Annual Street Party Is LA Nightlife In The Daytime
If you go to this Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach – I had to pause to write that because it was sponsored by another car company for so many years – just for the race cars, then you’re only taking in part of the event.
In fact, in many ways, the race cars are just the “excuse” for everything else happening along Shoreline Drive and other city streets the weekend of April 12-14.
I could mention the concerts (one on Friday and one on Saturday, free with your ticket) and the glimpses you get of the Miss Grand Prix girls, or the giant Expo with tons of vendors demonstrating and selling their products as if it were a trade show.
But really, it’s the entire atmosphere of tens of thousands of people roaming around in the Southern California sunshine on a weekend afternoon where beer and booze is in plentiful supply and if you’re in search of a party or people to party with, you will find it in ample portions.
For this weekend, it’s Long Beach’s best nightclub or, since it takes place in the daytime, the Las Vegas-coined term “dayclub” would be more appropriate here.
I once had a roommate who met his future wife (literally) at the Grand Prix. This was in the days before the Pike area was built and motorhomes parked for the weekend in a scene that was not for the faint of heart.
All you have to do is walk around the grounds. And the footprint of this race is tremendous. It goes from Ocean Ave., past the Convention Center, Long Beach Arena (the Wyland-painted building) and back all the way along Marina Green to the marina.
Along the way are beer booths, food stands vendors and people. Lots and lots of people.
The background music here is the ear-piercing roars of the NTT IndyCar Series as well as the the low but loud roars of sports cars and other vehicles speeding (and crashing) around a tight and temporary city street course.
Sure, there’s racing. But there’s a lot more at this annual Southern California event.
You can select and pay for their Grand Prix tickets, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com. Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 827-7333.