Venice Beach is definitely on the top ten, maybe even top three, list of popular and iconic tourist stops in the Los Angeles area. Venice Beach is known for its quirkiness and colorful characters you will most likely find around this area. Although Venice Beach has toned down over the years, due mostly to the influx of tech startups moving to the area, there is still plenty of entertaining sights.
Notes On Venice Beach and the Boardwalk:
- Every time, and I mean every single time, I have been on the Venice Boardwalk within the last few years there are always people trying to give me their CD. This is the version of “check out my mixed tape” but I would have thought that by now people would not be handing out CDs still. If they insist on trying to start their music career by forcing strangers to listen to their songs then they should at least handing out their Spotify link instead.
- Parking right up along the beach is not worth it, in my opinion. It is much easier to park on the other side of Pacific Avenue and then cross the street. The prices are either the same or cheaper compared to parking along Speedway, the closest street to the beach. More importantly, it is less busy and less stressful to get in and out of the parking lots further from the beach.
- Muscle Beach is definitely the most disappointing section of Venice Beach. In its heyday, Muscle Beach, the outdoor fitness center along the boardwalk, featured bodybuilders getting into their best shape as well as celebrities showing off. Now when I walk past the outdoor gym it is usually empty, plus you have to pay a fee to get on the other side of the fence, which means photo ops will cost you $10.
- Muscle Beach might disappoint, but there are plenty of people staying active along the boardwalk. There are a handful of fenced off courts that were packed with people playing tennis, and other variations that involve racquets and/or balls. There are also basketball courts, with people jumping in and out of pick-up games. The most popular sport attraction is the skatepark, which always draws big crowds. Venice Beach is also popular for surfers, there was even a surfing school being conducted for teens last time I visited.
- The Venice Boardwalk is always so colorful. You could definitely describe the people who frequent Venice Beach as colorful, but the boardwalk itself is very decorative. I love all of the murals painted on the side of the buildings, my favorite is the one of Albert Einstein smoking from a pipe. There is a little “graffiti” section near the middle of the boardwalk where layers and layers of writings and drawings have been painted over some random surfaces.
- There is a great bike path that goes along the beach and boardwalk. This also connects Venice Beach with the Santa Monica Beach and pier, so renting bikes is a highly recommended activity.
- Although the boardwalk gets most of the attention, Venice also has some of the best stretches of beach along the coast. When facing the beach, the further you walk left from the center of the boardwalk, the quieter the beach becomes. You will find less crowds in that direction, than if you walked right towards Santa Monica. The beaches are really great due to how far the sand extends between the water and the boardwalk, as there is a better separation from all the activity and the beach. Plus, most people go to Santa Monica for the beach and Venice for the boardwalk, so you get more space to yourself.
- In Venice Beach there is always so much activity, and always something new to see. Some touristy sights you only need to visit once and then you feel like you have seen and done everything, but I always get excited to go back and visit Venice Beach.