Best Things To Do In Venice Beach, California

Venice Beach, California is a beach front neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Its coastal location provides a stunning and beautiful backdrop to what is a bizarre and quirky boardwalk seafront that’s home to many interesting characters and tourists.

It’s a love-hate kind of place where tourists are drawn to take in the bizarre shops and people who inhabit the curious location. It is the perfect place for a short visit to really soak in the Beachside Culture of L.A. along with some of the quirky counter-culture that makes the beach unique.

Best Things To Do In Venice Beach, California

In this article take a look at Venice beach in general, and explore the sights, sounds, tastes, and ambiance of this fantastic Seaside locale. First, we take a look at all the sights and attractions before looking at what to eat and where and whether to say in and around Venice Beach.

Best Things to Do in Venice Beach

While Venice is a great place to visit there are relatively few things to do as such. It is not a location filled with attractions and activities instead it’s more of a place to explore and take in. Unlike most tourist areas there are large numbers of locals who live and utilize the outdoor lifestyle afforded to them in Venice Beach.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

The Boardwalk is the Centre of everything in Venice. Running from North To South (ish) following the shoreline the full 2.5-mile width of Venice. It actually stretches miles and miles beyond the borders of the neighborhood as far north as the outskirts of Malibu and south to Long Beach, covering the whole of Los Angeles Bay…but that’s not Venice.

The Venice Beach Board Walk, or Oceanfront Walk, is the main promenade running along the beachfront of Venice Beach. Most of what a tourist will need will be accessed via the Boardwalk. It is an attraction all in itself. A myriad of curiosities reflects the weird, quirky, and often insane culture of Venice.

Simply taking a walk up the boardwalk is a lifetime memory-inducing activity as you gaze in awe and confusion at the incredible goings-on of this madhouse. Some people will hate it, others love it, a bit like times square in New York, but it will ALWAYS leave an impression.

Weirdos, and Odd-Uns – People Watching

street Venice Beach

Everyone loves a good people watch. Simply sitting back and watching others go about their business in their own way. Here this takes on a whole new meaning as there is something in the air or water that draws life curiosities to Venice Beach. Expect wizards roller skating with Crystals Wands, Expect Roving electric guitarists wearing turbans, Expect topless muscle-bound he-men and Topless Muscle bound Pensioners. Expect Hippies and Transvestites, surf bums and businessmen, Stoners, Students and Bikini-Clad girls, and tourists…a lot of tourists.

Really don’t expect anything, go with your mind and eyes wide open and just see who you find lurking around the beach and boardwalk of this silly, but amazing neighborhood.

Venice Canals and Marina

Venice California canals

Venice is well known for its canals and gondolas, but that’s the Venice in Italy, not L.A. But Venice California has its own Canal network and got its name from the original Venice when the founder of the resort, Abbot Kinney, created the network of canals as a homage to the Italian Island.

These were rather less impressive than its Namesake and when the Resort was first adopted by L.A. most of the Canals were paved over. A small section remains as a historic monument to the original concept and is a Must-Visit part of Venice Beach.

Now the Canal district is a quaint little residential area where roads are replaced by canals, complete with Palms trees, Italian Style Bridges, and tiny personal watercraft used by the residents.

Being Residential there is little to do here just wander around and take in the wonderful and quite bizarre location. Great place to bag an AirB&B for that real L.A. Lifestyle.

Muscle Beach Venice

The Original Muscle Beach Gym was in Santa Monica but now resides in Venice and is the Iconic outdoor gymnasium for the ultra-vain. The gym is a hotbed for Jacked up guys pumping huge iron in the burning sun. Featured in numerous films and TV shows it’s the go-to place for any aspiring bodybuilder.

While for most people this is a place to come and watch the monster men on show, the Gym is open to all and $10 gets you a day pass to get in and pump some iron. You will want to be pretty extroverted and confident in your ability this is not your average corporate gym filled with treadmills and Lycra. It’s a real meatheads paradise where people know they will be watched and are happy to be the stars of the “show”

Street Art and Murals

Venice Beach Street painting

One thing that stands out in Venice is its acceptance and even encouragement of Street Art. Huge Murals adorn many buildings, walls, and billboards. By encouraging the Art you cut down on mindless Graffiti and instead, real artists, who ply their art in the “street” form create dazzling colorful works of art for us, everyone, to enjoy.

It is not an approach that works everywhere but with the bizarre counterculture of Venice, it fits perfectly and keeps the art where people want it. You can join a walking tour or just simply explore the area taking in the murals and walls. It’s something you can’t miss as even hotels allow their large walls to be painted in this unique style.

Venice Skate Park

Venice Beach Skatepark

The Skate Park is another must-visit location. Again unless you are really handy on a board we don’t advise taking part but there can be some really talented skaters plying their trade here and a good few pros and future pros. It is a great place to come check out and watch the guys and gals do their stuff. Obviously, this is a huge draw for skaters but for most, it’s simply a spectacle for the tourists.

Volley Ball, Basket Ball, and Recreation

Venice Beach Recreation

For Locals, the Whole of the Beach and Boardwalk area are huge recreation areas. The whole area is littered with basketball courts, Beach Volley Ball pitches, tennis courts, playgrounds, and other Sporting facilities. Many of these are used in films and TV Shows including the “legendary White Men Can’t Jump” and are iconic in their own way.

It’s all part of the Boardwalk experience, The outdoor lifestyle L.A. offers, and the melting pot of people that make up the area.

Venice Pier

Venice Fishing Pier

Venice Pier is an old-school fishing pier. Very different from the Action Pack Amusement pier of Santa Monica. There really isn’t much to the pier, simply a relaxing place to walk out and grab some great views of the coastline. There will be plenty of locals out with their fishing rods and it’s a great place to cast a line should you be that way inclined.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard

High-End and Sophistication are not really words associated with Venice, but if there is one street that tries to raise the bar it is Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Lined with trendy cafes and boutiques the boulevard is a chance to escape the tackier side of the Boardwalk. It’s no Rodeo Drive but it is a much more civilized shopping district than down by the sea.

Names after Abbot Kinney the Man who took a swamp and turned it into a seaside resort now known as Venice. While the Nebourhoood and Boulevard are a far cry from this original vision it’s nice that the most prestigious street in the City bears his name.

Marina Del Rey

While not Technically part of Venice the Marina is directly adjacent to the neighborhood and well worth checking out. This is an excellent upmarket area. Filled with expensive apartments and even more expensive boats.

Packed with hotels, restaurants, and even a man-made beach Marina Del Rey is a fabulous part of L.A. and its proximity to Venice means you can check both locations out at the same time.

Santa Monica Beach and Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Directly to the Northwest of Venice up the coast in the neighborhood of Santa Monica. One of our favorite places in L.A. it has all the beauty and coastal appeal of Venice but with a more upmarket flavor. The Santa Monica Pier is legendary and well worth a visit as well.

It’s a huge contrast to its shabbier neighbor which makes visiting each location essential to really understand the L.A. Coastal lifestyle.

Take a look at our full Santa Monica Beach and Pier Guide here.

Eating In Venice Beach?

Dining options in Venice are a little hit-and-miss. There are tons of complete garbage seaside fast food, that while cheap is not exactly high quality. There are also some really good spots with top quality food at very decent prices

  • Gjusta – Bakery Fantastic bakery/Deli cafe serving delicious, Sandwiches, plates, and baked goods.
  • Hinano Cafe – Burger Joint Utterly fantastic Burgers from this non-chain burger shack right on the beach
  • Gjelina – American Iconic Venice restaurant service fantastic new American cuisine, not overly pricey for the quality and the perfect dinner spot.

Staying in Venice?

Venice offers some of the best prices for beach-side hotels in L.A. The Budget end are of the cheap and cheerful variety and we personally like to spend a bit more and stay in Santa Monica, but there is plenty of choices and Venice is a great place to stay now. It once was a no Go in the evening but these times have changed. Not the most desirable nighttime hangout but it’s plenty safe enough now.

Have Your Say

Got something to say about Venice Beach? Well fire away in the comments below and let us know your opinion. Do you love the weird and quirky nature or was it all a bit much? What did you get up to when you were there? What did you love and what did you like less? Just let us know your thoughts below.

You May Also Like

Leave a Comment