Sun-soaked SoCal is getting even brighter these days, as Long Beach continues to gleam with new offerings. From hip hotels and group venues to expanding attractions, the city is witnessing its most aggressive period of growth to date.
“We’ve now created a cutting-edge campus downtown, particularly with all of the turn-key spaces at the convention center, and there’s a large amount of new residences with more being developed, along with new hotel inventory and renovated properties,” said Jeff Forney, vice president of marketing, membership and special projects at the Long Beach CVB.
As the destination increasingly hosts a younger demographic, the revitalization has been key to its success.
“We’re seeing more tech clientele lately, and our new, edgier spaces are appealing to the Millennial market,” said Gregg Haniford, senior vice president of sales and services at the Long Beach CVB.
The Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center’s $60 million renovation includes three impressive new experiences. Rainbow Bridge, which was unveiled in December 2017, is a 605-foot elevated walkway that has 3,500 programmable LED lights as well as attractive landscaped sections.
The Cove, which debuted in 2017, is an elegantly hip outdoor space set under an overpass and featuring elements such as food trucks, bars, picnic tables, seating areas with fire pits, crystal chandeliers, street murals and decorative starfish and other marine motifs.
[Related Content: Long Beach Keeps It Local With Group Offerings]
Meanwhile, the center’s reimagined Pacific Ballroom opened with a New York City loft-style party setting and has been very well-received by meeting planners and attendees keen on distinctive environments.
In May 2018, the center will unveil a fourth new feature: a $2 million Bellagio-style musical dancing fountain at the Terrace Theater Plaza, which accommodates up to 5,000 people for outdoor events.
The fountain can be programmed to various themes.
New Hotels and Group Attractions in Long Beach
On the hotel side, the newest properties are The Cove Hotel, located in the center of town and featuring oversized guest rooms and an outdoor pool deck with fire pits and cabanas. There's also the dual-branded, 241-room Hampton Inn & Homewood Suites by Hilton at Douglas Park next to the Long Beach Airport.
Meanwhile, the Holiday Inn Long Beach Airport Hotel and Conference Center recently completed an extensive renovation. A reinvented top-level VUE Bar & Restaurant offers panoramic views of the city.
Upcoming properties include a boutique hotel that will be situated in the 1929 Breakers Building, a historic treasure near the convention center that is being transformed, and a new 427-room, 25-story hotel across the street from the convention center that will feature 19,000 square feet of meeting space.
Long Beach is also enhancing its attractions lineup.
Next to the convention center and Aquarium of the Pacific, The Pike Outlets is a new shopping and dining destination with options such as Restoration Hardware Outlet, Nike, GAP, Cinemark Theaters, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Famous Dave’s.
Additionally, Aquarium of Pacific is constructing Pacific Visions, a 29,000-square-foot, two-story addition that will include an immersive theater and special exhibition and art gallery space.
“Our downtown doesn’t go to sleep at 5 o’clock,” Forney said. “There’s such a vibrant energy with all of the new things happening, and there is so much within walking distance of the convention campus.
"It’s a great environment for attendees," he added.