Off the Clock

Your time-off itinerary for things to do in Long Beach and beyond.

The “Big Vegan Burrito Bowl,” made with vegan carne asada and the vegan barbacoa nacho boat is prepared at Whittier Brewing Co. Photo by Kat Schuster.

Good morning, survivors of Labor Day weekend, and boy was it a busy one.

After two days of zipping back and forth between L.A., Anaheim, Long Beach and back to L.A. again for a maddening string of non-stop plans, I dragged myself out of this busy city on Monday morning for a little one-day reprieve.

But I didn’t head to Malibu or Knotts Berry Farm—I took a quick jaunt up the 605 to Whittier.

Those other places would have been “too people-y,” my mom said to me over brunch on Monday.

My mom, originally from Bellflower, just moved back to the relative area, to Whittier, after living in San Luis Obispo for more than two decades. So naturally, I’ve spent some time wandering around over the past year, and have grown fond of Whittier’s vibrant Uptown and quaint historic districts.

Before this year, my most distinct memory of Whittier dates back to when I was just a moody teenager visiting family from a small faraway town (ever heard of Cayucos?). Unaccustomed to SoCal swelter, I remember sweating profusely at my aunt’s house while struggling to apply makeup before my cousin’s wedding—I was none too pleased to be there then, or anywhere really.

But these days, Whittier and I are good friends, and I’ve made peace with summer heat.

Whittier has small town charm and a whole lot of urban goodies for a quick visit (it’s usually a 35 to 40 minute drive from Long Beach). They’ve got a gold mine record shop, a bar for nerds, a central brewery with food vendors (and pinball), vintage clothing shops and a great little indie coffee house.

Today, I’m going to share six spots I’ve been frequenting in Uptown Whittier.

Lovell’s has been open at its current location in Whittier for nearly 60 years. Photo by Kat Schuster.

Lovell’s Record Shop6719 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier

I have a confession to make, OTC readers. A few nights out of the month, I moonlight as a DJ—a side passion I picked up a few years ago that has me mining record shops more often than I care to admit—you know, for research.

Lovell’s has been open in Whittier for some 60 years, and is one of the longest standing establishments in the city. They’ve got everything: cassettes, CDs, memorabilia, movies and of course, records. Lovell’s has a decent mix of new releases and older finds.

There, I grabbed a copy of a Francis Lai‘s 1966 soundtrack A Man and A Woman (Un homme et one femme) for around $6 and an equally affordable Stacey Q 12-inch single, “Shy Girl“, which has become one of my set staples.

Whittier Brewing Co. 13002 Philadelphia St., Whittier

OK, so I said I was only sharing six places today, but this place technically counts as seven different establishments under one high ceiling. It’s kind of Whittier’s mini version of The Hanger at LBX or Grand Central Market in L.A. So, if you and yours can’t agree on what’s for dinner, this must be the place.

My personal routine here is to grab a Barbacoa Nacho Boat from Cena Vegan (plant-based Mexican street food), a Friendly Pils on draft and head outside to their beer garden.

Aside from a massive beer and wine selection, Here’s what WBC has to offer:

Lift Worldwide6701 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier

This hip coffee house always seems to have a new indoor mural and other local art each time I visit. They also tend to have a rack of vintage clothing for sale, which tempts me every time. Overall, it’s a great spot to hang out in a central area of Uptown whether you’re there to study, do some work or read a book.

I took a chance and ordered their matcha latte (matcha snob here) and loved it.

Melrose Co. Vintage13009 Philadelphia St., Whittier

This shop has been open in Whittier since 1992. When I poked around this colorful store, it looked like they had a good amount of 80s selections and a ton of 90s and mid-2000s garb (Gen Z, you’ll love it here).

Guild Hall 6741 Bright Ave., Whittier

Calling all nerds—if you love table top games, anime, comic books, video games and the like, you have to visit the Guild Hall in Whittier.

When you walk in, immediately on your right, you’ll find a nook that hosts shelves and shelves of board games, they’ve got everything from Cranium to Catan to ones with names like “Aye, Dark Overlord!”

On their cocktail menu, they offer beverages like the Majin Buu (house hibiscus brandy, pineapple Juice, coconut Cream, basil Syrup, overproof Rum and orange bitters) and the Mindflayer (Rigby Vodka, Giffard Lichi-Li, Chinola Passionfruit, agave and citrus).

The last time I stopped in, they were offering a special Game of Thrones menu—I grabbed the Iron Throne.


If you’re looking for a cocktail bar that’s a bit more of the sexy and low-lit variety, Vandalist is it (no offense, Guild Hall). Try the Vandalista (Jaja Reposed Tequila, corn husk infused mezcal, nixta and agave) or their classic Queens Park Swizzle (rum blend, lime, Demerara, mint and bitters.)

They host happy hour Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., where they offer delights like raw oysters, charcuterie boards, $12 martinis and more.

Is there a nearby city you’re particularly fond of visiting? Do tell.

Kat Schuster is the assistant editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her at [email protected].