The Pike in Long Beach: Then & Now

Long Beach Pike - Our Photo

The Pike in Long Beach is a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike, but do you know what it used to be like down at the Pike?

Much like the Queen Mary or Rosie’s Dog Beach, The Pike is a huge part of the unique personality of the city of Long Beach. It’s a great place to go with your family for a sunny afternoon, do a little shopping, walk around, and grab a bite to eat. But do you know what the Pike used to be like? Ask anyone who was around when The Pike was in its glory days, and we assure you they will have at least a couple stories to tell! Learn a little more about the unique history of the Pike and see just how far this shoreline destination has come.

A Quick History Lesson on The Pike

The Pike was founded in 1902 as an amusement park and arcade. It was located along the shorelines of Long Beach just south of Ocean Boulevard, along with other locally owned arcades, food stands, gift shops, rides, and a grand bath house called The Plunge.

During its time there, the amusement park section of the Pike operated under a variety of different names, including Silver Spray Pier, Nu-Pikevia (that name was a contest winner’s submission), and also Queen’s Park as an homage to the arrival of the epic Queen Mary ocean liner.

The Famous Cyclone Racer and Other Attractions

While The Pike was in full swing as an amusement park, they had a roller coaster called the Cyclone Racer that really put them on the map. It was a large dual-track wooden roller coaster that brought thrills to all of its passengers because it was built on pilings that extended out over the water.

Visitors could also enjoy a variety of other attractions including the Loof carousel, McGruder salt water taffy, pitch and skill games, pony rides, and much more. It’s really fun asking people to tell their personal stories about The Pike—so the next time you’re around a long time Long Beach resident, make sure to ask them about it!

Sadly the Park Eventually Had to Close

Unfortunately in 1979 the Long Beach City Council refused to renew the land lease, and so the Pike amusement park was officially closed and demolished. It took over twenty years of planning and development for the Pike to be able to reopen.

Today we get to Enjoy The Pike Outlets

Today the Pike is actually known as The Pike Outlets. And rather than being an amusement park, it’s an open air shopping destination that boasts more than 344,000 square feet of retail space for shopping, dining, and entertainment. It’s a really fun place to go walk around, get some great deals at the outlet stores, (including Restoration Hardware, Nike, Gap, Forever 21, and more), catch a movie, grab a quick snack, or enjoy a delicious meal.

The Pike as an amusement park has provided so many wonderful memories for Long Beach locals who have been here for generations. While The Pike Outlets don’t have all the rides and attractions that The Pike used to have, it’s still a really fun place to get out and spend quality time with the family in Long Beach. Plus, they still have a Ferris wheel!

More on Downtown Long Beach

For some gorgeous aerials of The Pike and the rest of Downtown Long Beach, check out our neighborhood video.

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About the Author

Shannon Jones has been selling real estate since 1998 and specializes in listing and marketing homes. She has consistently been one of the top Realtors in the Long Beach area. Prior to her award-winning career in real estate with the Shannon jones Team, Shannon has had successful careers in journalism and public relations. She holds a bachelors degree from UC Irvine and a masters degree from UC Berkeley. Shannon holds E-Pro, CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert), and PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) certifications. Shannon is very personable and maintains a very strong moral compass, always putting the best interest of home buyers/sellers above monetary goals. A California native, Shannon enjoys gardening, travel, reading, cooking and poker when she’s not selling homes MY DESIGNATIONS Lic# 01247705 | CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) | E-Pro | PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) MY SERVICE AREAS Anaheim Bellflower Buena Park Carson Cerritos Cypress Downey Fountain Valley Garden Grove Huntington Beach La Palma Lakewood Long Beach Los Alamitos Los Angeles County Norwalk Orange County Rossmoor San Pedro Seal Beach Signal Hill South Bay Westminster

5 responses to “The Pike in Long Beach: Then & Now”

  1. RC says:

    It would have been very interesting to see the rather large bank deposits made by city council members back when the old Pike was destroyed, the beach area filled in, Rainbow Pier torn out, Rainbow Lagoon filled in and Long Beach, where I was born and raised turned into a real dump. When I retired, I left that town for good because it was no longer home. I later left California for good for the same reason. I’d be willing to bet not one resident of that city has a clue to why the name was changed from Wilmore City to Long Beach. When still there, I saw a picture in the Press Telegram of a City Councilman’s garage. It was full of the hand carved horses and other things from the merry go round we all rode and enjoyed as kids. It would be nice to know what happened to all that stuff that was so “graciously” stored in that guy’s garage. Long Beach killed the goose that laid the golden egg and speaking for myself, I never intend to return.

  2. S. Frost says:

    I totally understand what RC feels about Long Beach and was sad to hear that the fate of the Long Beach Pike.
    My father whom was raised in Long Beach and spent most of his life there, trained and fought professionally out of the boxing gym just south of the pike.
    He boxed for over 20 years professionally and would not fight out of any other gym. His heart would be broke if he had known this had been the fate of his beloved gym. I had always hoped to return to show my children the gym and tell the tales of it as my father had told to me of this place dating back to the forties.
    I got my only tattoo at 20 yrs of age at the Long Beach Pike, 47 years ago.
    Hope those councilmen got their pockets good and full.

  3. Richard Cunningham says:

    S. Frost, I most definitely share all your feelings. Actually, I’d forgotten about the gym where your dad trained and fought. That’s what I feel is the big problem. Things like the pike along with other things are destroyed and forgotten. Perhaps you recall when Ocean Blvd. and Pine Ave. were petty much the hub of the city. I’d be willing to bet you and I might be the only ones who do. Enjoy your memories because that seems to be all we have left of what was once a nice place with an absolutely wonderful skyline from the sea.

  4. Randy Gold says:

    I agree with you 100%! You know that there was payola involved! It is heartbreaking that places like that are torn down so certain individuals can get rich! I too had great memories of The Pike! My best buddy and I would ride the roller coaster over and over, we would just stay on when it came back to the station and flip the attendant a quarter and go again. That was my favorite roller coaster! Partly because of the awesome location! I’ve been living in the North West for over forty years now and my wife and I are planning a trip back to that area and I was shocked to see that The Pike was gone! Very sad!

  5. Bruce Stucker says:

    I didn’t live in Long Beach but I went there many times back in the late fifties and early sixties. my dad would take me and my cousin to the Pike on a Saturday morning and drop us off. We stayed most of the day doing rides. We were slightly afraid to ride but we had to ride the Cyclone Racer several times throughout the day . It was a cheap good time and my dad wasn’t concerned about our safety at all. Those were different times. I will never forget those carefree days. Bruce Stucker, Riverside….

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