The Shore, as locals call it, is a Long Beach neighborhood known for its sunny vibe and the 250 or so businesses lining 2nd Avenue, including eateries, boutiques, and a vibrant night-life mix of bars, pubs, restaurants and live-music venues that keep the sidewalks busy almost 24 hours a day. Just east of downtown Long Beach, Belmont Shore is still a place where people go to spend seasons by the Pacific.
Though a few national chains pepper the retail landscape, the Shore is best known for its mom-and-pop and locally owned enterprises.
(4612 E. 2nd St., Suite B,  433-4996,
) sells new and used CDs and vinyl records too, and was founded in the early 1990s with an anti-corporate, indie-music mission.
Crepes and cravings
Longtime local favorite
offers the traditional crêpes suzette and croque-monsieur in addition to serving up sweet and savory crepes (4911 E. 2nd St.,  434-8499,
serves up Old World specialties on blue-checked tablecloths to live music most nights (5316 E. 2nd St.,  433-1755,
, resurrected and remodeled after a devastating fire, presents more televisions broadcasting sports than its American-fare menu has choices (5236 E. 2nd St.,  433-5743,
The sporting life
Speaking of sports, kite surfers cruise calm Alamitos Bay along with swimmers and kayakers. Looking for some romance on the high seas? Try a gondola ride through the canals of next-door Naples. Gondola Getaway provides the singing (in Italian) gondoliers and the gondolas (5437 E. Ocean Blvd., [562-433-9595],
Belmont Shore isn't all about consumerism. Its community spirit is on display any weekend of the year, when you may find a beach cleanup (next one is scheduled for Jan. 17), an animal-rescue function in a bank parking lot, a bulldog beauty contest, a car show or a parade.