Long Beach Magazine

The top 10 must-do's in Long Beach this summer

Arts in the Plaza's annual live music sessions will take place in Kennedy Plaza every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Halloween.
Arts in the Plaza's annual live music sessions will take place in Kennedy Plaza every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Halloween.
Herald file photo

Long Beach is back, baby!

Whether it’s hitting the beach, riding the waves or making a difference in the community, Long Beach offers longtime locals, day trippers and vacationing tourists alike plenty to see and do. Here are your absolute must-do activities, from now through the final frosty days of fall, in the City by the Sea. (Note: Events, times and dates are subject to change.)

Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. -  Through Oct. 30
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Long Beach’s iconic weekly arts festival, Arts in the Plaza. The arts and culture showcase, which operates from every Saturday, features handcrafted art and live music in the city’s hub, Kennedy Plaza. From stunning silver jewelry to one-of-a-kind dog paintings, there’s no shortage of funky finds at this festival. There are also typically two live music performances, one in the morning (10:30 a.m.) and one at noon.

There are also plenty of activities for kids. We saw the Long Beach Photo Booth Bus — a vintage van that doubles as a photobooth — parked outside the Plaza at the festival kicko ff this year, and in June spin artist Richard Prestia stopped by to create painted works in person.
For a full list of music performers and more information, visit www.artsintheplaza.com

Saturdays and Wednesdays
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Through Nov. 26
Certified organic produce, artisan cheeses, locally brewed beers, ice cream, pickles, the bounty of Long Island farms and our surrounding waters and more await at the twice-weekly Farmers’ Market, which runs in conjunction with Arts in the Plaza. For more information, visit www.ligreenmarket.org/long-beach

Mondays 6:30 p.m. - July and August
The nonprofit LB Cleanup has been working to beautify Long Beach’s natural areas through weekly cleaning efforts over the past two years, and they want you to be a part of it!
“When people come to Long Beach for the first time, we want them to see it clean,” says founder and Long Beach resident Matthew Crosta, noting that the group — started two years ago by a group of beach volleyball friends dedicated to conservation — has been known to clean up 25 bags of garbage in one session. “This is my home, and it makes me happy.”
In addition to helping the environment, Crosta found that participating in regular beach cleanups has helped him personally during the pandemic. “To get outside, get off the couch, and to clean makes you feel so good,” he says. “I feel rewarded.…It will take a whole lot more than a cleanup to clean the planet, but if you keep one piece of plastic out of the ocean, you made a difference.”
The group typically meets around 6:30 p.m. on the beach access ramp near Washington Boulevard and cleanup supplies are provided to volunteers, though they are encouraged to bring reusable bags and gloves. To stay up-to-date on upcoming cleanups, visit @LBCleanup on Instagram or sign up to volunteer at http://www.lbcleanup.com/volunteer

Aug. 11, 6 p.m.
The City of Long Beach free summer concert series kicked off on July 7 this year and will keep rocking all season long. Live music performances will take place every Wednesday night in rotating locations, including New York Avenue, Riverside Boulevard and Neptune Boulevard Beaches. On August 11, at New York Avenue Beach, Risky Business will perform a medley of Motown tunes, disco-era tracks, as well as classics from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Don’t forget a beach chair and blanket!

Sounds of the Summer
Saturdays through October, 10 a.m. to noon
Long Beach’s Arts in the Plaza celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, with a summer full of handcrafted art, local vendors, and a huge lineup of live music. Check out the weekly music schedule, and head to Kennedy Plaza in Long Beach every Saturday from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. through Halloween.
Benjamin “Benoir’’ Metzger curates the annual live music program at Arts in the Plaza. “When I  moved here in 2007, the dominant sound was a guy with a guitar singing  ‘Margaritaville’ and like typical covers,” Metzger recalls.
Today, the music lineup is eclectic, with everything from a ukulele group to an internationally renowned Latin artist. The reaction from the community has never been anything but extremely enthusiastic, Metzger says.
“The reactions have been great. People love what I do in terms of curating. They really enjoy it,” Metzger says. “I think just the restrictions lifting, it’s just an amazing feeling. It’s almost like unbelievable and otherworldly, but to not wear a mask and to not worry, that’s definitely a thing I look forward to.”
For more on Arts in the Plaza, including fall shows, visit www.artsintheplaza.com

Aug. 17, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Surfer’s Way is a Long Beach–based nonprofit that offers children with special needs the opportunity to catch some waves in the summer sun. The volunteer-based group, founded by Elliot Zuckerman of Surf2Live, offers free surf outings at Riverside Beach, and notes that no child with special needs will be turned away.
For the August event, sponsored by Signature Premier Properties, children with special needs will be guided for a roughly 20-minute water excursion. To ensure the public’s safety, the August surf session is at reduced capacity, and parents must register their children in advance.
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and spots are limited due to the pandemic. To register, send an email to surfersway@gmail.com and include: your child’s name and age, parent/guardian name and phone number, and the outing date. For more information, visit www.surfersway.org/donate.

Sept. 3, Time TBA
Long Beach is looking forward to ending summer with a “bang” with the City-sponsored fireworks show set for Friday, September 3. The fireworks are traditionally launched from a floating barge in the ocean and can be seen from anywhere on the Boardwalk. (Rain date: Sept. 4).

Sept. 7 - Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. Race begins at 8 a.m.
Long Beach has always been a hot spot for runners, and the annual 5K has been one of the most beloved events for decades. After last year’s cancellation, the 31st annual Robert C. McAvoy Labor Day race is coming back stronger than ever, starting off on the Boardwalk at Laurelton Boulevard. Fitness folks and casual workout folks, this one’s for you! For more information and to register online, visit www.runsignup.com. 

Sept. 11, Time TBA
The 25th anniversary of this annual volleyball tournament is tentatively scheduled for Laurelton Beach. The tournament, which benefits children with cancer and special needs, also falls on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. “We will celebrate life joyously, as well as remember those lost,” the event page reads. Registration for the event is ongoing.

Sept. 25–26, all day
Spend the day with your feet in the sand at NY Fit Fest’s fitness, a beauty and wellness extravaganza, at Allegria Hotel & Beach. Over 30 fitness classes will be offered during the retreat, including dance programs, recovery and mindfulness workshops, disco aerobics, an “Ultimate Ninja Warrior” course and much more. Beer and food vendors will also be on-site. Registration for the event opens in August.  For more info, visit www.nyfitfest.com.