You could say that Venice Beach is Santa Monica’s wild sister. It’s both fun and edgy and during the summer and on weekends, the scene on the Ocean Front Walk (or “Boardwalk”) is out of this world. You’ll see everything: people with weird hairdos, painted faces, wild tattoos and outlandish clothing. Artists are selling their work, musicians are playing their music, dancers are dancing, beach bums are bumming. There’s a freak show in the corner, you’re invited to come in! And there are lots of funky shops selling wacky souvenirs, T-shirts, hats, and all other kinds of unusual stuff.
If the Boardwalk’s circus-like atmosphere is too much for you, the beach is just steps away. You can go for a bike ride, or relax and enjoy a beautiful view of the ocean under a palm tree, even go for a swim, if the weather is right.
There’s also plenty of action outside the Boardwalk. There are good restaurants, bars, art galleries, and interesting shops in the streets of Venice, especially along Abbot Kinney Boulevard. But if you feel like taking a nice stroll, you can go to the quiet and picturesque Venice Canals, considered among the most beautiful and desirable residential areas in Southern California.
I’ve been to Venice several times and always enjoyed the vibe. My advice is to go for a quick stroll around the boardwalk and then move on to explore other more interesting parts of this truly Californian beach town.