April 15 – 17: Grand Prix of Long Beach 2016
“Southern California’s Most Unique Special Event”
For many car enthusiasts, the Long Beach Grand Prix marks the kick-off of car season. This three-day festival floods the streets of downtown Long Beach with spectators as they watch world-class drivers charge through the racecourses. As one of the largest events in Long Beach, the Grand Prix boasts a fun and busy weekend for all.
Ticket prices vary depending on the package you choose. On the upper end, a three day reserved seating pass costs between $95.00 and $142.00 for adults. You can also choose a Saturday pass for about $65.00. For a chance to win free tickets to the first day of the race on Friday, pick up a copy of the Press-Telegram on Sunday, April 10 for a voucher. Click here to see all the ticket options.
Festivities Before the Races
The fun begins the Wednesday before the races with the Roar the Soar event from 5-8 p.m. Afterwards, the Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pageant will take place. See who the winner is at 700 Queensway Drive at 8:00 p.m. The annual Thunder Thursday on Pine event will set the tone for the weekend to come from 6:30 – 10:00 p.m.
Throughout the weekend there will be six racing events, including the Verizon IndyCar Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge, PirelliWorld Challenge, and the SPEED Energy Stadium Super Truck Races. Many fans were disappointed to find out that this would be the last year of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race at the LB Prix. This year’s final race will mark the 40th year of the longest running corporate-sponsored charity race in the U.S.A. However, since it’s the final race, it’s going to be a special one, as a number of celebrity winners from previous years will return. Not sure which race to make your priority? Check out the descriptions here.
Need a Break from Cars?
The Grand Prix of Long Beach will host a series of family friendly events throughout the weekend. Two concerts will be held on Friday and Saturday night at 6:45 p.m. on an outdoor stage outside of the Performing Arts Center’s Terrace Theater.
For the kids, there’s the Family Fun Zone. There will be rock climbing walls, games, video games, and a host of other activities to keep the little ones entertained!
If you want to kick back and relax with a glass of wine, head to one of the McManis Wine Bars located throughout the circuit. If you don’t want to leave the race course area to get a bite to eat, there will be food trucks and Tecate Light Sports Bars.
Explore Long Beach
If your visiting from out of town, there’s lots of other things to do near by the races. Take a stroll through downtown Long Beach and check out some of the terrific shops and restaurants. Try Bo-beau Kitchen’s roof top bar and restaurant, Rock Bottom Brewery, and the Auld Dubliner Irish Pub. If you’re looking for a local gift, MADE in Long Beach is the shop to visit.
You’ll definitely want to reserve a space. View your options here. If you don’t want to pay to reserve a space, here’s a local tip for you – Take the AquaLink! For $5.00 each way, you can park at one of four pick up sites and travel by water to the races. Here’s the schedule for the weekend of the 2016 Grand Prix.
For the locals not planning to attend, stay forewarned. The city will be much more crowded than usual and certain streets will be entirely blocked off. The exact street closures have yet to be announced but typically access to the Hyatt, Shoreline Village, and the Shoreline Marina from Ocean Blvd and Pine Ave. will be at least partially blocked throughout the weekend. If you have to travel through this area, consider taking public transportation or allow more time than usual with your car.