There is an eclectic feel about the Venice beach and the Venice Ocean Front Walk. There is not really a "boardwalk" but the front street is a pedestrian traffic only walking street called Ocean Front Walk.
It is used by vendors and street performers. They range from tarot card readings to henna tattoos to sand art to any funky stuff they happen to be doing to make a little or even just exercise a bit of the freedom of speech thing. And then there are the performers. I must say the performers on Venice Beach and SM Third Street beat the New York Subway performers hands down. Real entertainment. So have a few singles available for the ones you like.
Keep it in mind that it is a sun tan and a stroll with live entertainment. Some of the entertainment are the fellow pedestrians. You gotta' like people watching. Or it will not be as fun. This is not the old peace love and dope world but more of the funky vibe of tolerance and Southern California beach. Some of the other things along the beach need exploring at different times of the day. Like the Drum circle on the beach. It is well patrolled and reasonably safe most anytime. Nice options are now available for nightlife. Some more upscale and some very raw.
Some do not know but there are some cool and upscale places on the beach now. I recommend the newest one at 2 Breeze. It is an apartment building from the old now fixed up and new. Fully furnished. see Breeze Suites - http://www.venicebreezesuites.com/
And I do not suggest you stand in line for a long time at the Sidewalk Cafe. Walk north a few yards and get good food at The Fig. Last time I was at The Fig the two fellas out there on the bench were actually decent at the 3 or 4 songs they did know. (several they did not finish) This made the meal pleasant out on the patio on Ocean Front Walk.
Yes I put a $ in the open guitar case. If they make you smile... share a little.
Go to the end of the bike pathe and see Marina Del Rey.
Maybe even go out on a fishing trip on the New Del Mar or
the Happy Man or the Betty O. The Thunderbird has evening
fishing trips and sometimes goes out to Catalina Island for
hot fishing action.
Or just watch the boats go out the channel. This photo is from the boat in the harbor looking at Venice with a wind/kite surfer having fun in the waves.
The Novel! It is the cutest little coffee shop on Pier, right off of Main. It actually has personality (unbelievable)!!! It is a cozy, two-story shop filled with books (hence the name, Novel)! All the local artists and musicians come here everyday to play their music or display their art. You can buy any of the artwork that is on display. Very reminiscent of San Francisco...They also have Internet hook-ups and serve food until midnight.