Venice beach is famous, actually it is an icon of LA, it’s on the must see lists most of the times so we thought it was a good idea to visit it. The idea was to make a day trip there because we spend all day in Venice and Santa Monica, as they are connected through the Venice Beach. My opinion is that Venice beach is definitely an overrated beach with a lot of hype about it but nothing to get excited with when you go there.
The beach itself is sandy, big and loooong, about 3 miles long, so you will have a lot of space for you. We didnt manage to swim though as it was very windy but we spent some time watching the waves and the surfers. The water is always cold here by the way so most of the people come for fun and the sun and they dont enter the pacific ocean but they get the tan.
Walking along the beachfront was nice at it is lively most of the time (quiter in the morning) with a lot of so called weirdos, funny dressed people that laugh for no reason, dance, sing, talking to outerspace, walking in high speed etc :) There are dozen and dozen of souvenir shops and restaurants, mainly bad quality fast food but this is not enough. There also stalls with fake sunglasses, countless skateboards/rollerbladers and bikers going up and down non stop and people selling magic crystals, telling the fortune etc. During the night the area is dangerous so its better to be avoided. You can easily go during the day and enjoy it the tall and thin palm trees along the beach.
For some reason, Venice Beach reminds me of a carnival. Perhaps, it's the weird and wonderful street performers. Or it could be the many shops and food stalls catering to the tourist trade. Maybe, it's the people just doing their thing: biking, rollerblading, lifting weights at Muscle Beach, swimming, sunbathing, people watching, etc.
Just walk along Ocean Front Walk and you'll know what I mean. If you have the time, visit also the canals of Venice nearby. Marina del Rey is likewise within walking distance.
Venice was founded by millionaire Abbot Kinney and was originally called Venice of America. Like its namesake Venice, Italy, this town was built with miles of canals, but it also boasted coastal piers and an extremely popular amusement park. After the town was annexed by the city of LA in 1925, and through the 50s, Venice badly deteriorated. In the 60s the area was revitalized as a hotbed of the hippie movement, as well as a home of artists and poets. It retains some of this counter-culture character today, but is has become much more mainstream.
If you go, check out the beach and some of the quirky shops and restaurants along Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice is known as a favorite home and hangout of many actors and musicians including Arnold Schwarzenegger who lifted at Venice's Golds Gym, Simpson's creator Matt Groening, and Jim Morrison from The Doors. Other residents include Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage, and Tim Meadows. South Park creator Matt Stone also lives in Venice, and he ended one of my favorite episodes of South Park with a song whose lyrics said, "…in the city of Venice; right by Matt's house, you can chill if you're homeless."
Go watch the sunset at Venice Beach. It is a very relaxed place. Sun, sand, people cycling and skating along the boulevard, people working out in the outdoor fitness area, (that's why it was nicknamed Muscle Beach), gift shops, Baywatch beach towers. Venice Beach has it all. A very nice start of your holiday.
Others on VT disparage Venice Beach, and I can't understand how they came to such a low opinion of the Los Angeles icon. Perhaps they bought some cheap sunglasses, ate some bad pizza, got buzzed by a skateboarder limped back to their car, the sunglasses broke, clouded their vision, and they ended up sinking their Mercedes into the Canals. That's all I've come up with.
Okay, so yeah, don't go on the beach at night. Head inland to the fabulous Abbot Kinney neighborhood, nearby. But, Venice is a wonder during the day, filled with an amazing diversity of people and shops to browse. All races and nationalities are welcome, and everybody seems to get along!
There are tourists, to be sure, but this famous hippie enclave still retains loving locals, loonies and surfers who call Venice home.
I like to walk the sand, watch the roller disco(astounding!), and then decamp to Sidewalk for beer and fries. It helps me remember I'm alive...
Venice beach is the place where many of the Hollywood wannabes gather and sing, dance, act, jump up and down and act like idiots in the hope that some producer from Hollywood comes by and offer them a job in his next production.
It's a very fun place to hang out with fleamarkets and funny people all over the place.
There are many jice little cafes and it´s my favorite luch spot in Los Angeles.
Be aware though that the place is pretty dodgy at night, so i recommend that you visit during the daytime.
From the film locations of Baywatch to Muscle Beach, Venice is an interesting place. You encounter every type of person. Venice still has some original canals with very interesting homes. Venice also has the waterfront walk which offers rollerblading, street performers, and many shops. You can walk from Washington Blvd to the Pier in Santa Monica.
Venice Beach is crazy. Home to the outside gym where muscle heads are lifting weights; crazy people doing weird performances for you; lots of little shop. Very strange and interesting people on this strip. I would definately recommend checking it out. You can lay out on this beach too- but I wouldn't go in the dirty water.
Probably like a lot of people, I don't often think about how places got their names. Venice, California is one town I should have wondered about. I had been to this Venice before but never wandered far from the famously "honky-tonk" Venice Beach strip. Interesting, but not really my cup of tea. Not until I happened on an article in National Geographic Traveler did I realize that Venice is Venice because like its more famous name sake...it has canals!
Thanks to dreamer and entrepreneur Abbot Kinney, southern California became home to its own Venice complete with gondolas (at least until the stock market crash in 1929). In 1905 he drained the marshland (undoubtedly an environmental no-no today) and dug a network of canals to create a sort of early "Disney" Venetian resort and amusement park.
Tough times, neglect and lack of interest resulted in most of the canals being filled in and the buildings falling into serious disrepair. Fifteen or so years ago the origins of Venice, California were rediscovered and a conversion began, reclaiming the potential of this "secret" enclave.
Carol and I had just visited Venice, Italy the year before so our interest in comparing the two was obvious. What we found was not Italian but decidedly Californian...but no less intriguing and charming. Only four canals remain off a single main branch but they are beautifully restored and present a wonderfully creative assemblage of homes.
So after you've had your fill of street entertainers, craft booths and the crowds along the beach...take a stroll along the canals of the real Venice, California.
The beach in Venice is great, although touristy it's not crowded if you get there in the morning even over the weekend. The sand is soft and the washingtonias are the tallest and thinnest palm trees I've seen. It makes the view very scenic. The water in late May was too cold though.
The winter of August the 4th was replaced by the spring of the 5th, but still not inviting to swim.
So, I must admit that I left California without entering the Pacific Ocean. Next time I'll try December...
Anyway Venice was nice. The channel area had no resemblance with Italian Venice, except that the water was wet (forgive the joke!), but it is a really nice spot, with everything straight and lined as a good American construction. The beach was almost as empty as Santa Monica. Some of the differences that make the "almost" were not advisable, but we met a Brazilian lifesaver curious about our language. It was the first time she listened to Portuguese Portuguese.
About the beach... Well, it has sand, and water, and waves, a beautiful lifesaver, and if you want me to say something more, wait for my next visit.
One of the most urban beaches, there are lots of people, lots of noise and lots of stuff. It's great fun on the weekend. Everyone I've talked to has seen this guy that is an institution on Venice. He roller blades up and down the pavillion playing a guitar in a full-on turban playing the guitar all day, every day...It adds a nice feeling to Venice. This is also the place to pick up cheap T-shirts for everybody...not good quality...but definitely cheap! You can get 4 T-shirts for 10 bucks.
Venice was founded in 1905 by a rich developer Abbot Kinney who had an idea of creating a seaside resort like its namesake in Italy.
It was built on the marshy land, what made Kinney dig several miles of canals to drain the marshes and convert them in the residential area.
There are many beautiful houses along the beach and the canals. One next to another there are old wooden houses, Art Deco ones and very modern glass facades.
Venice Beach boardwalk is a famous place often shown in the movies. But it doesn't look the same way in reality. It used to be well known for artists but it didn't seem like an artists' place to me. It's full of street performers, junk food and it's dirty. The beach itself is great through.
Venice Beach is a different beach; when in L.A. it is a must. It is not only for windsurfers, rollerskaters or sunbathers; something is always happening by the beach. It is a very colourful place, and you meet very different and special types of people.
Lots of street artists gather here, especially when the evening comes. Daytime the beach is more quiet.
Lots people sell different kinds of things from RayBan sunglasses to cheap souvenirs.
The way nearest the ocean is named the "Ocean Front Walk"; it is long and you can walk or rollerskate all the way to Santa Monica by the ocean.
Please note: watch out, also daytime, for pickpocketing. Evenings take good care of your valuables and handbag. The area is full of people from the end to another and you cannot trust anyone.