I would argue that the social aspect of college is almost as important as your academics if it weren’t for the social experiences gained during this time many of us would have never left home. However, California State University, Long Beach, like many of the other CSU campuses, is a commuter school with a dry campus, meaning one has to pretty much go off campus to enjoy the college nightlife. Because of this, the nightlife culture of a California State University, Long Beach student is a little different, but not to worry. After all, the “LBC,” as Snoop Dogg so famously dubbed the southernmost city in Los Angeles County, is home to some of the musical greats of my generation Snoop, Sublime, and No Doubt and is a really diverse town with a wealth of options for college age students looking for some fun on the weekend.
Although CSULB is a dry campus and there aren’t really parties that happen in the dorms, there are still plenty of options for people under 21. Before I turned 21, weekends were devoted to house parties and nights out at 18 + clubs, such as Sevilla Nightclub in downtown Long Beach. If you have a solid group of friends, you will be sure to find yourself at parties in some of the student apartment complexes, such as the Park or Beverly Apartments, which are just minutes away from the campus itself.
These complexes are teeming with students on the weekend and it is easy to walk from house to house, joining different parties of people chilling out, playing beer pong, and bumping music. The only downside the complex security roams these densely populated student areas and parties are often broken up prematurely. So, if you want a night out of uninterrupted dancing and fun, it might be better to check out some of the nightclubs located downtown.
For those of legal drinking age, the LBC has a few main areas that are good for bars and nightlife. Depending on what kind of scene you prefer, there are two different streets that are frequented by thirsty students on the weekend 2nd street and 4th street. My favorite area, 4th Street, is home to the quintessential “dive” and some of the bars here include The Red Room, The Pike, and Alex’s Bar which doubles as a set for HBO’s hit show “True Blood”. These bars offer cheap drinks and are noticeably grimier, darker, and populated by Long Beach locals who have spent a few too many hours throwing back cheap beers and eating pickled eggs. But hey these bars offer good vibes, a unique Long Beach character and often have live music on the weekends.
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For a more typical college feel, 2nd Street, just a five minute walk from the beach, is your go to spot. On any night between Thursday and Saturday in college, everyone observes three day weekends, the bars are sure to be packed and lively and the lines long. However, because there are numerous bars on this street, it is not hard to find one that suits your particular fancy. Some great bars here include Legends, Panama Joe’s and Dogz.
If you are looking for a good meal and want to enjoy a quieter night out on the town, there are a plethora of good places to eat on 2nd Street. These restaurants can be a little pricier but 2nd street is still a perfect destination for date nights or those weekends when your parents are in town and are picking up the bill. My favorite restaurant, Open Sesame, has two locations on 2nd Street and offers a delicious, varied Mediterranean menu. Yard House, right on the water in the downtown area, is another great place to go. With an extensive food and drink menu, this place is ideal for beer lovers and big parties.
Although this is not a weekend activity, I wouldn’t be giving proper credit to college nightlife in Southern California if I didn’t mention Taco Tuesday. With so many different joints that offer Taco Tuesday deals, you and your friends are sure to find the place that speaks to you. With $1 tacos and $2 margaritas, places like Acapulco Restaurant and Cantina and Tequila Jack’s, are hopping on a Tuesday night, and you don’t have to be 21 to enjoy the social occasion. And besides, who doesn’t need a little mid week breather?
Isabel Rosenstock graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2012 with a B.F.A. in Dance/Performance. Based in San Francisco, she is working as a freelance dance artist and a figurative model for painters/sculptors. In addition to her work as a dancer/model, Isabel enjoys writing, traveling, and working with children.