Venice is a world-renowned seaside suburb in Los Angeles. This means there aren’t a lot of non-touristy things to do in Venice Beach, as hundreds of tourists and locals visit its beach and boardwalk daily. But if you’re searching for romantic things to do in Venice Beach, CA, go for a stroll along the canals, or have a nice meal along Abbot Kinney Boulevard. A visit to this hipster boulevard is also one of the best things to do in Venice Beach at night, as it’s home to plenty of cool bars. Continue reading for 15 fun things to do in Venice Beach this weekend.
1. Venice Beach
Venice Beach is the main beach in Los Angeles’ hip Venice district. One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, it’s located next door to Santa Monica Beach and Pier. The infamous Venice Boardwalk runs parallel to the beach and is known for its eclectic vendors and shops. Other things to do in Venice Beach include visiting the beachfront skatepark, swimming or sunbathing on its large sandy shore, watching the beach’s daily evening drum circle and people watching until your heart’s content.
2. Venice Sign
Spanning across the intersection of Pacific and Windward Avenues is the iconic Venice Sign. Simply spelling out the word Venice in capital letters, the sign is a modern-day replica, as Venice founder, Abbot Kinney installed the original Venice Sign in 1905. Lit up at night, the best way to get a photo with the sign is to wait at the traffic light until the walk signal appears. It’s definitely one of the district’s top Instagram locations.
3. Mosaic Tile House
The one-of-a-kind Mosaic House is a 1940s cottage that is completely covered (both inside and outside) with mosaics. The mosaics include colored tiles, pieces of glass, and household objects. The creators are husband and wife team, Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran, who offer guided tours of their unique rainbow-colored abode, which is a continuous work in progress. A visit to the Rainbow House is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Venice Beach.
4. Main Street
Stretching from Santa Monica to Venice Beach, Main Street is one of the area’s most popular streets. It’s lined with independent boutiques, cafes, bars, and restaurants. Check out the Library Alehouse for craft beers in a cozy setting; Groundwork Coffee Co. for a mid-morning coffee break; and Holy Guacamole for your Mexican fix until midnight every day. For something different, visit The Firehouse – an all-day Californian/American diner operating out of a former fire station.
5. L.A. Louver
If you’re looking for indoor things to do in Venice Beach, visit L.A. Louver. Established in 1975, the art gallery focuses on exhibiting contemporary artwork from both Los Angeles-based and international artists. Some of its recent exhibitions include Edward and Nancy Kienholz’s interactive Merry-Go-World Installation, and Tom Wudl’s The Flowerbank World. L.A. Louver also has roaming exhibitions in places like London’s renowned National Portrait Gallery and Los Angeles’s own California African American Museum.
6. Venice Public Art Walls
The world-famous Venice Public Art Walls are located directly on the sand of Venice Beach – opposite the boardwalk and between the skate park and basketball courts. The concrete slabs are always covered in a combination of colorful street art, murals, and modern graffiti. On the weekend, the Venice Public Art Walls operate on a first-come, first-served basis. So any artist can bring their own supplies and add their unique stamp to this historic landmark.
7. Electric Lodge Performing Arts
The Electric Lodge is a non-profit visual, cultural, and performings art center that aims to create an environmentally sustainable worldwide ecosystem. Established in 1996, it’s proud to be the founding venue of the Arts:Earth Partnership, and focuses on having a zero carbon footprint. Acting as a laboratory of sorts for both artists and environmentalists, The Electric Lodge hosts theatrical performances, innovative classes and workshops, and educational programs and seminars. Visit their website for upcoming event details.
8. Jay’s Hollywood Sign Hiking Tour
Located on the iconic boardwalk, Jay’s Rentals has been serving tourists and locals since 1996. One of the boardwalk’s most recognizable shops, Jay’s Rentals has bikes and an assortment of boards for rent. But more than that, Jay also organizes tours. The Hollywood Sign Hiking Tour departs daily from the shop at 9 am and 2 pm. Your guide will let you in on insider secrets and even point out celebrity homes along the way.
9. Legends Historic Bike Tour
Perry’s Cafe on Santa Monica Beach hosts the Legends Historic Bike Tour that takes you on a ride down memory lane. The two-hour guided bike tour will take you past celebrated sights like Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach, the boardwalk, and the Venice Canals. Enjoy the sea breeze while your guide tells you all about the celebrities that call this area home. A Legends Historic Bike Tour is one of the most fun things to do in Venice Beach.
10. Muscle Beach Tours
One of the area’s most popular attractions is Muscle Beach. It features a unique outdoor weightlifting gym and an outdoor sports facility, with rope climbing and gymnastic equipment. It’s quite the spectacle, as you can stop and watch bodybuilders and other muscular men workout, and even ask for a selfie. Many bodybuilding contests are held at Muscle Beach as well. Arnold Schwarzenegger is synonymous with Muscle Beach, as he’s the gym’s most popular former member.
11. Aloha Brothers Surf Lessons
Aloha Brothers are known as the number one surf school in Southern California. Hence if you want to learn to surf from the best, book an Aloha Brothers surf lesson. The team offers both beginner and intermediate lessons, and participants can choose to do either a group or private session. Learning to surf is one of the more iconic things to do in Venice Beach, so let Aloha Brothers help you finally stand up on a surfboard.
12. Venice Canals Walkway
Step away from the beach and enjoy wandering along the peaceful Venice Canals Walkway. There are footpaths along each side of the canals, which take you past beautiful houses and boat docks. Don’t forget to take a photo of two from one of the canal’s picturesque bridges as well. The man-made canals were built in the early 20th century to resembles those in Venice, Italy. They also feature in many Hollywood blockbusters, including Valentine’s Day.
13. Venice Skatepark
Established in 2009, this 16,000 sq ft skatepark is one of the only skateparks in the world located on a beach. With input from local and professional skaters, the $3.5 million dollar project features two bowls, a snake run, and a street section with steps, rails, and platforms. Open from 9 am to sunset daily, only skateboards are allowed in Venice Skatepark. If you’d like to hire one, head to the aforementioned Jay’s Rentals on the boardwalk.
14. Binocular Building
Located on Main Street, the Binoculars Building does indeed have a massive pair of binoculars at its entrance. Renowned architect Frank Gehry designed the two buildings, while Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen created the Giant Binoculars public artwork. Make an entrance as you drive through the gap between the binoculars’ lenses. Completed in 1991, the building did house the Chiat/Day advertising agency, but its current tenant is Google, who coincidentally has a penchant for creative offices.
15. Kinney Boulevard
Once called The Coolest Block in America, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is one of the most Instagrammed streets in Los Angeles. Named after the area’s founder, the mile-long and palm tree-lined street is filled with shops, restaurants, salons, and art galleries. You will find both independent boutiques and internationally renowned brands along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, as well as public artworks. Dining recommendations include The Butcher’s Daughter, The Brig, Blue Star Donuts, and Salt and Straw Ice Cream.