Los Angeles’ eclectic beachfront neighbourhood of Venice, along with Marina Del Rey and Playa Del Rey, is a hippie, boho beach town world of its own, and has always been a long-time sanctum for spirited, new-age travellers and artists. With its founding roots tracing back to more than 100 years ago, Venice today is much like its eponymous big sister, complete with canals, a promenade with vendors, artists, fortune-tellers, and performers, and gorgeous, stunning beaches along the North Pacific Ocean. From celebrity encounters to sea creatures, here’s a rundown on all the amazing things to do in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California.
1. Take a stroll along the Venice Canals
One of Venice Beach’s quirkiest neighbourhoods and scenic reminders of the grandiose beginnings of this tourist destination, Venice Canal Historic District is best explored on foot. Amble on the meandering pathways which take you over quaint bridges and past landscaped backyards, play areas for kids, a duck pond, and even a Monarch Butterfly garden, apart from architecture ranging from castles and vintage bungalows to multi-storey buildings. Begin at the corner of Washington and Strongs Drive, marking the enclave’s entrance.
Venice Canal Historic District
Address: Venice, CA 90292
Website: Venice Canal Historic District
2. Indulge in a unique dining experience at Café Gratitude
If you’re vegan, do not miss dining at the eclectic Café Gratitude in Venice Beach, which is also the second branch in L.A. The plant-based restaurant specializes in gourmet vegan cuisines (with the exception of a few drinks), featuring both cooked and raw meals, and raw pies and vegan desserts. Try the bowls such as the Macrobiotic Bowl and the Community Bowl, as well as the Veggie Burger, Kelp Noodle Pad Thai, and the Blackened Tempeh Caesar Wrap, among others. Managed with the principles of ‘Sacred Commerce’, the restaurant sources environmentally friendly, sustainable ingredients from local farmers. Bustling, beachy, and trendy, Café Gratitude is one different dining experience altogether.
Address: 512 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Café Gratitude
Opening hours: 8am - 10pm (daily)
3. Explore the shops and restaurants at Venice Boardwalk
The mile-long (1.6 km) Venice Beach Boardwalk is a street market, free-speech zone lining the paved Ocean Front Walk on Venice Beach, with its most bustling stretch being between Park Avenue and North Venice Boulevard. Housing private properties, hotels, hostels, and a host of shops, restaurants, and bars, Venice Beach Boardwalk is one of the best places to explore in the city. If you’re a jewellery lover, then you’ll love the amazing jewellery shops and boutique stores selling trinkets and knickknacks. After a long session of window shopping and walking, settle down for a delicious bite at one of the many cosy snack bars and eateries along Venice Boardwalk.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
Address: 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Venice Beach Boardwalk
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 7pm; Sun: 10am - 4pm
4. Go on a coffee date at TOMS Flagship Store
For a unique coffee date experience with your better half, head to the rustic, offbeat TOMS flagship shop and cafe on Abbot Kinney which sells glasses and eyewear, too. For the uninitiated, TOMS opened shops with one objective: to give shoes to kids in need. Every purchase helps provide safe water and shoes to millions of lesser privileged people across the world. TOMS in Venice Beach is less of a shop and more of a clubhouse for grownups, also selling baked goods, juice, and coffee, complete with a coffee bar, a backyard, and a patio! As you get your coffee, hang around and don’t forget to check out the one-of-a-kind designs of eyewear and shoes, helping donate to causes around the world.
TOMS Flagship Store
Address: 1344 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Website: TOMS Flagship Store
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 9am - 8pm; Fri - Sat: 9am - 9pm
5. Have a close encounter with sea creatures at Venice Oceanarium
Head to the ‘museum without walls’ on Venice Beach - Venice Oceanarium, which is held most Sundays between 11:30am and 2:30pm at the part of the Venice Pier that lies at the end of Washington Boulevard. The Oceanarium experience includes the free weekly Venice Pier local ocean life exhibits, educational walks along the North Pacific seashore, book readings with sea-based books like Moby Dick on the Pier, and even late-night Grunion (a unique fish known for unusual mating rituals) Run Parties on Venice Beach!
Address: Venice Oceanarium, 330 Market St., Venice, CA 90291
Website: Venice Oceanarium
6. Browse through the boutiques at Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Head to the hugely popular, bustling Abbot Kinney Boulevard for a truly eclectic shopping experience in Venice Beach. Stretching between Pacific Avenue and Venice Boulevard, this is the best shopping destination for cool, boho chic shoppers, earning it the tag of “the coolest block in America” by GQ, where you’ll find everything from world-famous brands as well as locally made goods. Do check out shops such as Burro, Caudalie, TOMS, Aesop, Alexis Bittar, and Principessa, selling everything from vintage clothes, shoes, and eyewear to accessories, handbags, and perfumes.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Address: Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice 90921, Los Angeles
Website: Abbot Kinney Boulevard
7. Enjoy fishing with your family at Venice pier
Established in 1963, the 1,300-feet-long (396 metres) Venice Pier is a great place to enjoy fishing with the entire family. The fully accessible, pier is specially fitted with special cutouts for fishing and handicapped persons, a 120-feet (37 metres) circular end, fish-cleaning stations, benches, and lights. The pier not only lists the type of fish one is allowed to fish from the pier but even lists the type of specific fishing equipment that people can use. Choose a lovely spot on the pier and settle down in a comfy chair with your friends and family, and enjoy a lovely few hours fishing at the beautiful pier while enjoying the gorgeous sights.
Venice Fishing Pier
Address: Venice Fishing Pier, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Website: Venice Fishing Pier
Opening hours: 6am - 12am (daily)
8. Witness a phenomenal show at Electric Lodge Performing Arts
The multi-space performance centre that is Electric Lodge in Venice Beach is an experience unlike anything else. This community-run, sustainable, and centred performance venue is Venice’s only full-service venue that focuses on both theatrical and performing arts. It is mainly an “incubator” of sorts for both the arts, combining it with civic engagement. The ultimate goal is to have a zero-carbon footprint, with even the building being solar-powered. The exhibition is a unique one so don’t miss seeing this one.
Electric Lodge Performing Arts
Address: 1416 Electric Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Electric Lodge Performing Arts
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
9. Have a look inside Mosaic Tile House
The larger-than-life artwork-in-progress that is Mosaic Tile House in Venice Beach is like walking within a coral reef. The 6,000-sq. feet (557 sq. metres) visual treat of a bohemian enclave features tiles in red, yellow, orange, and blue, with almost every inch (including the exterior) covered in the colourful tiles. Try and catch the images of a vegetable garden and a fruit tree, all incorporated into the incredible tile mosaic.
Mosaic Tile House
Address: 1116 Palms Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Mosaic Tile House
Opening hours: Sat: 1pm - 4pm (closed from Sun - Fri)
Price: 20 USD
10. Marvel at the amazing Venice Murals
Venice Beach is a town full of murals - and Abbot Kinney Boulevard isn’t the only place to find them. Check out a huge blue wall with a window in the middle - Greta Kruesi’s - at Pacific Avenue at 21st. Look back on a black-and-white Venice with Jonas Never’s mural on Windward Avenue. Before turning to Abbot Kinney, don’t miss the psychedelic, bold Art of Chase’ mural, and Tarsila Schubert and L7M’s playful and graffiti-inspired works on Brooks Avenue. On Abbot Kinney, check out murals by Vhils, Alex Yanes, Isabelle Gorilla, and the Zephyr skateboard team-inspired mural by Never Jaber.
Address: Venice Beach 90291
Website: Venice Murals
11. Read some interesting books at Small World Books
Bibliophiles will find their own personal brand of heaven at the little shop of Small World Books, which is an oasis of literary calm in the beach-fuelled madness that is Venice. The buzzing, independent bookstore which stacks everything from magazines to poetry volumes and novels, even features a selection of books by local authors, hard-to-find independent books, as well as a little Mystery Annex for those who are interested.
Small World Books
Address: 1407 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Small World Books
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm (daily)
12. Snap Instagram-worthy pictures in front of the Venice Sign
If there is one must-do thing in Venice Beach, it is snapping some amazing pictures of the spectacular, iconic VENICE Sign which spans across Windward Avenue at Pacific. The sign is a modern-day replica of the 1905-installed original by Venice’ founder Abbot Kinney. The sign is a defining symbol of the past, present, and future of Venice Beach and is one of the city’s most recognizable backgrounds. Photo tip: If you’re not particular about a selfie, wait for the sun to appear on the horizon behind the sign in the evening - it makes for one amazing picture.
Address: Pacific Ave & Windward Ave, Venice, CA 90291, United States
Website: Venice Sign
13. Enjoy surfing with Aloha Brothers Surf Lessons
Why not enjoy a world-class surfing lesson with Aloha Brothers Surf Lessons? Beginners and surfers looking for experienced instructors can head to Aloha Brothers, where one can not only learn basic surf techniques including how to pop up correctly and position themselves in the lineup but also learn all about proper paddling, basic ocean safety, riding the wave, etiquette, and even up the ante and better their surfing skills.
Aloha Brothers Surf Lessons
Address: 528 Rialto Ave #1, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Aloha Brothers Surf Lessons
Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)
Price: 85 USD
14. Check out the American and European art works at LA Louver
Art lovers should head to LA Louver, a gallery that specializes in contemporary European and American sculpture and paintings. The 1975-founded LA Louver is located half a block down from Venice Beach on North Venice Boulevard in an 8,000 sq.-feet-huge (743 sq. metres) custom-built structure. The gallery, which has hosted museum-quality exhibitions for more than 30 years, represents and features a host of emerging and established artists.
Address: 45 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Website: LA Louver
Opening hours: Mon - Tue, Thu - Fri: 10am - 6pm; Wed: 10am - 8pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
15. Show off your skateboarding skills at Venice Skatepark
How would you like to skate in one of the only few beachside skateparks in the world? It’s right here in Venice Beach, known aptly as the Venice Skatepark. The massive, 16,000 sq. feet (1,486 sq. metres) skatepark features a street section with platforms, rails, and steps, a snake run, and two bowls, with skating professionals and local skaters both contributing to the design. If you’re a skating enthusiast in LA, Venice Skatepark is a must-visit.
Address: 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Venice Skatepark
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
16. Pay a visit to Binoculars Building
Art and architecture imitate life in the form of the memorable Chiat/Day Building also known as the Binoculars Building on the Main Street in Venice Beach. The accurate binoculars design is one part of a three-part building complex, currently housing the offices of internet giant Google, including two very cool conference rooms. What was an academic project model in Italy by visionaries Coosje van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg turned up on famous architect Frank Gehry’s desk and the rest, as they say, is history.
Address: 340 Main St, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Binoculars Building
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
17. Discover hidden treasures and popular attractions with Vintage Venice Reel to Real Tours
Bring the Los Angeles of the old back to life on this tour, voted LA Magazine’s “Best Walking Tour of 2012” and Venice’ only walking tour which uses an iPad to show more than 100 years of film clips. Spend the day visiting film locations and getting a glimpse into the lives of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Morrison, and Charlie Chaplin before heading to Venice Beach to see the basketball courts, Muscle Beach, graffiti pit, skate park, and the bike path and learn all about what was there before. Finally, head to the canals, Venice’ major attraction.
Vintage Venice Reel to Real Tours
Address: 15 18th Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Vintage Venice Reel to Real Tours
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: From 20 USD
18. Take your dog for a walk at Westminster Dog Park
If you’ve travelled to Venice with your pet pooch, then head to the city’s only off-leash dog park, the Westminster Dog Park, which is a small spot right in the heart of the beautiful, eclectic community. Westminster Dog Park is located within walking distances of Main Street and Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and is just one block from Venice Beach, too, making it certainly convenient. Although its off-leash, dog collars/leashes are required between the fenced area and the parking lot. A small drawback could be the transient homeless populace that hangs around the place and the park’s unkempt appearance.
Westminster Dog Park
Address: 1234 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Westminster Dog Park
19. Plan a family picnic at Venice Beach
Swim in the blue waters of magnificent Pacific and eat delicious sandwiches out of a picnic basket by having a family picnic at Venice Beach. Not only is this 3-mile (4.8 km) beach manicured daily but there are lifeguards and skim-, body-, and surfboard renting spots, too. Do remember to pack a ball or a frisbee for a good old-fashioned game on the sand. There are even volleyball nets for those interested. Towards the end of your lovely picnic, don’t forget the all-time favourite activity of a simple walk on the beach.
Address: Venice Fishing Pier, Venice, CA 90292
Website: Venice Beach
Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)
20. See the strange and interesting Ballerina Clown sculpture
At the corner of Main Street and Rose Avenue, a three-storey 3D hobo clown all dressed in a tutu welcomes shoppers to the CVS pharmacy beneath it. Aptly named the Ballerina Clown, the objective of the 1988-built sculpture by Jonathan Borofsky was to capture the essence of Venice’ street performers and merge it with the formality of a ballet dancer. The giant aluminium, steel, and fibreglass figure can even execute a slow kick with its right leg due to the presence of an electric motor but it is rarely used. Don’t miss checking out this strange hobo clown dancer in Venice.
Address: 255 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Ballerina Clown
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
21. Spend some quality time with your loved ones at Linnie Canal Park
If you’re travelling to Venice with your little ones and want to take them to a park and play, then Linnie Canal Park is a great place to go to. This beautiful slice of gated real estate right in the middle of the Venice Canal region features a sandy area, a play structure, a few activity walls, two small swings, as well as a little gated-in duck pond for feeding the little creatures - a perfect way to spend an afternoon in Venice!
Linnie Canal Park
Address: 2401 Dell Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90291
Website: Linnie Canal Park
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
22. Relish delicious hamburgers at 26 Beach
If you have a hankering for hamburgers in Venice Beach, then 26 Beach is foodie heaven for you. This quaint eatery/bar, complete with a patio, is known to serve creative burgers on homemade buns and amazing salads. Must-try items here include the French Toast, Blueberry Chicken Salad, Ginger Salmon Salad, etc. Amongst the burgers, try the 26er - the ultimate burger here! 26 Beach is also especially known for its “Sushi Burgers”, which includes the Mori Eel Burger, the Yuki’s Spicy Tuna Burger, and California Roll Burger.
Address: 3100 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292
Website: 26 Beach
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 8am - 9:30pm; Fri - Sat: 8am - 10pm; Sun: 8am - 9pm
23. Take part in body-building events at Venice Muscle Beach
Venice Muscle Meach is a contemporary outdoor weightlifting platform, located two blocks north of Venice Boulevard on Ocean Front Walk. An outgrowth of the famous Muscle Beach, the birthplace of the fitness boom in the US, the iconic Muscle Beach in Venice is the ultimate destination for aspiring and experienced bodybuilders, as well as their spectators. Muscle Beach, which lies at the southern end of Venice Beach Recreation Center, also features many fitness studios and gyms, including the world-famous, 150,000 sq. foot (13,935 sq. metres) original Gold’s Gym where legends such as Arnold Schwarzenegger trained.
Venice Muscle Beach
Address: 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Venice Muscle Beach
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 6pm; Sat: 8am - 4pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm
24. Hang out with friends at The Venice Beach Bar
The Venice Beach Bar & Kitchen is an amazing place to just hang beside Venice Beach and its lovely waters all day long. This somewhat of a hidden gem on Venice Beach is one of the best live music venues on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, complete with a great vibe, delicious appetizers, refreshing cocktails, and lip-smacking gourmet food as well. Do try the Coconut Cocktail, Smoky Pina, Tequila Mockingbird, and Caribbean Bramble cocktails, as well as Fish Tacos (absolutely recommended), Fried Chicken Sandwich, Guacamole with Fresh Chips (a house favourite), and the Nachos, among others.
The Venice Beach Bar
Address: 323 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
Website: The Venice Beach Bar
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 12pm - 11pm; Fri: 12pm - 12am; Sat - Sun: 11am - 12am
25. Groove to the DJ-spun music at High Rooftop Lounge
If you’re looking for a unique experience in Venice, snap on your dance shoes and head to the fancy High Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Erwin. With there barely being any rooftop bars in Venice, High Rooftop Lounge is an absolute favourite, literally standing above the rest. The rooftop lounge boasts of breathtaking, panoramic views of Venice, right from the Boardwalk and the famous Muscle Beach to Downtown LA and even the Hollywood Sign! This contemporary, non-fussy bar features an extensive drink menu of wines, craft beers, and premium handcrafted cocktails, and a food menu with majorly small bites and finger food. However, it is the open-air deck, with DJs spinning amazing, foot-tapping tunes that’s the best part. So, get ready to party and dance the night away!
High Rooftop Lounge
Address: Hotel Erwin, 1697 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Website: High Rooftop Lounge
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 12pm - 11pm; Fri: 12pm - 12am; Sat: 10am - 12am; Sun: 10am - 11pm
26. Get a relaxing massage treatment at Spa Sophia
Tensed? Tired? Drained? Get rid of all your worries with the help of a relaxing massage treatment at the Spa Sophia, a beachy spa space complete with high-beamed ceilings, hardwood floors, and a distinct vibe that screams ‘Venice!’. Featuring a curated selection of products from brands such as Epicuren, Highlunia, and Benev, Spa Sophia specializes in everything from facials and waxing to massages and Ayurvedic treatment. What’s more, they even have a Mobile Spa experience, bringing the spa home to you, and spa appointments can be booked online, too. Head to Spa Sophia for a therapeutic, luxurious experience for rejuvenating the entire mind, body, and soul.
Address: 1027 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Spa Sophia
Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 10am - 9pm; Fri: 9am - 7pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 8pm; Mon: 10am - 7pm
27. Tee off at Penmar Golf Course
This little gem that is the Penmar Golf Course is an oasis tucked away in Venice, offering stunning views and challenging play opportunities for golfers with all skill levels. Located just a few blocks from Venice Beach, this executive length Penmar Golf Course is the perfect place to hone one’s short game skills. The golf course features well-groomed greens and fairways and friendly staff. It costs just about 20 USD to play, and the course has three par 3s and six par 4s - making Penmar Golf Course a great new destination for you and your friends when you’re visiting Venice. What’s more, Penmar was rated “Best Nine Hole Golf Course” by LA Magazine!
Penmar Golf Course
Address: 1233 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Penmar Golf Course
Opening hours: 6am - 5:30pm (daily)
Price: From 16 USD
28. Buy some local products at Venice Farmers' Market
Every Friday between 7am and 11am, Venice Boulevard at Venice Way is filled with vendors selling farm-fresh produce, fragrant bouquets of fresh flowers, baskets of crisp fruits, and trays of artisanal, flaky breads and pastries at Venice Farmers’ Market, complete with ample free parking even for bicycles! While the open-air Friday market in Venice is on the smaller side, the vendors are super friendly, regaling you with delicious recipes for salads or tales of fruits, veggies, and soils. What’s more, the market features a healthy dose of Venice’s famous bohemian vibe - everything is recyclable or compostable.
Venice Farmers' Market
Address: 500 Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Website: Venice Farmers’ Market
Opening hours: Fri: 7am - 11am (closed from Sat - Thu)
Venice is a picture-perfect postcard of a beach town with amazing sights to see and explore, great food to dig into, and the vast waters of the Pacific to dip your toes in and have a lovely time. Keep this list of things to do handy and enjoy Venice Beach to the fullest on your next visit.
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