Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week here are some top tips for Venice Beach.
Start the day with Samesun’s free hostel breakfast with pancakes, toast, fruit, tea & coffee. Otherwise cruise down the Boardwalk for half price breakfast (weekdays 8-9am) at Sidewalk Cafe & Fig Tree Cafe on The Boardwalk.
The best way to see Venice Beach is by bike (or skateboard), so head down to Jay’s Rentals next to the hostel for a cruiser bike (show your hostel key for discount). You can ride up to Santa Monica beach in just 20 mins & head into explore the Promenade and shopping district. The bike path continues north all the way to southern Malibu - a beautiful ride any time of the day (or night!)
Back on the Venice Beach boardwalk you’ll find Venice’s world-famous Kush Doctor and glass shops along with local artists, performers and vendors. If the streets weren’t crazy enough, check out the Venice Freak Show or any of the psychic or tarot card readers for a glimpse into your future. Head down to the Venice skate park, located right on the beach, to be inspired and amazed. Bicycles, roller-blades and roller-skates buzz along the beach front bike path as graffiti artists throw up a fresh art piece at the nearby Venice Art Walls. Open basketball courts, the starting ground for many NBA players, are great for an afternoon pick-up game.
Enjoy the beautiful sun, sand and water and go swimming or surfing just steps from Samesun Venice Beach. There’s always something going on everywhere you look, so spend an afternoon soaking it all in. Or pack as much in as possible and tick of these suggestions below:
Everywhere you look on the boardwalk, there is something to catch the eye. Most travelers have to visit at least twice just to see everything. From Lionel Powell, a Tree Man so convincing you might just sit under him for shade to the roller-skating Jimmy Hendrix, the guitar-playing Harry Perry, and live bands, local buskers are always out in the sun on the boardwalk. Some artists even paint or create while you watch. The artist Abraham, famous for his work on burlap, is out regularly with new pieces. Want an airplane made from soda cans? Or picture frames made from playing cards? Local craftsmen pull out all the stops when they set up outside. Don’t forget to check out the Love Buses parked on the beach. Their interesting paint jobs make them works of art themselves.
Just south of the Cotel at Washington Blvd, you will find the Venice Canals. Originally modeled after Venice, Italy, the 16 miles of canals have been remodeled into a picturesque upscale neighborhood that is postcard perfect. Home to pot parties and artists during the 1960s hippie movement, the six remaining canals have been refurbished into a serene area that both tourists and locals enjoy visiting.
A locals night out
Check out the burlesque show at the Townhouse Bar across the street and don’t forget to enjoy the Taco Truck parked right outside for an authentic LA night.
Just a 10 minute walk up the boardwalk you will find the famous Venice Bistro, home of live music and the world-renowned Doors cover band.
Nearby districts worth checking out
A 10 minute walk will put you in reach of the famous Venice Whaler, a multi-level bar that attracts the beach and surf crowd when they leave the water at sunset. Within two blocks you will find several cafes and European-style restaurants and the great Baja Cantina. Known throughout LA for its incredible Sangria, the Mercedes Grille is just a stone’s throw away from the Whaler and next door to Bin 73, a great wine bar with well-priced tasting specials.
Venice’s Main Street is the known as the place to go for live bands, events and nightlife at any of Venice’s hot spots. Within 15 minutes of the Cotel you will find a large selection of bars, restaurants and great shopping. Just mosey on down the street and you will find the Basement, a great bar actually located in the basement of the building and Finn McCool’s, an authentic Irish pub, that brings the feel of the original Dublin gastro-pub to Venice. A local dive bar for many years, the Circle Bar has re-defined itself as one of LA’s premier night spots. With a great happy hour every night, a central circular bar inside and romantic cozy lighting, it’s worth the weekend line to spend the evening with a great selection of 20-30-year-olds from Venice, Santa Monica and the surrounding area. Open seven days a week, and sporting all day food and happy-hour drink prices, O’Brien’s has been the neighborhood pub since it opened in 1995.
Abbot Kinney Blvd
Visit the beautiful Abbot Kinney Blvd, just a 10 minute walk away for an abundance of boutiques, restaurants, galleries and nightlife. With art and clothing you won’t find anywhere else, Abbot Kinney is sure to provide many evenings of amusement, shopping and dining. Don’t forget to visit during the first Friday of the month for the First Fridays celebration: featuring art, music and food trucks of all kinds. Check the Abbot Kinney website for other events including food and wine tastings, art gallery openings and boutique sales.
Every Friday morning you can find fresh local food at the Venice Farmers’ Market. Located just blocks away from the Cotel at Venice Blvd and Venice Way, you can enjoy the walk through town to and from the market. Also home to Venice artists, the farmer’s market provides a great place to see and purchase local creations.
On Sunday mornings, the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market sets up at Main St and Ocean Park, just a 30 minute walk or 5 minutes bus ride from the Cotel. Along with fresh produce, arts and crafts, fresh meat and dairy products, you can get a taste of the farm with live local animals. The first weekend of the month you can see chickens, sheep and goats from local farms and get a sense of where our great local food comes from. Any other Sunday, you can taste the country with pony rides — or just laugh at your friends when they fall off.