Tonawanda News —
Speaking of record stores, Fingerprints Music, located in Long Beach, might be even better. With a spacious floor plan, bright lighting and just the right hint of quirkiness to their business model, it was hard not to pay the store a weekly visit, especially when looking for unique post cards, or a gift-wrapped, surprise grab bag of new music for the lengthy, gridlock-ridden commutes common around the area.
If you’re in the Long Beach area, don’t miss scoping out the harbor. For starters, RMS Queen Mary, a beautiful retired ocean liner that sailed the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967, is permanently parked there, and takes reservations for overnight stays and fancy dinners.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is located right next door, with five acres of Pacific Ocean-related exhibits, including Shark Lagoon, where visitors can pet small sharks and sting rays. For an additional fee, the aquarium also offers whale-watching tours off the coast.
When traveling to southern California, consider using the region’s useful mass transit system. A grid of train, subway and bus lines, Los Angeles’s Metro offers $5 all-day passes, cutting costs on both transportation and parking. Rather than wade through bumper-to-bumper traffic only to pay $15 in parking fees to see a Dodgers baseball game, one $5 pass was enough to convince me to ride public transportation.
Long Beach’s beaches aren’t worth visiting — the coast sees practically zero waves due to a barrier installed out a ways into the water during the World War II. Venice Beach is worth a visit, if for nothing less than to eyeball all the oddities. From sideshow attraction halls to various bizarre tents along the boardwalk, Venice Beach delivers if you’re looking for a stroll on the wild side.
For a more traditional beach experience, I found myself going back time and again to Huntington Beach. Although hardly secluded, Huntington Beach doesn’t get too crowded unless it’s a national holiday, and offers great views, shopping and waves. It’s everything a traditional California beach should be.