I’m sure you have heard of Venice Beach in one way or another over the years. It is the quintessential strange place to hang out in Southern California. Even though the vibe is a little unique, it really is a great place to spend some time and to explore a culture of people who really don’t care what you think about them. The boardwalk is lined on one side with shops and medical marijuana dispensaries and the other side has street performers, artists and homeless all offering various wares and talents in exchange for tips. I have seen everything from a dance group that was good enough to be in the Step Up movies to a bum with a sign that said “Will offer horrible advice for a dollar.”
No matter how many times you go to Venice Beach you literally never see the same thing twice. Here are some of my favorites parts of the area.
While not as exciting as you would think it is, Muscle Beach still has an interesting vibe. The area is smaller than any gym you have been too and only has a few different types of weight benches.
You will still see some of the buffest people you have ever seen working out or putting on a show for the onlookers, whatever you decide it is. It is a fun stop on the boardwalk.
A self-explanatory entry into the Venice Beach scene, the skatepark often draws some of the areas best to showcase their talents in front of the onlookers. This area is so popular that it even became a level in an early Tony Hawk Pro Skater game.
In the main area where the skate park is there are a couple famous art pieces. First there are the pillars. While I hate graffiti in all of the natural areas I go, it is actually pretty cool in on these pillars. It is a unique place to take pictures and provides a great contrast to the sandy beach.
There is also a larger structure right in the center of Venice Beach that has got to be like 100 feet tall is also fun to photograph. It is like the unofficial logo of the beach.
Walking the Venice boardwalk is almost like walking a swap meet. The shops sell all sorts of interesting trinkets as well as the normal tourist products that have Venice Beach on them.
They also have staples of a swap meet like different sunglass vendors (normally 2 for 10 dollars or such) and other disposable products. There are some big shops as well from American Apparel and some other famous retailers along the walk.
Also, in case you were wondering, apparently the Doctor is in.
The Artists and Street Performers
As I mentioned in the intro, the other side of the boardwalk has a wide variety of artists and vendors all looking to sell their unique pieces of art. There is really something for everyone here, with pieces ranging from watercolors to graffiti art.
It is fun to just walk along and take it all in, the prices vary wildly based on the quality.
This is even an area where you can really find people who will do anything for a dollar. I saw guys making sand castles for tips, doing mime acts, posing with marijuana flags, offering to arm wrestle you and just playing a musical instrument for tips. It is a unique experience.
There are usually a few street performers along the boardwalk that are showcasing their crazy gymnastic and dancing talents, especially during the weekends when they can draw a bigger crowd.
Along the boardwalk there is almost every type of fair food your heart can desire.
There are all of the traditional staples like funnel cakes and hot dogs, some street vendors selling food and a full sit down brewery.
Whatever you like you should be able to find it on the boardwalk.
If you haven’t been and you live in California, you really need to experience it at least once. I guarantee you will not have been to something like it before. Who knows, you might even like it enough to go back like me. Make sure to let me know what your favorite spot in Venice is below.