Venice is a beautiful coastal neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, California and it is a great area for a budget traveler to explore. There are plenty of free things to do near Venice Beach. You will find stunning sandy beaches, a boardwalk filled with character and wacky participants in activities such as skating, basketball and the famous weightlifting at Muscle Beach. We have listed our top things to do in Venice, which will keep you entertained for days on end.
The Venice sign is situated at Pacific Ave and Windward Ave. It’s important to understand where Venice started out. Tobacco tycoon, Abbot Kinney, wanted to replicate Venice in Italy in his home town of Los Angeles. He flew in gondolas, created a canal system and built the sign in order to attract visitors to the area.
The sign itself offers a great photo opportunity and it is located just one block away from the beach.
If you are staying at Venice beach around St. Patrick’s Day, you will see the sign change to ‘O’Venice’ complete with green and orange surrounding lights.
For shopaholics looking for things to do near Venice beach, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a must see. The whole area is packed with stylish boutique shops and a range of hip bars and restaurants.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard hosts some of the best Vegan eateries in LA, including ‘Fala Bar’, ‘The Butcher’s Daughter’ and the elegant ‘Plant Food and Wine’.
This is a sophisticated neighborhood attracting a hip crowd who relish in the relaxing Venice vibe. Some have described this as the ‘coolest block in America.’
Rose Avenue is considered to be the upcoming ‘Abbot Kinney Boulevard’ because of its classy eateries that includes plant-based ‘Cafe Gratitude’, known as a great all-organic restaurant. Rose Avenue is a popular choice for celebrity diners and long time locals.
Admire the inspirational murals that cover the walls of Venice, particularly by the beach.
Venice is the perfect location to express creativity and it hosts some spectacular works of art from many talented individuals.
If you are looking for things to do near Venice Beach and like to venture out a little, be sure to check out Marina Del Rey. Head a few blocks from Venice beach (approximately 15-20 minutes walking) and you will reach the Marina beach (Mother’s beach).
There is a beautiful spot at Basin D of Marina Del Ray where you can enjoy the peace and tranquility. Various activities are offered by local vendors that include water yoga, paddle boarding and parasailing.
Take a seat on the bleachers, sit back and soak up serious basketball skills from the regulars who hit the courts at Venice beach.
The Venice Beach Recreation Center has other great facilities such as volleyball courts, handball, gymnastic apparatus and children’s play areas. The recreational area offers great entertainment and free things to do for all of the family.
This is free entertainment for all and a great pastime for a budget traveler. So many famous boarers started off here including the Z-Bpys, Dogtown and Zephyr.
You don’t have to skate here to have fun, join the crowds of people and admire the skills and tricks of the professionals who hang here, of all ages! They put on a great show and are always game for a conversation.
The fitness boom in the US started in Santa Monica in the 20th Century. Acrobats and gymnasts gathered along the coast line and practiced hard in front of growing spectators from the public.
As a result of the movement, an outdoor gym opened right off the Venice Boardwalk and they names it Muscle Beach.
At a reasonable cost for a day pass ($10), the gym is open to the public and it is a great place to people watch. Many Mr and Mrs Olympia/Universe have trained here and you will see some serious shredding occurring right before your eyes.
Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach have one of the best sunsets in the world. West is best for the perfect view and they don’t come much better than the California coast.
The view from Venice is mind blowing, stay until the end to watch the sun disappear over the Santa Monica mountains. Watch the sun leave a colourful trail behind.
Find a spot on Venice beach or sit outside in a hip bar with a bit of live music and watch the sky glow purple, pink, orange and red.
The image of a Californian sunset will stay with you forever.
The coastal bike path stretches along the coastline from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica Beach and beyond. There are plenty of bike hire shops along the route if you don’t have your own set of wheels. It will take around 1.5 hours to cycle from Redono Beach to Santa Monica and on the way you will pass Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Porto, Marina Del Ray and Venice beach.
The art walls right on the beach at Venice were originally built in the 1960’s as part of the Venice Pavilion. It was frowned upon by police to paint the walls, but the community fully supported and encouraged expressive works of art.
In the late 1990’s, the original walls were torn down, but a proportion of the walls still remain today. They represent the artsy culture of the Venice Beach area very well and they deserve the attention and appreciation they attract from every day passing tourists.
In the early 2000’s, it became legal to paint on the free-standing Venice Public Art Walls.
The creative folk of Venice decorate the walls with terrific murals and colours frequently, no two visits will offer the same imagery.
Allow your body to sink into the white powdered sand and wind down at one of the most chilled out places in the world. If you feel daring and don’t mind the chill of the Pacific Ocean, try a refreshing sunset dip.
Flock to Venice Beach on a Sunday at sunset and you can experience the terrific atmosphere of the drum circle.
The beach is great spot for watching surfers riding the ripples of the Pacific Ocean.
No trip to Venice would be complete without a stroll along the Venice Canal Walkway.
The canals remain from Abbot Kinney’s attempt to create his very own Venezia and the area is a peaceful offering away from the quirky fun of the beach and the boardwalk. Each dwelling at the canal has it’s own personalized touch and it is here where you will find highly desired houses and mansions worth millions of dollars.
Wander along the canals and absorb the calming atmosphere, there are barely any tourists in sight. It really is a hidden treasure.
There is so much to do along the Venice beach boardwalk, from people watching to being part of a street performance. Let yourself be who you want to be and join in the fun.
If you head along the Ocean front walk towards Marina Del Rey, you will come to Washington Blvd which has a different feel to the area by the beach. There are so many areas to Venice, each full of it’s own character and special ambiance.
Samesun Venice Beach Hostel is a great place to stay at Venice Beach if you are all about the location. It is situated right on the Venice Boardwalk and you only have to open the front door to experience the true unique character of the area.