Known for its free-spirited vibe, Venice Beach is a happening, upscale outlier of Los Angeles, fronted by the iconic Venice Boardwalk, officially known as the Ocean Front Walk. Encounters with pickup basketball teams, fortune tellers, and roller skating sunseekers are pretty much guaranteed—especially on hot Southern California summer days. Beyond the sand, visit the skate park, the famous Muscle Beach outdoor gym, and Abbot Kinney Boulevard, featuring trendy restaurants, stylish boutiques, galleries, and cafés.
Travelers love strolling Venice Beach to take in the bohemian boardwalk and its brightly colored murals, funky shops, and street performers, including the Sunday afternoon drum circle. A hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great way to explore Venice Beach on your own schedule, while renting bikes or roller skates enables you to cover more ground—and blend in with the locals. This sandy spot is typically visited on Los Angeles city sightseeing tours and is sometimes paired with a stop in Santa Monica.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Venice Beach is a must-see for sun worshippers looking to experience Southern California’s beach scene.
- Venice Beach offers a number of shops, restaurants, and cafes for travelers interested in souvenirs and dining.
- Accessible parking, picnic tables, and restrooms are available; visit a lifeguard stand to inquire about beach wheelchair rentals.
How to Get There
Venice Beach is located southeast of Santa Monica, along California’s famous Pacific Coast Highway. Street parking can be found along the beach and on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and there are also a few parking lots.
When to Get There
Venice Beach is a public outdoor beach, open 365 days a year. It’s busiest on Sundays and less crowded on weekdays. Temperatures can reach up to 100°F (38°C) in summer, while average winter temperatures are about 60°F (15°C).
Prominent Residents of Venice Beach
Notable Venice homeowners include Hollywood stars Julia Roberts, Viggo Mortensen, Kate Beckinsale, Rutger Hauer, Anjelica Huston, and Elijah Wood. Actor Robert Downey Jr. kept an apartment on the boardwalk during the 1990s, and decades before, musician Jim Morrison met Ray Manzarek and formed the Doors while living in Venice. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting career began after he became a regular bodybuilder at Venice’s famous Gold’s Gym. And restaurateur Wolfgang Puck has owned and operated restaurants here since the 1990s.