Surf, sun and sandtake a backseat to the loud and lively human carnival on parade along theVenice Beach Boardwalk. There’s never a dull moment for people-watching in thissun-drenched bohemian enclave of artists, musicians, poets, singers,skateboarders and jugglers. From chain-sawing acrobats to fire-breathingcyclists, you’ll find Los Angeles at its most ostentatious, eccentric andunrestrained. Just remember to tip performers if you watch most of their showor take their photograph.
While you make yourway along the boardwalk’s 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) stretch, browse the stalls,shops and stands laden with souvenirs, trinkets, cheap sunglasses, T-shirts andsandals. Have your fortune read or get a temporary tattoo.
Further along theboardwalk is Muscle Beach, best known as the place where Arnold Schwarzeneggerand Lou Ferrigno (of Incredible Hulk fame) once flexed their pecs and biceps.At this outdoor gym you’ll see the toned and tanned pump iron while acrobatsbend, twist and contort their bodies into eye-watering shapes. You can jointhem. Just buy a day pass (about $10) at the Venice Beach Recreations and ParksOffice on Ocean Front Walk and then take your place to work out in front of thepassing crowds.
Peel your eyes awayfrom the vivid and flamboyant spectacles and head to the beach, a three-milestretch of well-maintained and manicured sand. The water is patrolled duringdaylight hours, so you can dive in if you want to do more than soak up the rayson the sand. Rent surf or body boards and catch some waves, but be mindful ofother riders.
LA’s Mediterranean climate makes Venice Beach a good place to be for most of the year however, it is incredibly crowded in the summer. It is around 19 miles (30 kilometers) from downtown LA on the coast between Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey. There are plenty of city parking lots next to the beach.
For more details on interesting local attractions and activities, check out our things to do in Los Angeles page.