Venice Beach is known as one of Los Angeles’s most eclectic and eccentric neighborhoods. Teeming with unique shops, stellar restaurants, and of course, its world-famous boardwalk, Venice has something to offer anyone who likes to mix their leisure time with a dose of the quirky and unexpected.
That means, when it comes to things to do in Venice Beach, your options are never limited. Whether you’re in the mood to swim, shop, eat, or enjoy the work of the neighborhood’s most treasured artists, there’s something for you in Venice Beach.
This guide for what to do around Venice Beach will walk you through the neighborhood’s most exciting attractions, from the beach to Abbot Kinney Boulevard to the historic Venetian canals. So, let’s explore.
#1 Go to The Beach
Venice boasts some of Southern California’s most spectacular beaches. With 238 acres of prime oceanfront space that attracts hundreds of visitors every day, it’s the perfect place to kick back and enjoy the water—and all the fun that comes with it.1
Venice residents and visitors alike love gathering by the water to revel in classic beach activities like:
- Beach volleyball – Kick up the sand on one of Venice’s many beach volleyball courts. You can join a league through a local organization like Venice Beach Volleyball or start your own game with friends.
- Swimming – There are approximately three miles of beach in Venice, making it the perfect spot to catch a few rays on the sand before cooling off in the ocean.1 Be sure to pack your swim trunks.
- Surfing – Whether you’re brand new to the sport or you’ve been hanging 10 since you were 10, the surfing at Venice Beach is for you. The Breakwater at Venice Beach attracts experienced surfers from all over the city, while Fun Surf LA and the Golden Wave Surf School are nearby for novices who want to learn the ropes.
When you’re ready to relax, you can take a leisurely stroll along the Venice Beach Pier. With over 1,300 feet of walking path, the pier is known for its sensational views of the Pacific Ocean. You can watch fishermen at work, surfers at play, and even catch a classic Southern California sunset over the water.
While you’re here, you can also explore the nearby Santa Monica Beach or enjoy a day at the Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park. Both beaches are a must when visiting California. While they’re both iconic and vibrant, you can see for yourself the difference between Venice Beach vs Santa Monica.
#2 Stroll The Boardwalk
One of Venice’s most famous attractions isn’t the beach itself. Instead, it’s the neighborhood’s iconic boardwalk—a two-mile-long wonderland of street markets, public art, snack bars, and more.
The Venice Beach boardwalk, or Ocean Front Walk, is one of the busiest public parks in Los Angeles. With tons to do, see, and buy, you could easily lose an entire day exploring the boardwalk alone. Here’s what you definitely shouldn’t miss:
- The shopping – From artisanal jewelry and kitschy souvenir stands to vintage clothing boutiques and headshops, the shops along the boardwalk are a perfect way to spend the afternoon—and a few dollars.
- The people-watching – With more than 28,000 estimated visitors every day, people-watching is one of the best things to do in Venice Beach.3 From quirky street personalities and eccentric locals to the bemused or befuddled tourists trying to make sense of it all, the boardwalk offers some of the most interesting people-watching in Los Angeles.
- The public art – Murals, sculptures, and public art walls abound on the Venice Beach boardwalk. Be sure to check out the Venice Art Walls, located right on Ocean Front Walk. These historic walls are constantly changing canvases that spotlight local graffiti artists.
- The street performers – The boardwalk at Venice Beach is known for its colorful collection of can’t-miss street performers. Sidewalk musicians, dancers, mimes, jugglers, and even fortune tellers offer an endless source of entertainment and fascination.
- The skate park – California has always been synonymous with skateboarding, and few places make that more apparent than the Venice Beach Skate Park. Bring your board and get in on the fun, or let the skaters impress you with their skills
- The Venice Beach Recreation Center – There are plenty of ways to stay active in Venice Beach, and the Venice Beach Recreation Center is one of them. From basketball to tennis, the center offers competitive fun for the whole community.4
#3 Pump Iron at Muscle Beach
While you stroll the boardwalk, be sure to pay a visit to the iconic Muscle Beach Gym. A Venice Beach staple since the 1960s, it’s the former stomping ground of famous bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane. These days, gym rats from all over Venice go there to pump iron in the shadow of the gods.
If curls and bench presses aren’t your thing, have no fear. You won’t be alone among the throng of spectators who flock to Muscle Beach just to gawk at the muscle men and women. There’s also a museum nearby dedicated to the history of this world-famous gym.
#4 Go on a Shopping Spree on Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Once you’ve taken in the sights and sounds of the beach and boardwalk, it’s time to venture a little further from the shore and discover other things to do near Venice Beach. For anyone who likes to shop and eat in style, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is just the route to take. Named after Venice’s eccentric millionaire founder, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is one of the hippest areas of Los Angeles.5 The vibe’s a little different than the bohemian splendor of the Venice Boardwalk—the boulevard is slightly more up-scale—but it’s still quintessentially Venice.
Los Angelinos flock to Abbot Kinney Blvd for:
- The shopping – From world-famous retailers like Adidas and Birkenstock to local gems like Ananda Collective and Burro, the shops along Abbot Kinney Boulevard cater to a wide variety of tastes and needs. One-of-a-kind stationery stores, bookshops, and furniture stores abound.
- The restaurants – If the Venice boardwalk is the place to go for a quick bite, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is where you go for a sit-down meal in world-class eateries. Local favorites include Gjelina, a neighborhood staple offering mouth-watering, locally-sourced dishes, and The Tasting Kitchen, which excels at farm-to-table Italian cuisine. With the various options of eateries, you’ll never wonder about where to eat in Venice Beach.
#5 Walk the Venice Beach Canals
When Abbot Kinney founded Venice Beach in 1905, his ambition was to build a beach resort modeled after Venice, Italy.6 That meant building miles and miles of canals to drain the marshlands of the area before the now-iconic homes and other structures could be built.
Today, most of the original canals are lost to history. But the six that remain comprise the Venice Beach Canals of the Venice Beach Historic District—a must-see attraction for visitors and residents alike.
You don’t have to be an architecture lover or history buff to appreciate this so-called Venice of America. You’ll be captivated by the tranquil waterways arched by idyllic footbridges and lined with dazzling homes. Italian-style piazzas and a colonnaded business district emphasize the European feel.
As one of Los Angeles’ attractions, each Venice canal is worth visiting and experiencing the Italian feeling in America. The best options for exploring the canals are:
- By foot – Touring the canals on foot is an immensely pleasurable walking experience. Each canal offers unique architecture and landscaping, so start with the Grand Canal before exploring the canals running east and west.
- By boat – There may not be any Italian gondoliers on hand to serenade you as you drift through the canals, but you can join a guided canoe tour, like those offered by Canal Pals, to learn all about the history and ecology of the area. You’re also welcome to bring your own non-motorized vessel to explore the canals.
If visiting Venice, Italy is on your bucket list but hasn’t happened yet, you can enjoy the Venice Beach canal in the meantime.
#6 Explore the Mosaic Tile House
One of the most unique attractions in Venice Beach is the Mosaic Tile House. It’s the home and studio of artists Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran. Although it was once a house like any other, over the years, the pair have transformed it into an enchanting work of art in its own right.
Nearly every surface of the house is covered in a colorful array of stone and clay tiles, from the floors to the ceilings and everything in between. Pann and Duran source a wide range of unexpected materials, like shards of colored glass, pieces of broken bottles, and even old coffee mugs with their handles still attached to create stunning collages and mosaic murals.
You can tour the inside of the house on Saturdays or stop by anytime to take pictures of (and with) the magical exterior.
Common Penmar: Your Attainable Venice Beach Home
Venice Beach is as exciting as it is unique. A popular neighborhood with an off-the-beaten-path aesthetic, it attracts new residents every day. And with a city full of endless options, you’ll never run out of where to eat, where to explore in the day, or what to do in Venice Beach at night.
Are you thinking of joining the ranks of those who call Venice home? Common Penmar is the solution you’ve been looking for. At Common, we’re making apartment living attainable, enjoyable, and convenient with our fully furnished, all-inclusive coliving spaces in the best neighborhoods in the country—including Venice Beach.
Located right on Rose Avenue in the heart of Venice Beach, renting at Common Penmar offers everything you need to get acclimated, get acquainted, and get going in your new city. Among the many stellar amenities Penmar offers are:
- A private bedroom in a fully-furnished shared suite
- In-suite laundry facilities
- Game lounge
- Furnished rooftop deck
- High-speed WiFi
- Bike Storage
Plus, we hold regular community events to help you get to know your neighbors and stay engaged in your community.
Moving to a new city, whether it’s Los Angeles or anywhere else, can be scary. But it doesn’t have to be. Join us today and find out what we have in common.
- Department of Beaches & Harbors. Venice Beach. https://beaches.lacounty.gov/venice-beach/
- Venice Beach Volleyball. https://venicebeachvolleyball.com/
- Los Angeles Parks. Venice Beach. https://www.laparks.org/venice/
- Tripsavvy.com. 16 Fun Things to Do at the Venice Beach Boardwalk. https://www.tripsavvy.com/fun-things-you-can-do-at-venice-beach-4126631#
- Tanama Tales. Things to Do in Venice Beach, California by a Local. https://tanamatales.com/things-to-do-in-venice-beach-california/#
- Visit California. Venice Beach. https://www.visitcalifornia.com/places-to-visit/venice-beach/
- Fun Surf LA. https://venicebeachsurflessons.com/
- Golden Wave Surf School. https://goldenwavesurfschool.com/
- Venice Beach Recreation Center. https://www.laparks.org/reccenter/venice-beach
- Ananda Collective. https://anandacollective.com/
- Burro. https://burrogoods.com/
- Gjelina. https://gjelina.com/la/
- The Tasting Kitchen. https://www.thetastingkitchen.com/about/
- Canal Pals. https://www.laparks.org/reccenter/venice-beach
- The Mosaic Tile House. https://gonzaloduran.com/