Venice Beach Travel Guide
Just one week shy of my one-year anniversary of my move to Venice, I felt it was finally time (and allowed) to write a travel guide to my new "home town." I've spent the last year getting situated and exploring, and while there's always more to discover in this funky beach town, I am excited to share some tips as a new resident.
So, if you are planning a visit to Venice Beach for a day, a weekend or a week, here are my top suggestions:
Where To Stay
Live like a local and stay at an AirBnB. Venice is known as one of AirBnB's top destinations and we've got plenty of funky and stylish housing options on the site to prove it.
Go for a well-rated hotel. Hotel Erwin is the best bet I've heard so far (there are some very seedy ones near the beach so beware). Situated on the boardwalk, Hotel Erwin is right in the action and has a very popular roof top bar that boasts views of the beach, boardwalk and mountains.
Shutters on the Beach
Go big with Shutters on the Beach. This waterfront spot has a charming East Coast flair and is my dream staycation location. Technically located in Santa Monica, it's on the boardwalk just to the right of Venice Beach. It has top notch dining and a beautiful pool.
What to Do
Visit Venice Beach
Spend a day at the beach! Watch the local surfers, check out some lifeguards, and admire the coastal views that extend all the way up to Malibu on a clear day. Try your hand at surfing with Aloha Brothers Surf Lessons or join in on a volleyball game.
Stroll or Bike the Boardwalk
There's so much to see on the boardwalk that you can't come to Venice and not experience it. Walk past mural-covered buildings, street vendors, performers, and enjoy some of the most unique people watching you've seen in a while. On most days it's packed with locals, tourists, skateboarders, rollerbladers, dogs and more. Grab a beer at Venice Ale House's outdoor patio to take in the scenery as you listen to a local street band. From there make your way to muscle beach, the infamous skate park or the Venice Canals. Note if you want to rent a bike, there are plenty of vendors up and down the boardwalk.
Shop on Abbott Kinney
A stroll on Abbot Kinney is a must! It's Venice's main shopping drag and is lined with boutiques for all tastes. My go-to shops are Burro, Negarin, and The Piece Collective. Keep your head up as you walk - the chances are high you might catch a celebrity out and about. If you want to continue shopping and go a little "off path," Lincoln and Rose Avenue are other popular streets (my favorite store, The General Store, is on Lincoln).
Explore Neighboring Attractions
Brave the traffic and hop in an uber! L.A. has so much to offer and if you have time it's worth venturing out to another neighborhood like Echo Park or Koreatown. Head downtown to the LACMA, MOCA or The Broad. Drive up the Pacific Coastal Highway to Topanga Canyon or Malibu for a quick hike / beach day...so many options!
Where to Eat & Drink
Breakfast / Brunch
Venice has no shortage of delicious dining spots that will make you say "this is so L.A." My personal favorite brunch spots are The Butchers Daughter - they have the most amazing house made Bloody Mary, and Flake. Flake is a "fast food" option and is always hopping till it closes at 3 pm. Try and grab a seat at one of their tables or take your meal to go.
For lunch, you can keep it quick with a smoothie from a local food truck on Abbot or The Butcher's Daughter. Other great options are the artisanal bakery, Gjusta, or the go-to vegan spot, Cafe Gratitude. The line at Gjusta is a major pain at peak times, so keep that in mind.
After a day of exploring, keep it chill. I love a restaurant that's a little less "in the scene" and has an easy (affordable) menu. On most weekends I can pretty much guarantee that I will be at Clutch (cali-mex) or Superba (California-fare) because their plates are so delicious and both have huge, dog-friendly patios. Runner up - Hama Sushi, but their menu is a bit more pricey and they most definitely require reservations...so that's a little less "chill" in my book.
Enjoy your stay in Venice!
Did I miss something you'd recommend? Tell us what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.