Venice Beach, located along the coast of Los Angeles, California, USA, is one of my top places to visit in the world. I’ve been there plenty of times and, whether to celebrate a special occasion, entertain a date, hang-out with friends, clear my thoughts, or do a little soul searching, I’ve always felt that it’s the single most significant place in my life that has consistently improved my spirit and overall sense of well-being every time I’ve visited. But, just what does Venice Beach possess to make it my ‘happiest place on Earth?’
For starters, step foot onto the sandy shores of Venice Beach and you’re guaranteed to discover a perfect blend of picturesque natural scenery and a bustling city life.
Look left, or South, and you’ll be peering out at an endless stretch of sand, blue skies, and towering palm trees riddled along the Venice boardwalk. In the far distance you can even spot a number of airplanes heading in-and-out of one of the world’s busiest airports, Los Angeles International Airport, which is commonly referred to as L.A.X.
Look straight ahead and you’ll be overlooking a vast Pacific Ocean where you’ll find throngs of adventurous beachgoers—young and old—surfing, collecting seashells, and getting tossed around in the waves.
On a good day, catching the sun slowly drift below the horizon is surely an awe-inspiring scene that is not to be missed when visiting Los Angeles.
Look further past the attraction and you’ll lay eyes upon a stunning backdrop of small hills that line the Pacific Coast Highway.
And then there’s the actual beach itself. At anytime of the year Venice Beach is the perfect place to catch beachgoers frolicking under the sun. Everything from playing volleyball, jogging, tossing a Frisbee and practicing yoga to sunbathing, reading books, building sand castles, and picnicking is fair game. Heck, if you’re lucky you’ll even catch a production team shooting movies!
Additionally, the shores of Venice Beach are often home to a number of fun public activities, gatherings and celebrations. On one day, for instance, you can stumble upon a large crowd of 20-30 people huddled around a group of African drum players supplying an energetic batch of rhythmic tunes for everyone to party to. On another, there’s the possibility of catching an equally lively Capoeira Roda on a grassy area near the sand.
But perhaps the best part of Venice Beach is its boardwalk, which is a 2.5 kilometer stretch of touristy shops, restaurants, bike lanes, sports activity areas, vendors, boutiques, street performances, artistry, and much more.
Shops along Venice Boardwalk offer everything from t-shirts, arts and crafts, clothing accessories, souvenirs, cigars, posters, and artwork, to bicycle rentals, tattoo services, massages, oxygen bars, incense, skateboards, and inspections for (*clears throat*) medicinal marijuana cards.
As for dining, there are plenty of sit-down restaurants and quick order joints serving up burgers, pizza, French fries, tacos, nachos, hot dogs, ice cream, smoothies, milk shakes, and alcohol.
You may even catch a food truck or two dishing up delectable treats.
For leisure, the main hub of the boardwalk is equipped with basketball courts, an outdoor gym, tennis courts, handball stations, and upper body fitness areas.
There is also a 2-way bike lane that extends from the North of the beach—miles past Santa Monica Pier—to the far South.
A large skate park that sits near the beach is a prime destination for kids and teens.
Surrounding the bike path at the main hub of the boardwalk is nothing but lush green grass and towering palm trees. The scenery alone is worthy of the visit.
And lastly, Venice Beach is highly renown for its great art and entertainment; after all, riddled amongst the crowds and buildings lies plenty of peculiar, eclectic, attention-grabbing people, places, things, and activities. Hipsters, amateur singers, artist, potheads, animal rights activist; there’s just something to see every few feet.
Graffiti artist also have a special role to play at Venice Beach. In fact, there’s even a special section full of large stones for artists to go wild on. This is what Venice Beach is all about!
The best amusements you may discover on Venice Boardwalk, though, are the wildly entertaining performances from street acts. They’ll sing, dance, dress in costumes and heavy make-up, read your fortune, mime, show off an abnormal talent, perform acrobatics, and perform live, interactive shows just to receive a few tips. They are the heart and soul of Venice Beach and have entertained the masses for decades.
Yep, and that is why I absolutely love Venice Beach. It’s a fun hangout spot for anyone regardless of age, country, race, culture, political views, or economic status. I guess you can say that it closely resembles what L.A. is pretty much all about; that is, a sprawling entertainment hub and melting pot of cultural diversity. If you’re ever considering visiting the USA, head over to Los Angeles. If you’re in L.A., make sure to stop by Venice Beach. I guarantee that you won’t want to leave!
Learn more at the VENICE BEACH website!