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Venice Beach Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

We’ve already introduced Los Angeles and taken a video tour of Hollywood, but we can’t leave Southern California without taking a beach vacation! One of the best places to go is Venice, a beachfront neighborhood in LA. Founded in 1905 as a beach resort town, it was modeled on the famous Italian city of the same name, complete with canals and gondolas. These days the main reason to come here is to sit on the beach and take in the sights and sounds of the boardwalk.

Welcome to Venice Beach!

Welcome to Venice Beach!

Lounging on the beach.

Lounging on the beach.

While lounging on the beach is great and all, there’s a lot more to Venice Beach than just sun and sand. The California lifestyle is all about being active, and there are a wide variety of activities you can do here:

  • rent a bike and go for a ride
  • drop in to the skate park
  • practice gymnastics and acrobatics
  • join a pick-up game of basketball
  • pump some iron at Muscle Beach
  • ride the waves on a surfboard
  • try your hand at skate-dancing
Active Venice Beach

Active Venice Beach

Walking around Venice Beach, you’ll also see a lot of graffiti art. It’s a big part of the culture here and many artists come here with cans of spray-paint to express themselves.

Graffiti art is big here.

Graffiti art is big here.

The boardwalk of Venice Beach is famous for being a “sidewalk circus,” as there are usually lots of street performers and interesting people out and about. In one day you might see: magicians, dancers, jugglers, fortune tellers, and mimes. You’ll also see plenty of wild hairstyles, piercings, and tattoos. If it all seems strange, then Southern California might not be the place for you!

A masked drummer rocking out on the boardwalk.

A masked drummer rocking out on the boardwalk.

In addition to people watching, the boardwalk is also a great place to do some shopping. You can pick up a souvenir t-shirt, some original artwork, or even a new skateboard/surfboard. This is California, where medical marijuana is legal, so you can also see a “green doctor” to get your card.

Medical marijuana is legal in California.

Medical marijuana is legal in California.

If you happen to be in Venice on the weekend, you can join in the massive drum circle on the beach. Bring your own drum to bang on, or just dance in the sand.

Weekend drum circle.

Weekend drum circle.

For travelers on a budget, you can stay at the Venice Beach Hostel. It’s in a great location right by the boardwalk, there’s a common area for hanging out and meeting other travelers, and a simple dinner is included in your room rate. A bed in a dorm room is around $35/night, while a private room costs between $80-100.

Venice Beach Hostel

Venice Beach Hostel

In the evening, head to the Townhouse/Del Monte Speakeasy – two great bars in one place. During the prohibition era when alcohol was illegal, this place was an actual speakeasy with a grocery store on top as a front and a bar downstairs. Enjoy one of their delicious craft cocktails upstairs and then take in a performance downstairs, such as live music or a burlesque show.

Townhouse/Del Monte

Townhouse/Del Monte

A few days out at Venice Beach is a great addition to your California trip, and it’s very easy to access from LA. Relax on the beach, get fit, take in the eclectic boardwalk, and wine & dine California style.

Venice Beach will pump you up!

Venice Beach will pump you up!

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.