The ocean's edge is nice in Venice Beach and you'll find a profile of it here, but it's not the surf and sand that take center stage. Instead, it's the lively sidewalk scene, where you'll find artists, palm readers and bikini-clad roller-skaters mixing with chanting, saffron-clad Hare Krishnas and wriggling belly dancers.
See It Now: Take a Venice Beach Photo Tour
Venice Beach Points of Interest
- Venice Boardwalk It's really more of a sidewalk than a "board" walk, but a walk down it is the best way to explore the waterfront scene. You'll pass street performers, skaters, artists, gawkers and vendors selling all kinds of items from incense to sarongs.
- Muscle Beach: This is the place where Arnold Schwarzenegger and hosts of other body-builders have "bulked up" in the outdoor weight room. If you'd like to have your day in the sun, you can buy a day pass at the office.
- Venice Canals: A few blocks remain out of some 16 miles of man-made waterways that once graced Venice-of-America, founded in 1905 by local developer Abbot Kinney. You can walk along them in the area bordered by Washington, South Venice Blvd., Pacific Ave. and Ocean Ave.
- Venice Beach Graffiti Walls: The graffiti artists who gain permits to paint here exhibit a high quality of artistic flair. They're busy at work on selected weekends.
- Venice Beach House: The exuberant house at 12541 Beatrice (which faces the waterfront path just north of the Venice Pier) is a must for fans of architect Frank Gehry. Every time we show up with camera in hand, it seems to have been painted a different color scheme, but the basic layout stays the same.
- Abbot Kinney Blvd: The travel writing press has been touting Abbot Kinney as the newest hip spot for years, but it's just now starting to live up to the hype. It's a few blocks away from the waterfront, but worth a stop for nicer restaurants than you'll find at the beach and for a browse in some of the funky boutique shops selling clothing, home decor items and other fun stuff.
Venice Beach Tips
- If you photograph them street performers, it's polite to tip them a little.
- Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom is famous for its hot dogs and makes a good place to grab a bite to eat.
- Walk south of Venice Blvd. to get to the pier and see the quieter side of Venice life and the beachfront lifestyle.
- In early October, the Los Angeles Triathlon kicks off with a swim in Venice, then the participants take off on Venice Blvd., blocking cross traffic and generally making it hard to get anywhere.
Venice Beach Review
We rate Venice Beach 4 stars out of 5 for its funky beachside ambiance where almost anything goes.
POLL: What do you think of Venice Beach as a tourist destination?
Venice Beach Essentials
- Location: West Los Angeles on the Santa Monica Bay. See directions below
- How Long: Allow two hours to half a day or more
- Best Time to Visit: Not surprisingly, Venice Beach is busiest in summer, but may be prone to morning and evening fog. To enjoy the crowded hustle-bustle, arrive mid-morning or later on a weekend. Summer weekday afternoons can also be pleasant. The beachfront goes to sleep after dark.
Getting to Venice Beach
From I-405, take Washington Blvd. west. Park on the street if you're lucky, or in one of the public parking lots.