• The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center reopened its doors on August 8, marking the return of one of the city’s largest economic engines. And the facility is already getting busy with new events; in August, it’s hosting three conventions, bringing about 10,600 attendees to Long Beach, and through the end of this year a total of 14 conventions will take place. Located on the downtown waterfront, the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center has more than 400,000 square feet of flexible exhibit and meeting space, including two theaters, four ballrooms, an arena and 34 multi-purpose meeting rooms.
Events can take on theatrical excitement at the Terrace Theater, located at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. The 3,000-seat venue, which has hosted a variety of public performances, is graced with a three-story, glass-walled lobby, as well as a main plaza with an eye-catching fountain where multiple columns are illuminated with spectacular colors. The 10,090-square-foot Terrace Theater lobby accommodates 1,121 people for receptions, while the plaza is ideal for groups of up to 1,642.
The Beverly O’Neill Theater is yet another noteworthy meeting and event space located at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center. The venue features a decidedly group-friendly layout, with 825 seats set in a half-circle around a thrust stage, assuring that every attendee will have a good view for presentations. Flexible staging, lighting and sound options make it possible to create a variety of memorable events.
The recent $50 million renovations at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center have made The Cove, a dedicated open-air event space, even more attractive for pre-function receptions, concerts and parties. Occupying the area in front of the Seaside Meeting Rooms below the Terrace Theater, The Cove offers 50,000 square feet of event space, as well as a new pedestrian bridge that will offer 3,500 customizable LED lights and immersive landscaping.
Recent upgrades at the Long Beach Arena have made it even more enticing for groups. Part of the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, the 46,000-square-foot Long Beach Arena is described as “epic meets intimate,” with large-scale proportions and myriad opportunities to create a variety of welcoming settings and unique themes. Groups of various sizes can make use of the facility, which offers three distinct sections: the Pacific Ballroom, a lavish venue with a moveable ceiling truss system, the Pacific Gallery and Patio, which features both indoor and outdoor space, and Bogart & Co., a newly developed event space with stylish, lounge-style seating.
Featuring the latest in meetings technology, the Center supports hybrid events with both in-person and remote elements. While your keynote speaker addresses a gathering in the Beverly O’Neill Theater, the Center’s digital meetings platform ensures a synergistic experience with real-time interaction for remote attendees.
In addition to the latest technology, the Center features contemporary fixtures and furnishings with inviting niches for networking – no rentals required. Imagine a swanky afterparty in the spacious Pacific Room or a street party on a warm Southern California night; whatever the budget, the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center will make it happen.
• Long Beach’s beautiful and expansive waterfront may be known for its vacation-style diversions, but it’s also an excellent destination for meetings and groups, thanks to the diversity of group-friendly attractions and activities that await. Attendees can enjoy everything from whale-watching excursions to visits to the magnificent Aquarium of the Pacific which has lots of experience hosting events and private tours (see event details below). Sea kayaking, electric bicycles and even gondola rides are among the activities that await. As for accommodations and meetings with water views, the 138-room Hyatt Centric The Pike Long Beach has more than 5,800 square feet of event space, including a rooftop lounge and open-air courtyard.
• As mentioned above, Aquarium of the Pacific offers an unforgettable opportunity to stage events in a unique venue that showcases the diverse marine life of the Pacific Ocean, with more than 12,000 creatures among its residents. Group options include meetings in a new, LEED Platinum-Certified building with a “living roof,” as well as picnics that include 90 minutes of meal service and all-day access to the aquarium. Menus for private events feature sustainable, locally-sourced food.
• Planners can infuse events with artistic flair by making use of the city’s noteworthy art museums. The Museum of Latin American Art, which is billed as the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art, has a permanent collection of more than 1,300 works of art, while its 15,000-square-foot sculpture garden provides an especially lovely setting for events. The Long Beach Museum of Art, meanwhile, houses more than 3,200 works spanning 300 years of American and European creativity. The venue offers meeting and event space at its main location as well as LBMA Downtown, a gallery and meeting space in the East Village Arts District. Catering is available through Claire’s at the Museum, the restaurant on the main museum campus that recently welcomed renowned Chef Michael Ryan to its team.
• For small‐scale gatherings with an educational bent, consider a visit to the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, which opened in 2016 in a 24,655‐square‐foot building with three meeting spaces. The facility is part of the Long Beach Public Library system, which also operates the Billie Jean King Main Library, a venue that also has community meeting rooms.
New and Coming Soon to Long Beach
• Planners looking to infuse events with vintage chic should take a look at Retro Whoa!, a themed group of activities and venues with a decidedly hip ambiance. Launched as part of the city’s curated Long Beach Days and Getaways campaign, the itinerary includes a stop at the aptly named Retro Row, a group of interesting shops like Alien Artifacts. Nearby, the Art Theater is a beautifully restored, 380-seat Art Deco theater that’s available for private screenings and presentations. Shopaholics won’t want to miss a stop at Urban Americana, a 16,000-square-foot vintage design, furniture and accessories store. And, in keeping with the retro vibe, groups might want to consider lunch at Park Pantry, a classic diner lined with celebrity headshots, or cocktails at the Grasshopper, a lounge that exudes mid-century hipness.
• Long Beach provides planners with myriad opportunities to indulge attendees with unique experiences. To make it even easier, the CVB recently debuted a Luxe Urban Getaway, part of the city’s Long Beach Days and Getaways campaign. The themed itinerary includes accommodations at the Hotel Maya — a Doubletree by Hilton property that’s described as “Mayan mystique with urban chic” and offers 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space. Also part of this curated itinerary are pampering treatments at FloatSpace, a spa that offers float therapy and sports therapy, both designed to ease stress and tension. For dining and entertainment, the itinerary features 555 East, a steakhouse with multiple venues for private dining, and Bo Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap, a casual eatery with an open-air beer garden. The venue hosts groups of up to 250 guests.
• In May, the Long Beach CVB began launching weekend and day trip itineraries that will fill your free time with memorable experiences. Whether it’s discovering unique hotels, world-class attractions like the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific and the Queen Mary, cutting-edge museums or enjoying award-winning restaurants and a thriving, multi-faceted arts and culture scene, you and your group are bound to find inspiration in Long Beach. And now you can save your new favorite places and share your itinerary with your group and other friends through Facebook and Twitter.
• Among the newest hotels slated to open in Long Beach are The Hotel, a 34-room boutique property located one block from the Terrace Theater at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center. Also in the works is the reopening of the 185-room Breakers Hotel & Spa, a luxurious update to a historic oceanfront hotel that first opened in 1926. Celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant and Rita Hayworth once walked the halls of this famed hotel, and today the property is gearing up to welcome groups, with two ballrooms that measure more than 3,000 square feet as well as six meeting rooms, two terraces and a pool deck. Scheduled to re-open in early 2023, the property will also have multiple dining venues, a spa and jazz club and it is conveniently located adjacent to the Long Beach Convention Center. Contact Jeremy Pinkerton of the Breakers Hotel & Spa for more info: [email protected].
• One of the newest hotels already open in the city is the Staybridge Suites Long Beach Airport, which offers free shuttle service to and from the city’s airport as well as to destinations within a three-mile radius of the property. The pet-friendly hotel, which serves a free hot breakfast every morning, has a 24-hour business center, guest laundry facilities, and guest rooms with full kitchens.
• The 528-room Hyatt Regency Long Beach, the city’s largest hotel, is sporting a refreshed look and improved services after reopening earlier this year. The hotel lobby now features a new dining venue, Market Bar, which specializes in healthy California cuisine, and the property follows stringent hygiene protocols by adhering to Hyatt’s Global Care and Cleanliness Commitment. Planners can make use of more than 35,000 square feet of onsite meeting and event space.
• Recently renovated hotels include the Long Beach Marriott, which in 2020 completed a major renovation of its public areas and meeting space, while also adding a new front desk, bar and restaurant. The property has more than 17,000 square feet of meeting space.
• The Long Beach Airport is in the midst of expansion as well as other improvements. Phase two of the modernization program, which is scheduled for completion in 2022, includes structural improvements to the facility’s original 1941 terminal building as well as improvements to the baggage claim area, ticketing facilities, rental car return lot, ground transportation center and terminal roadways.