Naples Island lies at the east end of Long Beach (where the ocean is to the south), surrounded by Alamitos Bay. This Italian themed-neighborhood is one of the most charming (and expensive) in the LA metro area, featuring a circular canal system and a central park with Italian fountain. Across a small bridge along 2nd Street to the west is Belmont Shore, one of the region’s hippest districts, lined with restaurants and boutiques.
During the winter holiday season, the homes lining the Naples canals outdo each other with elaborate Christmas and Hanukkah light displays, frequently featuring animated holiday themed delights such as roller coasters. An early December boat parade around the canals has been a crowd pleaser since the 1940’s. Since the canals are lined with public pathways, you can take your hot cocoa and enjoy a marvelous holiday stroll to view all of the displays.
It’s best to do the holiday walk on foot. Bikes are allowed on Long Beach sidewalks, however it’s too crowded and rude to ride on the narrow paths during the holiday light season. Or, partake in a gondola ride where you won’t see quite as much up close but will have a blast. http://www.gondolagetawayinc.com.
The Long Beach region is one of our favorite places for an easy scenic cycle, so you can take a ride on our LO1 along the ocean to downtown and the Queen Mary (see post http://wp.me/p4pOXg-6F ) and/or LO2 around Belmont Shore and Naples Island. Upon nightfall enjoy dinner along 2nd Street in Belmont Shore or Naples Island, and an unforgettable stroll to view the holiday lights, one of our favorite activities during the season.
Check out YouTube for various takes on the holiday lights tour, such as https://youtu.be/bMa7AC2Vejo.
Start the afternoon with a lovely ride along trails such as LO1 along the Long Beach waterfront to downtown and the Queen Mary (but please don’t ride in the ped lane 🙂 )
Long Beach is a SoCal star when it comes to bicycle advocacy and infrastructure, Silver-rated by the League of American Bicyclists. As far as easy scenic cycling goes, coastal Class I trails provide a ton of excitement, interesting vistas, and even some good exercise where bikes and peds are given their separate lanes. For more cycling fun connect via bike-friendly surface streets to the Belmont Shore district, the very Italian Naples Island with its canals, and the laid back beach town of Seal Beach, with the option of riding along Pacific Coast Highway to reach the great Huntington Beach trail along the sand. Also available for a good workout are somewhat less scenic river trails up the Los Angeles River (the LARIO trail) from Long Beach and the preferred San Gabriel River Trail from Seal Beach.
The annual Tour of Long Beach event with several levels of rides benefits pediatric cancer and starts along the downtown Long Beach waterfront. Next event: May, 2016. enCYCLEpedia Southern California had its book launch at the finish line festival in 2014.
The easy scenic cycling adventures of Richard Fox, author of the 2014 guidebook "enCYCLEpedia Southern California – The Best Easy Scenic Bike Rides."