Originally called “Venice of America,” Venice Beach was founded by wealthy developer Abbot Kinney in 1905. Nestled between Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey, this beautiful beach town which is on every Los Angeles visitor’s bucket is known for its Hollywood depiction of laid-back surfer vibes and beach landscapes. This is apparent from its iconic boardwalk filled with local street art and street performers to its charming canals inspired by Venice, Italy. Venice Beach offers a diverse range of activities and attractions that cater to every taste and interest. I hope you enjoy this self-guided walking tour of the historic beach city.
What are the 9 Best Things to do in Venice beach?
1. Abbot Kinney Boulevard
In the heart of Venice Beach is a vibrant and trendy boulevard that offers over 100 unique shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. Named after the visionary developer of Venice Beach — Abbot Kinney — this boulevard has transformed into an area rich with diversity and culture.
Lined with local shops such as “Coutula,” “Heist,” and even a few familiar names like “Adidas” and “Birkenstock,” Abbot Kinney is a shopper’s paradise, showcasing the latest in fashion and design. But it doesn’t stop there. Looking for a bite to eat? Abbot Kinney Boulevard offers a wide range of tasty meals, from high-end restaurants and eateries to local cafes and even food trucks.
Owa – 1635 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Barrique – 796 Main Street
The Butchers Daughter – 1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd
The Brig – 1515 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Roosterfish – 1302 Abbot Kinney Blvd
2. Explore The Venice Canals
The Venice Beach Canals (or just Venice Canals), are a beautiful network of man-made waterways. The Venice Canal historic district has existed since the town’s development in the early 1900s. Developers wanted to replicate the iconic canals of Venice, Italy. Lined with beautiful homes, bridges, and lush gardens, visitors come to enjoy a leisurely stroll and tranquil atmosphere.
Walking the Canal District is highly recommended and relatively short (only a mile and a half). The canals provide an excellent backdrop for victors to capture a wonderful memory. For this reason, Venice Canals is one my top things to do in Venice Beach, even if you just want to stop for some quick instagram-worthy photos.
A great starting location is 2108 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291. There’s a pay lot there or you can drive around the neighborhoods and look for free street parking.
3. Muscle Beach Venice
Ready to pump some iron? Muscle Beach in Venice Beach, California, is coined as the “home of bodybuilding.” This iconic gym has been located right in the heart of Venice Beach since 1963. Some of the most famous bodybuilders once trained here, including Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The gym offers affordable day passes for those who want a quick pump-in. What’s unique about this outdoor gym is its outdoor location. Which is great, because even if you’re not in the mood to burn some calories, you can still view this historic Venice Beach landmark.
1800 Ocean Front Walk
Mon thru Fri from 8 am to 6 pm
Sat from 8 am to 4 pm
Sun – CLOSED
Day Pass $10
4. Venice Pier
The Venice Pier is a beloved landmark and one of the most popular things to do in Venice Beach. Built in 1964, this iconic pier is a popular spot not just for visitors but also locals as well. The pier offers incredible views of the beach and the ocean. It’s a great spot to grab a photo or hang out for a bit and soak up the California sun. You can also watch surfers ride the waves or enjoy a nice stroll down the beach.
Along the pier, you’ll also notice a lot of fishermen trying to snag their day’s catch. If you’re interested fishing, there are lot of shops in the area that can provide gear and a license to join in on the angler fun. I have seen fishermen catch all kinds of creatures off the pier, including crab and lobster!
2 West Washington Boulevard, Venice, CA
5. Venice Skatepark
Where the kids go to “shred,” as they say, the Venice Beach Skatepark is a unique landmark. Skating is deeply embedded in the culture of this beachfront resort town and has even been highlighted in popular movies such as “Lords of Dogtown.” This renowned skate park is located right off the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk.
Skaters of different styles and skill levels can be found here daily, enjoying the beachside skate park. I would never think about getting on a skateboard, and even so, the skatepark is a really cool experience and provides an excellent opportunity to witness the rich culture that has been a part of Venice’s identity since the 70’s.
1500 Ocean Front Walk
Mon thru Sun from 8 am to 7 pm
6. Mosaic Tile House
The Mosaic Tile House is an artistic masterpiece in Venice Beach. Two artists, husband and wife Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran, covered their entire home with colorful tiles, glass, and all sorts of exciting objects. From the moment you approach the gate to enter the house, you can’t help but admire the attention to detail and the assortment of colorful materials used, including spoons— fragments of mirror, plates, and more.
On top of the house, both artists proudly showcase a numerous pieces of their work. With its beauty and dream-like style, this house is one of the most unique things to do in Venice Beach.
1116 Palms Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Sat from 12 pm to 3 pm
Kids 12 and under are free
7. Venice Beach Sign
This historical landmark in Venice Beach, California, has been hanging on the corner of Windward Avenue and Pacific Avenue. A version of the iconic Venice beach sign has been hung since 1905 when Abbot Kinney first developed the city of Venice. If you only want to get one selfie with a Venice landmark during your trip… this is it.
This sign acts as a gateway to the Venice Beach boardwalk. Plus, there are tons of great restaurants near this sign if you get hungry. One of my favorites is a casual eatery called Great White (you HAVE to try the breakfast burrito).
Pro Tip: To get the perfect shot of sign, I recommend taking your picture from across the street next to Mollusk Surf Shop.
The cross roads of Pacific avenue & Windward avenue
8. Bike Ride from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier
If you’re looking for a nice little beach cruise, a bike ride from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier offers you the perfect chance to experience two of Los Angeles’s best beaches. Conveniently, a bike path goes along the beach between the two. Not only that, but the route takes you past iconic Venice beach landmarks such as Venice Beach Skatepark, Muscle Beach, and the Venice art walls.
You could also walk the path but — given that it’s a little over 3 miles — biking is obviously much faster if you’re in a hurry to see more sights. It’s also a nice way to give your feet a rest.
You can grab one of the LA Metro bikes on the beach or rent a bike from any of the number of bike shops near the boardwalk.
9. Venice Beach Boardwalk (Ocean front walk)
Like Coney Island, the Venice beach boardwalk offers a busy and exciting atmosphere. Visitors can stroll down the boardwalk and take in local street performers and quirky vendors offering all sorts of trinkets and souvenirs.
There are many little shops and restaurants to grab a bite. My favorite part of the boardwalk is walking close to the beach and enjoying the views without having to go into the sand.
1800 Ocean Front Walk
Where to Grab a bite to eat in Venice beach
Venice Beach has a wide variety of great food places. Here are some of my favorites for each meal of the day.
Breakfast: Nighthawk Breakfast Bar
Offering a different take on breakfast, Night Hawk Breakfast Bar is inspired by the musicians who end their night by frequenting late-night diners. Classic tunes and excellent food sum this place up well.
I recommend trying their Drunken French toast, made with a Rice Krispies coated brioche bread and a pear compote. If you’re in the mood for a morning cocktail, you could pair your French toast well with a “Spiked Cereal Milk” or “Candied Bacon Bloody Mary”.
Lunch: Wabi on Rose
If you are looking for the best sushi at Venice Beach, look no further. A hand-crafted menu focusing on fresh local fish and organic produce, Chef Rain Pantana’s menu at Wabi on Rose takes sushi to another level.
My favorite dish to start with at any sushi restaurant is crispy rice, and dining at Wabi on Rose is no exception. I recommend ordering a few rolls to share with the table (or just yourself) and the Lychee on Rose or the Oaxaca-Colada are great beverage choices if you want a drink.
Dinner: Scopa Italian Roots
Scopa puts a new twist on old-school Italian food, Offering hand-made pasta dishes just like their grandmothers made back in New York. Scopa offers delicious plates in a casual atmosphere.
I love their lasagna here; it reminds me of my mother’s lasagna, but sometimes I prefer something a little lighter. Their rigatoni is my next go-to dish, topped with vodka sauce and fresh ricotta. Pair your food with a classic Aperol Spritz, or their Italian wine, and you may need to double check which Venice you’re in… California’s or Italy’s.
Where to Park in Venice Beach
The early bird gets the worm, and in this case, it’s a parking spot. Believe it or not, there is actual street parking around Venice Beach, but it is minimal. However, if you get down there early enough, you can score a free parking spot in any of the available street parking.
Your next best option for affordable parking is metered parking, which you can generally find near the beach. The best streets to look for metered parking are near Washington Blvd and Main Street.
The most available but also at the highest cost is lot parking. The average day rate is $10. But the better and cheaper lots tend to fill up much quicker, especially during peak season. The best lots around North Venice Blvd.
Where to stay in Venice Beach
The Kinney on Washington Boulevard offers a lovely retreat when you visit Venice Beach. This boutique hotel has trendy yet comfortable rooms and a beautiful courtyard that provides rooftop bar vibes. The Kinney is also conveniently located less than 15 minutes from the Venice beach boardwalk.
Things to do in Venice Beach FAQ
Q: What is the weather like in Venice Beach?
A: Being close to the water, Venice Beach tends to be much cooler than other parts of Los Angeles. During the summer months (June-September), temperatures average mid-60s to low 80’s. During winter, temperatures fall closer to the low 50’s to mid-60s.
Q: Is Venice Beach safe?
A: Yes! Venice Beach does have homeless around the area, but it is considered very safe during the day and is often patrolled by local police to make sure the beach stays safe.
Q: How far is Venice beach from Hollywood?
A: Traffic is a real problem in L.A. But if you visit during the week, you can catch a break. You can get to Venice Beach within 30 minutes on the weekend with little to no traffic.
Meet Marshall Dean, a dedicated full-time blogger whose wanderlust has led him to discover more than 30 prime destinations, including Alaska, The Bahamas, Grand Turks, and Cancun. While exploring these enchanting places, Marshall enjoys savoring the delectable local cuisines, a passion that adds a flavorful twist to his travel experiences.