Venice Beach Boardwalk in Winter | Gritty Seaside Culture
A walk along Venice Beach is an immersion in the gritty side American seaside culture. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but if you're after the Hamptons, this is not it. Venice Beach is a little run-down, a little dirty, but the beach is smooth and expansive, the shops are colourful, and the ocean is so stunning you can't believe you're on the fringes of a city of 4 million.
I can't vouch for this place in the summer, but in the winter you can tuck yourself up in a light jacket and scarf and walk along empty stretches of sand - just you and the occasional jogger and some wintering shorebirds. And if you need people again, you can just return to the boardwalk where they all seem to be, selling you sunglasses or R&B albums, living just how they live, no pretenses.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
The Festival of the Chariots
On the first Sunday of August each year, the Festival of the Chariots literally rolls into town.
Starting in Santa Monica at 10AM, the Hare Krishna parade boasts three giant painted chariots pulled by a throng of singing and dancing followers.
As the colorful chariots enter Venice Beach, chanting believers with exotically painted faces throw marigolds to the passersby and serve free food and offer family-friendly entertainment all day.
It's the only day of the year that the Venice Beach Boardwalk is overshadowed by an even bigger circus.
The ocean is a calming force that calls to some to jump in and join the dolphins that frequent its waters. Temperatures are the warmest in August and September but wet suits are available to rent year round. Take a surf or stand up paddle board (SUP) lesson with Learn To Surf LA to more fully appreciate the SoCal spirit and connection to the waves. For a more passive yet still exhilarating way to enjoy the coast, parasail above the sea or join a sailing trip from Marina Del Rey.
Venice Beach is iconic in California surf culture. I am in love with the photographs from the 70s of the surfers and skateboarders with long blonde hair. You don't go to Venice Beach for its beauty; it is gritty compared to other beaches such as Malibu or Newport. It has its own artistic energy with a skateboard park, street vendors, street performers, and of course the famous muscle beach is here.
Los Angeles is a perfect weekend getaway for couples.
Here are some travel tips for a great trip:
Paradise Cove in Malibu for lunch and stay for the great beach club
Hike in Solstice Canyon – amazing views of the Pacific Ocean
Drive the Malibu Coast on Highway 1 – make a day of it and enjoy a whole new view of California
Eat in Thai Town
Shop at the Farmers Market and The Grove.
Catch the Beverly Hills Trolley Tour to see some famous landmarks and homes.
Sunset Strip for nightclubs and sidewalks full of party people.
Hollywood Sign Hike in Griffith Park.
See music at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park or the Hollywood Bowl .
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – see the handprints of the stars.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Venice Beach where you will find out that anything goes here so don’t be alarmed in the sights you will see.
Eat at The Sidewalk Cafe on the Venice Beach boardwalk for the best people watching and great fish tacos.
Ride bikes along the boardwalk or learn how to surf (or watch the surfers).
Walk along the wide open beaches.
Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park is fun to take a ride on the ferris wheel and share a funnel cake.
Santa Monica beach is very beautiful.
Take a sunset walk through Palisades Park .
Third Street Promenade is a fun street to walk down and enjoy the shops and cafes.
Ride bikes along the South Bay Bicycle Trail .
Hike in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Enjoy your Weekend Trip to Los Angeles!
We rented a segway in Santa Monica to explore Venice Beach and the Santa Monica pier. What a wonderful time ! Great experience that everyone has to do at least once, and in Los Angeles, that's a perfect opportunity !
We took a little walk on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Alot of shops and sightseeing. The beach is amazing, a gigantic strech of yellow sand. There is the famous gym where Arnold Terminator was once spotted (won't even try to spell his name properly). There is a nice skatepark. Just be careful : there is alot of people trying to sell you indie CDs and stuff. They are not bad or anything but they can be irritating.
Walk down the beachside streets in Venice and you'll notice a collection of every character imaginable. A little further down from the shops and street performers, you'll find a skatepark and paths perfect for beach cruisers.