The vibrant, bohemian neighbourhood of Venice is one of the most popular in LA. So here are the best things to do in Venice Beach.
1. Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a popular tourist attraction and is visited by thousands of people every year. This iconic and bustling neighbourhood that’s also popular with the locals, is buzzing and full of diversity.
All cultures, genders and backgrounds are welcome, with no judgement whatsoever. You can be who you want to be in the artsy, funky district of Venice Beach.
The spacious sand beach offers plenty of activities such as swimming, surfing, beach volleyball and fishing. Of course, many people also enjoy relaxing on the soft sand and soaking up the sunshine.
The beachfront has a vibrant 4km, boardwalk running parallel to the ocean. Here you will find street entertainers, fortune tellers, tattoo parlours, souvenir shops and lots of trendy shops and cafes.
In addition, there are also various sports areas including beach volleyball courts, handball courts, a bike trail and more.
Visiting the beach has to be on the list of things to do in Venice Beach. Especially if you enjoy people watching!
A great way to get to all the hot spots, is the City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket. This bus has three different routes including Venice Beach.
2. Venice Skatepark
Skateboarding has always been big in Southern Californian since it emerged in the 1970s.
It’s said to have started when surfers began experimenting with riding skateboards in empty swimming pools during a severe drought.
As you enter Venice Beach from the boardwalk, the legendary, 16,000 square foot Venice Skatepark will greet you. This large grey feature sits proudly on the sand with the stunning backdrop of sea, sand and palm trees.
Featuring a sunken pool, stairs, ledges and rails, it’s a great place to stop and watch some breathtaking displays of skill.
You will see skateboarders of all ages and abilities practising their tricks. I found it quite mesmerising watching them flowing backwards and forwards around the course.
I would definitely put Venice Skatepark on your list of things to do in Venice Beach as it’s also one of the most iconic things to do in Los Angeles.
3. Walk The Venice Canals
The Venice Canal Historic District is a really beautiful, residential neighbourhood that has many canal side paths to stroll along.
Built in 1905, developer Abbot Kinney wanted to bring the feel of Venice, Italy to this area of Los Angeles. He certainly achieved that!
As you wander along the canal paths, you can take a look at all the canal side houses. You will be amazed by all the different architectural styles of houses built here.
This was one of my favourite things to do in Venice Beach away from the hustle and bustle. A relaxing stroll through this pretty neighbourhood of small bridges, clean canals and beautiful houses is perfect.
Alternatively, if you are not so keen on walking, you could book a Santa Monica and Venice Electric Bike Tour. This visits the Venice canals as well as other main attractions.
4. Visit Santa Monica Pier
What ever the event – a special date or a fun time with friends, the Santa Monica Pier is a great place to visit and a must of things to do in Venice Beach, especially at night.
Once dark, we enjoyed a 40 minute walk along the boardwalk from Venice Beach to Santa Monica to see all the bright lights of the Santa Monica Pier.
With endless games and attractions, a selection of street food carts and of course the opportunity to take a stroll, it has lots to offer.
Interestingly, it was the ending point for the old famous Route 66. It’s also home to the Pacific Park amusement park and has incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.
Again, if you enjoy bike ride, you could even jump on the Santa Monica and Venice 3-Hour Electric Bike Tour.
5. Visit The Venice Sign
Spanning across Windward Avenue at Pacific, you will find the famous VENICE sign in lights. This is a replica of the one originally installed in 1905 by Venice’s founder Abbot Kinney.
Hanging between this busy intersection, this hanging city sign has become a local landmark and defining symbol of the Venice neighbourhood.
You will therefore see lots of people waiting for the ‘walk’ traffic light sign. They then run out and strike a pose for the perfect Venice memory.
It’s also one of the Most Instagrammable Places In Los Angeles and people travel from around the world for a photo of it.
This has to be on the list of things to do in Venice Beach just for the mems!
6. Browse The Street Art
The eclectic and colourful Venice Beach streets are home to the murals and artwork of artists from all over the world. You don’t have to go far to find some amazing images.
Just stroll around Abbot Kinney Boulevard and you can’t miss the eye catching pieces that can be found between the shops and restaurants.
Or, at Venice Beach, between Muscle Beach and Venice Skatepark, you have the Venice Art Walls. These ocean front, concrete walls feature some stunning artwork created by many different creatives, including graffiti artists and street artists.
If you love street art, then the Venice Beach neighbourhood is definitely worth exploring. There is a vast assortment of styles and artists on display for you to check out.
Don’t forget, the City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket has a route that stops in Venice Beach.
7. Watch The Street Performers
Venice Beach has always been a hub for street performers and these entertainers offer an insight into the beachfront counterculture of this bohemian area.
You will see entertainers of every kind including, musicians, comedians, chain-saw jugglers, skaters, dancers and weightlifters. If fact, just about any sort of act you can think of.
As you stroll through this area you’re sure to find someone that catches your attention and you will find yourself immersed in their performance.
Some of the acts are incredibly talented and you can’t help but be impressed. They just ask that you leave them a tip to show your appreciation.
Taking time out to watch some of the very skilled street performers is a must when at Venice Beach.
8. Muscle Beach
Situated right at the heart of Venice Beach is the world renowned, home of bodybuilding Muscle Beach Venice.
Since 1963, this outdoor gym area has been the home to some of the biggest names in bodybuilding including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane and Lou Ferrigno.
Bodybuilders and physical fitness enthusiasts of all abilities flock to Muscle Beach Venice to train at this iconic gym.
It’s definitely worth stopping by the iconic Muscle Beach to see the awesome work out routines these bodybuilders undertake.
If you prefer everything arranged in advance, the Santa Monica & Venice Beach Bike Adventure stops off at Muscle Beach.
9. Small World Books
Founded in 1969, Small World Books is an independent book store. It’s located in an old warehouse on the busy Ocean Front Boardwalk.
This family run business has a wide selection of titles published by both major and small presses. Moreover, it offers a super personal and friendly service.
The well-read staff are keen to help you find that book you are desperate to read. They will also advise you on other books you might like.
From the art work covering the walls, to the toadstools seats for children, you can’t help but be drawn into the ambience as you walk in.
You might also spot the latest in a long line of cats that calls Small World Books home and enjoys a fuss from cat lovers!
Calling in to Small World Books is one of the best things to do in Venice Beach, certainly for all book lovers, but also just to experience the lovely vibe.
10. Shop The Markets
If you love a market, there are a few to choose from in Venice Beach including –
For some seriously fresh produce, Venice Farmers’ Market sets up every Friday morning, 7am -11am, on Venice Boulevard. Selling locally grown produce including fruit, veg and flowers, as well as fish, bread and lots more delicacies.
Or, every 2nd and 3rd Saturday of the month, the outdoor Abbot Kinney Market at Abbot Kinney Boulevard has an assortment of stalls. Selling clothes, crafts and speciality goods. Open from 11am – 5pm this is the perfect place to find that something you didn’t even know you were looking for!
If you prefer rummaging through older stuff then you will love Venice Antiques & Collectibles Flea Market also on Venice Boulevard. Open every day except Monday between 8am – 4pm.
I love the vibe that comes with shopping at local markets and have had some great finds.
11. Bike The Promenade
A great way to take-in everything Venice Beach has to offer is to jump on a bike and cruise along the promenade.
Cycling along the Ocean Front Walk you can get from the Venice Fishing Pier to the Santa Monica Pier in about 15 minutes.
What could be better on a sunny day than to cycle along by the beach, with beautiful ocean views and a sea breeze in your face?
If you prefer a guide to show you all the best spots and give you all the info, there are various tours. Including the Santa Monica & Venice Beach Bike Adventure.
12. Catch A Sunset
Venice Beach has to be one of the most popular places in LA for sunset and it’s clear why!
The beach, with its miles of beautiful golden sand, blue ocean, palm trees and colour changing skies offers some pretty idyllic vistas at sunset.
Also, there’s always plenty of skaters, surfers and performers on the boardwalk ,if you’re looking for some great action packed sunset photos.
Alternatively, the High Rooftop Lounge at the top of Hotel Erwin comes highly recommended. This open-air roof top lounge has spectacular views over Venice and the ocean and sunset is a main event here.
Wherever you choose to view it from, if like me you’re a sucker for sunsets, this has to be top of the list of things to do in Venice Beach.
13. Roller Skating
Venice Beach is one of the most popular and picturesque places to roller skate in Los Angeles. You can skate all the way to Santa Monica along the boardwalk or even further if you want!
Dating back to the 1970s, when Venice Beach was famously known as the place of peace, love and roller skates, roller skating has always been a popular activity here.
Venice even has its own Skate Dance Community that meet every weekend at the Venice Beach Skate Dance Plaza.
Here, people of all ages and backgrounds come together to admire and share in free skate lessons and skate performances.
So, if you love a bit of roller skating then skating at this iconic spot is going to be one of the best things to do in Venice Beach.
Don’t forget, the City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket has a route that stops in Venice Beach.
14. Eat, Eat, Eat
One thing I really enjoy is trying out different foods when travelling and the Venice neighbourhood has endless varieties of cuisine, along with great produce and talented chefs.
With everything from Mexican, Italian, Japanese, Thai, seasonal Californian cuisine and much more here are a couple of my favourites:
If you’re looking to grab street food and head to the beach for sunset, I recommend Seasons Hot Chicken located right beneath the Venice Sign. It’s a great spot for vegan and regular fried chicken!
Another food option, if you’re looking for breakfast at Venice Beach, I recommend a visit to Great White. Here you’ll find an extensive breakfast menu with a choice of delicious ingredients. Their breakfast burrito is to die for!
You are absolutely spoilt for choice in this neighbourhood and are sure to find something to suit your tastebuds.
Where To Stay In Los Angeles
Known as ‘The Pink Palace’, this luxury hotel on Sunset Boulevard features the full-service La Prairie Spa and a beautiful outdoor pool.
Downtown Beverly Hills is just 1 mile away.
The bright and elegant rooms of The Beverly Hills Hotel feature marble bathrooms and 2 TVs.
There is also a minibar, coffee maker and ironing facilities included.
The Polo Lounge at the hotel is a popular dining place for celebrities.
Mid-Budget – Clean Modern Room
Clean Modern Room features accommodation with a shared lounge, free WiFi and a shared kitchen.
The air-conditioned homestay also offers a flat-screen TV, a seating area, washing machine and a bathroom with a bath and a shower.
Beverly Hills is a great choice for travelers interested in food, shopping and restaurants.
Budget – Empire Inn
Empire Inn is located in Los Angeles, just 5 miles from the centre.
It provides air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and all rooms include a wardrobe and a flat-screen TV.
South Los Angeles is a great choice for travellers interested in tourist attractions, sunshineand beach walks.
For other places to stay in Los Angeles, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.