ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The toast of the coast

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.

Mom-and-pops

Though a few national chains pepper the retail landscape, the Shore is best known for its mom-and-pop and locally owned enterprises.

Fingerprints (4612 E. 2nd St., Suite B, [562] 433-4996, www.indierecordshop.com) 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 Le Creperie Cafe offers the traditional crêpes suzette and croque-monsieur in addition to serving up sweet and savory crepes (4911 E. 2nd St., [562] 434-8499, www.lacreperiecafe.net). George's Greek Café serves up Old World specialties on blue-checked tablecloths to live music most nights (5316 E. 2nd St., [562] 433-1755, www.georgesgreekcafe.com). Legends, resurrected and remodeled after a devastating fire, presents more televisions broadcasting sports than its American-fare menu has choices (5236 E. 2nd St., [562] 433-5743, www.legendssportsbar.com).

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], www.gondolagetawayinc.com).

Volunteer spirit

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.

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