If you know anything about Venice Beach you know it encompasses a variety of entertainers, artistic venues, exclusive boutiques, and eccentric personalities. In nutshell, things can get a little weird out in Venice.
Not that this is a bad thing.
But if you happen to be traveling to the area from out of town, taking a drive along the coast, or maybe you’re angeleno just thinking about planning a day over on the west side, here’s a list of fun things to do in Venice Beach that’ll keep you on your toes and encountering (hopefully) something new and different.
1. Admire the Venice Canals
An idea that was built in the early 1900s, the canals are located in one of Venice’s most affluent neighborhoods. Truly inspired by Venice, Italy, there are several blocks of canals that run between multi-million dollar homes. It is a place of tranquility to escape the craziness of Venice, and it’s important to be respectful as it is a residential neighborhood.
2. Stroll the Venice Boardwalk
Venice Beach ocean front walk is one of the most diverse in the world. It has restaurants, spas, gyms, street entertainers, magicians, and skaters. It does not matter what time of the year you visit the boardwalk – there are always entertainers you may remember for a lifetime.
3. See the Sea Life Up Close
The Venice Oceanarium is a “museum without walls.” This non – profit organization hosts weekly exhibits on the pier where you can view sea creatures up close. The group also holds other events such as after school programs to the beach, grunion runs, and boat trips.
4. Tour Venice on Foot
This Real to Reel Vintage Walking Tour of Venice isn’t just any normal walking tour – while passing through the city’s gems, you can watch movies on an iPad with the guide that were filmed on the exact site you walk on using over 104 years of film snippets to fuel the experience. The tour was also voted Los Angeles Magazine’s “Best Walking Tour” of 2012 and 2013. So whether you’re a local or totally new in town, there’s always something to learn about the history of Venice Beach, and this is a fun way to explore it!
Keep in mind there are also self-guided walking tours you can check out, which are listed on venice.com.
5. A Little Fishing at the Pier
The Venice pier is known for being one of the best places to take pictures at during sunset. If you’re not really into going into the ocean or are too overwhelmed by the colorful environment of the Venice Boardwalk, the pier is a nice place for a casual stroll. The pier is also a popular destination for fisherman since it is not as crowded as other piers.
6. Go Thrifting!
Venice, CA is home to some of the best dressed people in L.A. If you would rather not spend your paycheck on one piece of clothing in Beverly Hills, you should seriously consider thrift shopping on main street in Venice near Pacific Ave because its location get an exclusive access to rad designs that you wouldn’t be able to find in other parts of Los Angeles.
If you’re looking for specific recommendations, try American Replay over on Lincoln Blvd.
7. Drinks at High Rooftop Lounge
High Rooftop Lounge is perched atop Hotel Erwin and is the only rooftop bar and lounge in Venice Beach (It also ranks as one of our top 10 rooftop bars in all of Los Angeles). It has nightly drink specials and live DJS, perfect for a friends night out. The menu is locally inspired – making it a perfect Venice nightlife activity.
8. Explore the Mosaic Tile House
For more than two decades a Venice couple has been transforming a 1940’s house into a living work of art by plastering every surface (both inside and out) with ceramic tiles, glass, mirror shards, and other found objects. The result is visually sensational, and you can visit it for free (by appointment only).
9. A Meal With a Side of Gratitude
Popular among celebrities and long time locals, Café Gratitude is an all-organic restaurant like no other. Their menu focuses on health and celebrating liveliness, which creates such a positive environment for customers. Whether you’re new to organic food or have had this lifestyle for years, Café Gratitude has a unique setting and cheerful service to brighten your day.
10. Take In a Freakshow (Literally)
As mentioned before, the crowd in Venice, is much different than the rest of LA. If you’re into watching things that make the hairs on your body stand up, the freak show is a great place for your taste.
11. Show Yourself Off – or not – at Muscle Beach
This is the perfect place for hot shots to show off. Right along the boardwalk there is an open, outdoor gym for guys who think they are tough enough to workout in front of hundreds of people. Many people come here to display their body, get a workout in, or just to watch others.
12. Eat Italian at C&O’s Trattoria
C&O’s is a local favorite Italian restaurant, located very near to the ocean front walk. One of the favorites in the restaurant is C&O’s popular garlic rolls that endlessly attract the same customers. It’s a festive setting, which even has nightly Italian sing-alongs where all the customers and waiters become one making Venice Beach seem like a true Italian city.
13. Sip coffee at the TOMS flagship store
If you like TOMS shoes, you will surely want to go to its flagship store because it is also a coffee bar and a juice cooler! The store is widely used for community networking with a back patio for cooling off and taking in the LA beach sunshine.
14. Shop on Abbot Kinney Blvd
Abbot Kinney is the famous block full of independent boutiques and organic coffee shops. Abbot Kinney is especially crowded on First Friday’s which is an event that happens on every first Friday of the month where dozens of popular food trucks park and you can socialize with people from all over LA.
What are some things you like to do in Venice Beach? Let us know in the comments below!