Hollywood doesn’t interest me.
So when I was in LA, I opted to visit Venice instead; 3 days of lazing on the beach, watching other people and chilled bike rides.
Here are my 4 favourite things to do in Venice Beach:
1. Admire the skateboarders
Venice Beach is home to a world-class skate-park. Come down at any time of day and admire the skill as skaters of all ages strut their stuff. It’s also located right on the beach so has a backdrop of sand and ocean – what more could you want from a skate-park?!
It might not sound that exciting but I honestly got fixated by the rhythm and flow, willing the skaters on to complete their tricks and smash their routines.
2. Cycle to Santa Monica
Just north of Venice lies the historic Santa Monica – most famous for its large pier and the original site of Muscle Beach (an outdoor gym now situated in Venice Beach itself). Santa Monica’s pier has a rich history and currently boasts an amusement park, video arcade, aquarium and more. The pier is also the official end point of America’s Route 66 – an iconic road that used to connect Chicago to LA.
Santa Monica is situated 3.5km northwest of Venice Beach. You could walk it, drive it, taxi it, bus it…or cycle it! It’s a leisurely and picturesque ride, well worth it in my opinion. You can hire bikes from multiple places along the Venice Beach promenade.
I cycled further north of Santa Monica pier and spotted a couple of dolphins swimming slowly along the coastline, not far behind where the waves were breaking. Knowing that dolphins are sociable creatures, I decided to quickly lock my bike and run into the water to swim alongside them. Although I couldn’t keep up for long (turns out they were swimming quite fast), it was still an amazing experience and a decision I certainly didn’t regret!
Read more: 6 Interesting Sites of Chicago
You know those iconic photos of people rollerskating in colourful clothes to a backdrop of palm trees? (Check out this music video for Louder by DJ Fresh if you’re not sure what I’m on about!) Well, turns out that it isn’t just some mythical location – this place actually exists (obviously) and can be found right here in Venice Beach!
Be sure to check it out and snap a cool photo, or even give it a go yourself! The exact location can be found by searching Google Maps for ‘Venice Beach Boardwalk’. Nearby is also the current location of Muscle Beach (an iconic outdoor gym) – another opportunity for people watching.
4. Chill Out!
After all, Venice Beach is in fact a beach. It has huge expanses of sand for whatever floats your boat – sunbathing, reading, napping, ball games, running! The sea is also inviting and not too cold for a swim! If you’re after somewhere more peaceful, head south towards Marina Del Rey. There are some nice boats to see in the marina and the beach down here is far quieter.
Another thing not to miss is a Venice Beach sunset! Check out this timelapse that I recorded whilst chilling on the beach here: