Southern California’s quintessential bohemian playground, Venice Beach is a haven for artists, New Agers, homeless people, and free spirits of all stripes. This is where Jim Morrison and the Doors lit their fire, where Arnold Schwarzenegger pumped himself to stardom, and where Julia Roberts and Dennis Hopper make their homes today.
Life on Venice Beach moves to a different rhythm and nowhere more so than on the famous Venice Boardwalk, officially known as Ocean Front Walk. It’s a nonstop Mardi Gras of fortune tellers, street musicians, and characters of all colors, shapes, and sizes. This is where to get your hair braided, your karma corrected, and your back massaged qigong–style.
Encounters with hoop dreamers, a Speedo-clad snake charmer and a roller-skating Sikh minstrel are pretty much guaranteed, especially on hot summer days. The Sunday-afternoon drum circle draws hundreds of revelers for tribal playing and spontaneous dancing.
Not far from the boardwalk, find bodybuilders pumping iron at Muscle Beach - a gated area containing weight lifting and gymnastic equipment - where Schwarzenegger used to be a regular.
For a break from the madness, head couple of blocks away from the beach, where you’ll find a series of narrow canals connected by one-lane bridges that thread past eclectic homes where ducks preen and locals lollygag in little row boats.
After being picked up at the hotel, you'll go to the tour operator's office near LAX to redeem the voucher for a ticket. The tour leaves within 15 minutes, and the van is roomy and comfortable.
The tour itinerary gives you time to walk around Marina del Rey, Venice Beach, the Chinese Theater, Stars' Walk of Fame and downtown L.A. and to shop at Olvera Street, Farmer's Market and The Grove. En route, you'll pass by stars' homes, TV and film studios, the Hollywood sign and famous sites used in movies or commercials.
Great tour got to see the best of what LA had to offer especially as we were short for time..
Pick up and drop off went without a hitch, guide was great, funny, chatty and very friendly.
Did feel a bit rushed at times but then there was a lot to pack into the day! If i was in LA again i would probably hire a car and spend more time at Venice and Santa Monica beaches..
But would 100% recommend this tour if you only in LA a day or 2 as was the case with me..
Review by Kaye S, USA, August 2012
Doing what: Electric Bicycle Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach
The day started with us stuck in terrible traffic. I called to ask if they wanted to move us to a later time and Steve said that they would wait for us. We got a late start but Barbara, our guide, asked if we had time to extend the ending time since we got a late start. We were thrilled that we didn't have to miss anything. We rode through Santa Monica, along the bike path of Santa Monica Beach and then through Venice Beach and the canals. Barbara had us make several stops so that she could explain the history of sights along the way as well as some pop culture. She also took several pictures of us. The bikes were great! They were easy to handle and we loved having the option of using the electric setting to help get us up some of the steeper inclines. We had a fantastic time!
Venice Beach is southeast of Santa Monica, along the Pacific Coast Highway. Abbot Kinney Boulevard has street parking, but you can also find ample parking along the beach.
The stretch of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, between Venice Boulevard and Main Street, is chockablock with boutiques, galleries, vintage clothing stores, and restaurants.