Venice Beach more hype than hot
Crowed and dirty sums up the Venice Beach scene for me not the eclectic scene portrayed in travel guides. The tourist traffic getting there leaves one expecting a whole lot more than this area can deliver. The famous outdoor Gold's gym had 2 people working out and looked more like a scene from prison 101.
Unique Suggestions: If you can avoid driving in (i.e. park in Santa Monica and bike or blade in) do so for a better experience but keep in mind the main strip with shops is too busy to blade or bike.
Fun Alternatives: Santa Monica has the same bike trails for biking and blading, is less crowded, and just as "artsy"