I can’t be the only one who wants to grab a cold one sometimes when I’m out with the kids. Especially in the summer. But most places designed for kids don’t serve alcohol, and you don’t always want to hit up the Chuck E Cheese. Not to mention the LB Chuck E Cheese is closed now. RIP. But there are other places in LB that you can take your kids where the whole family can have fun, and you can also chill out with a beer.
Aquarium of the Pacific
I know, I know. I talk about the aquarium a lot. But it’s one of our go-to places in the summer, and actually, for the rest of the year as well. Memberships are around $150 for a family and there’s always something new and different to do there. They also have air conditioning, and they sell drinks! Beware: the drinks are not cheap, so expect some sticker shock. Regular beers go for around $6-7 and premium beers are around $10. At the same time, when we aren’t paying for admission every visit, and we get the discounted member parking passes for $4 each, I feel like I can splurge on a beer while we’re there.
Ficklewood is Long Beach’s first cidery, and it’s a total family hangout spot. At first glance, you might not see it as a family place. No food? Only alcohol? Seems like a bar, right? But we’ve taken our kids a few times and they always beg to go back. Let me start with the atmosphere: ALL THE GAMES, and cool spots to hang. I mean big jenga, connect 4, chess, mancala, fun high top tables to sit at, chill low top tables to relax around, couches, barrels…. It’s the real deal. And yes, they don’t technically serve food, but it’s hardly a downside when they have rotating food trucks and partnerships with other great LB restaurants for delivery. It’s great for a family hang or playdate with the other cool moms.
2nd and PCH
Okay… so this one might be a sneaky one. I haven’t actually gotten confirmation that this is “allowed” so proceed with caution. We’ve done a few 2nd and PCH date nights and gotten drinks to go from Whole Foods and drank them at the center tables at 2nd and PCH. We’ve seen a lot of other people doing the same, with several security guards walking the perimeter so…. It seems allowed? In addition to shopping, 2nd and PCH has a ton of cool things to do. My kids love playing with the giant checkers, there are fun egg chairs and hanging chairs, and at night, there are some fire pits as well. If you thought this area was just a mall, you’ll be surprised to know that it’s an entire hangout. They even have some movie nights in the summer, so check out their website and social channels to stay tuned.
Round 1 Bowling/Arcade
Air conditioning, fun activities, junk food, and of course, drinks! The first time we brought the kiddos here my oldest was 3, and she was invited for a play date. We showed up and with some help, my 3 year old was able to clumsily bowl a game and then play at the arcade for another hour. The bowling is affordable and it’s indoors with AC, which I know is something we all look for in the summer. The arcade is adjacent, and is basically as affordable as you make it. Some kids can have fun with $10, and some will burn through $30 in a few minutes. Speaking from experience, if you plan on doing the arcade after bowling, set money limits before arriving.
If you live in Bixby, you already know all about Steelcraft. Obviously, this place is the jam! For those of you who do not live in Bixby or do not frequent it that often, welcome to the club! LB is so huge that sometimes it feels like we’re all in different cities, but Steelcraft is practically its own island! You can grab a drink at one of the various restaurants while the kids run around and play. There are tables for sitting, some people prefer to bring a blanket and sit off to the side, and some people just stand or wander. Whatever your choice, this is a great place to take the kids and relax with a cold one!