Experience Venice Beach Like a Local

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Advisor - Katie Gooding
Curated By

Katie Gooding

  • Active Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Beaches

  • Local Food

  • Local Culture

  • Entertainment

beach with palm trees lining contemporary homes
Curator’s statement

Venice Beach, California holds a special place in the hearts of visitors for its vibrant and eclectic atmosphere. Its iconic boardwalk is a hub of diversity, showcasing street performers, artists, and musicians, creating an atmosphere of creative energy. The stunning beach offers a place to relax, catch waves, and soak in the California sun, while the lively shops, restaurants, and art galleries contribute to the neighborhood's unique charm. Venice Beach is a destination that embraces individuality, artistic expression, and a laid-back beach culture, making it a truly special place to visit.

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Where to stay in Venice

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Things to do in Venice

venice beach boardwalk with bikers

Venture into the vibrant art scene of Venice and explore an array of captivating art galleries. Venice Arts Gallery is a must-visit, showcasing thought-provoking contemporary art and photography exhibitions.

L.A. Louver is renowned for its curated collection of innovative artworks by established and emerging artists.

The Robert Berman Gallery is a prominent establishment showcasing contemporary art across various mediums, including painting, sculpture, and photography.

Don’t miss The Shulamit Nazarian Gallery, which is another must-visit, featuring cutting-edge contemporary art with a focus on social and cultural themes.

Walk along the canals for a scenic stroll amongst beautiful houses with little footbridges you can cross.

On the boardwalk, take in the live music, art, and lively restaurants and bars. If you head in from around Windward avenue, you’ll encounter the skate park and amazing people watching. One circle of the skatepark is used for rollerbladers and roller skaters - there is usually someone who brings a big speaker and turns it into a roller rink dance party. It’s fun to watch, and even more fun to rent some skates along the boardwalk and join in! Alternatively, you could pop into those skates and drift down along the beach in them (there’s a rental place on Rose and the boardwalk).

Down from the skatepark, check out the world famous Muscle Beach outdoor gym, which is frequented by bodybuilders from all around the world.

Small World Books is an excellent independent bookstore on the boardwalk with great recommendations for local authors and books set in Venice/LA, and a really well curated selection of books in general. It’s tucked away beside the patio of a restaurant called the Sidewalk Cafe, close to where the skate park is.

Take a bike ride on the boardwalk - you can bike to Santa Monica to the north or head south towards Marina del Rey. When the boardwalk ends, if you want a further bike adventure, head inland on Washington to reach the Marvin Braude Bike Path, which takes you past the Ballona Wetlands to the Ballona Creek Jetty, where you can walk out on the promontory for a beautiful view of the beaches of Playa del Rey.

Beyond Baroque is a literary nonprofit on Venice Boulevard with a long history as a hub for performance and art in Venice. You can stop by to peruse their used bookshop, which is well-curated with poetry and art books, see the visual art they have on display in their gallery, or check out their weekly programming to see poetry readings and other public arts events.

Places to eat & drink in Venice

hip street in california

Gjusta is a bakery and market with a lovely garden for eating - you can sit down for a delicious pizza or sandwich (try the kippered salmon), but also a great spot to pick up a pastry and latte or juice to go.

The Waterfront is a buzzy beachfront bar on the boardwalk, right off of Rose Avenue on the border of Santa Monica. This is a great spot for a sunny daytime drink with fun music and a lively crowd.

Wurstküche on Lincoln and Vernon is a trendy beer hall with a notable variety of sausage options - try the rattlesnake or rabbit! Their French fries are heavenly and you can sit in a beautifully lit indoor space or outside for fireside tables in the garden.

For a nicer dinner, visit American Beauty on Rose Avenue for a creative and fresh take on steakhouse dining. Enjoy the craft cocktails and the vegetable sides are above and beyond - try the carrots. The garden space is lovely with fire tables throughout.

Erewhon - the most upscale grocer Angelenos have yet to imagine, Erewhon is a hotspot for fitness and food influencers. Try Hailey Bieber’s Strawberry Glaze smoothie at the juice bar or sample from an all-organic array of cuisines at the hot bar.

Roosterfish - trendy cocktail bar on Abbot Kinney, which has a rich history as a haven for the LGBTQ community in Venice and is now frequented by visitors of all walks.

Wanderlust Creamery has delicious and unique ice cream flavors inspired by a globe trotting sensibility — try the Japanese Neapolitan or the Mango Sticky Rice!

Night + Market is a uniquely vibrant and authentic Thai street food destination where bold flavors and a lively atmosphere converge for an unforgettable dining experience. Be sure to visit the art gallery next door, Le Maximum!

Venice Beach Wines on Rose Avenue. This is a great spot for a glass or a flight of high quality wine, plus simple but delicious fare - try the cheese board and the orange wine.

Grab a quick but delicious burger and shake from the Win~Dow, which is a boardwalk offshoot of the steakhouse American Beauty.

Head to the top floor of Hotel Erwin to enjoy a cocktail on their beachfront rooftop bar while lounging on comfy couches overlooking the coastline.

Groundwork Coffee Co. on Rose Avenue has organic coffee plus yummy breakfast burritos and pastries. Enjoy it on their vast patio, a fun local hangout.

Advisor - Katie Gooding

Travel Advisor

Katie Gooding

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For more travel inspiration, check out Fora Advisor Eunice Kindred's guide, The Perfect Weekend in Southern California. This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to California.