20 Cool Things to do in Venice Beach, California + Insider Tips

Are you planning an itinerary to Los Angeles, and wondering what the top things to do in Venice Beach are? You are in the right place! I have been traveling to Los Angeles for many years now, and Venice Beach is one of my favorite areas in Los Angeles, and it should on your LA bucket list too!

Venice Beach is very unique, with an eccentric vibe which makes it a very interesting place to explore! From the famous beaches to the iconic boardwalk, to the pier and street art, to trendy hotspots, and to a large variety of restaurants and bars, there are plenty of cool things to do in Venice Beach!

Venice is a neighborhood of the city of Los Angeles, and it was founded in 1905 around a canal system modeled after the famous ones in Venice, Italy. Today Venice Beach is a lively tourist city where the main streets are always crowded and a place where people love to enjoy not outdoor activities.

Whether you’re looking for some fun in the sun, Venice Beach has plenty to explore. Now, I am happy to share with you this list of cool things to do in Venice Beach, plus you will find great tips and helpful information to also make you fall in love with this place.

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Top Things to do in Venice Beach

1. Go on a group surfing lesson at Venice Beach

Surfing has to be one of the coolest sports around and there’s no better place to learn than Venice Beach. The best way to get started is by taking a surfing lesson, as you’ll be taught skills by a professional instructor. 

Whether you’re a total beginner or you’ve got some experience, this group surfing lesson is a great option. 

All equipment is provided for you including a wetsuit and surfboard, and the groups usually consist of 5-6 people which is the perfect size. You’ll spend around 40 minutes training on the beach, before hitting the waves with your instructor!

2. Grab breakfast at the Egg Slut

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – especially if you’re going to be spending a full day exploring. 

During your trip to Los Angeles, I’d recommend heading to the Egg Slut (weird name I know). However, it’s just a quote that was used by Anthony Bourdain and has now stuck! 

This place is famous for its egg sandwiches and is one of the top things to do in Venice Beach for foodies.

The sandwich consists of cheesy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, sriracha mayo, and a toasted brioche bun so what’s not to love?

3. Walk along Venice Beach Boardwalk

Walking along this iconic boardwalk is one of the best things to do in Venice Beach! Stretching along the vibrant oceanfront, the Venice Beach boardwalk is one of the most beautiful walks in the area. It’s also the best way to explore!

Along the way, you’ll get to stop off at a variety of cafes, shops, and other unique attractions so leave plenty of time to just wander along. The iconic Venice Beach sign marks the entrance to the boardwalk from Windward Avenue and is one of the most photo-worthy spots in the neighborhood.

PRO-TIP: Take advantage that you are at one of the most famous beaches and join a Venice Beach 2-hour group surfing lesson, also recommended for beginners. Or you can join a fun guided bike tour to explore some of the best sights such as Venice Beach, Santa Monia, and the Venice Canals

4. Test your strength at Muscle Beach

Now we are talking about – as a bodybuilder athlete myself, I don’t have to say how much I love this place! This is the “Home of Bodybuilding” nestled right in the heart of Venice Beach since 1963.

Muscle Beach has been the training ground for some of the most successful bodybuilders in the world including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu, so it’s easy to see why it’s got such a great reputation. 

You can pay for a day pass here if you fancy hitting the weights, or you can simply just sit back and watch some of the bodybuilders hit personal bests. Either way, it’s a must-visit for any Los Angeles itinerary!

Things to do in Venice Beach California

5. Visit the Venice Canals

Although not as beautiful as the canals in Venice, this is still a super cool place to visit. 

LA’s Venice Canals were designed in 1905 to bring Italian culture into America. These canals were once one of the most popular attractions in Venice Beach, and gondolas were even imported over from Italy.

Today, the gondolas are gone but it’s still a great spot to relax – especially if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the oceanfront. During your time in Venice Beach, make sure you allow yourself an hour or two to explore the area and wander along these interesting canals.

Things to do in Venice Beach California

6. Shop at the Kinney Boulevard

If you’re a shopaholic then I can guarantee you’ve heard of Kinney Boulevard. This mile-long street is just minutes away from the beachfront and offers fantastic shopping opportunities and great eateries. 

Some of the most iconic stores along the boulevard include Ananda, The Stronghold, Burro, and Scotch & Soda.

If you’re looking for something to eat you’ll also be spoilt for choice! However, I’d recommend heading to Felix Trattoria for some handmade pasta. Going on a shopping spree at Kinney Boulevard is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Venice Beach CA.

PRO-TIP: Every first Friday of the month at 5 pm the street becomes a festival, filled with live music and the L.A. Premier Food Truck Event, with dozen of food trucks.

7. Take a walk along Venice Pier is the TOP thing to do in Venice Beach

If you head to the Southern part of Venice Beach you’ll come across the pier. Although it’s just a simple fishing pier, it’s still a great place to admire the spectacular views and watch surfers below catch some waves.

The walk along the pier is 1,300 ft (396m) and you’ll need your camera for this one – especially if you head there for sunset as the colors are insane. If you’re lucky, you might even get to spot dolphins from here too! This is one of the more relaxing things to do in Venice Beach, so make sure you include it in your itinerary.

8. Go on an electric bike tour of Venice Beach (& Santa Monica)

There’s a lot to see in Venice Beach so heading out on a bike is the perfect way to explore.

This 3-hour electric bike tour will take you through Venice Beach and show you some of the most popular sites including the Venice Canals, Muscle Beach, and Venice skatepark.

You’ll also get to cycle through Santa Monica and admire the iconic pier, Santa Monica Beach, and the Marion Davies Guesthouse. 

As you’ll be on an electric bike you can choose whether to cycle or not, making this tour suitable for all fitness levels. However, the tour is designed for riders aged 14+ so keep this in mind if you’re traveling as a family.

9. Enjoy one of Venice’s fire sunsets from a rooftop lounge

As I mentioned before, Venice has some epic sunsets! There are plenty of awesome places to watch the sun go down, but none of them offer views like Hotel Erwins’ Rooftop Lounge.

It’s been voted the best rooftop lounge in Venice Beach, and one of the best in all of Los Angeles. With epic views, delicious menu items, and an extensive drinks menu – it’s no wonder!

High Rooftop Lounge also offers happy hour discounts, so take full advantage of this. Trust me – watching a sunset from here is one of the top things to do in Venice Beach, California.

10. Witness some skills at Venice Skatepark

Venice Skatepark is set back from the Venice Beach boardwalk, so it is found right on the oceanfront. Since its opening in 2009, it’s become a crazy popular skating spot and attracts people from across the United States (if not the world).

With a snake run, and a variety of steps, ramps, and platforms; Venice Skatepark is one of the most challenging courses in the U.S. So if you’re looking for Venice Beach activities and you’re a keen skater – put this at the top of your list! 

However, if you’re not into skating you can simply just sit back and watch people show off their insane skills.

11. Join a Venice Beach sunset walking tour

Heading out on a walking tour is one of the best ways to explore a destination. Not only will you see the best spots, but your guide will tell you everything you need to know about the area. 

This Venice Beach sunset walking tour starts from the iconic Venice Beach sign and will take you to plenty of awesome attractions within the neighborhood. 

This includes Muscle Beach, the Venice Canals, the pride flag lifeguard tower, and of course Venice Beach Boardwalk. You’ll then get to relax on the beach with a mocktail and snack, whilst watching one of Venice’s epic sunsets.

12. Visit the L.A Louver

If you’re a fan of art and culture then make sure you visit the L.A Louver. This art gallery focuses on contemporary art and was founded in 1975. 

It showcases the work of both LA-based and international artists, and there are a variety of fabulous exhibitions throughout the year. You can check out the current exhibitions on the website before planning your visit, and see if any of the artwork catches your eye.

13. Explore the Mosaic Tile House

Visiting the Mosaic Tile House is one of the more unique things to do in Venice Beach. As you walk into the house you’ll be in awe of the colorful tiles and beautiful murals, so take some time to appreciate its beauty. 

The whole house is covered in tiles, and the family who lived here has been working on this masterpiece since 1994. If you want to visit this quirky attraction you’ll have to time your visit perfectly, as the Mosaic Tile House is only open on Saturdays between 12 pm and 3 pm.

14. Dine at the Venice Whaler is a classic thing to do in Venice Beach

There’s no shortage of awesome places to dine in Venice Beach. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate ‘LA’ experience then head to the Venice Whaler!

This is one of the go-to places in Venice Beach for food, as it’s famous for its laid-back atmosphere, superb ocean views, and delicious food. During your time at the Venice Whaler make sure you try their awesome fish tacos and grab a Margherita too. Trust me – you won’t regret it. 
Dining here is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Venice, California.

15. Sunbathe on Venice Beach

Now, this may sound like an obvious one, but you’ll be surprised by how many people visit Venice Beach and don’t actually spend time relaxing on the beach itself. Of course, there’s plenty to see in this awesome neighborhood so get your sightseeing done first, and then finish off your trip on the beach.

Grab a blanket, have a picnic and watch the sunset with a beer in hand. This is hands down the BEST way to end your trip to Venice Beach – you can even grab a takeaway from the Venice Whaler if you fancy!

16. Go on a self-guided tour of the Venice Murals

No trip to Venice Beach is complete without exploring the iconic murals. This neighborhood is home to a tonne of fantastic art pieces and graffiti, so grab your walking shoes and head out on a self-guided tour

This is one of the top things to do in Venice Beach, so don’t leave it off your itinerary. Some of the best areas to visit for murals in Venice Beach include Lincoln Boulevard, Main Street, Kinney Boulevard, and the boardwalk. You’ll find a tonne of awesome designs ranging from sharks to famous figures, so make sure you keep your camera on you at all times – trust me, you’ll need it!

17. Try out Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding is a popular water sport here, and there are plenty of places you can hire a board and take lessons. One of the most popular companies is Paddle Method, and they offer lessons for all levels ranging from beginner to intermediate.

Whether you’re looking for a private lesson or to learn in a group, there’s an option for everyone. You’ll also be in the hands of talented instructors, who will teach you how to paddle board in a safe and fun way!

PRO-TIP: You can book this Kayak and/or paddleboard tour to see sea lions, and explore the beauty of the biggest marina in Los Angeles, the Marina Del Rey – which is a few minutes from Venice Beachq . You have the option to rent a double kayak or a paddleboard, and if you haven’t done it before, the guide will help you to feel comfortable and enjoy the most of this stunning scenario.

18. Head to the Pacific Resident Theatre for some live music

To finish off one of your days in Venice Beach make sure you head to the Pacific Resident Theatre

Run by local actors, this theatre has plenty to offer and shows a wide variety of classical productions and lesser-known plays. The Pacific Resident Theatre has been around for over 35 years and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a great play.

You can take a look at their website during your trip to see what type of productions are showing!

19. Explore the Venice Farmers Market

If you’re a big foodie like me then make sure you visit the Venice Farmers Market. The market is found at Venice city hall and runs every Saturday from 8 am. It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for fresh produce, tasty baked goods, and great-quality meats. 

You’ll also find a wide variety of other goods too including fresh flowers, plants, spices, and condiments. There are plenty of vendors here so give yourself a good chunk of time to wander around, and treat yourself to some goodies.

20. Taste some craft beers at a local brewery is one of the best things to do in Venice Beach

There are plenty of awesome breweries in Los Angeles, but the ones located in Venice Beach just hit different! 

There is a wide variety to choose from but the most popular options include Beach and Brew, Firestone Walker, and Venice Ale House.

Each of these (and all the other breweries found in Venice Beach) have plenty of delicious craft beers to choose from, so you won’t be short of options. Many of the breweries also serve tasty food so you’ve got something to soak up all that alcohol.

Tips on How to Visit Venice Beach, California

How to Get to Venice Beach

METRO: Plenty of Los Angeles neighborhoods are not only walkable but connected to one another by train. The L.A. Metro system works well and has many stops. To use the Metro, purchase a TAP card at any Metro station from one of the vending machines. 
PUBLIC BUS: You can take the line 1 bus which takes 1:30 hour and cost around $2 to $5
AIRPORT: If you are flying to Los Angeles and planning to go straight to Venice Beach, the nearest airport to Venice Beach is Los Angeles (LAX) Airport which is 4.1 miles away.
RENTAL CAR: You won’t need a car to explore Venice Beach, as all the things to do in Venice Beach are within walking distance. Also, keep in mind that driving in L.A. is very challenging. If you don’t want to ruin your relaxing vacation, I recommend you avoid the stress of driving in this “crazy” traffic. You would be better (and happier) to rely on Uber. Venice Beach is about 20 minutes driving distance from Los Angeles.

Best Places to Stay in Venice Beach

where to stay in LA

Best Overall | The Craftsman House in Venice Beach

$$$ | Two-bedroom House | Terrace Area

This property sleeps up to five people so is a great option for a family getaway. It’s within walking distance to the beach and offers an outside terrace area where you can relax!

Good Value Hotel | Hotel Erwin

$$ | 4 Stars | Overlooking The Pacific Ocean | Open Air Rooftop Lounge

Hotel Erwin is situated on Pacific Avenue and is just a short walk from Venice Beach. Boasting stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, an Open Air Rooftop Lounge, and an on-site restaurant – it has so much to offer!

Where to stay in Los Angeles

Mid-Range | The Kinney Venice Beach

$$-$$$ | 3 Stars | Outdoor Heated Pool | Spacious Outdoor Area

The Kinney Venice Beach offers a heated pool and a spacious outdoor area. Here, you can relax by the fire pit or play ping pong! This hotel also has bicycle rentals and an on-site fitness center.

The best area to stay in LA

Luxury hotel | Breathtaking Penthouse Private Rooftop

$$$ | Two-bedroom Apartment | Private Rooftop

If you’re looking for luxury then you NEED to stay in this penthouse! Sleeping up to six people, and featuring a hot tub, and a private rooftop – this place has so much to offer. There’s even a private pool!

How to Save Money in California

If visiting Los Angeles is on your bucket list, but the costs may scare you away – I have great advice and tips here for you! Yes, it is possible to visit Los Angeles without breaking the bank!

You can find inexpensive hotels, there are some restaurants and cafes that have reasonable prices. I also recommend getting the Go Los Angeles Card or Los Angeles Sightseeing Flex Pass as these passes start at $83 for one-day grant access to a variety of different attractions. Each pass has slightly different terms and attractions on offer so check carefully to see which will suit you better. This card offers 2 options:

  • All-Inclusive Card: This is the best option as you can save up to 50% of the gate prices for the main attractions in Los Angeles.
  • Build-Your-Own: With this option, you can save up to 20% of the gate prices, and you can choose to see only what is in your interests.
  • Hop-off-Bus Ticket: This is a good option too, with options of 24, 48, or 72-hour passes. The tour is narrated and takes you exploring Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Santa Monica Pier and Beaches.

What to Pack when you visit Venice Beach

  • Los Angles Sightseeing Pass: I also recommend getting the Go Los Angeles Card or Los Angeles Sightseeing Flex Pass as these passes start at $83 for one-day grant access to a variety of different attractions.
  • Comfortable Pair of Shoes: That is the first thing you should pack for your trip to Venice Beach as you will walk a lot. I love my Nike Air Force as I find it ideal to wear with my gym clothes or a cute dress for a casual dinner.
  • Summer dresses: I recommend at least one summer dress as they are versatile to walk during the day or going out in the evening
  • Leggings: You will need at least one pair. Leggings are your best friend in L.A., as you can wear them pretty much every day (and night too;-))
  • Workout outfit: Dressing in layers and comfortably is the best rule to explore Los Angeles.
  • Long sleeves shirt and light sweater: It can get chilly in Los Angeles, even during the summer months. It is always wise to dress in layers!
  • Sunscreen: While you are out exploring, make sure to protect yourself from the sun. I recommend the Stream 2 Sea Sunscream and they are reef-safe
  • Sunglasses and hat: Don’t forget to pack your pair of sunglasses, you will need them!
  • Swimsuit: The water may be chilly, but I recommend planning at least a half-day at the beach, so pack that travel beach bag!
  • Beach Towel: This travel towel is a must to be used at the beach, on a picnic, or even as a blanket.
  • Day Backpack: This is a must on your packing list – I have a whole article on the best backpack for traveling that I recommend you to check!
  • Reusable water bottle: Never travel anywhere without a reusable water bottle. Remain hydrated without wasting single-use plastic bottles!

Things to do in Venice Beach Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this amazing list of the cool things to do in Venice Beach, California. You will find much more things to do here, but if this is your first time visiting, this is a perfect start for you.

And if you are wondering how many days you should visit Venice Beach, I would recommend at least 2 days and one overnight to see the best highlights of Venice Beach. If you are planning a trip to Los Angeles, you will love to check on the articles below.

If you have any further questions or comments, please leave a comment below and I will love to connect with you.

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