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The Ultimate Guide to Venice, California

Visit Venice

Explore Venice:
The Ultimate Venice Travel Guide


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Updated on Apr 17 2024 8:38am

Visit Venice California
Visit Venice California
Visit Venice California

Explore the vibrant and free-spirited Venice Beach, California with our guide to the best things to do.

Welcome to Venice, the bohemian beach town that is a must-visit destination in Southern California. Known for its eclectic atmosphere and vibrant culture, Venice offers something for everyone. The Venice Boardwalk is the heart of the town, featuring a variety of funky shops, street performers, and colorful murals. On the beach, visitors can enjoy prime surfing and sunbathing opportunities, as well as a range of recreational activities and dining options. Meanwhile, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a foodie paradise, boasting stylish boutiques, coffee bars, and trendy restaurants. The picturesque canals surrounded by modernist homes offer a serene respite from the lively beach scene. In this article, we'll explore the best things to do in Venice Beach, California.


Walking Tour

Venice Beach Hotels

When it comes to finding the best hotels in Venice, California, you'll discover an array of unique and captivating options that perfectly embody the spirit of this bohemian beach town. One standout choice is Hotel Erwin, situated right on Venice Beach and adjacent to the renowned Venice Beach Boardwalk. Since the 1970s, Hotel Erwin has been providing guests with an unparalleled experience in the area. With its vibrant decor, welcoming staff, and prime location, it has become a beloved destination for locals and travelers alike. The hotel's rooms offer cozy beachfront comfort and modern amenities such as free WiFi and large TVs, with some even providing partial ocean views. For a more luxurious stay, suites with fully equipped kitchens and separate living and dining areas are available. Just steps away, the Venice V Hotel offers another enticing option for immersing yourself in the local atmosphere. This beachfront lifestyle hotel resides in a beautifully reimagined 1915 landmark, exuding a true Venice Beach experience. From its unique rooms, suites, and spacious bungalows, each boasting stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, to the thoughtful design elements inspired by Venice's history and culture, Venice V Hotel offers an unparalleled ambiance. Whether you're seeking outdoor adventures, eclectic dining, or vibrant entertainment, these hotels provide the perfect starting point to explore and indulge in the best that Venice has to offer.


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Venice Beach Restaurants

Embark on a culinary journey through the vibrant flavors of Venice, California. Indulge in the seasonal and globally influenced cuisine of The Rose Venice, savor the Cali/Mediterranean delights at Gran Blanco beneath the iconic Venice Sign, and experience the authentic regional Italian fare of Felix Trattoria on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. From farm-to-table dishes to handmade pasta, these restaurants embody the essence of Venice's culinary scene, promising a memorable dining experience in the heart of this vibrant beach town.


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Venice Beach Rooftop Bars

Discover the best rooftop bars in Venice Beach, where you can unwind and soak in breathtaking ocean views. High Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Erwin offers a captivating seaside experience with craft cocktails, refreshing beers, and sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean. From the relaxed daytime ambiance to the vibrant energy of the evening, this rooftop oasis provides the perfect perch to witness the vibrant scene of Venice Beach. Meanwhile, The Venice Whaler, an iconic destination with a rich history, serves delectable margaritas and outstanding cuisine. With indoor and outdoor dining areas overlooking the ocean, enjoy world-famous fish tacos, brunch menus, and lively DJ sets as the bar seamlessly transitions into a nighttime venue. Whether you're a local seeking a new hotspot or a visitor exploring the area, these rooftop bars offer unforgettable experiences with panoramic ocean views and delicious drinks.


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Venice Beach

Venice Beach is not just another L.A. beach; it is a unique cultural experience where the boardwalk upstages the Pacific Ocean. This global tourist destination receives millions of visitors a year, attracted by its eccentricities and cultural hub. Venice Beach is more than just a beach, as it offers the Venice Beach Boardwalk, Muscle Beach, the Venice Beach Recreation Center, and many other amenities like bike trails, playgrounds, and a fishing pier. The basketball courts in Venice Beach are renowned for their high level of streetball and have seen many professional basketball players develop their games or get recruited. Venice Beach is a place that provides a variety of services for the culturally diverse population that visits throughout the year, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an authentic L.A. experience. Venice Beach will host skateboarding and 3x3 basketball during the 2028 Summer Olympics.


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Venice Breakwater - Surfing

The Venice Breakwater in Los Angeles is a renowned surfing spot that has been enjoyed by locals and tourists for over a century. Built by Abbot Kinney in 1905 to protect his amusement pier, the artificial barrier is located north of the Venice Pier and Lifeguard Headquarters, and south of the Santa Monica Pier. It is a unique location where waves break on both sides, offering an exciting surfing experience. With fairly consistent surf, this exposed beach/breakwaters break is best during winter when it receives distant groundswells and optimal swell angle from the west northwest. The beach breaks provide lefts and rights, and the sand is perfect for creating sand sculptures. However, surfers should beware of rocks, locals, and rips, and the spot can get crowded. Overall, Venice Breakwater is an iconic surf spot that should be on the list of any surf enthusiast visiting Los Angeles.


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Venice Beach Canals

The Venice Beach Canals in Los Angeles County are a unique and beautiful attraction that offer visitors a glimpse into the history and charm of the area. Built in 1905 as part of the "Venice of America" plan, the canals were designed to recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy. The canals originally covered a much larger area, but most of them were filled in during the 1920s to make room for paved roads. The remaining canals fell into disrepair for many years until they were restored in 1993. Visitors can now walk along the canals, which are lined with houses and bridges, to take in the views of this historic and picturesque area. The Venice Canal Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and continues to be a desirable residential section of the city.


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Venice Beach Skatepark

Venice Beach Skatepark, located in Southern California, is a must-visit destination for skateboarding enthusiasts. This 16,000-square-foot skatepark opened in 2009 and features a variety of street skateboarding elements, including a concrete bowl that evokes the empty swimming pools where the legendary Z-Boys would skate and revolutionize skateboarding in the 1970s. With a variety of features like concrete stairs, snake runs, and deep pools, this 20,000 square-foot park is always packed with skateboarders young and old, rookie and seasoned. If you want to try your hand at skateboarding, just don’t forget your helmet! The park is free and open from 9 a.m. to sunset.


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Venice Beach Recreation Center

The Venice Beach Recreation Center, located just steps away from the famous Ocean Front Walk, offers a range of exciting activities for visitors and locals alike. From basketball and tennis courts to handball tournaments and paddle tennis, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Kids will love the dedicated play areas complete with gymnastics apparatus, while those looking for a challenge can test their strength and endurance at the renowned Muscle Beach Venice gym. Whether you're looking for a fun day out with the family or a place to work up a sweat, the Venice Beach Recreation Center is the perfect destination.


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The Boardwalk - Ocean Front Walk

Discover the vibrant and iconic Venice Beach Boardwalk, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Southern California, attracting over ten million visitors annually. Experience the unique vibe of Venice by strolling along the two-mile Ocean Front Walk, filled with specialty shops, restaurants, street performers, artists, and fortune tellers. Enjoy people-watching and soak in the creative energy of the colorful locals and visitors from around the world. Don't miss the opportunity to see amazing works of art, from spectacular sculptures to majestic murals, as you explore the Venice Beach Boardwalk.


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Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Abbott Kinney Boulevard, once a derelict strip of rundown beach cottages and empty industrial buildings called West Washington Boulevard, has become a principal attraction in Los Angeles. Located a few blocks from Venice Beach, the street is now a vibrant collection of boutiques, salons, galleries, restaurants and bars that attracts visitors from all over L.A. and beyond. In fact, GQ Magazine named Abbot Kinney "The Coolest Block in America" in its first-ever "Style Bible" issue. Community groups and property owners pushed for the renaming of the street in the late 1980s, which was widely considered as a marketing strategy to commercialize the area and bring new high-end businesses to the area. Today, Abbott Kinney Boulevard is a must-visit destination for shopaholics, art enthusiasts, and foodies.


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Pacific Resident Theatre

Located in the heart of Venice, the Pacific Resident Theatre is a hidden gem in the world of theatre. Founded over three decades ago, this intimate venue is run by local actors who produce a range of shows, from classic productions to new plays by emerging playwrights. The theater is also involved in performing arts education, offering both a young actors conservatory and acting classes. With a calendar available on their website, the Pacific Resident Theatre provides an authentic experience for locals and visitors alike, showcasing the talents of up-and-coming actors in the Los Angeles area. Come discover this beloved venue, which sees few tourists but plenty of passion.


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Muscle Beach Venice Gym

While Venice Beach is known for its sun, sand, and surf, it's also a destination for those who want to work up a sweat. One such spot is the Muscle Beach Venice Gym, where fitness enthusiasts can lift weights, practice yoga, or even participate in a calisthenics class. This outdoor gym has been a staple of Venice Beach since the 1950s and has been frequented by famous bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. Visitors can pay a daily fee to use the equipment or sign up for a membership to take advantage of the gym's classes and facilities.

Penmar Golf Course

Penmar Golf Course, located just a short distance from Venice Beach, is a hidden gem for golf enthusiasts. The nine-hole course has been consistently rated as one of the best in California, with six par 4s and three par 3s that challenge golfers to perfect their short game skills. The course is perfect for walking and provides a friendly, casual atmosphere for both competitive and leisurely play. Membership includes a USGA World Handicap and benefits from the Southern California Golf Association, making Penmar a great choice for golfers of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just looking for a fun day out, Penmar Golf Course is a must-visit spot for any golf enthusiast.

Venice Farmers Market

The Venice Farmers Market is a beloved community institution that brings together locals and visitors alike for a morning of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and community bonding. Held every Saturday morning since 1987, the market offers a diverse array of fruits, vegetables, and other edible treats, as well as handmade crafts and other unique items. Visitors can also enjoy live music and food trucks while they shop, and take a break for a cup of coffee or a delicious pastry. The market is a perfect representation of the laid-back, community-oriented vibe that makes Venice such a special place.

Venice Visitor Guide
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