When you live here you’ll have access to good school systems and be within close proximity to all other areas of Long Beach.

Bluff Heights, Rose Park

What a great area! (But perhaps I’m biased because I live there.)  Like it’s name implies, this large neighborhood is on the bluff, or above the beach, and is the most central section. Equidistant to Downtown, Belmont Shore, and east Long Beach, there are plenty of independent shops, restuarants and bars. When people say “oh, go to Broadway” or “oh, go to Fourth Street” this is the section they’re talking about. This is a historic neighborhood, with large homes on First Street and Ocean, and more afforable housing between Second and Tenth Streets. Plenty of Craftmans Bungalows, Spanish-style apartment buildings (a lot of structures that were built in the 1920s). Places to rent and for sale. Although many college students live in this area, it’s realatively quiet. Be sure to bring your bike, because everyone is out on the weekend in this thriving community.

Alamitos Beach

Alamitos Beach is west of Bluff Heights (and Bluff Park), includes Bixby Park (Cherry and Broadway), and borders Downtown. Many of the apartment buildings in this neighborhood were built in the 1920s and 30s and have a California beach town feel. Since this section is mostly rentals, there are a lot of people around, although the area does not feel cramped. Think lots of palms, tropical plants, and succulents in almost every crevice as you walk or bike down the block. Close to Rite-Aid and Vons, this area is actually a great area to live in if you don’t have a car. Parking is hard (and we mean really hard). The location of Alamitos Beach makes it possible to walk, bike, or take the bus to anywhere in the city.

East Village

Arts District! Part of Downtown, this vibrant section of art galleries, indepedent shops, resturants and bakeries is nestled in the middle of 7th and 1st Streets, in between Alamitos and Long Beach Blvd. MOLAA (Museum of Latin American Art) and PIEAM (Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum) are nearby. There’s a mixture of loft housing, apartments, single family homes and condos. Great walkability. Great overall vibe.

Downtown

A culutral hub, includes plenty of restaurants and businesses, including the Long Beach Post and yours truly–DOMA! There’s also the Convention Center, the Performing Arts Center, City Hall, the courthouse, Shoreline Village, the lighthouse, the harbor, and the Queen Mary. Easy to get around, this area is full of great, NY style lofts, apartment housing and condos. Downtown is closest to the Port of Long Beach and is home to many large finance and health companies.

Bixby Knolls

A small neighborhood in North Long Beach, Bixby Knolls has an active community (think First Fridays and Bixby Knolls Strollers, the Richard Goad Theater and Historical Society of Long Beach). The majority of the homes in the area were custom-built between 1920 and 1940, providing the community with a rich variety of home architecture. Myrtle Avenue north of Longfellow School is a prime example of Bixby Knolls’ appeal. Trendy small shops and restaurants dot a strip of Atlantic Ave. south of San Antonio and north of the 405 Freeway, as well as on the streets surrounding this main thoroughfare.

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Wrigley Area

Named after the owner and founder of the famed Wrigley Spearmint Gum Empire, it was one of the first communities established in Long Beach in 1905. The neighborhood has a community park, Veteran’s Park, convenient access to local freeways, Blue Line transportation and the new Wrigley Marketplace shopping district – an innovative joint venture between Long Beach and the Metropolitan Tranportation Authority. The center combines neighborhood-serving retail with a modern park and ride facility for light rail commuters.

(Photos via zanzinger.com, longbeachrealestatehome.com, longbeachofficespaces.com, lbpost.com, zillow.com, ellisposner.com, bikelongbeach.org)

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