D.T. asks from Phoenix, AZ on September 23, 2009
Moving to LBC from Minnesota- Looking for Safe Fun Parks, Schools, Etc
Hi,my husband and I will be moving our 2 girls age 7 and 1 to Long Beach from Duluth, Minnesota. I have never even been to Cali! I am so excited to get out of this horrendous weather but I am a little nervous. I was wondering which areas are good, which to avoid, where I could find a great playgroup for my toddler, which parks would be great for my girls... things like that. Could anyone help me with that. I have never lived outside of MN so this should be interesting. I am pumped to not see below zero temps or 10ft snow drifts. But I am worried about safety- should I be? I mean in our neighborhood we can leave the house and have the windows open and doors unlocked and never have a problem- maybe a squirrel in the house but that's about it. : ) There are plenty of areas that I would never take my kids- but crime is really the exception not the rule.
To fix my previous mistake we will be living in Long Beach- not Riverside. IDK how I got that all mixed up. My oldest will be going to Emerson Parkside Academy Charter. She goes to a charter school here and we love it. Could anyone tell me which area we are in then- we are about 4 miles from the school. Thing is- we already have our house,we will be living there no matter what. We are renting from my husband's best friend who lives in the house in front of us. He has had no issues but he is not a parent.
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So What Happened?™
Thank you so much to everyone for posting back. I really appreciate all of the input. I have been a bit anxious about the move.
S.B. answers from Los Angeles on September 24, 2009
For play groups I highly recommend Coastal Cuties of Long Beach. There is also Long Beach Little Ones. Both on yahoo group page. Good luck.
S.S. answers from Los Angeles on September 24, 2009
Stick to East LB, away from downtown(western beach) and North LB.
Pull it up on Mapquest. Don't go west of Redondo Blvd and you should be good. The farther east the better and safer it is.
W.R. answers from Los Angeles on September 24, 2009
Welcome D. T and family!
Having lived in Long Beach all my life and being a 5th generation LB native, I can tell you I love my city. However Valerie is right about one thing, there are unsafe areas. It will definitely depend on your income and how much you have to spend each month on rent or buying a house. You can rent a 3 bedroom house in or around Lakewood for around $2000 a month, a nice area. Belmont Shore, Belmont Heights, and Bluff Park are nice areas, you'll pay more to be close to the beach. Bixby Knolls is very nice and most of east Long Beach. Our parks and recreation dept. and school district win awards most every year for great services. Once you get here and look around, you'll see where you are comfortable. I'd definitely lock house and car, no matter where you are in the city, these economic times bring out the opportunists.
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V.S. answers from Los Angeles on September 24, 2009
Hello D.. Congrats on your move, and welcome (soon) to sunny southern California :) With that being said, and in response to your post, it would depend WHERE in Long Beach your family is moving. Long Beach is a fairly big city, and there are plenty of areas that are not "safe". I can think of several parks that I will not let my children go to to play, and they are much older. Hopefully, you are moving to a location in Long Beach that is somewhat safer than the areas I have seen. I live in Bellflower, although I've only lived here for 6 years, and am far from impressed with the location and surrounding cities (Long Beach being one of them). I'm not trying to be negative in any way, shape or form, just letting you know that it really depends on what area in LB you will be planting yourselves :)
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S.K. answers from Los Angeles on September 24, 2009
I used to go the CSULB and so hang out around long beach alot. I also worked at Polytechnic HS on Atlantic Ave near downtown Long Beach as a tutor during my college days. Long Beach is one of the most diverse city in Southern Ca. You have upper middle class neighborhoods, middle class neighborhoods, and ultra poor neighborhoods where the residents live way below the poverty line. As others have noted, the areas around CSULB are very nice. Stick to North East side, and you'll be fine. The area around Poly High is the extremely poor area. Ironically, this high school is a magnet school. It has a strong academic program for advanced kids and it has a huge program for the remedial students as well. How can this be? Bussing. Long Beach unified school district bussed kids from all over the district. The idea sounds great on paper, social integration. It breaks my heart that it doesn't work at all in practice. The kids do not mix, simply because academically and socially they have nothing in common. There is no tension between the diverse populace of the school because the staff is so great, but the kids simply do not mix. You might want to research the school district about their bussing program. My experience is from the 1990's.
To give you an idea of how bad the bad areas are: There were 2 shooting incidents at the H.S. parking lot in the 2 years I worked there. I know some kids that came to school high. Some of the girls are married and have kids. Some seniors couldn't read at all.
Also, my brother used to live on Ocean Blvd in one of the high rise appartment complex in the heart of downton Long Beach. He could walk out of the appartment building and right onto the beach. It was great. One night, he parked on the street and neglected to lock his car door and his car was gone in the morning. They found it a few days later, stripped.
Sorry this is so dark, I wanted you to be aware when you are researching the area.
Good luck with your move.
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S.P. answers from Los Angeles on September 24, 2009
Here are some useful urls for Long Beach.
I'm sure you'll find additional helpful links
at each of these sites.
Long Beach has good schools and a wonderful library;
many neighborhood branches.
I'm not too informed about neighborhoods and safety.
However, I believe if you check in
with the Police and Fire departments,
they may have some helpful suggestions.
You can find links to both of them
at the Long Beach gov site.
Also -- and this is just my opinion;
if you get a reliable real estate agent or broker,
they can advise you more precisely --
I wouldn't consider living on the peninsula
at the east end of Long Beach along the water.
If the (very old) breakwater is removed or altered,
I'm imagining that some of those houses
may be damaged by higher seawater
at some point in the future.
GOOD LUCK with your move!!
Grandma S. in Long Beach
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S.T. answers from Los Angeles on September 24, 2009
Welcome to Southern California! You mention Long Beach and Riverside. Someone already mentioned that they are quite a distance apart. If you'll be moving to Riverside, you'll want to research that area separate from Long Beach. As with Long Beach, Riverside is a very large city with good and bad areas. I've lived in Long Beach for 14 years and love the city! I live in East Long Beach near El Dorado Park and Cal State Long Beach. There are also many nice smaller cities next to Long Beach, such as Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, & Cypress. I know an excellent Realtor in the area that I could refer to you. She knows the neighborhoods inside and out and can help you avoid pockets of bad areas. Overall, it's a wonderful city, but very different from the environment you're used to. To get connected, I recommend taking some classes through parks and rec, immediately getting involved in your child's school, or visiting local parks. I could make recommendations, but it's unclear where you will be living exactly. A church is also a good way to get connected. Good luck on your new venture!!!
C.A. answers from Los Angeles on September 24, 2009
you are in for a shock. Things are different.
1st-yes, you need to lock your doors. I leave my windows open upstairs sometimes. But, the downstairs ones need to be shut and locked. Long beach has some scary parts and some fantastic parts. Belmont Shores is nice. I don't know all of Long beach. But, the city is large.
R.P. answers from Los Angeles on September 24, 2009
Hi D., I've lived in LB for five years. It's big city with lots of different neighborhoods. Some are good, some definitely not so good. You should definitely expect to keep your doors locked and windows closed when you leave the house, but I would say that about anywhere in the Southern California area! In the five years I've been here, we haven't had any problems in our neighborhood (near Bixby Knolls) and I feel safe, but regularly hear the police helicopter overhead. I don't think there's a neighborhood called "Riverside" but maybe I just haven't heard of it.
We moved to Southern California about 15 years ago from a small town in Texas and went through MAJOR culture shock. But I love it here and will never leave! I especially love LB because it seems so laid-back and friendly compared to other parts of LA. The weather is definitely amazing. I think the winter is the best part of the year!
I also have a 1-year-old and we go to Heartwell Park frequently. Because I work outside the home, we're not part of a playgroup (they all meet on weekdays) but I know of two: Coastal Cuties of Long Beach and Wrigley Moms - you can find them both in Yahoo groups.
Good luck on your move!
M.C. answers from Los Angeles on September 24, 2009
You mention Riverside and Long Beach and they are about 1 to 1 1/2 hour apart. The Riverside area is more desert, very few greenery. But it's growing and housing is less expensive than in Long Beach.
Long Beach has good and bad, it is located next to the ocean and certain areas are really nice with a bit of overcrowding. I would stick to living on the east side of Long Beach, closer to Cal State Long Beach or the north eastern part that touches Cerritos, Lakewood.
The western part of Long Beach is a rougher neighborhood. I would always lock doors and keep windows closed when no one is home.
Good luck and welcome to California, you'll enjoy the various activities and areas that you can visit.