Long Beach is a very large city with a (you guessed it) long coastline. It is situated at the very South-East edge of Los Angeles county, abutting Orange County.
You may hear different people say both wonderful and horrible things about the city. This is because the city is so large that it encompasses everything ranging from a large industrial area to extremely exclusive communities.
Long Beach isn't typically the primary target of someone's tourist visit, but it is centrally located to just about everything else that you'd want to see in Southern California. That said, Long Beach does have some nice people gathering areas as well as genuine tourist attractions such as the Queen Mary floating museum and a pretty-good aquarium.
Long Beach has its own airport which is rapidly growing and is the home to JetBlue's Southern California hub. the Orange County/John Wayne Airport and Los Angeles International airports are each about a half-hours drive away.
You are doomed without a car.
There is a bus system and a light-rail system that heads up to Los Angeles, but you will not find these a convenient sole-source of transportation.
There are some nice new common brand hotels downtown. These are centrally located to the tourist area and convention center. If you're just looking for a nice quiet place to stay, Long Beach's nice bedroom communities are on the East side of town.