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We’ve all been there—you’re stuck in a strange city for work or play, and sitting in your hotel room is the absolute last thing you want to do. If that strange city happens to be Long Beach, CA, you’re in luck; it’s got something for just about every reserve outfit you have in your luggage.

Long Beach is sandwiched between the craziness that is Los Angeles and the slightly more refined (and expensive) tests of Orange County. Whether you want a sweaty night out at one of the Long Beach clubs or feel like dining aboard an ocean liner, you’ll find something to keep you occupied. Grab your wallet and let’s go!

1 Night lights of Long Beach's skyline reflect in the water at the marina California (1)

Sgt Pepper’s Dueling Pianos

Why have one bar piano when you can have two? This gem is tucked away in the Pike off Pine Avenue. There’s food and drinks up the wazoo—Nacho Nacho Man and a stout drink for me, please!—but the real stars of the show are, of course, the pianists doing battle. Request a song, lift a glass, and sing along with the rest of the crowd. It’s better than karaoke!

Sgt Pepper’s routinely hosts bachelorette and birthday parties, so you can imagine the sort of shenanigans that go on. In other words, it can get a little salty, so you might want to leave the kids at home once the sun goes down. Jeans and a T-shirt work fine here, but I recommend closed-toed shoes in case you get stepped on.

SIP Lounge

This is one of the newer night clubs in Long Beach, nestled in the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel at 111 E. Ocean Blvd. There’s plenty of tasty drinks and food offerings on the menu, but I spent a lot of time just gawking at the beautiful surroundings. Fancy light fixtures are paired with real candles to create a dim ambiance—it’s not quite romantic, but it’ll definitely lend itself to whispering with your friends.

1 Piano keyboard background with selective focus (1)

You can pick out just about anything on the menu and it will taste fine, but if you only get one drink, get the white peach sangria. It is a work of art.

Sir Winston’s Restaurant & Lounge

If you’ve got an evening gown or a suit stashed away in the bottom of your suitcase, dig it out, put it on, and step aboard the RMS Queen Mary. This isn’t your ordinary Long Beach nightlife party zone; no, folks, on this ship you get to pretend you’re an aristocrat for an evening. This is a five-star dining experience, so do make sure you bring your manners. You can still party—as long as you party like it’s 1939.

The Queen Mary ship moored in Long Beach California

Ocean liners were once the pinnacle of elegance and class (I know you’ve all seen “Titanic”), and the Queen Mary was no exception. Don’t worry about getting seasick; the ship is permanently docked, meaning the only sway in your step will come from the liquor you imbibe. Enjoy an incredible—if somewhat pricey—meal amid colorful art deco surroundings, and pretend you’re zipping across the Atlantic. Try their beef Wellington or the steelhead salmon, paired with a fine wine. You’re welcome.

Regardless of what actually brought you to Long Beach, I encourage you to live it up. This bouncing port city has got way too much going for it for you to lock yourself up in your hotel room, so throw on your dancing shoes and see everything it has to offer!

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