11+ Unique Things to Do in Venice Beach

Dip your paddle into the enchanting Venice Canals and navigate a hidden urban paradise. But beware, secrets await beneath...
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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Ever paddle boarded through history? Yeah, I didn't think so. But in the liquid highways of Venice Beach's lesser-known canals, you've got a paddleboarding paradox—where every stroke takes you deeper into the past and yet leaves you loving LA's quirky now all the more. Venice Beach, the mural-decked, muscle-flexing, free-spirited heart of SoCal's coastline, isn't just about sun and surf—it's a kaleidoscope of action, art, and maybe an offbeat drum circle you stumble into. Let's ditch the typical and dive deep into the peculiar pockets of paradise where streets become waterways, and food trucks serve up world-class munchies with only the locals in the know.

Get ready to explore the hidden alleys of fun and food at Venice Beach—the types of places where you chow down on secret menus and join spontaneous poetry slams like it's nobody's business (but it kinda is). In a city famed for its eclectic character and surreal seaside experiences, we're here to pedal, paddle, and poeticize through every nook that makes Venice Beach, dare we say, the coolest darn place on Earth? Let's do this—Venice Beach style.

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Paddle the Lesser-Known Venice Canals

Imagine gliding on the water, paddle in hand, surrounded by enchanting historic bungalows and lush gardens—an escape within a city. Welcome to the serene experience of paddle boarding in Venice canals, a slice of tranquility amidst the buzz of beach life. The historic Venice Canals offer a unique adventure away from the crowded walkways and the vibrant skate parks.

For how long should I paddle board in the Venice Canals?

You should budget an hour or two for a leisurely paddle through the canals—it's a fantastic way to soak up the sun and the scenery.

You'll find this adventure perfect for everyone, whether you're a couple looking for a romantic afternoon or a solo traveler wanting a meditative escape. As you wind your way through these peaceful waterways, picture the early 1900s, when Venice, California, aimed to replicate the charm and allure of Venice, Italy. These canals are all that remain of that grand vision, making your paddle boarding journey not just recreation, but a tour through history.

Nearby, the canals rub shoulders with vibrant street murals and cozy coffee spots where further explorations await. You don't need to rush off right after your paddle; there’s a whole neighborhood’s worth of culture and sun-soaked relaxation to enjoy.

Paddle boarding here suits all skill levels, so don't fret if you're a newbie. Local rental shops offer all the gear and guidance you’ll need. Synchronize your visit with the golden hour to witness the canals painted in the warm glow of sunset—an utterly insta-worthy snapshot in time.

So what's stopping you? Grab that paddle board and hit the historic Venice Canals. Glide through the waterways, wave at the ducks, and let this hidden gem of Venice Beach cast its spell on you.

Remember, life’s too short not to enjoy these unique little pleasures. And truly, there's nothing quite like the tranquillity of these canals—your own urban oasis.

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Savor the Secret Menu at Hole-In-The-Wall Eateries

When you're strolling along the Venice Beach boardwalk, your nose is gonna hit a wall – a delicious, aromatic wall of sizzling possibilities. You'll practically float, cartoon-style, on the scent straight to what locals consider treasure troves: hole-in-the-wall eateries with secret menus.

You didn't hear it from me, but these spots serve up dishes that'll make you do a little happy dance right in the middle of the sidewalk. Doritos burritos, anyone? We're talking about off-menu items that'll single-handedly justify your cheat day.

Where are these mouth-watering meccas, you ask?

Tucked between the vibrant Venice Beach food trucks and waterfront restaurants that beckon with their beachy vibes, that's where. Go on a mini adventure to find 'em. You’re in for not only a treat but a true locals' experience.

Now, who's your best dining companion here? This might not be the spot for the Michelin-star aficionado in your life. It's more like a high-five between taste buds for those who love to explore food with gusto. It’s casual, it's fun – just grab someone who loves to chomp down on some good eats, dive into piles of fries, and laugh about it afterwards. We're talking about food that's perfect for grubbing by the sandy beaches with your buds or after catching a gnarly wave solo.

And how long should you spend on this culinary escapade? If your belly's rumbling, give it a good hour or two. You'll want time to savor every secret spice and surprise ingredient. Spoiler: your taste buds may never want to leave.

So gather your squad, or fly solo, and get ready to dine at these clandestine kitchens where the true flavor of Venice Beach lives. You're gonna want to be part of the secret club that knows just where to find that legendary off-menu item that turns lunch into an urban legend.

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Uncover the Electric Avenue Green Space

Imagine this: you're meandering through the vibrant streets of Venice Beach and then, bam! You stumble upon this lush oasis smack dab in the middle of all the action - the Electric Avenue median park. It's like finding a secret garden where you can escape the buzzing energy of the beach crowd for a minute.

This is no regular patch of grass, alright? You've got beautiful native plants that are like eye candy for your nature-loving soul. And the best part? It’s not just for looking—this space is all about the greens you can live in for a sec. Spread out your blanket, take a deep breath, and live your best life right in the center of it all.

Now, you might be thinking, "But is it cool for me and my rowdy bunch?" Absolutely. The Electric Avenue Green Space is a hit with locals and tourists, families and dog walkers, alike. Got kids in tow? Let them run wild while you chill with a book. Flying solo or with your other half? Perfect for some quiet time under the sun.

And you can forget about spending a whole day here. Just pop in for a breather between your beach volleyball matches or while you're flip-flopping around on a stroll. It’s the chill spot you never knew you needed until now. Trust me, those beachy vibes are dialed up to an 11 here.

So what are you waiting for? Two steps off the beaten path and you're in a Venice secret spot that'll make you want to whisper, "Whoa, this is some next-level chill." And guess what, it's surrounded by killer cafes and shops, so once you're all zen-ed out, you can jump back into the Venice Beach groove in no time.

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Experience a Community Drum Circle

Picture this: the sun's kissing the horizon, the ocean's humming in the background, and there's an electrifying thump-thump-thump that makes your heart skip. That's right, you've stumbled upon the legendary Venice Beach drum circle. And let me tell you, it's where the free spirits soar and the beats beckon everyone to dance.

It's a spontaneous celebration of life that erupts every weekend. You're not just watching, you're becoming a part of the rhythm. From seasoned drummers hammering out wild beats to kids clapping along, everyone's welcome here. This isn't just drumming; it's the pulse of Venice Beach!

You might be wondering, "How long should I hang out here?" There's no clock on fun, my friend. Stay for a few minutes or let the hours slip away. It's perfect for anyone—solo soul-searchers, curious couples or families ready to shake it up a bit.

Not sure how to jump in? Don't sweat it. Just nod along, tap your foot, or let loose with your best dance moves. The circle's always changing—new faces, new tunes—it's a kaleidoscope of creative energy.

If you wander around nearby, you'll find quirky shops and eateries where you can grab a bite or snag a souvenir. But make sure to circle back, literally, to this auditory oasis where you don't just listen—you feel.

Trust me, whether you've got rhythm or two left feet, the Venice Beach drum circle is a must-do that'll etch into your memory the true spirit of Venice. Drumming starts in the afternoon, but the best vibes roll in as the day melts away, so time your visit with the sunset for a truly magical experience. Now, go join the circle and beat as one with the heart of Venice!

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Attend a Spontaneous Poetry Slam

Picture this: You're strolling down the boardwalk, the Pacific Ocean to one side, the sound of waves crashing, and then _bam_—you happen upon a crowd gathered around a poet, spitting verses about life, love, and the human condition. Welcome to one of the vibrant Venice Beach poetry slams. Known for its creative pulse, Venice Beach serves up some of the most electric, impromptu poetry slams you could stumble upon – and it's as authentic as it gets!

Why should you check out a poetry slam? Well, for starters, it's raw emotion on display, where people share their innermost thoughts and the audience connects on a profound level. It's not about sipping wine and snapping fingers in a dimly lit café (although that sounds great too). It's about the energy, the crowd, the spontaneous combustion of words and feelings. Plus, it's free!

What's super cool about the poetry scene here is that it's not confined to the slams alone. As you meander through Venice, you'll notice poetry walls—literally, walls filled with heartfelt verses penned by locals and visitors alike. Feeling inspired? Grab a marker and leave your mark! It's a community project that's constantly evolving, just like the stories and the people who share them.

How long should you linger? That's the beauty of it—you can stay for a few minutes or get lost for an hour. The vibe's always welcoming, so come as you are. Whether you're a solo thinker, a couple on a romantic getaway, or a group of friends looking for some soul, poetry slams in Venice have a way of drawing you in.

Before you know it, you'll be part of a unique piece of Venice culture, where everyone's a friend and every word counts. It's the perfect activity for the explorer at heart looking for a dose of California creativity. Tap into the energy and let the spoken word do the rest. It's not just poetry; it's Venice Beach coming to life, one verse at a time.

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Dive into Vintage Finds on Main Street

There's a little piece of the past just waiting for you on Main Street where vintage shopping isn't just a hobby; it's a full-blown adventure. Imagine strolling down the vibrant thoroughfare. Browsing through curated selections of yesteryears' fashion and decor, you find that unique piece that screams, "Take me home!" This is what a day spent on Main Street can look like for you, a paradise for anyone seeking that one-of-a-kind objet d'art or a throwback leather jacket that cannot be found just anywhere.

As you wander from store to store, you'll notice each shop has its personality, its own little universe of retro treasures. Whether you’re thrift-savvy or a high-end collector, the boutiques here cater to all. And let's be real – who doesn't want to snag a conversation-starter piece that basically whispers its own historical saga?

For those who want to feel like they've stepped into a time machine, here's your ticket. Spend an afternoon (or the whole day, we're not judging!) rummaging through racks of vintage tees, trying on eccentric costume jewelry, or selecting from an array of classic vinyl records that can add some old-school beats to your modern playlists.

Main Street makes for a multifaceted shopping experience, ideal for:

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  • Fashion-forward folks: Vintage never goes out of style, and you'll find threads here that set you apart.
  • History buffs: Every item has a story just waiting to be told at your next get-together.
  • Aesthetic collectors: You're looking to mingle with the past and furnish your spaces with rare finds.

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So, grab your comfiest shoes and set out for a day of retro reverie! You'll not only leave with tangible memories but also with the satisfaction of having supported local businesses. And who knows? You just might stumble upon that elusive treasure that turns your ordinary day into an extraordinary tale of vintage victory!

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Engage with Offbeat Street Performers

Picture this: the sun is kissing your face, the salty sea breeze is swirling through your hair, and the sound of laughter and music dances around you. That's right, you're strolling down the iconic Venice Beach Boardwalk, and what's a trip here without stopping to marvel at the street performers on Venice Beach? They're the heart and soul of this vibrant community, and trust me, they're as eclectic and unique as Venice itself.

From fire-breathers to snake charmers, from living statues to masterful musicians, these performers turn the boardwalk into a spontaneous outdoor theater. Your eyes won't know where to land! Each performer has their own brand of magic to showcase, and I'm not just throwing words around – the talent here is seriously next-level.

You want to set aside at least an hour or two because once you start watching, you'll find it hard to leave! You're part of the energy now, and every clap and cheer from you feeds the soul of Venice Beach. It's perfect for all – whether you're a solo explorer buzzing for some entertainment or with your family looking for a quirky afternoon treat.

The performers span the entire boardwalk, so you won't miss them. One minute, you could be jamming to a one-man band, the next being wowed by an acrobat defying gravity. Want some insider advice? Have some cash ready to show your appreciation with a tip – it's part of the experience, and these talents deserve it.

All ages and personalities find something to enjoy here. It's a feast for the senses that'll have toddlers bopping to the beats and the whole family grinning from ear to ear. When you're by the Boardwalk, you have to check out the Venice Beach Boardwalk performers — it’s a quintessential slice of Venice life that’s just too good to miss.

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Join a Local Yoga Flow Outdoors

Breathe in, breathe out. Can you feel that? You're channeling your inner zen with local yoga classes at Venice Beach. Imagine the sun just beginning to dip its toes into the glowing horizon while you're down in Warrior II, nodding at fellow stretchers. Sunset yoga? Sign me up twice, please!

The best part about these al fresco health sessions is you're sharing the positive vibes with the friendly Venice locals and likeminded travelers, all against the backdrop of fluttering palm trees and the soothing sounds of the ocean. So who joins these gatherings of flexibility and peace? Well, yoga classes here are a hit with pretty much everyone - families, singles, and those who just want to reach for their toes for the first time in a decade. It's an all-levels welcome sort of deal.

Anticipate spending around an hour for a full class—just enough time to feel rejuvenated without cutting too much into your beach explorations. And when you're all done with your sun salutations, you can saunter over to the nearby health cafes. Gotta keep that body fueled with something green and glorious after all that stretching, right?

These yoga flows are typically held in open spaces that provide plenty of room to stretch out without bumping elbows. Expect to feel connected to the community whether you're a seasoned yogi or a total newbie. It's not just an exercise, it's an experience—one that leaves you feeling grounded and pumped to explore more of what Venice Beach has to offer.

And hey, while you're feeling all limber, don't forget to stroll along the boardwalk. You never know what kind of street performance might just inspire your next yoga pose. Warrior III: Street Performer Style, anyone?

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Capture Sunset Moments at Hidden Spots

Picture this: the sun is dipping low on the horizon, splashing the sky with hues of tangerine and lavender, and you're there—in the heart of Venice Beach—camera in hand, ready to capture the magic. No need to elbow your way through crowds for that killer sunset shot, because guess what? Venice Beach is dotted with hidden spots that offer breathtaking views and a chill vibe. You won't just snag some epic sunset photography in Venice, you'll be part of the laid-back local scene.

Find these hidden spots by taking a little detour off the beaten path. Start near the skate park, and meander your way around the side streets—you'll be surprised by the small, quiet spaces that open up to stunning vistas. And let's talk about those colors. Venice Beach sunsets aren't just Instagram-worthy; they're soul-stirring. Imagine golden light reflecting off eclectic murals, casting a warm glow over palm-lined streets.

You're probably wondering, just how long should you bask in this golden hour glory? Here's a tip: get there at least 30 minutes before sunset to find your ideal spot and watch the whole show. Trust me, it's worth every second.

And who's this perfect for? Photographers, romantics, or honestly, anyone who's a sucker for sky art. Whether you're flying solo or with your crew, the serene moments you'll find here are one-of-a-kind.

After the sun bids its goodnight, you'll still be standing in one of the most vibrant, artsy spots around, with cool eateries and beach vibes for miles. So, why not make an evening of it? After all, Venice Beach is more than a destination—it's an experience.

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Toast to the View at Rooftop Bars

Imagine this: you're standing on a rooftop, golden hour lighting up your face, the sky painted in shades of orange and pink, and in your hand, a cool, crisp drink that’s just perfect for the moment. Sounds dreamy, right? Now, make that a reality at one of the hip rooftop bars around Venice.

Here's the deal—Venice's rooftop bars are not just regular ol' bars, they're a ticket to some of the best views in town. They're the places where the cool kids hang out, and by cool kids, I mean anyone with a taste for a good view and a better brew. So who do these spots cater to? Well, if you fancy yourself a bit of a social butterfly, love to catch that killer sunset shot for your Insta-feed, or just appreciate the evening breeze with a side of cityscape, you're in the right spot.

You might wonder, "How long should I hang out there?" Buddy, time's going to fly while you're sipping that artisan cocktail. Give it an hour or two, or just play it by ear until the stars come out. Either way, you’re in for a treat. Bring your friends, your date, or even fly solo—everyone fits in with the relaxed vibes these bars give off.

And the best part? After you get those Instagram-worthy snaps of the skyline, you can just waltz right into the vibrant night scene that's just a few steps away. You're not only toasting to the view but to an experience that screams Venice Beach.

Why not take a peek at what's on offer and plan your sunset soirée? Kick back, relax, and let Venice Beach show you how to truly toast to the view. Cheers to that! 🥂

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Marvel at the "Touch of Venice" Mural

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Picture this: you're strolling down the bustling streets of Venice Beach, the sun-kissed breeze ruffling your hair, when a burst of colors catches your eye. It's the "Touch of Venice" mural, and let me tell you, it's like running headfirst into a kaleidoscope of local culture! Now, don't just take my word for it. This iconic piece of street art demands to be seen IRL for the full, jaw-dropping effect. So, grab your sunglasses and get ready for some mural viewing that’ll make your Instagram followers green with envy.

This vibrant artwork is more than just a pretty face on the wall; it's a slice of Venice Beach soul. With each brushstroke telling a story, you're admiring more than paint—you’re witnessing the creativity that Venice Beach oozes from every corner. Sure, there's loads to see around here, but if you're crunched for time, dedicate a solid hour to take in the mural. Trust me, whether you're rolling solo or herding your squad, it's going to be worth every minute.

Nestled among the quirky cafes and buzzing skateparks, the "Touch of Venice" mural is an absolute must-see. And the crowd? It's a fantastic mix—a little bit of this, a dash of that—perfect for families, artist-types, and solo flyers alike! After you're done admiring and snapping pics, why not saunter around the area? With plenty of cool stops nearby, your cultural appetite is sure to be satiated.

Now, I'm not saying it's a treasure hunt, but stumbling upon the "Touch of Venice" mural feels a whole lot like striking gold. Get ready to tilt your head, squint your eyes, and maybe tilt your head some more as you decode the stories layered on the wall. It’s like Venice Beach is whispering its secrets to you—can you hear them?

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Relax at Off-the-Path Beach Spots

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You know those hidden gems that only locals seem to know about? Venice Beach has plenty of those when it comes to kick-back beach vibes away from the mainstream. Tucked away from the hustle, there's a little piece of sandy paradise waiting for you to unroll your picnic blanket and feast on the simple life.

Bold adventurers, take note: Venice Beach is more than just a strip of sand. It's a cultural hub where beach volleyball reigns supreme. With nets stretched out like an invitation, you're bound to find a game to join, whether you're spiking the ball like a pro or just aiming to keep it off the sand. To find your perfect match, head towards the stretches where the locals set their territory—around here, the competition is friendly, but fierce.

Want to ride the waves like the SoCal surfers? Group surf lessons are the way to go. They strike the ideal balance between camaraderie and the thrill of riding a wave. Surf shops and schools dot the beachfront, so grabbing a board and diving into the Pacific's embrace is as breezy as the ocean air.

Here's where it gets cooler: after rallying on the volleyball court or conquering a wave, you can chill at some of the quieter picnic spots in Venice Beach. These are the places where you can recharge and enjoy the salty-kissed air with friends or fly solo with a good book.

Now, who's it for? Everyone. That's right. If you're a family with a tote full of beach toys, a group of friends ready for an impromptu volleyball tourney, or you're riding solo and looking to hang ten, these off-the-path spots cater to all. Spend a few hours, or make a day out of it; these cozy coastal escapes are just right for soaking in the Venice Beach sun. And the best part? You might just leave with a few new pals or a couple of stories that no guidebook could ever tell.

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FAQ

Q: What are some unique things to do in Venice Beach?

A: Hit the Venice Skatepark, explore the artsy murals, or groove with street performers on the boardwalk.

Q: What can I do in Venice Beach, Florida?

A: Search for shark teeth, enjoy the quiet beaches, or visit Venice Pier for fishing and sunsets.

Q: What's there to do in Venice Beach today?

A: Check local events, hit the vibrant boardwalk, or relax by the iconic Muscle Beach.

Q: What activities are available in Venice Beach this weekend?

A: Visit the farmers' market, join a beach volleyball game, or enjoy live music at local venues.

Q: Are there free things to do in Venice Beach, CA?

A: Sure, you can watch street performers, enjoy the beach, or stroll through the canals without spending a dime.

Q: What are some non-touristy things to do in Venice Beach?

A: Visit hidden gems like the Mosaic Tile House or take a walk in the lesser-known Venice Canals.

Q: Is Venice Beach LA worth visiting?

A: Absolutely, for its eclectic vibe, street art, and unique beach culture, it's a must-see.

Q: What's so special about Venice Beach?

A: Venice Beach boasts a blend of bohemian and surf culture, iconic skateparks, and funky shops.

Q: Is it safe to walk from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier?

A: Yes, the walk is popular and generally safe, offering scenic ocean views along the way.

Q: What is the best street in Venice Beach?

A: Abbot Kinney Boulevard, known for its fashionable boutiques, foodie spots, and vibrant atmosphere.

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Final Words

Well, you've just zoomed through a whirlwind tour of the hidden gems and hush-hush haunts that make Venice Beach so tantalizingly unique. From the hushed whispers of poetry slams to the rhythmic beats of drum circles, and from the secret bites to sunsets that sweep you off your feet—every nook of this beachside paradise has a story to tell. And let's not forget the paddle-boarding through those historic canals, right?

Here's the thing, though. No matter how you slice it, Venice Beach is bursting at the seams with one-of-a-kind experiences that will fill your days with the unexpected and unforgettable. So, as you plan your next outing, remember all the exciting things to do in Venice Beach we've gabbed about. Trust me, it's the kind of spot that'll have you coming back, time and time again. Here's to adventures with a Venice twist!

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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