Venice Beach is a one-of-a-kind location that has evolved and developed its own unique identity since the turn of the century. From the amusement pier of the 1920s to the hippies of the ’60s and the Bohemians of today, Venice Beach offers an insight into Los Angeles’ beachfront counterculture.
From the moment you arrive, you’ll be immersed in the theme that can only be the spectacle of Venice. The best way to experience the waterfront scene is via a three-quarter-mile boardwalk.
It’s more of a simple concrete strip than a classic boardwalk, but you will never see a wilder, more vibrant assortment of creativity and craziness congregated as densely in one place.
As you shuffle down the tourist-laden trail, you’ll pass an array of off-the-wall shops, tacky souvenir stores, tattoo and piercing parlors, flea markets, and vendors selling all kinds of items from incense to sarongs.
On the beachside of the boardwalk, dozens of artists create three-dimensional art and peddle their wares. You can watch sculptors creating amazing works of art out of the sand or purchase a piece of locally made jewelry.
Venice Beachside also includes legendary Muscle Beach. Popularized in the 1950s and featured in many films since this is the same place where Arnold Schwarzenegger and many other famous bodybuilders trained in the outdoor weight room. If you’d like to have your day in the sun, you can buy a day pass to the workout area.
Venice Public Art Walls
Before leaving the north end of the boardwalk area, be sure to check out the Venice Beach Graffiti Walls. These historic concrete canvas’ covered in graffiti murals were originally part of the Venice Pavilion that was built in 1961, and in 2000 was renamed the “Graffiti Pit” and made a haven for local street artists to exhibit their artistic flair.
Venice Beach Fishing Pier
The pier was built in the early 1960s and is modest compared to the nearby Santa Monica Pier. Used mainly as a fishing pier, the pier is also a good place to watch surfers or view the sunset. No fishing license is required to fish off the pier, and there are two fish cleaning stations at the end of the pier.
Venice Beach House Bed and Breakfast
At the south end of the boardwalk –north of the Venice Pier — is the historic Venice Beach House. The structure was built in 1911 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; Many Craftsman-era details remain, including a glass-enclosed breakfast nook, a lattice-framed portico, and a grand fleet of stairs. This little B& B adjacent to the beach is what Southern California is all about.
Venice Canals Historic District
A short distance inland is the waterways that once made up Venice-of-America, founded in 1905 by a local developer, conservationist, and creative genius behind circa 1900 Venice –Abbot Kinney.
Fully restored and remodeled homes make it a postcard scene along the canal shores that now make up a quaint upscale neighborhood. The canals provide visitors a sense of serenity that the Venetians would have truly appreciated.
Abbot Kinney Blvd
Finally, just a few blocks away from the canals is the very trendy Abbot Kinney Blvd. Aptly named after Mr. Kinney, this one-and-a-half-mile stretch boasts some of the area’s finest dining, boutique shopping, art galleries, antique stores, and sightseeing that Los Angeles has to offer.
And there’s no better way to experience what Abbot Kinney Boulevard is all about than stopping by on the first Friday of every month just after the sun begins to set over the nearby Pacific Ocean. It’s a time when the neighborhood merchants come together to feature the best artists, gifts, products, and music.
Where is Venice Beach
The boardwalk springs to life seven days a week from about 10:00 a.m. and gathers momentum as the day progresses. Venice Beach is located between Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey. This year-round virtual carnival can get extremely crowded in the summer, and parking can be hard to find. Arrive early, especially on weekends, for the best parking spots.