Growing up, Bixby Knolls was that neighborhood that me and all of my other school friends would see as the “rich-people” area; the streets are better paved, the stores and homes look nicer, and the grass was very well greener on the other side. It always felt like we were stepping into a new part of Long Beach! This was nothing like the neighborhoods in the Westside.
Bixby Knolls is boxed in by Northside Long Beach, Lakewood on the east, and Wrigley Heights from the south and the west. It’s what you would imagine a suburban neighborhood would look like in a movie; you have your coffee and ice cream shop at the local plaza (I used to work at the Cold Stone on Atlantic Ave.) and a local vintage-styled burger joint. I’ve never tried any burgers there because it seems like it would be more expensive (you probably end up paying more for the atmosphere than the food).
The homes in the area aren’t too far away from being a flashback; most of the shops and homes were built during the 1920’s-40’s, and were directly influenced by the Spanish Colonial Revival. I wouldn’t mind donning one for my own!
Outside of the house, the community throws a block party of sorts every first friday of the month, dubbing it “First Fridays.” During the event, all the shops in Bixby running down Atlantic open up their storefronts and host vendors, give/sell souvenirs/food away, and do other things to promote their businesses. Live bands and music play every other block, there’s usually food trucks and other specialty vendors and sometimes they have a petting zoo. Along with this, depending on the month, there might be a theme to the event (Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, etc.) which makes the event even more diverse. This helps promote the local businesses and gives the community a sense of identity while also unifying the immediate area and Long Beach locals in general.
All in all, Bixby Knolls seems like an ideal representation of Southern California suburbia. From cul de sac neighborhoods with clean paved roads and locally-supported community events, the area definitely feels out of place in relation to its immediate neighbors in Long Beach (North and Westside Long Beach would usually be depicted as “ghetto” in comparison). If anything, I personally see Bixby Knolls as a reflection of Belmont Shore, which shares similar characteristics and vibes to the area (regular community events, large homes, higher standard of living, nicer streets, etc.) and ultimately as a unique part of Long Beach; I don’t have to go downtown to experience something fancy, I can just take stroll down the knoll!