A perfect day in Venice Beach for First-timers

4 minutes read

Fall in love with California spending a perfect day in the Venice of the Americas. Historic canals, bodybuilders, street art, skaters, artists, sunset, hippest shops, and galleries, explore Venice Beach eclectic culture, vibrant energy, and unique vibes. 

A pinch of history

  • Venice was founded in 1905 by millionaire Abbot Kinney.
  • Venice beach integrated the city of Los Angeles in 1925.
  • Black gold peninsula, Venice was a prosperous oilfield in the 30s producing up to $75,000 per week.
  • With more than 10 million visitors per year, the boardwalk is the second largest tourist attraction in Southern California (after Disneyland!)
Abbot Kinney

8 AM – Venice Canals

I love to start a day in Venice strolling by the canals. It’s quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. This historic district was built by millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905. He replicated the canals from Venice in Italy to build a seaside resort. Only four canal blocks remained from the original seven canals system. Walk the paths, cross picturesque bridges, look at beautiful houses, give way to ducks, and paddleboard. Enjoy the Venice of America!

Did you know? The canals re-opened in 1993 after 40 years of closure.

Did you know? Some houses appeared in movies and TV shows like Charlie’s Angels and Baywatch.

Venice canals

9 AM – Muscle Paradise

Athletes make Venice’s sports playgrounds popular and world-famous. Bodybuilding, basketball, skate, rollerblade, roller skate, gymnastic, volleyball, paddle tennis, and paddleboard are some of the notorious sports in Venice. Ready to challenge the biggest names in these sports? Put your shoes on!

Muscle Beach Venice

Arnold, Danny, Dave, and Larry trained here [Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Trejo, Larry Scott, Dave Drapper]! This outdoor weightlifting gym attracted bodybuilders and weightlifters who are proudly exercising and exhibiting in front of impressed onlookers. Sportspersons are also playing with rings, climbing ropes, and acrobatics bars at the adjacent gymnastic playground.

Muscle Beach Venice

Did you know? The original Muscle Beach was in Santa Monica (from the ’30s to the ’60s)

Basketball courts

Listen to the rhythmic beat and shoot hoops on the legendary courts. If you’re visiting Venice during Summer, catch a game from Venice Basketball League. They are hosting a tournament gathering some of the best players.

Basketball courts

Did you know? These courts will host the 3-on-3 tournament for LA 2028 Olympic games.

Did you know? Edward Norton, acting Derek Vinyard in American History X movie, competed on this court.

Skate Park

This iconic skate park located on the beach offer a fun spectacle and showcase real talents. Watch some jumps with an ocean view.

Skate park

Did you know? The skate park cost $2 million to the city of Los Angeles.

Paddle tennis

I started paddle tennis on these courts! For a long time, I came every weekend to play. How fun is it to train under palm trees, amongst the Ocean and the Boardwalk (and next to Muscle Beach Venice)?

Ready to play? You can rent racquets and balls on the Boardwalk.

Venice Paddle Tennis courts

11 AM – Street Art hunting

The Venice Art Wall (located next to the skate park) is the best place to check out new graffiti. Artworks are temporary on these structures and you will probably see artists working.

Venice Art Wall

During your day you will see a lot of street art in Venice, especially along the Boardwalk and Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Keep your eyes out!

Noon – Eat and Shop on Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Snap a seat at one of the healthy restaurants on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Savory and sweet, there are a lot of vegan and gluten-free options. After your hipster-foodie pause, explore the hipster-shopping area. Galleries and chic boutiques offer jewelry, clothes, and furniture.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard

2 PM – Stroll Venice boardwalk

Colorful, noisy, touristy, eclectic, and crowded. No doubt, you are promenading on the Venice boardwalk. It’s a succession of performers, street artists, restaurants, souvenirs shops, fortune tellers, and weed pharmacy. Can you picture this unique set and feel its energy?

Venice boardwalk

One day, Hollywood newbie, I came across a TV show filming with David Zayas (he played Angel Batista in Dexter) It made my day 😉

Note: Be cautious at night, the boardwalk is not safe.

4 PM – Life is a beach, relax!

Venice B.E.A.C.H, time to chill on the beach. It’s three miles of coastline stretching from Santa Monica to Marina Del Rey. Time to relax!

Did you know? You won’t find a lot of surfers in Venice as they prefer Malibu’s waves and South L.A pristine water.

7 PM –Sunset: bike, beach, and mojito

A perfect day in Venice will end with a vibrant sunset. Your best options? Make your pick:

  1. Hop on your cruiser to ride from/to Venice-Santa Monica to catch it
  2. Sip a mojito on a rooftop
  3. Lay on the beach under the palm trees

Ready to enjoy Venice?


  • Location: Venice Beach, Los Angeles, 90291.
  • Duration: I recommend a day to discover it.
  • Parking: Free street parking and beachside lots.
  • More information available at: http://www.venicebeach.com/

Article based on my visits from to 2015-2020.

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment and share it with a traveler visiting Los Angeles.

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