If downtown Long Beach feels urban and corporate, Belmont Shore exudes a quintessential SoCal laid-back air. It has a fine beach with a pier for fishing and watching sunsets, and keeps it real along a buzzy, four-block strip of boutiques, cafes and bars filled with surfers and students.

Naples, just south of here, is Long Beach’s most exclusive neighborhood. It’s a canal-laced borough, created in 1903 by Arthur Parsons, not coincidentally, a contemporary of Venice’s Abbot Kinney. It’s best explored on a gondola ride.