Venice, California gained an international reputation during the 1950s and 60s as the home of the Beat Generation and today, it is still a magnet for poets and artists as well as tourists who come to join in the fun.
Wander along the boardwalk, officially known as Venice Ocean Front Walk. The east side is lined with groovy restaurants, souvenir shops and boutiques while the other side is where you’ll find quirky street performers and buskers. Have your fortune read, get your name written on a grain of rice or watch the body builders work out on Muscle Beach.
For shopping of a different kind, head to Abbot Kinney Boulevard, named by GQ Magazine as “The Coolest Block in America.” Historically a hub for the area’s artistic community, it is the place to find handmade homeware stores, cool bookstores and hip salons.
Venice Beachhas to be one of the most iconic places in the United States of America, and the sand here is perfect for creating sand sculptures. Rent a surfboard and try out the Californian Breakwater, popular with locals because the waves break on both sides. Surfing lessons are also available every day.
Take a self guided tour of the area’s funky street murals. There are more than a dozen of these spread throughout the area including Morning Shot, a portrait of Jim Morrison who began his career here.
Venice, California is also home to the Venice Canal Historic District, a network of man-made canals designed to resemble the canals of Venice in Italy. Take a gondola ride to explore this area which was built in 1905 by developer Abbot Kinney.
Venice is a 15 minute drive from Santa Monica and paid parking is available at a number of stations in the area. Shuttle buses also run regularly and once you are there most of the area’s attractions are within walking distance.