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Long Beach, Ca., A Port and Recreational Center
by Howard Giske

Long Beach is a suburb of Los Angeles, but hardly a bedroom community. In fact, Long Beach, with an adjoining part of L.A., is the leading container port in the nation. Its population of almost 500,000 in an area of 50 square miles defines it as a fairly dense urban space. It is not only a leading port, but also a center of recreational boating, with the municipally owned Long Beach Marina having room for 3,400 boats. That's just one of the attraction of Long Beach homes It is not far from a popular sailing destination, Catalina Island.

The port's rail communications have recently been improved with the construction of the Almeda corridor. This is a 20-mile long trench that connects Long Beach directly to the national rail system in downtown Los Angeles, bypassing hundreds of rail signal crossings that previously hindered rail traffic from the port. This has also substantially reduced truck freeway traffic between Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles. Operations began in 2002, and an ongoing project aims to totally electrify the rail in the corridor.

One of Long Beach's tourist attractions is the RMS Queen Mary, which has retired from sea service, but is docked at Long Beach, and serves as a hotel and entertainment center since 1967. Another must see attraction in Long Beach is the "Aquarium of the Pacific", one of the largest aquariums in the United States. There are 500 species of fish and marine life on display, some at the favorite attraction, the Shark Lagoon. The Aquarium also serves as the anchor location for a waterfront development known as "the Pike at Rainbow Harbor". Those interested in Long Beach real estate, should know that the Pike is only minutes from the charming upscale beach community, Belmont Shores. Adjacent to the Aquarium is the Long Beach convention center. This includes the Long Beach arena that seats 13,500 and has 46,000 square feet of exhibition space. If you include the arena lobby and other space, you get a total of 75,000 square feet. The three adjoining exhibition halls have a total of 224,000 square feet and are used for all sorts of conventions, trade shows and consumer shows.

Slightly to the west, about a 10 minute drive takes to a small island community, which is joined to the rest of Long Beach by a few short bridges, this is the ritzy Naples area. The center of Naples has a large fountain, and all the streets have Italian names.

Long Beach also has its own airport, in addition to five other airports in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area, Long Beach airport, which has flights all over the United States. It is also one of the busiest general airports for private aircraft in the United States.

Long Beach is an extremely ethnically diverse city, and has a large Cambodian community as well as people from Mexico, El Salvador and the Philippines. There is a substantial student population in the city, attending California State University- Long Beach, where there are colleges of Business Administration, Education, Engineering and Health. It is actually the largest campus of the entire California State University system. The campus occupies 323 acres, three miles from the ocean. Another college in town is Long Beach City College.

Howard Giske writes on nationwide real estate. For more on Long Beach homes, see