Venice Beach
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5 Amazing Things to Do in Venice Beach

5 Amazing Things to Do in Venice Beach
Explore quirky Venice Beach, from Muscle Beach to Abbot Kinney shopping and Tito’s Tacos

This unique Los Angeles County beach town has sand, surf, and a lot of local colour. No doubt, many consider Venice Beach to be the nerve centre for Los Angeles’ quirky, out-there personality. Check out our tips below on how to explore Venice Beach in five unique ways.

Stay in the Heart of Venice

To stay at the centre of Venice Beach culture, book a room at Hotel Erwin, a retro-meets-surf-style boutique hotel with plenty of ocean-view rooms, a rooftop lounge, and a lobby decorated with surfboards. Or stay at the historic Venice Beach Suites & Hotel, with its exposed-brick walls, a cool antique elevator named “Betsy,” and a rooftop deck with 360-degree views.

People-Watch at Muscle Beach

Venice is most famous, perhaps, for Muscle Beach, a stretch of sand accented with an outdoor gym that's a magnet for serious body-builders, cheerful exhibitionists, and plenty of gawkers. The surrounding area of beach also has play areas for kids, a skate park, a boxing ring, and of course, a “regular” beach, where you can relax in the sand and watch everyone else work up a sweat.

Get a Scenic Workout

Get a day pass for the gym at Muscle Beach for just $10, or rent a bike and pedal along Venice’s long, beachside bike path (Hotel Erwin guests can just borrow a bike). 

Eat Like a Local

Venice has attracted plenty of top-shelf places to eat, drink, or just nosh. Grab a table at restaurant and bar James’ Beach—located a mere half block from the sand—known for its Angus burgers, movie-star mahi-mahi tacos (they were featured in the 2009 film I Love You, Man), and colourful people-watching.

Gourmands also flock to two restaurants launched by chef Travis Lett, which both start with a silent G: Gjusta is an acclaimed bakery and deli known for its decadent sandwiches while Gjelina draws consistent crowds for its inventive vegetable dishes, pizzas, and surprises like rabbit stroganoff. Nearby Zinqué, meanwhile, takes its inspiration from the French for its charcuterie plates, quiches, and chocolate croissants.

Another bucket-list stop for foodies is Tito’s Tacos, an old-school taqueria located at the eastern edge of Venice. Founded in 1959 and still sporting an old sign out front, Tito’s regularly makes national best-of lists for its unapologetically traditional tacos and burritos. The tacos are topped with shredded iceberg and grated cheddar, and the beef burritos are filled with chili con carne and best served with a Mexico-bottled, cane-sugar-fuelled Pepsi.

Shop for Quirky Treasures

Between meals and workouts, wander Abbot Kinney Boulevard, named for the eccentric real estate investor who built Venice in the early 20th century to reflect his favourite Italian city. Come on the first Friday of the month for food trucks and live music but any day offers a mix of art galleries, clothing boutiques, and intriguing gift shops, like the low-key elegance at Cuyana, the British-made activewear at Sweaty Betty, and the scents at Strange Invisible Perfumes. Abbot Kinney also features some transplants that make for excellent snacks, from Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffeeto Portland’s Salt & Straw Ice Cream and Blue Star Donuts.

 

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Photo by Ryan Killackey

Southern California

Discover Los Angeles County

See a celebrity on a Malibu beach. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxe boutique.Bask on a beach, play the day away at a movie land theme park, explore world-class museums, dance ‘til dawn at a sizzling-hot nightclub. Welcome to California’s liveliest city, America’s entertainment capital, with mega-star wattage and nonstop things to do.

“You know, you’re really a nobody in L.A. unless you have a really big door.”  -comedian Steve Martin

The main hub is the city of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.

 

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"The Squaw Man" was filmed in 1913, and was the first feature-length film made in Hollywood.
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Griffith Observatory

Spotlight: Los Angeles

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Bright lights, A-list celebrities & diverse culture

Welcome to the bright lights and big-city allure of California’s largest metropolis. Here, A-list celebrities really do walk the sidewalks, triple...

January

Welcoming in the New Year with a burst of flower power, this iconic parade in Pasadena is half of the city’s annual one-two punch of parade-and-football game. The parade features a rotating trio...

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Photo by Pauline Cheng/Flickr
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Spotlight: Hollywood

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Showbiz, celebrities, & endless possibilities

Tinseltown, where starlets are discovered on every street corner (or at least we like to think they are), and the tinted windows of that...

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Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

La Brea Tar Pits

Find fossils and family-friendly fun at this prehistoric excavation site

Your idea of old may be 100, but that will undoubtedly change after you spend several hours at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. You will learn...

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North Hollywood

Experience a different Hollywood just north of Tinseltown

From bustling Hollywood Boulevard, it is less than 10 minutes to North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District, a happening enclave where live theatre, not...

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SoCal Drive by Laura Flippen

Celebrity Spotting

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Where to see stars in Hollywood

Stargazing takes on a different meaning in Tinseltown. While there’s no guarantee you’ll spy a familiar face when you’re here, there are some...

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West Hollywood

A designer’s dream with shops, architecture, and style

West Hollywood has been dubbed “The Creative City,” and for good reason. Bordering Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, “WeHo” is where fashion and the...

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WeHo Design District

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Get trendy in a fashion-forward neighbourhood

This stylish destination, roughly defined by the intersection of Melrose Avenue and Robertson and Beverly...

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Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Southern California

Beach Towns & Big Thrills
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Your trip begins in California’s largest city. L.A. has nonstop action and things to do, but it can be a challenge to navigate, so planning your trip in advance is a big plus. Start in the coastal city of Santa Monica, with a wide, uncrowded beach, a signature pier topped by carnival rides and...

For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just been with an astonishing speed.
Henry Rollins
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Broad Contemporary Art Museum by Chris Burden

Museums

See masterpieces and innovative contemporary works

With its diverse collection of museums, Los Angeles has grown into one of the world’s great cities for art lovers. From the dramatically modern...

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Rodeo Drive by Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

Los Angeles County Shopping

Go boutique to bargain in one of the world’s fashion (and shopping) capitals

You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.

If you’re ready to whip out the platinum card, head to Rodeo Drive...

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Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

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Santa Monica by Tom Story

Spotlight: Santa Monica

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Visit the perfect sunny strip for sand, surf, and shopping

Set along a curving shoreline, the neighbouring coastal communities of Santa Monica and Venice Beach blend classic Southern California sand-and-...

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Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

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Laura Flippen
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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

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Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
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Beverly Hills Hotel by Myles McGuinness

Beverly Hills

Peek into the land of the rich and famous

Opulent estates. Palm-lined Rodeo Drive. Lavish hotels and stretch limousines. Look around Beverly Hills, and it’s no wonder this city gets its...

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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

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Lynn Gately/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you are in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you will find it here. Want to...

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South Coast Plaza
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Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-colored pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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Venice

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Surfers, skateboarders, and stars

Venice is the ultimate L.A. neighborhood where the surf meets the human circus. Spend a day along Venice’s palm-lined, beachfront boardwalk and...

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Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you have the recipe for some of California’s most appealing destinations. The Golden State’s beach towns stand out for...

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Aquarium of the Pacific by Harriot Manley

Long Beach

Experience the many sides of a dynamic coastal city

With beaches and marinas along its waterfront and a busy dining and shopping scene on downtown’s Pine Avenue, Long Beach blends big city...

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Disney Concert Hall by Jen Judge

L.A. Architecture

See eye-catching icons and stately landmarks

While Los Angeles is still a young city when compared to places like, say, Rome, it still boasts a unique architectural tradition that spans a...

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Lancaster's Civic Musical Road is the only "musical" or "singing" road in the United States.
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Hands-on fun for all at farms, ranches, and fields statewide

From almonds and olives up north to avocados, oranges, and dates in South, the Golden State has a crop (or 10) for nearly every stretch of terrain. After all, ...

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Tai Power Seeff
February or March

You certainly will not be the only one celebrating the Lunar New Year at this colourful event in L.A.’s Chinatown. Join thousands of revellers lining the parade route as lion dancers and giant...

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Jorge Gonzalez/Flickr
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Unleash the children within at California’s ultimate play lands

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour film...

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Lucas Himovitz
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Courtesy of Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood

Warner Bros. Studio Tour

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This classic Hollywood tour lets you see TV and movie history in the making

Hollywood magic still resonates at this huge studio lot in Burbank, where you can witness pieces of cinematic and television history—and also have...

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Burbank

The entertainment industry’s home base offers a microcosm of stars, shopping, and cool tours

If you come to Los Angeles wishing to see where movie magic gets made, look on the other side of Hollywood—literally.

“I always tell people...

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Courtesy of MasterChef Australia

Great L.A. Food Trucks

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Tacos, grilled cheese, and health food all live in harmony on the streets of Los Angeles

From gourmet chefs experimenting with tacos to funky ice cream sandwiches, you might be surprised by what you can find on the streets of L.A. Food...

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Pasadena

Tour an Arts and Crafts masterpiece and more in the home of the Rose Bowl

Set at the base of the towering San Gabriel Mountains, Pasadena is best known as the home of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose...

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Photo by Iwan Baan/Courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Broad

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This private collection sheds new light on downtown L.A.’s museum scene

What began as one couple’s small collection of postwar and contemporary art is now a treasure trove of more than 2,000 pieces, housed in an...

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Courtesy of Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau

Marina del Rey

Visit this inviting waterfront community near Venice Beach and Santa Monica for laid-back fun on both land and sea

Roughly six miles north of Los Angeles International Airport sits Marina del Rey,...

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Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

The California Questionnaire: Margaret Cho

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The Emmy- and Grammy-nominated stand-up comic, actress, and singer clues us into her love of Los Angeles and California culture

Margaret Cho has been doing stand-up since high school, and her ability to make audiences LOL has afforded her opportunities in all genres—from...

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Zachary Miller/Getty Images

Angeles National Forest

Discover the wilder side of Los Angeles, just minutes from the city in the San Gabriel Mountains

Barely 30 minutes from the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles, and just north of Pasadena, the urban jungle gives way to the forests, rugged...