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 1920’s to the hippies of the 60’s 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 really 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 beach side 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 Muscle Beach workout area.
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 exhibit their artistic flair.
Weekend Activities Guide
At the south end of the boardwalk –north of the Venice Pier — is the historic Venice Beach House. The structure was built in 1911 by Warren and Carla Wilson, the owners of the Los Angeles Daily Journal and is a must see for fans of well-known architect Frank Gehry. Many Craftsman-era details remain–dark woods, the glass-enclosed breakfast nook, a lattice-framed portico, and a grand fleet of stairs.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this little B& B radiates and the location, steps from the beach and boardwalk, is what Southern California is all about.
A short distance inland are six of out of some 16 miles of 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.
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 the areas 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.
The curious blend of event-goers creates an exciting yet community-oriented atmosphere, making it a perfect night for dates, or visits with family and friends.
Where is Venice Beach
The Boardwalk springs to life seven days a week about 10:00 a.m. and gathers momentum as the day progresses.
This year–round virtual carnival can get extremely crowded in the summer, and parking can be an issue since most of the closest streets are reserved for pedestrian traffic only.
Venice Beach is located between Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey. Venice Blvd ends at the world famous Venice Beach Boardwalk.