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Why do you live in Southern California? For that matter, why do you live in Long Beach?

Is it because your job's here? Or maybe your family is here.

It used to be that people lived in Long Beach because the Navy brought them here, and it turned out to be a good place to stay. School brings some students here — Cal State Long Beach is a pretty good draw.

A surprising number of Long Beach residents are second and third generation Long Beachers (staff writer Stephanie picked that phrase). They know something we transplants — I've only been here for 27 years or so — only discover after being here a while.

Long Beach is a pretty swell place to live, particularly in the summer.

Despite the recent less-than-stellar weather we've been experiencing, the climate here is incredible. You can indulge in outdoor sports pretty much year-round, even if that sport happens to be elbow-bending at your favorite eatery while dining al fresco.

Other places have discovered the pleasure of watching a movie under the stars, but we've been doing it so long we've got it down to a science. We do it in parks, we do it on the beach — heck, we've even done it on a baseball field. The ambience is so great it doesn't matter that we've already seen the movie twice, and it's in heavy rotation on the streaming services.

Speaking of ambience, is there anything better than listening to live music on the grass on a warm summer night? Sure, other places have outdoor concerts. But they don't have an uber-professional Municipal Band, or cozy venues like the Nature Center and Rancho Los Cerritos.

Back to the natural benefits of living in Long Beach for a minute. I'll admit there are some who would prefer the beach if there were waves to watch, and maybe surf. But there are many benefits to the calm water created by the breakwater, and Long Beachers have learned to make the most of it.

It is among the best places in the world for youngsters to learn how to sail safely. Rowers venture beyond the inner bay with frequency in everything from kayaks to outriggers. And if you can't get surfing out of your mind, Long Beach is famous for its kite surfing and wind surfing opportunities. 

I did mention Alamitos Bay, didn't I? It boasts the largest municipally operated marina in the country. It's got beaches where mothers can take toddlers in the water safely, where swimmers can do measured laps, where dragon boats can launch, where there's a floating playground, where… You get the idea. Stand-up paddlers learn how here, and gondolas, real gondolas, explore our own Naples canals.

Beginning right after Memorial Day, there are outdoor festivals literally every weekend. If it isn't a beer-tasting, it's a jazz festival. If it isn't a monster concert at the Queen Mary, it's an evening fundraiser for an arts group or charity.

Did you know there will be qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Long Beach this summer? It's called the Dew Tour and it's all about skateboarding. Competitive tournaments from beach soccer to frisbee golf take advantage of the summer sun.

Long Beach is blessed to be big enough to offer almost every activity you can think of, with the added advantage of an active waterfront. Long Beach's Parks, Recreation and Marine Department is ranked among the best in the country at least partially because of its incredible list of activities and events.

In other words, we live here because we like to do things, especially outdoor things. The opportunities are almost endless, as our Summer In Our City section will show.

So what are you waiting for?  Go do something.

I'll be right behind you.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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