What do you do when you have a longer weekend, flight to LA, and have visited Los Angeles a couple of times before? Head to Venice Beach! Even if you are planning a trip to Los Angeles and have never been, you should find time to explore Venice Beach.
Why Venice Beach
If you have been to Los Angeles and aren’t interested in doing all of the “touristy things”, but still want to get away, take a trip to Venice Beach. Venice Beach is the perfect California experience, if you are wanting something different. It’s right next to LA, full of it’s own adventure and fun, but has a laid back beach vibe. Venice Beach is bohemian, classy, artistic, and full of entertainment.
Where to stay
Although there are plenty of places to choose from, but we absolutely loved The Abbot Kinney Apartment. It was in the perfect location, just a street over from Abbot Kinney, and walking distance to the beach. They also have the best prices we could find. I will absolutely be back!
Where to eat and drink
On your way into Venice from the airport, stop at Hash for a quick breakfast. They have free parking, which is a commodity in Los Angeles.
Adam and I had one of our best breakfasts at Sunny Spot. In addition to the bottomless mimosas, bloody Mary’s and rum punches, they have great food. The portions are huge, which says a lot coming from a Texas girl.
Another great spot to grab breakfast/brunch is Gjelina Take Away. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner for people on-the-go. There’s a few spots inside and outside to sit and enjoy too.
Do yourself a favor and order the $95 course dinner at The Tasting Kitchen. This was one of the most unique dining experiences I have ever had. You will not regret the 5 courses and will leave completely stuffed.
If oysters are your thing, stop by Killer Shrimp for seafood and oysters. Their speciality is shrimp, but they have a menu with a lot of variety.
I cannot hit the west coast without stoping at Salt & Straw. Not only are their staple flavors wonderful, but they have a magical selection of rotating special flavors. We tried all of the Thanksgiving feast.
A couple of years ago, I mentioned how I was disappointed I didn’t go to Blue Star donuts when we were in Portland. When I saw there was a Blue Star right down the street from our hotel, I was overjoyed to get to try them. Best donuts ever! Hands down. Try them!
If fun bars are your thing, check out Adults Only. A hidden bar (kind of speakeasy style) with a laid back vibe and huge movie screen that plays cult classics. Just walk through the “video store” to get to this bar.
What to do
Obviously, spend a day at the beach. Hit up the local shops and restaurants, watch the skaters, check out muscle beach, and walk along the water. Venice Beach is a creative beach town and full of art and entertainment. Stroll the boardwalk, chat with locals, and take a walk across the pier. There’s so much culture around.
Take a trip over to the Venice canals and see the beautiful homes. It’s like a little piece of Venice Italy in California.
One of my favorite places in California is Abbot Kinney Blvd. It’s a mile-long street of shops, restaurants, and more. Each space is unique, quirky, and artistic. There’s art on every corner. I could have spent hours just walking up and down taking photos, but I spared Adam the annoyance. They host a ton of events each month too!
Explore the seaside community Marina Del Rey. Check out the boats, walk along the decks, and grab a bite to eat near the water.
If you want to experience a more luxurious beach, drive up the PCH to Malibu. Not only is the beach gorgeous, but there are a ton of amazing neighborhoods you can drive through. If you’re feeling up for it, you can park and hike to Escondido Falls. It’s an off road hike and takes a while. Don’t make our mistake and go right before sunset only to be close enough to know the falls weren’t turned on. Also, wear appropriate hiking clothes. I wasn’t prepared for the terrain because I didn’t know it was an actual hike.
If you want to spend time in Los Angeles, here are a few fun things to do:
Check out Marilyn Monroe’s grave (and various other celebrities) at the Pierce Brothers Cemetery.
Wander around the Griffith Observatory, check out the inside, and maybe even watch a show in the planetarium.
Catch a concert at the historic El Rey theater. It’s a great venue with incredible sound.
Take a walk around Hollywood Blvd at night. I’ve seen it during the day, but it comes alive at night with a variety of people. The lights look like a tiny Vegas strip.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Venice Beach? Leave me a comment below.