With the Christmas shopping season in full swing, it’s a great time to rethink your usual Southern California shopping spots. Whether you live in So Cal or are just visiting, you’re likely to be familiar with some of the holiday season’s most popular shopping destinations: South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island in Orange County and the Beverly Center and the Citadel Outlets in L.A.
But why not try something different this year? With a little imagination, and some guidance, you can sidestep the crowds and find distinctive, personal gifts for your friends and family.
Here’s where Long Beach comes in. Home to the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Carnival Cruise terminal, Long Beach isn’t normally thought of as a shopping destination. It is true that Long Beach does not have an indoor mall within city limits. What the urban waterfront city does have, however, is a selection of unique shopping districts that contain predominantly independent retailers. If you’re the type who’s in search of truly special gifts, rather than a grey sweater from Macy’s, Long Beach is worth exploring.
Long Beach Shopping Districts
The following are some of the primary shopping areas of Long Beach.
Belmont Shore. The Shore is a casual, local hangout featuring a mix of brand-name retailers and independents. With more than 200 businesses within less than one mile, the Shore is Long Beach’s most concentrated shopping area. Gift ideas include premium cigars, jewelry, designer clothing, pet accessories and gifts for lovers. Be sure to leave time for lunch or dinner, as the dining is as plentiful as the shopping.
East Village Arts District. When you need that perfect artsy gift, head to the East Village Arts District. The retailers here are all independents, and the goods are hip and unique. Find clothing, accessories, artwork and home decor items that you won’t see anywhere else. Try visiting on the second Saturday of the month when local artists and businesses host the 2nd Saturday Art Walk.
Shoreline Village. Shoreline Village is a waterfront center mostly known for its dining options. The restaurants are complemented by an assortment of themed shops. You can pick up a funky hat, several flavors of hot sauce, a Native American necklace or a pirate’s sword – all while taking in Long Beach’s scenic waterfront skyline.
Main Street, Seal Beach. Main Street isn’t technically in Long Beach, but it does deserve mention as a nearby shopping destination. Picture shady sidewalks, lots of benches and people who say hello as they pass by: Main Street’s atmosphere is decidedly relaxed. Clothing, toys, jewelry, antiques and resort wear are some of the goods available. If you can’t decide what to buy, stop in to see the local psychic, she might be able to help.
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