One of LA’s most creative spots to work, play, or visit!
Venice (often referred to as Venice Beach) is a beachfront district on the Westside of Los Angeles, California, known for its canals, funky artist colonies, contemporary restaurants, the eclectic shops and galleries on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, boutique hotels, and of course, its beaches and the circus-like Ocean Front Walk—a two-and-a-half mile pedestrian-only promenade that features performers, fortune-tellers, artists, and vendors.
Venice of America was originally founded as a seaside resort in 1904 by Abbot Kinney, a tobacco millionnaire, then officially opened on July 4, 1905. Later, Venice Beach and its Boardwalk nurtured some of Los Angeles’ early beat poets and artists, and has served as an important cultural center since the 1960s. Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a century-old artistic neighborhood filled with trendy shops and restaurants.
A neighborhood of Los Angeles, since being annexed by the city in 1925, Venice is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Marina del Rey to the southeast, Culver City to the east, Mar Vista to the northeast, and the city of Santa Monica to the north.
Fun Facts about Venice:
- Venice Beach is the 2nd-largest tourist attraction in Southern California after Disneyland
- There were 10 million visitors in 2015; the largest proportion of visitors were between the ages of 25 and 34.
- 62% of visitors have an average income over $50,000
- 43.8% of visitors are from areas outside of Los Angeles County and Southern California
- The first documented surfing demonstration in California was held off Venice Beach by George Freeth in 1907.
- Venice is the birthplace of modern progressive skateboarding, as celebrated in the documentary film “Dogtown and Z-Boys” and Sony Pictures’ “The Lords of Dogtown.”
- With the Pacific Ocean, Boardwalk vendors, skaters, surfers, artists, and musicians, Venice is known throughout the world as a setting for films such as “Speed” with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, “Breathless” with Richard Gere, “White Men Can’t Jump,” and “L.A. Story.”
- Venice High School celebrated its Centennial in 2011.
- In 2012, GQ Magazine defined Abbot Kinney Boulevard as, “the coolest block in America.”
- The iconic Venice Sign is regularly seen on national television shows and commercials, and has provided the backdrop for events such as the 50th anniversary of the Doors, and the Rams return to Los Angeles.
- Venice Sign Lighting events have featured luminaries such as Robert Downey Jr., Anjelica Huston, and P!nk, as guest sign lighters.
- Windward Plaza and the historic Venice Business District have become destination venues for broadcast events such as Ninja Warrior Competition, Tommy Hilfiger’s spring runway show, and Kevin Hart’s Nike Club Run for charity.
Looking to soak up everything awesome about Venice? Keep reading!
For the perfect Venice day trip, wake up early and grab coffee or a bite to eat at a local hangout at Historic Washington Square, just steps from the Venice Pier. Gotta fuel up for the adventure!
Then, hit the beach for a surf or boogie board session, cast a fishing line off the Venice Pier or just relax in the sun on the beautiful sandy beaches of Venice. Board rentals and lessons are available, you can pick up a frisbee at one of beachfront shops, or casually stroll along the waterfront. This is the perfect way to start your day right.
There are tons of cool things in Venice, so it is important to prioritize. Muscle Beach is an absolute must. There’s gymnastics, paddle tennis and basketball, for spectators and participants. Check out the weight pit where Arnold Schwarzenegger used to train, and for $10 you can get a day pass if you want to sneak in a workout.
Alternatively, if you have a bit more time, why not rent a bike and cruise our famous 17 mile oceanfront bike path that stretches from Palos Verdes to Pacific Palisades. It even goes right through the beach where Baywatch was filmed! There are are numerous rental shops along the beach, where $15 should set you up with wheels for the entire day.
As you cruise north, stop and enjoy the Art Walls; murals painted on what is the remains of the famous Venice Pavillion. On the weekends, you may even see live street art being created. Continuing north, you will find the legendary Venice Skate Park, an essential stop on your tour. Watching the talent of the skaters heating up 27,000 square feet of concrete is captivating, especially with the sights and sounds of the Pacific Ocean in the background.
By this time you will need to refuel. There are many really great restaurants along the boardwalk; sidewalk cafes where you can people watch, or take-out stands where you can grab a poke bowl, a smoothie, sausages, tacos, pizza and more.
At this point if you have only one day in Venice, you may be ready to leave the boardwalk and move on to stroll along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Rose Avenue, or talk a walk along the Venice Canals.
Just a mile away from Venice Beach, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a mile-long strip featuring the latest in fashion, art and food. Every first Friday of the month, shops stay open late and offer special promotions while food trucks line the boulevard. If you are here on the last Sunday in September, don’t miss the world famous Abbot Kinney Festival, one of the largest street fairs on the West Coast, now in its fourth decade.
Rose Avenue is another emerging hot spot for specialty shops and trendy restaurants. You can also break away from the touring and stop in for a yoga or meditation class, grab a haircut, or pick up local organic groceries.
A trip to Venice is not complete without a visit to the Venice Canals, noteworthy for its man-made canals built in 1905 as part of Abbot Kinney’s “Venice of America” plan. Take a walk, bike ride, or drive along the remnants of his effort to recreate the appearance and feel of Venice, Italy in Southern California, between Venice and Washington Boulevards. While most of the canals were filled in 1929 to create roads, they re-opened in 1993 after a complete renovation and have become a desirable residential section of the city. The area surrounding the remaining canals was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
If you have more than one day, you may want to spend the rest of your first day at the beach. So be sure to continue along the Venice Boardwalk. From Windward Plaza to Rose, you will find a wide variety of street performers, and unique vendors ranging from clothing to local hand-crafted art, to exotic imports. All with a gorgeous beach view!
Stay for happy hour and catch the sunset, a time-honored Venice tradition. You can do so from the beach, a rooftop lounge or one of many waterfront cafes. Staying for the evening? Now you’re ready to enjoy some live music, art, comedy, theatre, or whatever else suits you. All of which are within walking distance, as Venice is a small 3 square mile footprint.
Enjoy your time in Venice, whether you’re here for the day, a week, or more. Stay safe, wear sunscreen, and have fun!
For more tourist information, and info on great events happening in Venice, CA year round check out: