Think of a place of endless sunshine, alluring coastline, perfect waves, teeny bikinis, suntanned surfers and palm tree-lined promenades. Southern California is one of the most desired destinations in the world.
With a rich bohemian history and artistic vibe, the funky neighbourhood of Venice Beach should be on your list of things to see whilst in LA.
Venice Beach is totally unreal. It´s a never ending street festival that always surprises you. Now matter how many times you visit it, there´s always something crazy going on. It´s own unique character and special energy make Venice the second largest tourist attraction in Southern California.
If you are a fan of The Doors, you will be glad to know it was here in Venice Beach where Jim Morrison met Ray Manzarek on a summer day in 1965, giving raise to the famous rock band.
The three-mile beach is the perfect place to catch some rays, enjoy a picnic or go for a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean.
Venice Breakwater is a popular surf spot located north of the Venice Pier. If you don´t have your own, you can always rent a surfboard and a wetsuit for a reasonable rate at several rental shops.
As you walk along the promenade you will find the legendary basketball courts featured in several movies such as White Man Can’t Jump.
The Venice Basketball League include LA´s top players and around the world. There is always a good match to see at the courts, so grab a drink, take a seat and enjoy the spectacle!
Did you know Muscle Beach dates back to the 1930´s? The most famous outdoor gym in the world was originally located in Santa Monica and was frequented by Hollywood celebrities like Jane Russel, Jane Mansfield and Kirk Douglas.
Fitness stars like Jack LaLanne, regarded as the Godfather of Fitness, and Steve “Hercules” Reeve could also be seen building their bodies and showing their physical strenght.
Today, weight-lifters and fitness experts show off their muscular figures at Venice Weight Pen. If you happen to be in LA on 4th July you can attend the Muscle Beach swimsuit, fitness and bodybuilding competitions where men and women bodybuilders compete to be Mr and Mrs. Muscle Beach. For $10 you can also work out at Muscle Beach!
Venice Beach Boardwalk
There´s no place like this in the world. It´s crazy and wild. No matter your age, race, religion or social condition, everybody is welcome. It exudes a free-spirited atmosphere hard to find somewhere else.
The friendly man of the picture told us: “Don´t simply pass by like other tourists, immerse yourselves in the carnaval. Why do you want to be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?”.
And that´s we did! We said NO to normal and enjoyed the sidewalk circus to the fullest! We loved talking to the cast of characters hanging in the boardwalk. From the art and crafts vendors, breakdancers and jugglers to the drummers, all of them had a great story to tell. That mix of people is what makes Venice so unique.
Biking along Venice Beach and Santa Monica
Riding from Venice to Santa Monica was a very pleasant experience. The path offers an easy ride often filled with joggers and skaters.
I have to admit I almost crashed trying to avoid a girl strolling across the bike path without looking. Guille, who was behind me, couldn´t stop laughing. The same happened to me in Mexico when I swerved to miss an iguana or a Tuk Tuk in Thailand. Next time I´ll try to convince Guille to rent a tandem!
This bike path known as The Strand stretches 26 miles along the shoreline from Torrance Beach to Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades. The path winds along the coastline passing by the best beaches in LA including Redondo, Hermosa (my favourite), Mahattan, Venice and Santa Monica.
The great things is you can stop off at cool bars along the way or go for a dip into the sea if you have a towel with you. That´s what we did in our ride to Santa Monica and it was a great fun!
Venice Modern Architechture
Escaping from conventional design and captivated by the vibrant artistic community, many architects came to Venice willing to innovate and experiment. These avant garde architects began to repair and design eccletic buildings throughout the vibrant neighborhood.
A clear example of post-modern style architecture, is Hollywood writer Bill Norton´s beach house. Located at 2509 Ocean Front Walk, this eccentric building was designed by Frank Ghery in 1984.
The most original part of the house is the study facing the ocean that is modeled after a lifeguard station. Wouldn´t it be nice to work on your projects with those wonderful views to the Pacific?
Another thrilling building is the lavender-colored beach house next to the Norton´s known as La Rotonda. Venice is heaven for architecture lovers as me.
Sunset at Venice Beach
You can´t leave Venice Beach without watching the sky blaze with colors. Enjoy the sunlight reflecting upon the ocean from Venice pier or have a drink with unbeatable views of Venice at High’s Rooftop Lounge.
Sunset is one of the most incredicle spectacles nature can provide. When I close my eyes, I can clearly remember the sunset of that day. The hundred of pictures we took of it were without a doubt, the best souvenir of our trip.