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16 Best Things to Do in Venice Beach California

Venice Beach is the coolest neighborhood on the Los Angeles coast. There’s a boho vibe with street performers, canals and skate parks, not to mention the famous seafront promenade. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the neighborhood is constantly buzzing.

When visiting Los Angeles, staying in or visiting Venice Beach is a must. In fact, it’s one of the best things to do in Los Angeles. Tourists flock here for the water activities and warm sand. She has a creative drive and fun-loving personality that makes it impossible not to love.

Venice Beach is an outdoor destination. Whether you’re admiring street art, playing on the tennis courts, heading to the beach or strolling along the seafront, the sunny streets are lined with street vendors and artists, and the message is clear: get out there and have fun. It’s very different from the somewhat gritty streets of downtown Los Angeles, and that’s a treat.

In this guide, we’ll talk about the best things to do in Venice Beach. Get ready for some serious inspiration as we create the ultimate itinerary.

Location-wise, Venice Beach is about a 25-minute drive west of downtown Los Angeles. Located between Topanga State Park and Los Angeles International Airport, it has 238 acres of beachfront.

Under the watchful eye of the lifeguard headquarters, you can enjoy the handball courts, restaurants, the famous promenade and the beaches. There are hundreds of things to do in Venice, California, and these are just a few of them.


Best of Venice Beach: A Quick Guide

  • Must-sees include: Marina Del Rey, Venice Canals, Venice Promenade, Muscle Beach Venice Gym, Venice Public Art Walls, Venice Fishing Pier, and Venice Mosaic Tile House.
  • Where to stay: HI Los Angeles Santa Monica Hostel, Hotel Erwin and Shutters on the Beach
  • It’s fun: Admire the views from the rooftop terrace at Hotel Erwin, take photos in the mosaic tile house, shop at Small World Books, work out at Muscle Beach Venice Gym, and cruise the Venice canals.
  • Day Trips: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area, Topanga State Park, Angeles National Forest, Catalina Island and San Diego.

Best Things to Do in Venice Beach California 

Best Things to Do in Venice Beach

Are you looking forward to the unforgettable bohemian subculture of Venice Beach? From a seaside stroll along the Venice Pier to the famous Boardwalk, everything is scenic. The neighborhood was designed to encourage outdoor living, and the fun-loving atmosphere only emphasizes this.

Are you excited to experience the best of this iconic neighborhood? Let’s make a start. These are the 21 best things to do in Venice Beach.

1. Venice Canals Walkway

Venice Canals Walkway

The Venice Canals are one of the most historic places and attractions in Venice Beach. Its network of six waterways was more popular than automobile transportation in the pre-1920s.

Located at the southern end of Venice Beach, the canals are still lined with residential buildings. The canals of Venice preserve a once popular mode of transportation and lifestyle. You can take guided tours of the Venice Canal Historic District and ride gondolas and water buses.

There’s also the Venice Canals Walkway, a path that connects the banks via a series of scenic bridges. It’s a family-friendly route with beautiful views – ideal if you prefer to explore the canals on foot.

  • Insider Tip: Enjoy the Venice Canals Walkway if you want to see this area for free.
  • Practical information: The canals remain open 24 hours a day and can be visited on foot for free.

2. Muscle Beach Venice Gym

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Muscle Beach

Muscle Beach Venice Gym is one of the most famous outdoor gyms in the world. Whether you are a gym lover or not, you should check out the use of these sacred gym equipment and weights. Fitness stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jack Lalanne worked up a sweat on Muscle Beach.

You’ve probably seen outdoor gyms, most of which resemble children’s play areas. Muscle Beach is a little more advanced.

Look forward to great equipment – you’ll work up a sweat and work on your tan at the same time. Muscle Beach is nicknamed the “Home of Bodybuilding” and was founded in 1963. Stop by for a quick workout. You simply buy a day ticket.

  • Insider tip: Travel outside of peak hours and buy a day ticket.
  • Practical information: A day pass costs $10 and the gym is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

3. Santa Monica Pier

Day Trip to Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is the place to have fun. The famous place is an amusement pier with a Ferris wheel and numerous rides. It’s also a famous Hollywood movie set, from TV shows like “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” and reality shows like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

Entrance to the Santa Monica Pier is completely free. You only pay for rides. We recommend visiting the pier as one of the best free things to do in Venice Beach if you want to soak up the atmosphere.

The Santa Monica Pier has a fun and kitschy atmosphere as well as great views of the Pacific Ocean and stunning beaches. What’s not to love? Book this highly rated e-bike tour of Venice Beach and Santa Monica.

  • Insider Tip: Admission is free if you’re on a budget and wouldn’t mind skipping the rides.
  • Practical information: Expect to pay between $5 and $10 per trip.

4. Beyond Baroque

Beyond Baroque is a respected art center. Art and literature lovers have come to the right place. There are poetry events, theater performances, workshops and art sales. The best way to approach Beyond Baroque is to check out the center’s schedule and see what it has to offer.

Please note that Beyond Baroque is regularly only open on Fridays and Saturdays. This means you will need to adjust your itinerary accordingly. On these days it starts from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Beyond the Baroque you can easily reach on foot. The art center is located on South Venice Blvd, 30 minutes from downtown Venice Beach.

  • Insider Tip: Check the schedule in advance in case event tickets sell out quickly.
  • Practical information: Beyond Baroque is open Fridays and Saturdays from 12pm to 6pm.

5. Skatepark

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Venice Beach Skatepark

Venice Beach Skatepark is one of the most famous skateparks in the world. It is open to everyone and can be enjoyed for free.

The skate park is located directly on the beach and offers views of the sea. It is sunk into the ground and features street-inspired designs and elements such as stairs and railings. If you love skateboarding, this is the best place to improve your skills. And if not, a wonderful place to people watch.

The skate park is next to the Venice Breakwater. It is located on the Ocean Front Walk – a famous promenade that runs along the coast.

  • Insider Tip: Grab a coffee at Sidewalk Café and check out the tricks.
  • Practical information: Entry is open daily from 8am to 7pm.

6. Venice Art Walls

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Venice Art Walls

If you stop by the skate park, visit the Venice Art Walls. These are massive, industrial-looking walls and structures decorated with local street art. To enjoy the cool, skater-chic undertones of Venice Beach, there’s no better place to visit.

Venice’s art walls are free to admire. However, remember to bring a good camera and be prepared for lots of poses. This free attraction is located directly on Ocean Front Walk. It can be easily integrated into even the busiest itineraries.

  • Insider Tip: Bring a great camera and visit during off-peak hours to get the best shots.
  • Practical information: Open 24 hours a day and visiting is free.

7. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara

santa barbara day trip

The Pacific Coast Highway is the most famous road trip in California. The entire highway runs 9 hours from just above San Francisco to just below Los Angeles and is full of beautiful state parks like Pfeiffer Big Sur and Point Mugu. For a day trip, we recommend just going to Santa Barbara.

You’ll pass through Malibu – famous for its sleepy beach town vibe – and past secluded beaches like Zuma Beach and Paradise Cove. You pass Leo Carillo State Park and Point Mugu State Park and finally reach Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is a great place to enjoy Spanish colonial heritage.

The entire return journey should take 4-5 hours – a perfectly doable day trip. It is one of the most adventurous things to do in the area. Read more at “The Ultimate California Road Trip Itinerary.”

  • Insider Tip: Stop in Malibu and some beaches and state parks along the way.
  • Practical information: Your only costs are fuel and the rental car.

8. Spend a Day in Los Angeles City Center

fun trip to California Los Angeles

Venice Beach is amazing, but you also want to experience Los Angeles. Allow at least half a day to explore the best parts of the city center.

You can visit the Paramount Pictures Studio, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Universal Studios. Los Angeles is the city of movie magic and celebrities. Don’t miss out on both. Book this highly-rated Los Angeles tour including Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Griffin Park, and Monica Pier.

You can easily reach Los Angeles in just 20 minutes by taxi or you can reach the city center in 1.5 hours by public transport. Read more: The 37 Best Things to Do in Los Angeles.

Insider Tip: Set out early in the morning to see attractions like the Walk of Fame with as few crowds as possible.
Practical information: Certain attractions, such as the Walk of Fame, are open 24 hours a day and are free. Studio tours cost approximately $55-$60 and are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

9. Mothers Beach

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Mothers Beach

This beach was named because of its sheltered, surf-free conditions. Tucked away in the Marina Del Rey area, it’s ideal for a quiet beach day.

Mothers Beach has a children’s playground and picnic tables. With shallow water and a peaceful atmosphere, it is the perfect place to try swimming. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best things to do in Venice Beach for families.

  • Insider Tip: Try kayaking if you’re feeling adventurous.
  • Practical information: Open 24 hours a day and free.

10. Venice Beach

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Venice Beach

Of course, we can’t talk about Venice Beach without also talking about the beach of the same name. This is a beautiful spot for a beach afternoon. You can sit on the sand, admire the sound of the waves and sunbathe.

The best thing about the beach is how accessible it is. From the center of the district you can walk directly to the beach in just a few minutes.

  • Insider Tip: Bring a picnic to enjoy on the beach.
  • Practical information: Open 24 hours a day and free.

11. Go Surfing

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Go Surfing

Who doesn’t think of surfing when they think of California? You can join a group lesson, rent a board or book a private lesson to improve quickly.

You can surf along the Venice Beach Strip – including in Santa Monica at the north end. Some companies even offer photos and videos of your browsing session.

  • Insider Tip: Look for moorings early in the morning so the water is less crowded.
  • Practical Information: Budget around $20 for rental and up to $100 for private lessons.

12. Venice Sign

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Venice Sign

The Venice Sign is one of the quickest experiences in this guide. But that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most famous things to do in Venice Beach.

This illuminated string of letters hangs over Pacific Avenue and is a must-see at night. The soft glow of the letters is a magical touch. Tourists flock to the sign to take a quick selfie.

  • Insider Tip: Visit us at night to see the sign illuminated.
  • Practical information: Open 24 hours a day and free.

13. The Getty

Things to Do in Venice Beach California The Getty

The Getty is a beehive of American and European art, all housed in a dramatic modern building and manicured gardens. It’s huge. It’s also free – making it one of the best free things to do in Venice Beach.

You could easily spend hours wandering the Getty and we would recommend it to any enthusiast or person looking for an activity on a rainy day.

  • Insider Tip: Join us on Saturday evening for an after-hours experience.
  • Practical information: Open Sunday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday until 8:00 p.m. and closed on Monday.

14. High Rooftop Lounge

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Hotel Erwin Rooftop View

Located at Hotel Erwin, this rooftop lounge offers the best views of Venice Beach. When D.J. Days and nights with ocean views and specialty cocktails on your street, you’ll love the High Rooftop Lounge.

The lounge is 100% outdoors. Therefore, check whether the weather is good during your stay. To avoid queues, you should also make a reservation.

The High Rooftop Lounge is one of the most beautiful places to admire the beautiful neighborhood from above. You’ll get aerial views of the promenade, sea and street life.

  • Insider tip: reserve in advance.
  • Practical information: Open Monday to Thursday from approximately 12pm to 9pm, Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 10pm and Sunday from 10am to 9pm.

15. Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a main street and is considered the “coolest block in America.” The street is a mile long and is lined with colorful shops, art galleries and restaurants. It is the right place to visit.

For the most authentic and immersive experience, we recommend a stroll along Abbot Kinney Boulevard. It is named after noted developer Abbot Kinney, a water supply expert who influenced the Venetian canal system.

You can complete the route in around 20 to 30 minutes. However, allow more time for shopping and eating.

  • Insider Tip: Visit us on the first Friday of every month for food truck snacks.

Tips and Information Before Visiting

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Tips ad Information Before Visiting

Are you serious about visiting Venice Beach? Before your visit, you should check out some tips and tricks. This way you are as prepared as possible and can get the most out of the Boho community.

The Best time to visit

The best time to visit Venice Beach is undoubtedly hot weather. So plan a visit between May and September. Between these months, temperatures are around 22 degrees Celsius – meaning you can enjoy the sea, stroll along Venice Beach and enjoy the sunniest skies.

However, let’s narrow things down even further. How do you choose from these months?

July to August is the high season in Venice Beach. Then there is a huge rush because everyone flocks to California in the summer. If you’re okay with crowds, July and August are fun. However, to avoid crowds, we recommend the intermediate months of May, June or September. 

Getting there

The best way to reach Venice Beach is to fly into Los Angeles International Airport or travel from downtown Los Angeles.

If you’re flying through Los Angeles International Airport, take the bus to Venice Beach or take a 20-minute taxi for about $20. This is ideal for anyone traveling internationally or from distant states in the US. If you’re traveling from Los Angeles to Venice Beach, the quickest way is to take a taxi for around $30 to $40. Alternatively, you can also use public transport, the journey takes around 1.5 hours.

You can also take a road trip to Venice Beach. The drive from San Diego to Venice Beach takes about 2.5 hours and from San Francisco it takes 6.5 hours.

Getting around

The easiest way to get around is on foot or by bike – there are plenty of bike path options in the city center. You can also get around by water, using public transport such as water buses, water taxis, gondola rides and traghettis. And there is a public bus route for more traditional transportation. If necessary, you can rent a car or take a taxi.

How much time do you need?

Ideally you need 2-3 days. This allows plenty of time to relax into the Venice Beach “lifestyle” – volleyball courts, street art, and boardwalk views. To fit in a few day trips and experiences in downtown Los Angeles, you’ll need 7 days.

Where to stay in Venice Beach

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Where to Stay in Venice Beach

So where should you stay in Venice Beach? At the southern end of Venice Beach lies Marina del Rey and the historic Canal District. Here you will also find the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk. The south end is best during the day and for an authentic experience.

At the northern end, Venice Beach connects with Santa Monica. Santa Monica is larger, with the huge Santa Monica Pier and more upscale hotels, restaurants and bars. 

Here are some of the best hotels in Venice Beach…

The HI Los Angeles Santa Monica Hostel is the largest purpose-built hostel in the United States. It has many dormitories, including a private room.

This 4-star hotel is one of the most beautiful middle-class properties. It is famous for its rooftop bar, beautiful promenade and views of the Pacific Ocean.

Shutters on the Beach is a 5-star property in Santa Monica Beach featuring a pool and a spa. It’s more upscale and surrounded by luxury restaurants.

Things to Do in Venice Beach California Where to Stay in Venice Beach2

Whether you’re looking for art galleries, live music, tennis courts or skate parks, Venice Beach has you covered. There is so much to do in Venice Beach. Also remember to check out day trips from Los Angeles.

Venice Beach is an exciting destination that embodies a creative, relaxed lifestyle and atmosphere. You’ll love this iconic neighborhood if you love nature and seaside destinations.

 

Things to do in Venice Beach

There are tons of great things to do in Venice Beach. Before you head out for all the activities, check out these top FAQs. These are the snippets of information worth looking at.

Is Venice Beach, LA, worth visiting?

Venice Beach is absolutely worth a visit. The boho vibe and waterfront living are a beautiful combination, and when the weather is good it’s ideal as there’s so much to do outside.

What’s so special about Venice Beach?

Venice Beach is special because it offers a laid-back beach community just a 25-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles. Enjoy the canal district, beaches and street culture.

Is Venice Beach or Santa Monica better?

Venice Beach is our favorite. During the day it is smaller and very lively. Santa Monica is full of bars and upscale restaurants in the evenings. Santa Monica is larger and has more of a stylish vibe than a boho vibe like Venice Beach.

Can you swim in the ocean at Venice Beach?

Yes, Venice Beach has plenty of beaches where you can swim. Just don’t swim in the canals of Venice Beach – you can get arrested for it and it’s super unsanitary.

About author

Articles

Daniyal is an accomplished travel blogger boasting two years of extensive experience. Proficient in captivating narratives, Daniyal unveils the allure of undiscovered destinations and divulges insights into everything regarding traveling. Beyond the prose, he serves as the editorial architect, seamlessly incorporating editing finesse, SEO mastery, and strategic content deployment to ensure a sophisticated and enriching online travel experience.
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