The Essential Spectator Guide To The World’s Fastest Beach Party
As someone who has been to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for several years – in fact, heavily involved in it for many of those years – I thought I would provide a list of Top 5 things to know for spectators.
Think of it as the ultimate quickie fans’ guide. The 2018 dates are April 13-15.
1.) There Is No Loner Pro-Celebrity Race
One of the most popular elements – and a definite Los Angeles touch – to the weekend has always been the Saturday race featuring Hollywood celebrities. Toyota no longer makes the car featured in the race and has pulled its sponsorship of it.
So the 40th one in 2016 was the final one.
As for other races, there’s tons of them (too many of them, really), including Formula Drift (Saturday night, 7-9 p.m.), and this main event, the Indy Cars (Sunday 1:30-3:30 p.m.).
2.) Use Landmarks To Keep Your Bearings
The Grand Prix track has a very large footprint and it’s easy to get turned around, lost and confused. So keep a few landmarks in mind and you won’t get lost. The building with the whales on it is the central spot; it’s where the Expo is located and is behind the IndyCar paddock. It’s also important to know it’s the Long Beach Arena, not the aquarium.
The tallest building in the area is the Hyatt Hotel. It’s located at Shoreline and Pine; the cars go down Shoreline Drive, loop around the aquarium, then come back up Pine Ave.
The Queen Mary is in the distance, past the Marina Green which is the grassy GA area between the marina and the Shoreline Drive grandstands.
3.) It’s More Of A Daytime Party Than A Nighttime Party
If you’re expecting the night to roar, then you may be disappointed. Everyone is so burned out from drinking and walking so much during the daytime that they have little energy left to party at night.
The biggest party day/night is Saturday.
4.) The Best Bars To Be At During The Grand Prix
The Yardhouse in Rainbow Harbor is traditionally the most happening place, where people and are only vaguely aware a race is taking place around them. Here’s it’s all about drinking, partying and working people of the opposite sex for a potential roarin’ good time that night and, failing that, more drinking.
Keep in mind, tho, it’s crowded, there’s usually a line to get into it, and there’s even a cover charge. Thus, it spills over to the cantina next door. Also try Gladstone’s. And along lower Pine, the Auld Dubliner is fun, and is the best place to be on Saturday night.
The top “transition bar,”meaning the one that’s where people go after the day and before the night, is Rock Bottom Brewery at Pine & Ocean.
5.) The Saturday Night Concert
There’s a free concert by on Saturday night and it starts at 6:45 p.m. the location is at “the fountains,” a main stage in front of the Performing Arts Center. This is at the main entrance, Long Beach Blvd., at Ocean Blvd.